A biggy (950 watts) – Kyle Lunau
Thanks to the rapid pace of computer technology, one thing that continues to grow with performance seems to be power consumption. With Nvidia’s Triple SLI and AMD’s upcoming Crossfire X systems actually pulling in excess of 1 kw of power, and since it’s never a good idea to run a PSU at its full rated wattage, we are seeing PSUs that can provide up to 1600 watts of power (while requiring pretty much an entire 20A home circuit to do so).
In the midst of the battle to produce the highest wattage PSU, Tuniq has come up with a 950 watt unit that not only fits the standard ATX dimensions but also comes 80 Plus and SLI certified. This means that the PSU is both highly efficient (greater than 80%) and has enough juice to power a multi-GPU system. Well enough chit-chat its review time!
The Miniplant comes in a pretty unassuming black box with a plastic handle on the top, although the handle is pretty useless since this unit is both light and standard sized.
The list of included connectors even includes a pair of 8-pin PCI-e connectors, making it quite future-proof.
20+4 Pin Motherboard Connector
P4 Motherboard Connector
8-pin ATX EPS Motherboard Connector
8 Pin PCI-Express Connectors
6 Pin PCI-Express Connectors
SATA lines with three SATA connections each
Molex lines with three molex and one floppy each
8-pin to 6-pin PCI-E adapter cables
On the back of the box we have a quick run down of the features. The one line that caught my eye is the one the mentions “All kinds of protection circuits”. The use of “All kinds” doesn’t exactly instill confidence in a consumer like me. Note to all companies out there: Avoid using phrases starting with “All kinds”.
Once all the packing material is removed, we are left with PSU, a 16 AWG power cable (beefier than standard PSU cables), a pack of 10 black cable ties, two 8-pin to 6-pin PCI-e power adapters and the manual.
The manual is pretty skimpy, but it covers the basics. It’s not a big issue though – it’s kind of hard to screw up a PSU installation.
Okay – time to check out the PSU itself; first notice the slick titanium finish on the unit.
The back of the unit is well ventilated with the ever popular hexagonal cut-out design.
Mounted on the bottom of the unit we have the monstrous 135 mm cooling fan which should ensure that the PSU is cool and quiet.
In the left side of the PSU we have our SLI and 80 Plus certification stickers.
On the right side we have the PSU specs.
This PSU includes a huge number of power leads – I’ll list all of them later in the review.
Some of the leads include these little labels to indicate what type of lead it is. Very helpful if you need to fish another PCI-e lead out from that bundle of cables stuffed behind your motherboard tray.
Putting the Miniplant side by side with the ULTRA 800 watt PSU that I was using prior, we can see how small this PSU really is.
While I was comparing size I thought I would compare specs too. The first is the ULTRA unit
The second is the Tuniq unit.
If you look closely you will notice that we seem to have a little problem. Somehow, by some feat of magic, the Tuniq is capable of putting out more wattage with less amperage. Since this doesn’t make the least bit of sense (wattage is calculated using amperage and voltage), I decided to do some calculations. According to these calculations I have listed the following results according to the amount of the maximum feasible wattage that the PSUs claim to be capable of producing.
12v with 80A = 960 watts max
ULTRA = 68.75% of maximum feasible wattage
Tuniq = 84.375% of maximum feasible wattage
5v/3.3v with 60A total = 249 watts max
5v/3.3v with 54A total = 229.2 watts max
ULTRA = 64.25% of maximum feasible wattage
Tuniq = 74.171% of maximum feasible wattage
And here is the rated wattage usage of PC Power and Cooling’s 860 watt PSU (just for kicks)
PCPAC 860 watt combined = 88.97% of maximum feasible wattage
It looks like…..(puts on sunglasses) we’ve got a power struggle YEAHHHH!!!!!
Jokes aside, these are quite interesting results and I will attempt to give a reason for the wildly differing results. The first explanation is that perhaps the ULTRA PSU is not using the best quality components, therefore is only rated for a minimal amount of wattage per amp. The second explanation is the ULTRA is specing the components low to ensure plenty of headroom if you accidentally take the PSU over its rated envelope.
Since this unit is rated for 950 watts and my system’s maximum power draw is about half of that, I gave it a bit more of an extreme load this time. I ran two copies of Prime95, plus a looping 3DMark06 test for 40 minutes, then recorded the voltages. All voltages were measured through Everest Ultimate.
12.25 – 12.30
+2.08% / +2.5%
3.33 – 3.39
+0.90% / +2.72%
4.94 – 4.97
-1.21% / -0.60%
According to the ATX 2.2 specification, all of these values must have a variance of less than 5%. It looks like Tuniq has tuned the 12v a little high on this unit. This should prevent it from drooping to dangerously low levels under high load while still staying within the ATX 2.2 specification. Other than that, the PSU put out solid voltage numbers across the board.
This has got to be the quietest PSU I have ever owned. Not only is it extremely quiet at idle, but I never heard the fan kick into high gear when the system was under heavy load, unlike the ULTRA units I reviewed previously.
- Very Quiet (completely inaudible over other system fans at any tested load)
- Titanium Finish
- Stable with very little voltage variation
- Black mesh sleeving on all cables
- 950 watts and 4 12-volt rails makes for a rock solid PSU
- $249 USD is a fair price in this wattage range
- Slightly high 12v should prevent dangerous droops
- Small size means it will fit in any ATX case
- 8-pin PCI-e power connectors for current and future graphics cards
- Not modular
I was pleasantly surprised by the Tuniq Miniplant. It’s compact, efficient, quiet, and very powerful – one hell of a winning combination. The only downside is that it isn’t modular, but I doubt they could include modular connections while maintaining the same form factor, so it’s not a big deal.
All-in-all, if you’re looking for a new PSU, this one deserves serious consideration.