E- Power Tiger 1000W Power Supply

Dec 29th, 2008 | By

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E- Power Tiger 1000W Power Supply


Date
: 12/29/08 – 03:53:17 AM

Author
:

Category
: Power Supplies


Page 1 : Introduction

Over the last little bit, E-Power has made a few visits to Overclockers Online. We began this saga with the Thunder 650W, or the 3-in-1 power supply. While the Thunder 650W might not have been the ideal candidate for today's bleeding edge technology, it was a perfect match for users looking for a quality power supply at a very reasonable price point. Those however looking for something more beefy, perhaps for their brand new system complete with the best of the best parts, E-Power too had an answer: the Xscale series of power supplies. If the Thunder series was aimed at the lower end of the market, certainly the Xscale was shooting for the top. Today we are going to look at a unit which falls between, the Tiger 1000W power supply.

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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.

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In terms of paper specifications, there is too much differentiating the Tiger 1000W from the Xscale 1000W. Both are 1000W units with six 12V rails with a total 12V output of 900W. The Tiger however, has a few perks on the features side of things: XLR type connectors, polished chrome and matching finished cables through out.


Page 2 : Features and Specifications

Here is what E-Power has to say about the Tiger 1000W power supply:

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Just as I like to see, lots and lots of connectors. However, unlike the Xscale, not all of them can be used at the same time because of the modular connections; however users will be able to choose the cable leads which best suit their particular system. Big points go to E-Power for this.

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Having a look at the specifications, on paper at least, they are the same as the Xscale, and typical for 1000W type units. On the 12V rails alone, the Tiger is capable of handing 900W.


Page 3 : Package and Content

The Tiger 1000W comes packed in a blue and black cardboard box.

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The top and front pannels gives a quick run down of some key features: XLR modular connectors, motherboard connectivity, shielded cables, efficient opperation, APFC, RoHS and CrossFire certified.

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To the back, some of the information persented on the front is repeated along with a more detailed list of features. Perhaps one of the more interesting ones is the 'six' 12V rails and the Turbo Power feature which according to the box automatically combines or splits the 12V rails depending on the rails. Unfortunately it is neither as advanced nor fancy as it seems. We will have another look at this when we tear this unit open.

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On the sides, we have a run down of cables, and the various other units in the Tiger series: 1200W, 1100W and a 900W unit.

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Inside, we have the power supply, manual, AC cable, screws, and a box of cables, which we will be looking at a bit later on.

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The unit itself looks great, titanium finish body, matching fan grill, a basic black fan and finished cables. It's hard to go wrong with simplicity!

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Towards the front, we have the screw mounted XLR type connectors. These allow for very secure connections, albeit redundant, but they do look really, really good. At the same time however, this type of connection may be problematic for smaller cases, or 5.25 inch devices mounted in front of the power supply as XLR type connectors take up quite a bit of space and add considerable length to the power supply – that is with the connectors attached to the power supply.

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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.

And now onto the cables.

For the motherboard, we have the standard 20+4 pin motherboard connector, along with a 4 pin connector and two 8 pin EPS connectors.

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Twelve SATA connectors, plenty for the stacks of hard drives needed for digital content.

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And if we are going to have twelve SATA connectors, I guess, why not four 6 pin PCI Express connectors along with two 6+2 PIN PCI Express connectors, for a grand total of eight?

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The remaining 4 pin peripheral connectors and floppy drive connectors are spread across a few wire leads. Attached to the body of the power supply, we have a series of three 4 pin peripheral connectors topped with the floppy drive. In most cases, this should already be enough, but just in case, E-Power has included another identical lead, only modular, and a single 4 pin peripheral connector lead. Total, seven and two respectively.

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The level of quality and effort that went into these cables is quite surprising. It's either these cables are done incredibly well, or for one to get excited over cables is an indicator for insanity.

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And now for my favorite part, let's crack this unit open.

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First though, we are going to have a look at the fan. Lately, we have been finding quite a number of Sanyo Denki fans in E-Power built units and we couldn't be happier. The particular model chosen for this unit is from the San Ace series, a 120mm fan with the model number 9G1212H401 which is a dual ball bearing fan. Dual ball bearing fans aren't the quietest out there, but their design allows them to last years and years on end, which in a power supply is a sensible choice.

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Inside, things look pretty well put together. We have the two 12V transformers responsible for handling the 900W that this unit claims, respectably sized heatsinks, clean solder points and heavy gauge wiring throughout. Towards the rear of the unit, there is a pair of stray wires to the LED mounted in the back panel. That is the indicator LED for what E-Power calls Turbo Power. Just to recap, to 'split or combine the 12V rails'. In all actuality however, it is nothing more than a LED for an over current protection circuit attached to the output. When output on any individual line surpasses the rated 20A, the circuit disables and causes the 12V rails to act as one, or combines them.

