In the beginning of this year when NVIDIA was promoting their ESA (Enthusiast System Architecture) technology they sent to selected media a Thermaltake Armor+ ESA case, a Thermaltake BigWater 780e water cooler and a Topower TOP-1100P10 power supply, and that is how we got the product we are reviewing. This power supply, however, never reached the market, but it is basically a Tagan ITZ1100 power supply with ESA support, so on this review we will be also indirectly evaluating this model from Tagan.
So during this review everything we are saying for Topower TOP-1100P10 is also valid for Tagan ITZ1100 but ESA support. ePower Xscale power supply series are also based on the same design, though they don’t carry any 1,100 W model, only 1,000 W and 1,200 W.
Topower TOP-1100P10 does not have a modular cabling system and it uses two 80 mm fans instead of one 120- or 140 mm fan on its bottom. As you know, 120 mm or bigger fans on the bottom of the power supply is preferred as they provide a higher air flow and a lower noise level.
This power supply is a little bit deeper than regular power supplies, with a depth of 6 57/64” (17.5 cm) instead of 6 19/64” (160 mm) or even 5 ½” (140 mm). It is, however, shorter than several products on this power range, like Corsair HX1000W, which is 7 7/8” (20 cm) deep.
It has six auxiliary power cables for video cards, two using 6/8-pin connectors and four using 6-pin connectors. Four of them use a nice cable with a ferrite bead at one end for filtering, but the other two connectors share the same cable. It would be better to see all six connectors using individual cables and ferrite beads on their ends.
Since very high-end video cards require two auxiliary power connectors with Topower TOP-1100P10/Tagan ITZ1100 you can power up to three very high-end cards directly. If you want to have a fourth very high-end video card you will need to use adapters to convert peripheral power plugs into video card power connectors.
Topower TOP-1100P10 has six other cables for peripherals, one with just one standard peripheral power connector, two with three standard peripheral power connectors each (no power connector for floppy disk drives) and three with four SATA power connectors each.
The unit also has one EPS12V connector and one ATX12V connector using individual cables and the main motherboard connector uses a 20/24-pin connector.
The reviewed power supply also has a ground connector (which should be connected to any metallic point of your case) and one USB connector for the ESA feature (connector not available on Tagan ITZ1100, of course).
On the aesthetic side all cables use a nylon sleeving that comes from inside the power supply housing.
Several wires used on this power supply are thicker than usual (16 AWG instead of 18 AWG), which is terrific for a product on this power range. The only 18 AWG wires are the ones used on the cables shown in Figure 3. All the other wires are 16 AWG, including the ones on the main motherboard connector.
This power supply has active PFC, so it can be sold in Europe, and because of that it also features auto voltage selection. Tagan says its ITZ1000 unit has 80% minimum efficiency. Of course we will measure efficiency during our tests.
Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.
[nextpage title=”A Look Inside The TOP-1100P10″]
We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.
This page will be an overview, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used.
What immediately got our eye was the fact that this power supply has two transformers. We will see how they are connected in just a bit. The ESA circuitry can be seen on the left hand side in Figure 5.
[nextpage title=”Transient Filtering Stage”]
As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor, yellow component on the pictures below) and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil.
This power supply is flawless on this stage, having one more ferrite coil, four more Y capacitors (two of them can’t be seen in Figure 9), one more X capacitor and one more MOV than necessary. On this power supply the two MOV’s are locate after the rectifying bridge and not before as is the most common location today.
< a href="http://hardwaresecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/654_091.jpg">Figure 9: Transient filtering stage (part 1).
In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the TOP-1100P10.
[nextpage title=”Primary Analysis”]
On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of TOP-1100P10. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.
This power supply uses one GBJ2506 rectifying bridge in its primary, capable of delivering up to 25 A at 100° C. This component is clearly overspec’ed. The reason why is that at 115 V this unit would be able to pull up to 2,875 W from the power grid; assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 2,300 W without burning this component. Of course we are only talking about this component and the real limit will depend on all other components from the power supply.
