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Five Highly Efficient Power Supplies: 1200 W and Up

Five Highly Efficient Power Supplies: 1200 W and Up
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Until recently, buying a PSU with a four-digit wattage was perhaps most useful for boasting among fellow hardware enthusiasts – there was barely any real need for such high wattages. However, Bitcoin mining and Altcoin mining have changed that.

Often, the requirements imposed on a product contradict each other or force the designers to find a middle ground: A high-wattage power supply achieving extremely high efficiency seems as unlikely as a sports car achieving 50 miles per gallon. However, the five PSUs in our test claim to do just that – one of them, the Corsair AX1500i, even specifies 90 to 94 percent efficiency at 1500 W sustained power. This power supply is the first power supply in our lab which is adorned by the 80 Plus Titanium logo – currently, there is no better rating. However, this impressive combination of power and efficiency comes at a hefty price: $450, almost twice what some Platinum-grade 1200 W PSUs command. Thus, if your use case doesn’t demand 1500 W or Titanium efficiency, you may be better advised to acquire a Platinum-grade 1200 W or 1300 W PSU. We included three of them in this test: The $280 Antec HCP-1300 Platinum, the $245 Cooler Master V1200, and the $270 Seasonic Platinum-1200. The fifth PSU in this test once again sports 1500 W, but at ‘merely’ Platinum efficiency: The Enermax Platimax EPM1500EGT, which doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S. yet.

But let’s return to the question: Who even needs such a powerful PSU? Average desktop PCs only need a 400 W PSU, if that. Some PCs even come with inexpensive 300 W PSUs. Even a high-end gaming rig typically doesn’t need more than a 750 W PSU, unless it contains multiple graphics cards. Using multiple graphics cards in a gaming PC is, however, a rare occurrence, as modern graphics cards are sufficiently powerful even for the most demanding games – there is simply no need for combining graphics cards via Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFire. However, the demand for PSUs with more than 1000 W went through the roof during the past few months, and the reason is Bitcoin mining and Altcoin mining. Altcoin mining, by and large, still relies on graphics cards, although the first Scrypt ASICs are now available. However, Bitcoin mining rigs have not been based on graphics cards for more than a year – instead, these rigs are based on dedicated Bitcoin mining ASICs, whose DC-DC converters draw plenty of amps at 12 V. Enermax confirmed that the Platimax 1500 is flying off the shelves, and the same goes for all other high-wattage PSUs.

Lab Note: 80 Plus Certification at 230 V

Up till now, the 80 Plus organization Ecova Plug Load Solutions has been certifying PSUs at 115 V input voltage. 230 V-only PSUs were not eligible for the coveted 80 Plus certificate – conducting the test at 230 V would favor 230 V PSUs, as primary side currents, and by implication also resistive losses, are lower at 230 V. However, the certification agency recently introduced 80 Plus 230 V logos, whose efficiency thresholds are slightly more stringent, taking the higher efficiency of 230 V PSUs into account. That said, none of the PSUs in this round-up test, not even the 230 V-only Enermax Platimax, sported the new logo. Perhaps the 80 Plus 230 V logo is just too new.

