TT Silent PurePower 480W PSU

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
July 21, 2003
Views
43572
Today's modern computers need a hefty amount of power to make them run flawlessly. I doubt you'll be needing all the power you can get from this particular supply, but let's see how it runs. You'll even get an electricity lesson. Read more to find out.
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Page 1
<B>Intro</B>:

<center>TT Logo</center>

When you pick up the latest and greatest hardware product, I'm sure you seldom think of if that piece of hardware will drain too much power out of your power supply. Even though you may think that box in your case has an infinite supply of power (after all, it is plugged into AC), it isn't. In this review today, we'll see how the <a href="http://www.thermaltake.com">Thermaltake</a> Silent PurePwer 480 watt PSU handles itself. Now let me give you a little lesson on power supplies.

<B>What is a power supply?</B>:

You may be wondering how or even what a power supply is and works. Have no fear! I am here to give you the crash course on power supplies. As you may know, Electricity that comes into your house is AC (Alternating Current).

<center>AC Waveform</center>

AC comes into your house looking like the above picture, a sine wave. DC on the other hand is a constant voltage.

<center>DC Waveform</center>

The DC waveform is a line of voltage that is steady. The object of a power supply in a computer is to convert AC power into DC since components in the computer only operate on DC power. This is no small task, it involves many different forms of diodes and capacitors. And you will never get a perfect DC waveform (likewise, if you are inverting DC back to AC, you'll never get a perfect sine wave).

The inherent properties of the AC sine wave are problematic in theory. The average value of the AC wave is zero! Since voltage/current is measured by the RMS (root mean squared) value (Voltage or Current Peak/ sq rt of 2 for any sine wave), a DC wave form can expect close to the RMS value of the AC waveform (never above it).

The way the converter works is a simple circuit that holds the voltage and releases it so it is somewhat steady (capacitors) and stuff that will regulate how the voltage will flow (so there is only positive or negative voltage) (diodes).

The power supply works in the same way, and the only limiting factor is the components used in the supply which means that something won't work passed the maximum of the supply. If the max peak wattage (A Watt is Volts*Amps (Current)) of a power supply is 325 watts, and you try to suck 400 watts, you can expect a problem.

Now that you know a bit more about how a power supply works and what it is needed, let's continue with the review.

<B>Box</B>:

<center>Box Top Box Side</center>

Here we have the retail packaging. The box clearly shows you what you are getting, a 480watt power supply... and some other stuff. Let's check out what's on the inside.

<B>Stuff</B>:

<center>Parts in box</center>

Here is the parts all tucked nicely into the box. This is actually a very nice packing job and all the components will be nice and safe if they are shipped.

<center>Parts</center>

And here all the parts laid out. What you see is what you get. You get the PSU, two forms of fan controllers, some screws, the black AC cable, and a pretty small install guide (screw in and go).

<center>Slot Thing</center>

What is interesting about this power supply is that it has a control for the speed of the fans, and it is also controlled by the temperature in the supply itself. You'll be able to set the speed of the fan to low and then all the way up to max. I'll let you know how that faired later.

This is one form of the fan controller. It fits in an empty upgrade slot.

<center>Drive Thing</center>

This is the drive bay form of the fan controller, this matches nicely with a silver case. Too bad the one I'm using now is black. I should note that this kit comes in black as well.

<B>The Supply</B>:

<center>Specs</center>

Here are the specs of the power supply. I'll also reproduce it in text form as well. The 12 volt lines have an impressive 18Amps available to it, the 5v line has 40Amps and the 3.3volt line has 30 Amps. You should really never need a power supply more than this one in terms of current usage.

So now let's see what we are actually talking about in terms of power. If a watt is Volts * Amps, then 12V * 18A = 216 watts, and then the other lines. 5V * 40A = 200W and 3.3V * 30A = 99W. So totaling up the different wattages, we see that this thing can provide a max of 515 on he positive rails. The negative rails are also there, and they provide the remaining 35 watts (equaling 550 watts MAX).

