Tagan PipeRock II TG680W-BZIIManufacturer: Tagan
UK Price (as Reviewed): £98.69 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as Reviewed):
This PSU has one of the most ridiculously long product names ever, and that's before you include the informal ‘lighting’ that Tagan tacks onto the end of the name on its website.
We presume the lighting refers to the backlit, blue Tagan logo on the left side of the case, which is so ridiculously bright that it almost burns an indelible image on your retinas.
Once your vision has returned to normal, you’ll discover that the 680W version of the PipeRock II series has modular cables. However, despite its hefty rating, it’s only equipped with one 6+2-pin PCI-E and a single 6-pin PCI-E cable. The PipeRock II is compatible with 20- and 24-pin motherboards, while there are both 4-pin ATX 12V and 8-pin EPS12V cables for the CPU. The PipeRock II has only three Molex cables, but has nine SATA cables and a single FDD cable.
Inside, you’ll find four 12V rails, each rated at 18A, with a maximum combined output of 56A. These are configured so that 12V1 and 12V2 each power one of the PCI-E cables and 12V3 drives the CPU, while 12V4 supplies the motherboard and disk drives.
The PipeRock II was a remarkable 87 per cent efficient at 50 per cent load, but the combined fan and electronics emitted an annoyingly loud buzzing tone. This noise only became worse at full load, while the efficiency dropped to 86 per cent. In addition, the couple of times we ramped up the 5VSB rail to its 4A rated maximum, its output dropped to 4.65V and 4.66V – well below the 4.75V minimum required by the ATX spec.
Even at just 2.5A, the 5VSB rail proved pretty weak, outputting 4.78V – only 0.03V more than that required by the ATX spec. Although the PipeRock II has above average efficiency, it’s unpleasantly noisy and has a weak 5VSB rail, so we can’t recommend buying it.
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XFX XXX Edition 650WManufacturer: XFX
UK Price (as Reviewed): £91.36 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as Reviewed): $119.99 (ex. Tax)
The XXX Edition 650 is the first XFX power supply we’ve reviewed, although like most of the brands in this test, XFX doesn’t actually make the PSU. Instead, the XXX Edition 650 is made by Seasonic – one of the leading PSU OEMs, and a major brand in its own right.
From the outside, you’d be hard-pressed to identify the XXX Edition 650 as a Seasonic model, since XFX has designed its own case, complete with muscly metal bulges and a huge green 135mm fan. While the distinctive look of the XXX Edition 650 may not be to everyone’s liking, it’s good to see that XFX has tried to make its PSU stand out from the crowd of bland, generic-looking models.
Unlike most Seasonic-based PSUs, the XXX Edition 650 has a single 12V rail, rated at a hefty 52A. The other rails are configured as follows: the 3.3V rail at 24A, the 5V at 30A while the -12V rail outputs up to 0.8A and the 5VSB rail 3A. These rails combine to give a claimed maximum combined output of 650W. True to its graphics card origins, XFX has provided the XXX Edition 650 with four PCI-E cables – three 6+2-pin and one 6-pin.
All five of the XXX Edition 650’s rails output a stable voltage at 50 per cent load, with the entire PSU proving to be 85 per cent efficient. This is on the low side for a modern PSU, but much more efficient than 650W power supplies were a couple of years ago. However, the XXX Edition 650 produces a very annoying noise – the closest analogy would be an angry insect flying around your head on a hot summer’s night.
This noise was muffled to some degree as the fan sped up at full load, but it was still easily audible. More worryingly, the 5V rail failed to output a stable voltage, dropping to 4.74V, even with a comparatively mild load of 10A applied. As such, we can’t recommend the XFX ‘insect edition’ 650.
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