Our load tests utilize a couple of FAST ATE active load testers and a variety of other equipment such as an oscilloscope, power conditioner, temperature probe and a power consumption meter. You can read more about our standard testing approach here.
The tests performed are based around six conceivable setups that are out there and progressively load down the PSU up to the power supply's limits or 1000W, whichever comes first. Since our test equipment's limits are higher than that of the Thermaltake SMART 750W power supply, we can test it to the maximum.
The above tests represent typical loads that we have measured from various systems and are meant to give a rough idea of where your computer might fall in line with our tests. Please keep in mind that each system is different and actual loads can vary greatly even with similar hardware.
Let's start by taking a look at the voltages to see how well this unit did during testing. Starting with the 12V rail, we see 2% regulation from start to finish with a total drop of .28V. The 5V rail managed to stay within 2% of specification with a total drop of .13V from start to finish. Moving towards the 3.3V rail, we see that regulation was within 2% of specification with a total voltage drop of .11V.
DC Output quality for the Thermaltake SMART 750W was great and well within specifications. During Test 1, we saw 13mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 2, the ripple climbed to 18mV at a little under half. During Test 5 under a load of 750W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 34mV on noise on the 12V rail.
The Thermaltake SMART 750W is rated for 80 PLUS Bronze efficiency. This means that the power supply must perform at 82%/85%/82% efficiency at 20%/50%/100% loads respectively. As you can see, the SMART 750W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point. In fact, our unit was right on par with the requirements for 80 PLUS Silver, which is very nice to see out of a mainstream power supply.
As was stated at the beginning of this review, Thermaltake is very well known for their high-end power supplies. We've seen this time and time again with the units that we have reviewed like the Toughpower XT Platinum 1275W and Toughpower Grand Platinum 700W just to name a couple. We've been anxious to this point to take a look at some of their lower-end offerings as well to see if they represent the same quality we've come to expect from Thermaltake. Of course, it will be short a few features and may not come with extras such as Velcro cable ties, but there are always some sacrifices that must be made when trying to make a much cheaper unit.
The SMART 750W is a unit that most certainly does make some sacrifices in order to keep the cost of the unit down. Right out of the box, or perhaps while still in it, many will notice that modular cables and efficiency have been slashed compared to higher-end units from Thermaltake. When we dig a little deeper we also find that the unit doesn't feature OTP or a 50C power rating. None of these are anything that you should really be concerned with in a mainstream power supply, as it is quite the norm to be without all of them. Even the inclusion of the CapXon capacitors shouldn't be something too many concern themselves with for this unit. Yes, we have found throughout the years that Japanese capacitors are far superior to Chinese and Taiwanese capacitors, but they aren't nearly as bad as they were ten years ago.
You can tell that the performance suffers a little bit with the use of the Chinese capacitors as well as the voltage regulation could be a bit better. Voltage regulation is within 2% across the board, but the variances are a little bit higher than we usually see, even in mainstream power supplies. As far as the DC output quality goes, the results are much better than expected. Usually this is the area that we see suffer when using non-Japanese capacitors, but with a maximum ripple of 34mV, it is hard to complain at all. The efficiency was spectacular for the SMART 750W power supply. We suspect that we got a great example of this unit as if they were all capable of this level of efficiency, we would likely see the power supply come with an 80 PLUS Silver rating instead of Bronze.
Thermaltake really hits a home run with the SMART 750W power supply when you take into consideration the price of the unit. Being able to score a 750W unit with good performance for around $65 is a huge deal and one that can net some additional performance elsewhere with the cash you save. This is most certainly the biggest thing the SMART 750W has going for it and I would not only recommend this unit for those seeking cheap mainstream unit, but also for entry-level enthusiasts trying to make every last dollar go as far as possible.
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