Technical Specifications

Retail Price (Froogle.com)$280$245$450n/a$270
Power Certification80 PLUS Platinum80 PLUS Platinum80 PLUS Titanium80 PLUS Platinum (not yet certified)80 PLUS Platinum
Dimensions (WxDxH)5.9” x 7.48” x 3.39”5.9”x 7.48”x 3.39”5.9” x 8.86” x 3.39”5.9”x 7.09” x 3.39”5.9”x 7.48”x 3.39”
Weight4.9 lbs.9.5 lbs.9.7 lbs.5 lbs.9.5 lbs.
Operating Temperature32 - 122 °F32 - 104 °F32 - 122 °F32 - 104 °F32 – 122 °F
Warranty7 years7 years7 years5 years7 years
Power Specifications
SpecificationATX12V v2.4ATX12V v2.31ATX12V v2.4ATX12V v2.4ATX12V v2.4
Specified Output Power1300 W1200 W1500 W1500 W1200 W
Max. Peak Output1500 Wn/a1650 W1650 Wn/a
AC Input110 - 240 V100 - 240 V100 - 240 V220 - 240 V100 - 240 V
AC Voltage SelectionAuto voltageAuto voltageAuto voltageAuto voltageAuto voltage
DC Output +3.3 V25 A25 A30 A24 A25 A
DC Output +5 V25 A25 A30 A24 A25 A
DC Output +12 V (#1)50 A100 A125 A30 A100 A
DC Output +12 V (#2)50 An/an/a30 An/a
DC Output +12 V (#3)50 An/an/a30 An/a
DC Output +12 V (#4)50 An/an/a30 A (12V4,5,6)n/a
DC Output -12 V0.5 A0.5 A0.8 A0.5 A0.5
DC Power +12 V Combined1300 W1200 W1500 W1500 W1200 W
PFCactiveactiveactiveactiveactive
Specified Hold-Up Time17 ms> 17 msn/a16 ms>17 ms
MTBF100,000 hours100,000 hours100,000 hours 100,000 hours150,000 hours
Cooling Specifications
Main Fan135 mm135 mm140 mm139 mm120 mm
Main Fan Speedup to 1800 rpmn/aup to 1200 rpm300 - 1000 rpmup to 2400 rpm
Secondary Fann/an/an/an/an/a
Secondary Fan Speedn/an/an/an/an/a
Connectors & Environmental
20+4 pin Motherboard1x (21.7”)1x (23.6”)1x (27.6”)1x (23.6”)1x (24”)
CPU2x2x (26.8”)2x (25.6” - 31.5”)2x (23.6” – 25.6”)2x (25.6”)
PCI Express 6-pin/6+2-pin (Graphics)0/10x (21.7” - 25.6”)0/12x (19.7” – 28.3”)0/10x (25.6” - 31.5”)0/10x (19.7”)0/10x (21.7” - 25.6”)
Molex 4-pin (Peripherals)6x (19.7” – 31.5”)9x (15.7” - 27.6”)12x (17.7” – 29.5”)10x (17.7” - 35.4”)5x (11.8” – 25.2”)
SATA Power9x (19.7” - 31.5”)12x (17.7” - 35.8”)20x (19.7” – 33.5”)14x (17.7” – 35.4”)14x (11.8” – 29.9”)
4-pin Floppy1x (37.4”)1x (35.8”)2x (33.5”)2x (41.3”)1x 
Product Specifics
AccessoriesScrews, Velcro Ties ScrewsScrews, Cable TiesScrews, SafeGuard, Cable TiesCable Ties, Screws, Logo
Cable ManagementYes, fully modular Yes, fully modularYes, fully modularYes, fully modularYes, fully modular
Other DetailsOC LinkHybrid Fan ControlHybrid Fan ControlHeatGuard Extended Fan Run Time, CordGuard Mains Plug Safety Bracket, Twister-Bearing FanHybrid Fan Control
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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    nikolajj , August 1, 2014 5:05 AM
    @blackmagnum

    Well, you don't seem to understand fully.
    They don't really consume more power than the connected hardware demands. On the other hand, they have an amazing efficiency rating, meaning that they use a minimum of power, and are therefore better for the planet. ;) 
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    Alex Kelly , August 1, 2014 1:09 AM
    Where is the EVGA Supernova P2 series? Would have been nice to see it included. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    kevith , August 1, 2014 1:40 AM
    Schön, dass Ihr auch deutsche artikeln jetzt schreibt. Das hätte ich mich nie gedacht. Aber was mit alle die amerikanischen leser? Die kann bestimmt kein deutsch?
  • 1 Hide
    damric , August 1, 2014 2:51 AM
    Much better PSU review than usual for THW.

    However, none of these PSUs are as interesting as the SF Leadex.
  • 0 Hide
    Alex Kelly , August 1, 2014 3:10 AM
    Quote:
    Much better PSU review than usual for THW.

    However, none of these PSUs are as interesting as the SF Leadex.


    Agreed! That's why I wanted to see the P2 here.
  • 12 Hide
    nikolajj , August 1, 2014 5:05 AM
    @blackmagnum

    Well, you don't seem to understand fully.
    They don't really consume more power than the connected hardware demands. On the other hand, they have an amazing efficiency rating, meaning that they use a minimum of power, and are therefore better for the planet. ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    mapesdhs , August 1, 2014 8:42 AM

    Pity the Thermaltake Toughpower XT Gold 1475W wasn't included, I've obtained
    half a dozen of them recently, excellent PSUs.

    Ian.

  • 2 Hide
    TheMentalist , August 1, 2014 8:56 AM
    Cooler Master really stepped up their quality in PSU's, can't ignore that.
  • 0 Hide
    lp231 , August 1, 2014 9:25 AM
    I still like the interior of my Antec TruePower Quattro 850w. Massive heatsinks!