Max wattage does not mean sustained, and 480 watts is all you'll get. That means that you have around 87% of the capacity of the supply sustained, which is very good. Like I said before, you should never sustain that much anyway.

<center>Bottom Window Side Back</center>

The PSU has two fans, both are controlled by that fan controller. A nice touch is the black side of the power supply, that is the side that would show in a windowed case, and it happens to match my case nicely. The back of the power supply has a nice large switch for turning the power off and on.

I like that the fans have grills on them instead of the metal bracket things usually on cheaper power supplies. You'll get more airflow with this type of guard.

<center>Wire Length</center>

The wire length of this thing is crazy. It'll fit a full size case with no problem, and you'll have enough molex connectors to fit as many drives and things as you need. There are 9 molex connectors in all. Even a serial ATA power connector is included if you have a serial ATA drive. There are the AUX 12v power for Intel boards and the standard ATX connector, and that server power cord as well.

<center>Loomed</center>

The ATX power connector is loomed and braided, so the wires are all neatly kept in place.
Page 2
<B>Testing</B>:

<center>Testing Test 2</center>

I tried a multitude of ways of testing this power supply. My multimeter could not go over 10 Amps (and I blew a few fuses by accident). In the name of testing, I happened to short the 12v line and the power supply shut off, not damaging my other components. This is a very good thing, as I happened to know of a few incidents when some power saving circuitry would save some hardware I have, but ohh well.

Don't be fooled by other reviews giving you motherboard monitor scores for voltage, it is taking readings off of the motherboard. You need to take the voltages directly for it to mean anything.

So just how did this PSU fair during testing? Very well actually. My multimeter has a +-.5% accuracy, so knowing that, let's see the numbers.

I did the test PSU mod thing, and I tested all the voltages alone, not under load.

<table class="line" cellspacing="1" align="center"><tr class="background"><td>Theoretical</td><td>Actual</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>12v</td><td>11.70v</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>3.3v</td><td>3.43v</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>5v</td><td>5.19v</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>-5v</td><td>-5.07v</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>-12v</td><td>-11.40v</td></tr></table>

This is not under any load whatsoever. The numbers are okay, but not as great as you want them. Under load, and in the case, I could only test the +5 and the +12v lines, no motherboard monitor readings here (They are BS).

First up, in the system, with no stress.
<table class="line" cellspacing="1" align="center"><tr class="background"><td>Theoretical</td><td>Actual</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>12v</td><td>12.01-12.02v</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>5v</td><td>5.11-5.13v</td></tr></table>

While the power supply is in the system, we see that the voltage is better for some reason. Let's see what happens when the system becomes loaded (with 3D Mark 2K3 running loops).

<table class="line" cellspacing="1" align="center"><tr class="background"><td>Theoretical</td><td>Actual</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>12v</td><td>11.86-11.90v</td></tr><tr class="background"><td>5v</td><td>5.14-5.13v</td></tr></table>

The 12 volt line sees around a 1.5% fluctuation, while the 5v line sees hardly any (less than accuracy). 1.5% is generally okay, and the voltage is pretty steady throughout the entire testing, no system crashes to speak of.

No voltage fluctuations were seen when increasing or decreasing the fan speed, and there was hardly any noise at the slowest speed, you won't hear it over case fans or CPU fans, even at the highest setting.

<B>Conclusion</B>:

A power supply is a difficult thing to really review. It needs to stand the test of time, and that is something that is impossible to test. Regardless, the Thermaltake Silent PurePower 480watt power supply is pretty damn expensive at around $100 from various places, but it is 480watts of sustained power than is generally unheard of in computer power supplies. If you've got a power hungry machine, you should consider picking one of these things up, but if you don't, stick with something cheaper.

I'd like to thank Weller at <a href="http://www.thermaltake.com">Thermaltake</a> for sending this unit for review.

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