The active PFC circuit uses two 35N60C3 power MOSFET transistors. Each one is capable of handling up to 103.8 A @ 25° C in pulse mode (which is the case) or up to 34.6 A @ 25° C or 21.9 A @ 100° C (note the difference temperature makes).
The active PFC circuit uses two 1,200 µF electrolytic capacitors connected in series, so this is equivalent as having a single 600 µF capacitor. The advantage of using two capacitors in series instead of just one is that the voltage will be divided between the two caps and thus the manufacturer can use capacitors with lower voltage ratings (in fact this is exactly what happens on this power supply: it uses two 200 V capacitors instead of just one 400 V component as other products). The capacitors used here are Taiwanese from Teapo and rated at 85° C.
On the switching section this power supply uses two other 35N60C3 transistors, on the traditional two-transistor forward configuration. The specs for these transistors are published above. They drive the two available transformers, which have their primaries connected in parallel. So even though this power supply has two transformers they share the same driving circuit.
As you can see in Figure 13, all main semiconductors from the primary side are installed on the same heatsink.
The primary is controlled by a CM6800 active PFC/PWM controller combo installed on a small printed circuit board.
[nextpage title=”Secondary Analysis”]
As we mentioned, this power supply has two transformers instead of just one, as usual. They are controlled by the same circuit. On the secondary part, the first transformer (T3) is in charge of the +5 V and +12 V outputs and the second transformer (T4) is in charge of the +3.3 V and +12 V outputs.
The +12 V output uses a partial synchronous topology. The rectifying diode was replaced by a power MOSFET transistor (a.k.a. control transistor) while a freewheeling diode is still used instead of being replaced by another power MOSFET transistor (a.k.a. synchronous transistor) like on a true synchronous design.
Each transformer is connected to one IRFS3206 power MOSFET transistor, each one capable of handling up to 120 A at 25° C in continuous mode, or up to 840 A at 25° C in pulse mode. For the freewheeling diode three S60SC6MT Schottky rectifiers are used, each one able to handle up to 60 A at 110° C (30 A per internal diode).
The outputs of the two transistors are connected together; so on this power supply the use of two transformers has the same effect as if this unit were using only one bigger transformer.
The maximum theoretical current the +12 V line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 – D), where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode. In this case we will have to make our math with the freewheeling diode instead, which is made of six 30 A diodes connected in parallel. Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. This would give us a maximum theoretical current of 257 A or 3,085 W for the +12 V output. As you can see the +12 V rectification is highly overspec’ed. The maximum current this line can really deliver will depend on other components, in particular the coil used.
The +5 V output is produced by two STPS60L45CW Schottky rectifiers, each one capable of handling up to 60 A (30 A per internal diode) at 135° C. The maximum theoretical current the +5 V line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 – D), where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode (which in this case is made by two 30 A diodes in parallel). Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. This would give us a maximum theoretical current of 86 A or 429 W for the +5 V output. The maximum current this line can really deliver will depend on other components, in particular the coil used.
The +3.3 V output is produced by one STPS60L30CW Schottky rectifier, which is capable of handling up to 60 A (30 A per internal diode) at 130° C. The maximum theoretical current the +3.3 V line can deliver is given by the formula I / (1 – D), where D is the duty cycle used and I is the maximum current supported by the rectifying diode (which in this case is made by one 30 A diode). Just as an exercise, we can assume a typical duty cycle of 30%. This would give us a maximum theoretical current of 43 A or 141 W for the +5 V output. The maximum current this line can really deliver will depend on other components, in particular the coil used. It is interesti
ng to note since the +5 V and +3.3 V lines come from different transformers one output doesn’t limit the other as it usually happens.
On the secondary heatsink we also found the rectifier for the +5VSB (“standby power”) output, an SB1040F. This device can handle up to 10 A at 100° C (5 A per internal diode) supporting 150 A peak. This explains the higher current limit this power supply has for its +5VSB output (6 A) compared to other products (this is in fact the highest limit we’ve ever seen; most high-end power supplies can deliver up to 3 A or 3.5 A on the +5VSB output, with Corsair HX1000W being able to handle 4 A). Even though this power supply clearly uses an over dimensioned component here, we had trouble pulling 6 A from the +5VSB output, as you will explain in details later.
