Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Topower 1000W Gold Power Supply Review

Topower steps into the big leagues with its new 1000 watt "Gold" power supply that is part of its Nano Series PSUs. You probably realize from the "1000W" and "Gold" in the name that Topower thinks very highly of its new non-modular beast. We put it to the test and see if it is gold as Topower would have you believe.

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Conclusions

Today’s Topower 1000W Gold is the first Topower branded power supply we have seen that was not actually built by long time power supply OEM Topower. For whatever reason, Topower has elected to rebrand an Andyson unit as their new 1000W Gold unit. While our results with ATX12v power supplies from Topower have been generally favorable when sold under the Topower brand they have been less so when sold under various other brands. These mixed results are very similar to what we have seen from Andyson units (though none have been under Andyson’s own brand) so this change, at least initially, feels largely lateral from an overall quality of the OEM stand point. Therefore, how this unit will actually perform today is seemingly a wide open question that we want to find a solid an answer to.


HardOCP’s testing methodology is intended to very much push power supplies to their advertised wattage rating in temperatures that will represent some of the hottest computer enthusiast cases. So if a unit passes all our testing it is definitely not something to take lightly. In fact we expect more power supplies to fail our testing than make it through unscathed.

Build Quality

Previous Topower built units have had some what mixed build qualities and this is a feature that Topower has shared with Andyson. Today’s Topower 1000W Gold, unsurprisingly, does not vary much from this theme and in fact shares much in common with the recent In Win Commander II 1200W. Where those units differ is the exterior as the Topower 1000W Gold is much less striking with its very basic flat black finish and fixed cables. There is certainly nothing wrong per se with this look, and the unit features fully sleeved cables and a wire guard, it is just very much boring compared to what we saw with the Commander II 1200W and from Topower’s own PowerBird’s. Moving to the interior we find that the unit is almost identical to the Commander II 1200W. This includes the topology (double forward with synchronous rectification DC-DC secondary), general integration quality (which is ok but not great), and layout. Where the unit varies a bit is in the capacitors stocking this unit. With the Topower 1000W Gold we find all Teapo’s, where as the Commander II 1200W was a mix of Teapo and Matsushita.

One area where this unit really begins to fall behind other units, though not the In Win Commander II 1200W, is the documentation. While it is not as bad as the situation with the Commander II 1200W, the documentation for this unit suffers greatly from a confused warranty policy (it is either 1 or 3 years but neither is good) and the missing 12v rail allocation which is not indicated in anyway to the user while being unintuitive to boot. Overall, one of the greatest failings so far with this unit is simply the way it is presented.

Load Testing

The Andyson E-Series units we reviewed previously for the In Win Commander II 1200W provided us with some decidedly mixed load testing results and it seemed entirely possible that the unit was either over stretched or not that great a design. Today’s Topower 1000W Gold though, removes much of the question about over stretched or just not that great in favor just not that great. While the 12v rails had good regulation as they posted mixed results ranging from a drop of 0.14v on 12v1 to an increase of 0.08v on the other 12v rails; the minor rails did worse, relatively speaking, as they saw peak drops of 0.11v when more lightly loaded. This was in conjunction with efficiency values that failed to meet the units 80Plus Gold level of certification. At 120v, the unit posted efficiency values which ranged from 84.02% to 87.87%. At 100v, the efficiency values fell to a range of 81.86% to 86.96% due to the lower AC input voltage. With these rather weak efficiency showings it was unsurprising that the Topower 1000W Gold missed its 80Plus Gold certification during our testing using 80Plus’s values and methodology. Before moving on here, it is also important to note that while passing our Torture Test, the exhaust temperature for this unit was very warm with peak values of 80C.

Moving on to the Transient Load Test results for the Topower 1000W Gold, we find that the unit does pass all of this testing with values that are in many regards what we have come to expect from this kind of topology. The peak change when directly loaded for the 12v rail was ~390mV while the 5v rail had a peak change of ~140mV. At the same time, the 12v load was being triggered an unloaded 12v rail moved up by up to ~120mV while the 5v rail dropped by up to ~170mV. In the end, the unit does pass and that is one of the better results during our load testing so far.

