Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 850W ATX v3.0 Power Supply Review

The Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 850W is one of the first ATX v3.0 compatible PSUs.

Thermaltake GF3 850W ATX v3.0
(Image: © Thermaltake)

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Primary Rails And 5VSB Load Regulation

The following charts show the main rails' voltage values recorded between a range of 40W up to the PSU's maximum specified load, along with the deviation (in percent). Tight regulation is an important consideration every time we review a power supply because it facilitates constant voltage levels despite varying loads. Tight load regulation also, among other factors, improves the system’s stability, especially under overclocked conditions and, at the same time, it applies less stress to the DC-DC converters that many system components utilize.

The 12V rail starts low and increases its voltage with more than 60W load. Since we consider the minimum and maximum voltage deviations on all rails, sudden voltage increases affect load regulation. 

Hold-Up Time

Put simply, hold-up time is the amount of time that the system can continue to run without shutting down or rebooting during a power interruption.

The hold-up time is longer than 17 ms, but the power ok signal's hold-up time is lower than 16ms, which is the minimum that the ATX spec requires. 

Inrush Current

Inrush current, or switch-on surge, refers to the maximum, instantaneous input current drawn by an electrical device when it is first turned on. A large enough inrush current can cause circuit breakers and fuses to trip. It can also damage switches, relays, and bridge rectifiers. As a result, the lower the inrush current of a PSU right as it is turned on, the better.

Inrush current is low with 115V and on the high side with 230V. 

Leakage Current

In layman's terms, leakage current is the unwanted transfer of energy from one circuit to another. In power supplies, it is the current flowing from the primary side to the ground or the chassis, which in the majority of cases is connected to the ground. For measuring leakage current, we use a GW Instek GPT-9904 electrical safety tester instrument.

The leakage current test is conducted at 110% of the DUT's rated voltage input (so for a 230-240V device, we should conduct the test with 253-264V input). The maximum acceptable limit of a leakage current is 3.5 mA and it is defined by the IEC-60950-1 regulation, ensuring that the current is low and will not harm any person coming in contact with the power supply's chassis.

Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 850W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Leakage current is low. 

