Thermaltake SMART 730W (Page 4 of 4) | Reports

Page 4 - Minor Tests and Conclusion

Power supplies are interesting products -- because often, reviews of products in this category are conducted and tested in methods that make it difficult to distinguish one power supply from another. Many aspects have to be taken into consideration -- of which certain criteria consists of efficiency, noise, power ripples, and of course the ability to pull out the rated specifications. Because many cannot afford such equipment to obtain results regarding those aspects, articles covering power supplies often come out with less than adequate and acceptable information. As this is a product report -- not a review -- what we are doing is a close examination of the power supply, and the internal hardware and build. But what we can do for you is do some minor testing with the results we can present to you with, and let other review sites with professional equipment show you the actual test results. We're not going to try to BS you by installing the power supply into the latest gaming rig and try to take readings from that, as this is not even remotely the correct way to test power supply units. We understand that many websites do that as a means of load testing, but the results, even if you use an oscilloscope and multimeter at each output location, it is not sufficient, nor does it accurately reflect the performance of the power supply.

Using our power supply tester which exerts minimal load on the power supply, the initial consumption was 8W as measured by our wall meter unit -- indicating that the basic load-free power consumption of the power supply is very good. Comparable power supplies in the wattage and price range delivers similar figures, so there is not a lot of stuff going on inside while idling. Independent reviews from websites with professional load testing equipment showed the Thermaltake SMART 730W delivered commendable efficiency, voltage regulation, and ripple across the board -- right up to its rated wattage. This includes its 80 Plus certification.

Voltages with minimal load are generally accurate, which is a basic requirement of power supplies out of the box. In this situation all are within 2%. The PG (Power Good) delay seems to be well within its rated range and general power supply standard of 290ms.

Active power correction is important to correct AC load line loss. In AC power, there are three components to it; as there is a phase difference between current and voltage. This makes up the power triangle, which consists of the following: Average usable power (P, measured in watts), reactive power (Q, denoted as VA-R), and total power (S, written as VA). While they all have the same physical units, it is not the same thing as aforementioned. What we want is the average usable power -- with as little wasted reactive power as possible. The total power provided over the AC line is the magnitude of the two combined (sqrt(P^2+Q^2)). Power factor can then be easily calculated by P/S. The ideal value is 1.00, and this is where active PFC comes in. A nominal load of 280W (38.3%) on the Thermaltake SMART 730W had the power factor at 0.98.

The Thermaltake SMART 730W is a moderately quiet power supply. Under regular loads, the SMART is audible, but only if you are picky enough about it. The Young Lin Tech DFS122512H's motor noise can be heard, to some extent, during operation, because it is not very smooth running -- but good placement of internal components contributes to minimal turbulence noise. While this is very subjective, I am quite a picky person on noise, and the loudest component in my entire system is my Western Digital Caviar Blue hard disk. On a scale from 0-10 where 0 is silent and 10 is the loudest, I would rate the Thermaltake SMART 730W to be at 3.0/10 acoustically under nominal loads. The fan is moderately quiet up to approximately 50% of its maximum speed, then will speed up to handle the additional heat generated. Overall, the Thermaltake SMART 730W is a budget power supply for average PC users to casual enthusiasts, but if you are looking for a little more quality and performance, be prepared to move up the market ladder.

Thermaltake provided this product to APH Networks to facilitate this report.

The Thermaltake SMART 730W is budget power supply built by HEC/Compucase. Our affiliates with professional load testing equipment puts the SMART series in generally decent light. Retailing for approximately $85 after mail in rebate when writing this article, I think the price is a little bit too high for a budget oriented product -- slash $15 to $20 off the price tag, and it will be a deal.

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Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Minor Tests and Conclusion