E- Power Thunder 650W 3- in- 1 Power SupplyDec 2nd, 2008 | By Anthony
E- Power Thunder 650W 3- in- 1 Power Supply
: 12/3/08 – 12:26:49 AM
: Power Supplies
Page 1 : Introduction
When we think power supplies, E-Power isn't the first name to come to mind. While, chances are we have all heard of E-Power, to associate it with a particular product of sentiment is difficult. Still, E-Power is definitely not a newcomer.
Under the larger umbrella of Topower, E-Power, Topower's North American arm, was founded in 1990 as a company with a sole focus: PC power supplies. Once a small provider of consumer grade power supplies, Topower has now expanded its product line to include server, workstation and industrial grade power supplies.
Over the years, we have taken a look at quite a number of power supplies, many of which capable of powering some of the most power hungry system configurations possible, and then some. However, we are going to take a break from that, instead today we have a fairly modest unit on the tables: E-Power's Thunder 650W power supply.
Page 2 : Features and Specifications
Here is what E-Power has to say about the new Thunder 650W power supply:
Everything is fairly typical for this power range. However, more SATA connectors would definitely not hurt.
The Thunder series comes in four varieties, 500W to 650W, the 650W we are dealing with today is a quad rail power supply with a maximum output of 420W.
Page 3 : Package and Content
The Thunder 650W comes in a fairly typical cardboard box, not too fancy, but with all the material one would expect.
The side panels and back give a quick rundown of features and specifications. The Thunder series is dubbed by E-Power as a 3-in-1 unit; PC power supply, charger for USB devices, and an external SATA power source. While I would disagree and call this a 2-in-1 internal and external peripheral power supply by function, I can't argue with the fact that this would definitely come in handy.
Inside, along with the power supply we have a bag of Velcro ties, screws, power cord, manual, and external power cord.
Fairly typical for power supplies nowadays, the Thunder 650W is finished in dark chrome and black sleeving. Albeit fairly generic, it is still undeniably good looking.
The large 120mm fan situated on the bottom of the unit serves two purposes, first cooling the power supply itself, and second, acting as a system exhaust. Air is drawn from within into the power supply and then pushed through the perforated rear panel.
Towards the rear of the unit, we have the external power connector.
The external connector allows connection of a standard USB plug and a SATA hard drive.
For the motherboard, we have a 20+4 pin ATX connector, 8 pin EPS12V connector.
This unit only comes equipped with two PCI Express connectors, a standard 6 pin and a 6+2 pin connector, however with a 650W unit, one probably will not run a multiple card setup, let alone, more than two cards.
Finally, this unit comes with four SATA connectors and six 4 pin Molex connectors.
Opening things up, we have a fairly typical Topower interior.
On the primary side, we have a 400V 460uF Teapo capacitor, and on the secondary side, an assortment of TK capacitors. Not the best, but they get the job done well enough.
Page 4 : Testing Setup
Quite unlike any other PC component, properly evaluating a power supply involves much, much more than running a battery of tests or sitting down in front of a shooter for a few hours armed with a pen and a pad of paper. Although, we have the utmost appreciation for a few headshots coupled with explosions, power supply reviews call for much more. The general mantra for testing power supplies tends to fall somewhere in the ranges of loading the power supply up to the top, and letting it suffer. We here at Overclockers Online are inclined to agree. Accordingly, our testing methods have evolved to allow for more sophisticated and accurate testing.
The dilemma here is: how to test a power supply without a computer system, but emulate a computer system? It is important to not forget that as much as we try to part from throwing a power supply into a computer system and watching how it performs, ultimately, what we are distancing ourselves from is precisely what we are trying to replicate. Simply, the ideal testing platform would be indistinguishable from a computer system, but graced with the accuracies of an adjustable load. However, since we do not have access to state of the art testing equipment, or the funds to purchase such equipment, we have built a custom load tester. While it does not offer adjustments in the thousandths of a decimal place, it does offer enough flexibility to test current day power supplies and beyond.
Using thick high quality 16AWG wires throughout and equally high quality connectors and switches, we have sought to minimize resistance in the lines while maintaining flexibility. All it takes is a flip of a switch to turn a desired resistor on or off.
A proper electronic load is a start, but we are going to be a bit more ambitious. A keystone piece of our testing mythology is the heat box. A system drawing 650W from a power supply produces quite a bit of heat, and to be testing such a power supply in an ambient environment is not only inconsistent with in-system applications but unrealistic and misleading. Our hotbox consists of nothing more than a case graciously donated to us from Silverstone. Recycling heat produced from the load tester using a series of controlled fans and a duct, we can control operational temperatures and push a power supply to its limits, or over.
Using the heat and load, we will run a battery of five tests: three cold and two hot tests. The three cold tests consist of 50% load, 80% load and finally full load. Naturally, we will escalate the strain on the unit by adding heat in the hot tests. The final two tests are 80% load and full load at approximately 50°C or more.
While the purpose and effects of 'burn in' are debated, doing so causes no harm. Prior to any testing, all units are run for a maximum period of one week without load. At best, this will stabilize the unit; at worst it takes a few hours off the unit's total life span.
In our tests, we will do our best to adhere to ATX specifications including cross loading and criteria for testing. The presentations of our results are designed for ease of interpretation and conciseness.
So, without any further delay, let us get started!
Page 5 : Testing
The aim of the cold test is to reflect ideal operational conditions where heat from the computer system is independent from the power supply. Still though, the term cold test would be misleading as things do get quite hot!
While the color coding on the chart sets the tone for much less optimistic results, these numbers are actually quite good. While progressively, from Test 1 to Test 3, things slowly began to slip, these are not at all reason for worry. By the third test, or 100% load all rails were within 3% deviation of their rated value. Noteworthy however, 12V rails 3 and 4 were within 1%.
With the heat turned on, things didn't look too different and the Thunder still held well.
Having a look at the Thunder 650W at full load on a bar graph, we can see how little heat effects the unit.
The numbers quite good, but what really impressed me was noise level. With heat pumping through the unit and rails loaded up at maximum capacity, this unit remained pretty quiet.
In terms of size, the Thunder 650W is slightly longer than the conventional ATX power supply, however, it should have no trouble fitting into most cases, including our small form factor Silverstone case / hotbox.
Page 6 : Conclusion
While this is E-Power's first showing here at Overclockers Online, Topower built power supplies are not. Over the years, we have taken a look at a number of Topower built units and we have arrived at quite a consistent conclusion.
Topower is about affordability and capability. Topower manages to do an excellent job balancing price and performance. While there are cheaper power supplies available, and at the same time better performing power supplies available, Topower has managed to reach an equilibrium.
The Thunder 650W is not only a great performing power supply, but has the features to match: a beautiful finish, sleeved cables, quiet operation and to even sweeten the deal more, external peripheral power. Ringing up in the lower 100 dollar range, the Thunder 650W is quite a bargain.
- Good performance
- Fully sleeved
- Beautiful finish
- Could use more SATA connectors
Overclockers Online would like to thank E-Power for providing a review sample of the Thunder 650W for review and Silverstone Technologies for providing the chassis for use in our load tester.