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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