    About that Antec 1300w PSU, according to their site, it says that has a "20+8-pin MBU socket for the needs of tomorrow."
    Do you guys have any info on this?
    http://store.antec.com/highcurrentpro/hcp-1300-platinum.html
  • 1 Hide
    majormajormajormajor , August 1, 2014 9:57 AM
    "At the time of writing, the website Plugloadsolutions.com only lists 7 Titanium-grade PSUs: Six models from a company called ‘Super Flower’ and the Corsair AX1500i"

    Wow, way to discredit yourself completely. You're reviewing power supplies and you've never heard of Super Flower?
  • -2 Hide
    Murissokah , August 1, 2014 10:09 AM
    Quote:
    Cooler Master really stepped up their quality in PSU's, can't ignore that.


    Not so sure about that. What they did was order a top model from Seasonic for their flagship power supply. No guarantees the rest of the product line will come from Seasonic. If they don't, as they never did in the past, then they will have no relation whatsoever with the flagship product. This is why I never buy power supplies from brands, only from the actual manufacturers.
  • 0 Hide
    TheMentalist , August 1, 2014 2:47 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Cooler Master really stepped up their quality in PSU's, can't ignore that.


    Not so sure about that. What they did was order a top model from Seasonic for their flagship power supply. No guarantees the rest of the product line will come from Seasonic. If they don't, as they never did in the past, then they will have no relation whatsoever with the flagship product. This is why I never buy power supplies from brands, only from the actual manufacturers.


    True, but i was saying that compared to their other series, like the SilentPro and GX series. But still even if it's not from seasonic they bench pretty good.
  • 1 Hide
    RedJaron , August 1, 2014 2:52 PM
    I just don't get the idea of including a drawstring bag with the PSU. What's the point? It's not like we often pull them out of the case and carry them around. I buy one, I install it in the case, and it stays there ( usually for years, ) until either it dies or I move it to a new case for a build. You want to include a bag or case for the modular cables, that makes perfect sense.
  • -1 Hide
    O_Pgamer96 , August 1, 2014 6:47 PM
    Quote:
    Schön, dass Ihr auch deutsche artikeln jetzt schreibt. Das hätte ich mich nie gedacht. Aber was mit alle die amerikanischen leser? Die kann bestimmt kein deutsch?

    Ihr Browser eine ganze Seite nur durch den Nachweis der Einstellungen auf Ihrem PC in Ihre Muttersprache übersetzen. dies ist eine amerikanische Website.
  • -1 Hide
    O_Pgamer96 , August 1, 2014 6:49 PM
    und ja, ich verwendet, einen Übersetzer für die
  • -2 Hide
    O_Pgamer96 , August 1, 2014 6:57 PM
    the charts for typical use should be adjusted tfor these psus. they are not meant to be run at 500w and i dont think they are tested for such.
  • -4 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , August 2, 2014 12:13 AM
    Everybody is talking about eficiency...but really? 1,2kW of power for a PC? no ty :) 
  • -2 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , August 2, 2014 1:45 AM
    Whwn your lighs start to dimm in you neighborhood, you will know that "The guy" started to play Plants vs Zombies @ 4k in quad SLI/Xfirre ;) 
  • 3 Hide
    mapesdhs , August 2, 2014 2:04 AM
    Quote:
    Everybody is talking about eficiency...but really? 1,2kW of power for a PC? no ty :) 


    If you only build simple systems, sure, but many people build something very different. Max RAM, many
    drives, oc'd 6-core, 4-way SLI/CF, etc. Mine is like that, and it's not even a particularly way out example.
    Also depends what you're using it for. My quad-580 is for CUDA research, whereas my gaming PC is
    just a 4-core i7 with two 580s. I use the top-end PSUs for custom video editing systems so they can
    support 4+ GPUs for lots of CUDA power, etc.

    Ian.

  • 2 Hide
    Neospiral , August 2, 2014 6:52 AM
    Quote:
    "At the time of writing, the website Plugloadsolutions.com only lists 7 Titanium-grade PSUs: Six models from a company called ‘Super Flower’ and the Corsair AX1500i"

    Wow, way to discredit yourself completely. You're reviewing power supplies and you've never heard of Super Flower?


    I thought the same thing. Then I read this:

    "Using multiple graphics cards in a gaming PC is, however, a rare occurrence, as modern graphics cards are sufficiently powerful even for the most demanding games – there is simply no need for combining graphics cards via Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFire."

    and the article went from suspect credibility to no credibility. Ignorant author is ignorant. Find another website to get a legit look at high wattage PSU's, apparently.

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