10-110% Load Tests

These tests reveal the PSU's load regulation and efficiency levels under high ambient temperatures. They also show how the fan speed profile behaves under increased operating temperatures.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test12V5V3.3V5VSBDC/AC (Watts)EfficiencyFan Speed (RPM)PSU Noise (dB[A])Temps (In/Out)PF/AC Volts
10%5.244A1.99A2.01A0.989A85.01584.401%0<6.044.77°C0.979
Row 2 - Cell 0 12.094V5.025V3.284V5.056V100.724Row 2 - Cell 6 Row 2 - Cell 7 Row 2 - Cell 8 40.41°C114.91V
20%11.498A2.987A3.019A1.189A169.97588.519%0<6.045.58°C0.99
Row 4 - Cell 0 12.095V5.022V3.28V5.047V192.023Row 4 - Cell 6 Row 4 - Cell 7 Row 4 - Cell 8 40.87°C114.89V
30%18.096A3.487A3.525A1.368A254.99490.163%0<6.046.89°C0.994
Row 6 - Cell 0 12.100V5.02V3.277V5.119V282.819Row 6 - Cell 6 Row 6 - Cell 7 Row 6 - Cell 8 41.57°C114.87V
40%24.744A3.987A4.032A1.564A340.09690.256%4187.841.84°C0.991
Row 8 - Cell 0 12.079V5.017V3.274V5.115V376.812Row 8 - Cell 6 Row 8 - Cell 7 Row 8 - Cell 8 47.89°C114.85V
50%31.025A4.986A5.045A1.762A425.10789.92%4187.842.18°C0.991
Row 10 - Cell 0 12.074V5.015V3.271V5.108V472.757Row 10 - Cell 6 Row 10 - Cell 7 Row 10 - Cell 8 48.63°C114.83V
60%37.269A5.985A6.059A1.961A509.62389.419%6241742.96°C0.992
Row 12 - Cell 0 12.069V5.013V3.268V5.1V569.925Row 12 - Cell 6 Row 12 - Cell 7 Row 12 - Cell 8 49.99°C114.8V
70%43.582A6.986A7.075A2.161A594.93288.797%82926.443.15°C0.993
Row 14 - Cell 0 12.065V5.011V3.266V5.092V669.985Row 14 - Cell 6 Row 14 - Cell 7 Row 14 - Cell 8 50.71°C114.79V
80%49.903A7.987A8.091A2.262A679.7888.103%102132.843.87°C0.994
Row 16 - Cell 0 12.061V5.01V3.263V5.085V771.582Row 16 - Cell 6 Row 16 - Cell 7 Row 16 - Cell 8 52.06°C114.75V
90%56.622A8.489A8.588A2.364A765.21387.34%139441.644.68°C0.995
Row 18 - Cell 0 12.056V5.008V3.26V5.078V876.131Row 18 - Cell 6 Row 18 - Cell 7 Row 18 - Cell 8 54.03°C114.74V
100%63.069A8.992A9.117A2.963A850.02686.454%168447.145.98°C0.995
Row 20 - Cell 0 12.055V5.006V3.258V5.063V983.212Row 20 - Cell 6 Row 20 - Cell 7 Row 20 - Cell 8 55.99°C114.71V
110%69.421A9.995A10.231A2.966A934.60285.484%192850.146.91°C0.996
Row 22 - Cell 0 12.047V5.004V3.255V5.058V1093.306Row 22 - Cell 6 Row 22 - Cell 7 Row 22 - Cell 8 57.82°C114.68V
CL10.116A14.412A14.57A0A121.3382.161%4428.342.08°C0.988
Row 24 - Cell 0 12.107V5.011V3.274V5.061V147.672Row 24 - Cell 6 Row 24 - Cell 7 Row 24 - Cell 8 48.53°C114.89V
CL20.116A21.944A0A0A111.42880.589%4458.343.01°C0.987
Row 26 - Cell 0 12.109V5.014V3.289V5.068V138.267Row 26 - Cell 6 Row 26 - Cell 7 Row 26 - Cell 8 50.09°C114.9V
CL30.116A0A22.225A0A73.99175.34%4247.944.43°C0.978
Row 28 - Cell 0 12.112V5.03V3.266V5.063V98.214Row 28 - Cell 6 Row 28 - Cell 7 Row 28 - Cell 8 52.47°C114.91V
CL470.572A0A0A0A849.79187.157%153744.245.78°C0.995
Row 30 - Cell 0 12.042V5.03V3.271V5.122V975.014Row 30 - Cell 6 Row 30 - Cell 7 Row 30 - Cell 8 55.73°C114.7V

The PSU delivers 110% of its max-rated capacity at high operating temperatures and for prolonged periods without any problems. Noise output is high, though, exceeding 50 dBA. 

20-80W Load Tests

In the following tests, we measure the PSU's efficiency at loads significantly lower than 10% of its maximum capacity (the lowest load the 80 Plus standard measures). This is important for representing when a PC is idle with power-saving features turned on.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test12V5V3.3V5VSBDC/AC (Watts)EfficiencyFan Speed (RPM)PSU Noise (dB[A])Temps (In/Out)PF/AC Volts
20W1.242A0.496A0.501A0.197A20.0176.407%0<6.040.12°C0.834
 11.961V5.042V3.294V5.075V26.191   37.01°C114.93V
40W2.732A0.694A0.701A0.296A40.0182.884%0<6.041.07°C0.938
 11.967V5.041V3.293V5.072V48.272   37.61°C114.93V
60W4.220A0.894A0.904A0.395A60.01185.000%0<6.042.32°C0.964
 11.974V5.031V3.287V5.069V70.601   38.55°C114.92V
80W5.653A1.094A1.105A0.494A79.97484.591%0<6.043.07°C0.978
 12.090V5.028V3.285V5.066V94.546   39.11°C114.92V

Efficiency is high with light loads. 