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On the primary side, we have two TK branded capacitors, or Toshin Kogyo. Japanese made.

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On the secondary side, we have a mix of AsiaX, otherwise known notoriously as Fuhjyyu (I can't blame them for the name change) and CapXon.

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From Toshin Kogyo to Fuhjyyu and CapXon is quite a step down, but we aren't about to judge a power supply by its capacitors!


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.

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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.

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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.

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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 800W 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Earlier on, we noted the glaring parallels between the Xscale and the Tiger, but here is where the similarities end. Ideally, the Tiger 1000W power supply would have been the Xscale 1000W, just with really, really cool connectors, but you can't have it all can you? That being said, the Tiger isn't a bad performer, in fact very far from so. It's just that the Xscale was exceptional. From Test 1 to Test 3, the 3.3V and 5V rails did not show any noticeable changes, but the 12V rail dropped a total of 0.19V. Again, nothing to be alarmed with, and still falls within the 1%-3% category which by anyone's measure, is still very good regulation.

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With the heat switched on, things really got interesting. Comparing Test 4 and Test 5 to Test 2 and Test 3, there are some very noteworthy changes in reading. At 80% our cold and hot tests flew by without too much hurt on the part of the Tiger 1000W, but at full load, is where things got a bit jumpy. Let's have a look at full load on a bar graph.

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With the heat pumping through the unit, the exhaust temperature went up to an uncomfortable 54 degrees Celsius while the 12V rail again slipped a few more fractions. The 5V rail also dropped a bit more than I would like to have seen. Just a shot in the dark here, but perhaps it's a combination of heat and a power supply stressed a little bit far.

Again though, I must stress we are still well within specifications here and by all means, the Tiger is showing some very solid line regulation.

Before we head over to the conclusion, we are going to have a quick look at installation and size. Earlier I mentioned how the XLR connectors add a bit of length to the overall unit, and how said length could effect devices mounted in the drive bays, well this would of course depend on individual system layouts and other factors, but the connectors themselves measure in at almost an inch.

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As always, we like to install power supplies into a case a few sizes or so too small – for the sake of comparison.

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In our SilverStone small form factor case, it fit but was quite the squeeze. Just so it is noted, it helps to attach the cables afterwards.

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However, again, the modular connectors may be an issue due to the extra length combined with the stiffer cables; wire sleeving on top of cable shielding adds considerably thickness to the cables. At the same time though, to fully take advantage of the enormous 1000W this unit is capable of, I can only hope one intends on using a more typically sized case.

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Rest assured, there is enough length in the cables, and then
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Page 6 : Conclusion

The Tiger 1000W by E-Power is a mixed bag, but then again aren't all products? The Tiger series is intended for those looking for a lot of power, with bells and whistles. We can call that the high end / mainstream market. Starting with things that could be improved, voltage regulation could be a tad better. From 50% load to full load with heat, the 12V rail dipped a quarter of a degree, along with the 5V rail which took a hit as well. Still though, the voltage regulation on this unit is good, just not anything ground breaking. My real concern with this unit is the use of AsiaX or Fuhjyyu capacitors on the secondary side. Since the name change, AsiaX hasn't exactly racked up a poor reputation, but in its former life Fuhjyyu has. Only time will tell.

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So what has been done right with the Tiger 1000W? Quite a number of things: acoustically, the unit is dead silent, the finish is spectacular, the price is spot on and the cables are wonderful. This is where other manufacturers need to take note. The Tiger is modular connections done right. Including an enormous bundle of cables, more than one could physically connect to a power supply with varying numbers of connects on each lead is in essence the idea behind modular connections. Plug in what you want right? While, in terms of functionality, I am neither for nor against XLR connectors and shielded cables, they do present an issue with flexibility and bulk. Conventional cables have not once shown an issue with shielding or poor connections with plastic connectors, so we can chalk this one up as aesthetic, and they look great.

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All together though, for $200 and a bit, you get a great performing unit with equally good looks, and another big plus, it is quiet and incredibly functional.

Advantages

  • Good performance

  • Beautiful finish
  • Beautifully finished cables; XLR connectors, sleeved and shielded
  • Plethora of cables and connectors for flexibility
  • Quiet

Disadvantages

  • Stiff wires

Overclockers Online would like to thank E-Power for providing a review sample of the Tiger 1000W for review and Silverstone Technologies for providing the chassis for use in our load tester.

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