It wasn't too long ago that 1000W desktop power supplies were unthinkable. They were mostly regarded as monstrosities or novelties (depending on your leanings in the environmental debate). How things have changed. Trends in computers have led to higher power consumption, notably the growth in multi-GPU configurations. There are now sufficient models from different vendors available in the market for a review site to actually conduct a roundup of six such mega power supplies. Thermaltake is the next vendor to raise the stakes with its 1200W Toughpower power supply.
For a power supply rated at 1200W, it is quite likely that even the most extreme setup using Quad core processors and Quad SLI may not be utilizing it at its maximum potential. Hence, it is important that it is ready for the future. Thermaltake ensures this by having 8-pin PCIe power connectors (found in the newly introduced ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT) that looks set to be supported by the next wave of power hungry graphics cards. They are naturally backwards compatible with existing 6-pin power connectors. And talk about being prepared: we found 3 sets of 8-pin PCIe and 3 sets of 6-pin PCIe power cables in the package.
Given the number of power cables included, it is fortunate that Thermaltake has gone for a modular cable management system. With up to 8 SATA power connectors and a similar number of 4-pin connectors, it would be quite a nightmare for users if Thermaltake had not taken this route. Of course, seeing that consumers are likely to be paying a small fortune (for a PSU) of this caliber, we expected no less.
Unsurprisingly, the Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W is larger than typical power supplies and weighs like the brick it resembles. It extends deeper into the chassis and uses a 140mm cooling fan, so only those with larger enclosures should consider it. The bigger fan also helps to ensure that noise is kept to a reasonable level, with Thermaltake saying that it generates 16 decibels at 1300RPM, though they also state that the fan spins at 2300RPM usually. It is probably more noisy than quoted but users can elect to wrap the PSU in a noise preventative silicon pad and reduce the din.
With a retail price of US$389, one should expect the best technology money can buy for a PSU and Thermaltake seems to have covered the essentials and more. Support for multi-GPU configurations (certified for both ATI's CrossFire and NVIDIA's Quad-SLI for example) and modern features like modular cables ensure that this PSU is not just raw power with no finesse. It has decent efficiency numbers, which helps to soften the impact of its 1200W output and includes some measures to keep the noise level tolerable. As one of the highest rated PSUs in the consumer space at the moment, it is really one of those products that belong to a rarefied niche, appreciated only by serious enthusiasts.