Instead of being monitored by a readily available monitoring integrated circuit this manufacturer decided to monitor the outputs using a discrete solution based on an LM339 integrated circuit located on a small printed circuit board. We should not forget that this power supply has a separated monitoring circuit for the ESA function, which is based on an 8051 microcontroller (C8051F320 to be more exact).
If you pay attention on Figures 14 and 15 you will see that this power supply has three temperature sensors. Two are connected to the ESA circuit while the third one is used to control the fan speed according to the power supply temperature.
The electrolytic capacitors from the secondary are from Hermei and Samson, two Taiwanese companies, and labeled at 105° C.
[nextpage title=”Power Distribution”]
In Figure 16, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.
As you can see this power supply has six +12 V rails, which are distributed like this:
- +12V1: Main motherboard cable, video card auxiliary power cable that has two connectors on it, peripheral power cable with just one connector on it.
- +12V2: ATX12V and EPS12V cables.
- +12V3: One of the SATA power cables, one of the peripheral power cables.
- +12V4: Two of the SATA power cables, one of the peripheral power cables.
- +12V5: Two video card power cables labeled as “B” (yellow sticker), see Figure 3.
- +12V6: Two video card power cables labeled as “A” (green sticker), see Figure 3.
With six rails this power supply could have a better distribution. Since SATA and peripheral power cables nowadays do not demand a lot of power, they could be grouped together, allowing video card power cables to be on separated rails.
Now let’s see if this power supply can really deliver 1,100 W.[nextpage title=”Load Tests”]
We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.
First we tested this power supply with five different load patterns, trying to pull around 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of its labeled maximum capacity (actual percentage used listed under “% Max Load”), watching how the reviewed unit behaved under each load. In the table below we list the load patterns we used and the results for each load.
Unfortunately our load tester can’t go a lot more over 1,000 W so we couldn’t really pull 1,100 W from this unit. A sixth pattern was included because this power supply failed to deliver 6 A at +5VSB (more on this in a bit).
If you add all the power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. On the “Total” row we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.
+12V1 and +12V2 are the two independent +12V inputs from our load tester and during our tests the +12V1 input was connected to the power supply +12V1 (main motherboard connector), +12V3 (peripheral power connector), +12V4 (peripheral power connector) and +12V5 (video card power connector) rails, while the +12V2 input was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail (EPS12V connector).
|Input||Test 1||Test 2||Test 3||Test 4||Test 5||Test 6|
|+12V1||8 A (96 W)||15 A (180 W)||23 A (276 W)||30 A (360 W)||33 A (396 W)||33 A (396 W)|
|+12V2||8 A (96 W)||15 A (180 W)||23 A (276 W)||30 A (360 W)||33 A (396 W)||33 A (396 W)|
|+5V||2 A (10 W)||8 A (40 W)||11 A (55 W)||15 A (75 W)||25 A (125 W)||25 A (125 W)|
|+3.3 V||2 A (6.6 W)||8 A (26.4 W)||10 A (33 W)||15 A (49.5 W)||22 A (72.6 W)||22 A (72.6 W)|
|+5VSB||1 A (5 W)||2 A (10 W)||2 A (15 W)||4 A (20 W)||6 A (30 W)||3 A (15 W)|
|-12 V||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||0.5 A (6 W)||1 A (12 W)||1 A (12 W)|
|Total||220.2 W||443.4 W||661.3 W||869.3 W||1027.5 W||1012.9 W|
|% Max Load||20.0%||40.3%||60.1%||79.0%||93.4%||92.1%|
|Room Temp.||48.9° C||48.2° C||50.1° C||50.7° C||52.3° C||52.3° C|
|Ripple and Noise||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Fail||Fail|
|AC Power||253 W||503 W||762 W||1031 W||1264 W||1245 W|
The only real issue with this power supply was its +5VSB output. The label says that it can deliver 6 A but when we tried to pull this amount of current the unit would shut down after some seconds, and that is why we labeled test five as “fail.” During test five noise level at +5VSB output was higher than the max
imum allowed, at 73.4 mV peak-to-peak (see Figure 21 below; compare it to Figure 19 to see how this output needed to be). Then we reduced current at +5VSB to 3 A (a more common value) and the power supply would work just fine, except that noise level at +5VSB continued to be above the maximum allowed, at 55.2 mV peak-to-peak. When we pulled other amounts of power noise level at +5VSB was inside the spec, but reaching as high as 47.8 mV during test number four (the limit is 50 mV).