2% or 10W Load Test

From July 2020, the ATX spec requires 70% and higher efficiency with 115V input. The applied load is only 10W for PSUs with 500W and lower capacities, while for stronger units, we dial 2% of their max-rated capacity.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
12V5V3.3V5VSBDC/AC (Watts)EfficiencyFan Speed (RPM)PSU Noise (dB[A])Temps (In/Out)PF/AC Volts
1.224A0.25A0.25A0.052A16.96874.57%0<6.026.87°C0.806
11.940V5.041V3.292V5.079V22.754Row 2 - Cell 5 Row 2 - Cell 6 Row 2 - Cell 7 26.81°C114.94V

The PSU easily breaks the 70% mark with a 2% load. 

Efficiency & Power Factor

Next, we plotted a chart showing the PSU's efficiency at low loads and loads from 10 to 110% of its maximum rated capacity. The higher a PSU’s efficiency, the less energy goes wasted, leading to a reduced carbon footprint and lower electricity bills. The same goes for Power Factor.

Efficiency with normal loads is low. The situation turns around with light and super-light loads. 

5VSB Efficiency

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test #5VSBDC/AC (Watts)EfficiencyPF/AC Volts
10.1A0.508W75.819%0.065
Row 2 - Cell 0 5.08V0.67WRow 2 - Cell 3 114.93V
20.25A1.27W78.397%0.147
Row 4 - Cell 0 5.078V1.62WRow 4 - Cell 3 114.93V
30.55A2.791W79.556%0.268
Row 6 - Cell 0 5.073V3.508WRow 6 - Cell 3 114.93V
41A5.066W79.426%0.36
Row 8 - Cell 0 5.065V6.378WRow 8 - Cell 3 114.93V
51.5A7.585W79.592%0.421
Row 10 - Cell 0 5.056V9.53WRow 10 - Cell 3 114.93V
63.001A15.092W78.111%0.497
Row 12 - Cell 0 5.03V19.321WRow 12 - Cell 3 114.92V

The 5VSB rail achieves high enough efficiency. 

Power Consumption In Idle And Standby

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mode12V5V3.3V5VSBWattsPF/AC Volts
Idle11.936V5.041V3.292V5.082V2.8550.208
Row 2 - Cell 0 Row 2 - Cell 1 Row 2 - Cell 2 Row 2 - Cell 3 Row 2 - Cell 4 Row 2 - Cell 5 114.93V
StandbyRow 3 - Cell 1 Row 3 - Cell 2 Row 3 - Cell 3 Row 3 - Cell 4 0.0190.002
Row 4 - Cell 0 Row 4 - Cell 1 Row 4 - Cell 2 Row 4 - Cell 3 Row 4 - Cell 4 Row 4 - Cell 5 114.93V

Vampire power is low.

Fan RPM, Delta Temperature, And Output Noise

All results are obtained between an ambient temperature of 37 to 47 degrees Celsius (98.6 to 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The fan's speed increases linearly to the load, even at increased operating temperatures, but at high speeds, the fan is noisy, reaching 50 dBA. Larger heat sinks would help keep noise output lower under harsh conditions. 

The following results were obtained at 30 to 32 degrees Celsius (86 to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) ambient temperature.       

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

At normal operating temperatures, close to 30 degrees Celsius, and with the load pattern that we used, where we fully load the minor rails from the start, the semi-passive operation doesn't last long. Nevertheless, the fan's noise is minimal at up to 460W. Noise exceeds 30 dBA with more than 720W load, and the 40 dBA mark is passed with 825W. 

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Aris Mpitziopoulos
Contributing Editor

Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor at Tom's Hardware US, covering PSUs.