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Date: May 25th, 2005
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Thermaltake
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INSTALLATION & TESTING



I’ll preface this section of the review by saying that I installed the TWV 500W in two very different chassis’ with very different components and it worked flawlessly. The only issue that I encountered was with the 24-pin connection at the power supply. It just didn’t want to slip into the receptacle. When finesse and patience didn’t achieve the desired effect, I was compelled to use brute force. To make a long story short, I finally got it attached and it worked fine, but it’s distressing to have to use that much “persuasion” to connect the cable. This may only be an issue with this particular sample.


Unlike some modular PSU’s, Thermaltake has designed the cable interface with a locking mechanism to keep the cables securely attached to the PSU. As you can see in the above photo, the SATA power cable uses two connections at the PSU. All others use a single plug.



The PSU and fan installed easily in both cases. The modular design makes for a very clean install and the blue LED cooling fan in the power supply throws quite a bit of light around the inside of the case.



The included manual is a bit thin and confusing when discussing the installation of the TWV module. Fortunately, Thermaltake’s design team has made it next to impossible to connect the module incorrectly. The PSU, fan and TWV module are designed to work together and will not work with a conventional fan without modification. One knob controls the PSU fan speed and the other controls the case fan speed.



With the connections made and the system powered up, the watt meter shows the computer is using 54 watts of power at startup. I have no way to test the accuracy of this number, but it seems reasonable, considering the components in the case. The meter also seems to be very responsive. While I’ve come to view the watt meter as little more than an interesting gadget, the fan controller is really a must have. Both the PSU and case fans move a tremendous amount of air at full speed, but they are hideously loud. The controller lets the user find the optimum cooling to noise balance for their particular situation. I should also mention that the PSU can be used by itself, without the fan and TWV if desired.


Well, so far we’ve got a good looking modular power supply with great specs, great features and a couple of nice accessories thrown in for good measure. All this is of no value, however, if performance and stability are found wanting. I don’t have the sophisticated testing equipment needed to give you the kind of performance data that I’d like. Instead I’ll rely on the latest motherboard monitoring software (checked against my trusty multimeter) to get an idea of what you can expect for output and stability.


A couple of hours of playing UT2004, Sandra Burn-In Wizard and a few other high-stress programs yielded the following results:



Periodic checks done with the multimeter support these values within the accuracy limits of the meter. As you can see these numbers are pretty good. The 3.3V rail was a shade low but not consistently so and all values are well within spec. Stability is pretty good, with fluctuations between low and high values around 1% on all rails. While far from scientific, I think that this test approximates what a user can expect from the TWV 500W.

 

 


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