Besides this problem with the +5VSB output this power supply worked just fine, even though we couldn’t pull the maximum amount of power this unit could deliver due to a limitation in our equipment. In fact we could pull more power if we increased currents at +5 V and +3.3 V but we didn’t want to do that for two reasons. First, we would be pulling more power than the labeled limits for these two outputs. Secondly, as we constantly remind in our reviews current PCs pull more current from the +12V outputs, not from +5 V and +3.3 V.
Noise level for all outputs (except +5VSB) was below the maximum allowed during all tests and the results you can see below. In fact during tests one through four noise level at +5 V was below 14 mV, which is excellent.
Voltages were very stable all the time, being always within 3% from their nominal values (except -12 V which varied a lot more but still within the 10% tolerance set by ATX standard).
You will get a terrific efficiency with this power supply if you pull up to 80% of its labeled capacity (880 W): between 84% and 88%. But when we pulled around 1,000 W this power supply delivered 81% efficiency, which isn’t bad for a power supply delivering that much power, but is distant from the values achieved with other load levels.
Below you can see noise level when we were pulling 1032 W (test number five) from this power supply. Just to remember, the maximum allowed for the +12 V outputs is 120 mV peak-to-peak and the maximum allowed for the +5 V and +3.3 V outputs is 50 mV peak-to-peak.
Unfortunately we couldn’t test if this power supply could deliver more power due to a limitation in our equipment, as already explained.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Topower TOP-1100P10 power supply specs include:
- Nominal labeled power: 1,100 W.
- Measured maximum power: 1,013 W at 52° C (limited by our equipment).
- Labeled efficiency: 80% minimum.
- Measured efficiency: Between 81% and 88%.
- Active PFC: Yes.
- Modular Cabling System: No.
- Motherboard Power Connectors: One 24-pin connector, one EPS12V connector and one ATX12V connector.
- Video Card Power Connectors: Four 6-pin connectors and two 6/8-pin connectors.
- Peripheral Power Connectors: Seven in three cables.
- Floppy Disk Drive Power Connectors: None.
- SATA Power Connectors: 12 on three cables.
- Protections: N/A.
- Warranty: N/A.
- More Information: https://www.abs.com/app/itz1100_details.asp
- Average price in the US*: USD 180.00 (for Tagan ITZ1100 model)
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The main problem with Topower TOP-1100P10 (and consequently with Tagan models based on this project) is its +5VSB output, which can’t deliver its labeled current and power. When we pulled 3 A from it – half of the labeled limit – noise level was above the maximum allowed. So the project for this specific output is flawed.
Besides that this unit could deliver a high efficiency if you pull up to 80% of its labeled power (880 W). Pulling its full load efficiency drops a lot but is still above 80%, which is the minimum we want from a power supply at full load nowadays.
Voltage stability and noise level were also good, within the expected.
Another thing we didn’t like about this power supply was the fact that it uses two 80 mm fans instead of one 140 mm one, which certainly makes this power supply to be noisy and hotter than competing products.
If the +5VSB flaw does not bother you (and honestly you shouldn’t worry about that) and you don’t mind having a noisy product power supply models based on this project like Tagan ITZ1100 are good options on the 1,100 W range, especially because this model from Tagan can be found at an outstanding price at Newegg.com: only USD 180.