Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 600W PSU Review

The highest-end member of Thermaltake's Toughpower SFX Gold line is on our test bench today. It offers Gold efficiency, modular cabling, and a semi-passive fan mode. Thanks to its 600 W capacity, you can easily build a powerful system with it.

Thermaltake entered the SFX PSU market with two models featuring 450 and 600 W of maximum power. Both units are made by Enhance Electronics, so they are identical to SilverStone's similar-capacity SX600-G and SX450-G. We reviewed the former last year, and it failed to impress us big time. Excess ripple under full load killed it in our evaluation.

Naturally, we're curious to see if Enhance fixed this problem in the Thermaltake STP-0600F-G we're testing today. The fact is that it is very hard for such a physically diminutive PSU to deliver 600 W. Inevitably, some compromises have to be made in its design. Since no filtering caps are installed on its modular cables, ripple suppression can be challenging since there is limited space on the secondary side for installing lots of filtering caps. Without a doubt, ripple suppression and load regulation are the two most important performance aspects of a PSU, so every manufacturer should give its best to offer products that perform well in those two disciplines.

The STP-0600F-G has to face a compelling opponent: Corsair's SF600, which set new standards in this category everywhere except acoustics. Although the SF600 uses a 92 mm fan that does wonders, it still isn't quiet (in our extended load tests, we recorded over 40 dB[A] overall noise output). In any case, the ideal diameter for an SFX unit is 92 mm since it is the largest fan this form factor can accommodate. You get the same airflow as an 80 mm fan, but at lower rotational speeds and less noise. Consequently, Enhance Electronics should revise the design of its SFX platforms and start using larger fans.

Besides 600 W capacity, the STP-0600F-G features a single +12V rail, fully modular cabling, and a semi-passive mode that helps minimize noise under light loads. The only notable downside is this unit's two PCIe connectors. With 600 W of max power, the STP-0600F-G can easily handle a couple of high-end graphics cards. Given the current cable configuration, however, it only supports one. That's a shame; it's almost impossible to exploit the PSU's peak output without more PCIe connectors. What's more, this 600 W Toughpower SFX unit has the same cable configuration as its 450 W sibling, which doesn't make any sense. Corsair's SF600 has the same problem. It seems like, in this small form factor category, PSU manufacturers are reluctant to offer more cables and connectors, although they don't have a problem increasing output power.

Specifications

Besides 80 PLUS Gold efficiency this PSU can deliver its full power continuously at up to 40 °C. It's supported by only the absolute necessary safety features, and over-temperature protection is unfortunately missing. This is a significant issue since, in PSUs rated at low temperatures (like this one), a cooling problem can prove fatal. In our opinion, every PSU should have OTP since the number-one enemy is heat. At least Thermaltake seems confident in this platform, else it wouldn't offer a seven-year warranty.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V5VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps2015502.50.3
Watts9060012.53.6
Total Max. Power (W)600

The minor rails look weak with 90 W maximum combined power. Still, they'll easily support any modern system since OCP is usually set much higher, allowing for more wattage under peak usage scenarios like transient loads. The single +12V rail is powerful; it can deliver the STP-0600F-G's full power on its own. This is typical of PSUs utilizing DC-DC converters to generate the minor rails. Finally, the 5VSB rail has the minimum allowed capacity for a modern PSU.

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountGaugeConnector Count (Total)
ATX connector 20+4 pin (310mm)118AWG1
4+4 pin EPS12V (410mm)118AWG1
6+2 pin PCIe (400mm+140mm)1
18AWG2
SATA (300mm+150mm150mm)118AWG3
Four-pin Molex (300mm+150mm) / FDD (+150mm)
118AWG2 / 1

As mentioned, it's strange to see a 600 W power supply, even an SFX one, with only two PCIe connectors. You can't fully exploit the STP-0600F-G's capacity with the current cable configuration.

To make matters worse, the main ATX cable is very short at 30 cm. Although many users buy SFX power supplies to use inside of compact cases, there are enthusiasts who want to use them in larger enclosures, too. If you're in the latter category, a short ATX cable will cause compatibility issues. The EPS cable is longer at 40 cm, though it'd be nice to have at least 50 cm. At least the distance between peripheral connectors is ample. And all connectors employ standard 18-gauge wires.

Power Distribution

Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.