DC Output Quality

During our load testing today the Topower 1000W Gold posted passing, but generally mediocre to poor results and that does not change when it comes to the DC output quality. In Test #1 the 12v traces started off active at ~30mV and only got worse during testing with a peak value of ~107mV. That is just ~13mV shy of the ATX12v specification limit. While not quite as bad as the 12v rails, the minor rails also had less than glittering results with the 3.3v rail at ~35mV of ripple/noise. These results are significantly worse than what we have seen from the best 1000W units we have reviewed (though they seem similar to the Tuniq Ripper 1000W) and represent a large regression in performance compared to the Topower built PowerBird series that Topower last graced us with.

Noise

The Topower 1000W Gold comes to us today right on the heels of the In Win Commander II 1200W, which was based on the same base power supply, and that was one of the quietest power supplies we have seen. With the high exhaust temperatures we saw from the 1000W Gold the immediate conclusion that comes to mind is that the fan in this unit was not spinning very fast and as a result the unit should be as quiet as the Commander II 1200W. However, that was not exactly the case as the Topower 1000W Gold was louder, though not extremely loud. This difference is likely due to the different fans used and overall the seeming sacrifice of cooling for noise with this unit did not result in a unit significantly quieter than the Commander II. As such, while generally quietish, Topower would likely have been better served in tuning this setup for a bit better cooling as it would probably not have moved this unit much out of the quietish range it fell into.

Paul's Thoughts:

With the Topower 1000W Gold I am having a bit of a hard time wrapping my thoughts around this unit. This is, at least in part, because Topower used to be an OEM on their own and while mixed in our testing overall; their own branded PowerBird units were very good. Today, they go from that record to rebranding a really mediocre (to poor) unit that can not compete with what they were doing three years ago from the equally to more sporadic OEM Andyson. Clearly this change has to have been driven by cost, but the biggest thing this change costs is mindshare. On top of that, we have the persistent problem of Andyson units not meeting their certified 80Plus levels when retail units are tested and it is not like we have seen just one or two that have had this issue. Rather, literally almost every Andyson unit we test has not met its 80Plus certification. With most brands we would say they probably lack the exact oversight necessary to catch their OEM slipping things past them, but with Topower being a former OEM they should be able to and should have caught the fact that Andyson was not shipping 80Plus Gold units in the retail chain. That, perhaps, is the most unsettling result of this unit in my mind.

The Bottom Line

Overall the Topower 1000W Gold is a passing unit, however it is also a good example of how while being a passing unit that does not necessarily make it a great unit but rather a huge step backwards. Indeed, there are almost no ways in which the Topower 1000W Gold outperforms the older Topower PowerBird series while being pushed as the new hotness. The one aspect where the unit does outperform those units, efficiency, is promptly negated for the most part by not making its advertised and certified efficiency levels. This is in conjunction with posting less than stellar voltage regulation on the minor rails, really marginal DC output quality, and poor documentation. When we ran into a similarly kind of performance from the Tuniq Ripper 1000W, it was the cheapest 1000W unit on the market that we had tested and had passed so it represented at the least a value. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the Topower 1000W Gold as at $171.99 it trails units like the Kingwin LZ-1000 ($149.99) as well.

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Topower 1000W Gold PSU

Editor's note: As you have noticed we have added an 80Plus Efficiency Certification testing scenario to our PSU testing suite. Given this is not an actual ATX specification test to measure by, it is a huge marketing point in today's enthusiast PSU market. When we award a unit a Pass or a Fail badge, we do so because it either stays inside ATX specification or it does not. We have updated this policy lately in that if a tested PSU performs far enough below its 80Plus "certified" efficiency and we feel as though there is no way for it to plausibly reach its rating in normal retail usage, we will award that PSU a "Fail" badge. The Topower 1000W Gold PSU is the second unit that we will Fail even though it technically stayed inside ATX specification.

If you are looking for a high power PSU, I suggest you give a look to the Corsair AX1200, the Antec HCP-1200, or Enermax Revo 1350.)

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