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  • SR-71 Blackbird
    Hard to compete with the SF Corsairs.
  • Pixdawg
    Based on this review, I wouldn't buy the thing for half its listed price. How the devil did it get a Gold rating, anyway?
  • Clamyboy74
    You would only need 2 pcie cables since these psu are designed for sff builds, with only 1 gpu since you also use a m-itx board.
  • turkey3_scratch
    This power supply is a disaster. It does not have working protection circuitry and should be a 450W unit, not a 600W unit.

    This thing sucks.

    This unit is a 450W power supply IMO. Basically, Thermaltake probably took their 450W power supply, slapped 600W on it, kept the same amount of PCIe cables, and called it a 600W power supply. This power supply is stupid, I don't know who would buy it. That's just my opinion of course, but safety should be the most important thing of a power supply, and even thought it didn't blow up, if it had 510mv of ripple at 110% load, imagine what it had at 140% load before it shut off? Probably 2000mv of ripple. There goes the GPU. There goes the CPU. There goes everything!

    But Thermaltake knows that not a single person who purchases this thing will have done their PSU research, and therefore not a single person buying this thing will probably have a system that demands more than 250-300W. Thermaltake preys on the vulnerabilities of the uneducated, it's a disgrace, it's disgusting.

    1795882 said:
    You would only need 2 pcie cables since these psu are designed for sff builds, with only 1 gpu since you also use a m-itx board.


    You wouldn't need a 600W power supply with an SFF build period. It razzes my berries that the mere fruit of the existence of this thing is an example of an unethically engineered product that nobody needs but is designed for those who don't know what they don't need.
  • jonnyguru
    1795882 said:
    You would only need 2 pcie cables since these psu are designed for sff builds, with only 1 gpu since you also use a m-itx board.


    Not until the Corsair SF Series was released while I was sitting behind a desk at Corsair did I realize just how many people use SFX power supplies in full size cases. Absolutely AMAZES me. So.. yeah...
  • turkey3_scratch
    Dont know if a 300mm 24-pin cable could reach the board in a full sized case.
  • cats_Paw
    As much as I give Tomshardware a lot of pain for many of their articles This one is a very solid test.
    The PSU is one of the most important parts of the PC (Id say its THE most important), so a good review of a PSU is always welcome.

    Well done toms.
  • SR-71 Blackbird
    I commend Thermaltake for releasing into the SFX market , more competition is good for the industry. With very little to choose from , it's still a huge plus to have more SFX units out there on the retail market.
  • turkey3_scratch
    276663 said:
    I commend Thermaltake for releasing into the SFX market , more competition is good for the industry. With very little to choose from , it's still a huge plus to have more SFX units out there on the retail market.


    Yeah but this is not what I'd call competition... Nobody needs to compete against Thermaltake's product since it stinks.
  • nem3s1s
    GOOD QUALITY as usual on Enhance but seems they need smart enginiers to up level to the designs. wireless etc
  • turkey3_scratch
    2328640 said:
    GOOD QUALITY as usual on Enhance but seems they need smart enginiers to up level to the designs. wireless etc


    Wireless? What are you talking about? This unit stinks in terms of quality.
  • nukemaster
    1685304 said:
    Based on this review, I wouldn't buy the thing for half its listed price. How the devil did it get a Gold rating, anyway?

    The Gold rating is efficiency only. It could be a screaming jet with extreme ripple and as long as it meets the efficiency at the key points, it can get Gold certified.

    Luck enough many SSF users would never run into the units flaws because many SFF systems are pretty power friendly(Even if the end user wants to have 600 watts and uses 350).

    Corsair is still winning the race hands down.
  • turkey3_scratch
    35532 said:
    1685304 said:
    Based on this review, I wouldn't buy the thing for half its listed price. How the devil did it get a Gold rating, anyway?
    The Gold rating is efficiency only. It could be a screaming jet with extreme ripple and as long as it meets the efficiency at the key points, it can get Gold certified. Luck enough many SSF users would never run into the units flaws because many SFF systems are pretty power friendly(Even if the end user wants to have 600 watts and uses 350). Corsair is still winning the race hands down.


    The biggest flaw lies in its non-working protections, and a short could cause current to increase, and since OCP is set way too high, ripple could amount to 1.5V and literally kill hardware IMO.
  • Mike Adams
    looks like a solid build with good capacitors but I don't trust Thermaltake products. their stuff has bad reviews all over the Internet. since they source all the components from China they might be counterfeit. For $120 I'd rather buy a reputable brand like Antec or Corsair
  • turkey3_scratch
    Who cares about capacitors when everything else sucks.