Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 1200W ATX v3.0 PSU Review

The Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 1200W PSUs offers top performance and it is ATX v3.0 and PCIe 5.0 ready, so it is ideal if you plan to buy an NVIDIA RTX 4090 and combine it with a powerful CPU, an AMD Ryzen 9 7950x or an Intel 13900K. 

We will see more and more ATX v3.0 and PCIe 5.0 ready PSUs in the following months. Thermaltake’s entire GF3 line follows the guidelines of the latest ATX spec and has 12VHPWR connectors, which make transient response testing tricky since you have to load the PSU up to 200% of its max-rated-capacity. If you missed the GF3 750W and 850W reviews, you will find them here and here.

The GF3 1200W is the highest capacity model of this line, based on a CWT platform. The GF3 1350 and 1650 use a platform provided by High Power, so the design is completely different. Even the modular cables are not electrically compatible. I tried to switch the cables to run EMI tests, and the GF3 1350 I was currently testing politely refused to start since its supervisor IC sensed a short.

The GF3 1200W is Gold rated by Cybenetics and 80 PLUS, and it also has a Cybenetics Standard noise rating, which shows that this is not a silent operating PSU. A highly aggressive speed profile drives the fluid dynamic bearing fan. The unit’s compact dimensions, with 160mm depth, don’t help the internal airflow. This is why the max operating temperature for continuous full-load operation is restricted at 40°C, while typically, in high-end PSUs is at 50°C.


Cybenetics Report

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Manufacturer (OEM): CWT
  • Max Power: 1200W
  • Cybenetics Efficiency: [115V] Gold (87-89%)
  • 80 Plus Efficiency: Gold
  • Noise: Cybenetics Standard (40 – 45 dBA)
  • Compliance: ATX12V v3.0
  • Alternative Low Power Mode support: Yes
  • Power 12V: 1200W
  • Power 5V + 3.3v: 120W
  • Power 5VSB: 15W
  • Cooling: 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan (HA13525H12SF-Z)
  • Semi-Passive Operation: Yes (Selectable)
  • Modular Design: Yes (Fully)
  • High Power Connectors: 2x EPS (2x cables), 4x PCIe 6+2 pin (2x cables), 1x PCIe 12+4 pin (600W)
  • Peripheral Connectors: 12x SATA (3x cables), 4x 4-pin Molex (single cable)
  • ATX/EPS Cable Length: 600/700mm
  • Distance between SATA connectors: 150mm
  • Distance between 4-pin Molex connectors: 150mm
  • In-cable capacitors: No
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 150 mm x 85 mm x 160 mm
  • Weight: 1.81 kg (3.99 lb)
  • Warranty: 10 years

Product Photos

Thermaltake used the typical exterior design, with the small perforations on the fan grille and the exhaust, which restrict airflow. It would be much better to allow air to enter and exit through larger perforations since the fan speed profile could be less aggressive, lowering noise output.

There is a smaller switch at the unit’s front side beside the power switch and the AC receptacle for toggling on/off the semi-passive operation. It is always nice to have the option to deactivate the fan stop feature.

Cables

Modular Cables
Description Cable Count Connector Count (Total) Gauge In Cable Capacitors
ATX connector 20+4 pin (600mm) 1 1 16AWG No
8 pin EPS12V (700mm) 1 1 16AWG No
4+4 pin EPS12V (700mm) 1 1 16AWG No
6+2 pin PCIe (500mm+150mm) 2 4 16-18AWG No
12+4 pin PCIe (600mm) (600W) 1 1 16-24AWG No
SATA (500mm+150mm+150mm+150mm) 3 12 18AWG No
4-pin Molex (500mm+150mm+150mm+150mm) 1 4 18AWG No
FDD Adapter (100mm) 1 1 22AWG No

All cables are long enough, and the distance between the peripheral connectors is adequate, at 150mm. The number of legacy PCIe connectors is low, and the most important is that they are installed onto two cables only. Nonetheless, the PSU is equipped with a 12+4 pin PCIe connector, able to deliver up to 600W so there is no need to use adapters for powering NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 series graphics cards.

Protection Features

OCP (Cold @ 26°C) 12V: 119A (119%), 11.898V
5V: 30.4A (138.18%), 4.999V
3.3V: 31.1A (141.36%), 3.273V
5VSB: 5.1A (170%), 4.963V
OCP (Hot @ 42°C) 12V: 118.6A (118.6%), 11.939V
5V: 30.3A (137.73%), 4.997V
3.3V: 31A (140.91%), 3.272V
5VSB: 5A (166.67%), 4.971V
OPP (Cold @ 29°C) 1407.18W (117.27%)
OPP (Hot @ 40°C) 1407.21W (117.27%)
OTP ✓ (151°C @ 12V Heat Sink)
SCP 12V to Earth: ✓
5V to Earth: ✓
3.3V to Earth: ✓
5VSB to Earth: ✓
-12V to Earth: ✓
PWR_OK Proper operation
NLO
SIP Surge: MOV
Inrush: NTC Thermistor & Bypass relay

It is nice to see OCP at 12V and OPP being conservatively set since this is a powerful PSU. On the other hand, the minor rails have high OCP triggering points, especially the 3.3V, which are only lightly used by modern systems.

Part Analysis

General Data
Manufacturer (OEM) CWT
Platform CSZ
PCB Type Double-Sided
Primary Side
Transient Filter 4x Y caps, 2x X caps, 2x CM chokes, 1x MOV
Inrush Protection 1x NTC Thermistor SCK-207R0 (7 Ohm) & Relay
Bridge Rectifier(s)
2x Vishay LVB2560 (600V, 25A @ 105°C)
APFC MOSFETs
3x Infineon IPA60R099P6 (600V, 24A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 0.099Ohm)
APFC Boost Diode
1x On Semiconductor FFSP1665A (650V, 16A @ 135°C)
Bulk Cap(s)
1x Rubycon (420V, 680uF, 2,000h @ 105°C, MXE) &
1x Nippon Chemi-Con (420V, 470uF, 2,000h @ 105°C, KMZ)
Main Switchers
2x Infineon IPA60R099P6 (600V, 24A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 0.099Ohm)
APFC Controller
Champion CM6500UNX & CM03X
Resonant Controller Champion CU6901VAC
Topology
Primary side: APFC, Half-Bridge & LLC converter
Secondary side: Synchronous Rectification & DC-DC converters
Secondary Side
+12V MOSFETs 8x Infineon BSC010N04LS (40V, 178A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 1mOhm)
5V & 3.3V DC-DC Converters: 2x UBIQ QN3107M6N (30V, 70A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 2.6mOhm) &
2x UBIQ QM3054M6 (30V, 61A @ 100°C, Rds(on): 4.8mOhm)
PWM Controller(s): uPI-Semi uP3861P
Filtering Capacitors Electrolytic: 3x Nippon Chemi-Con (105°C, W), 1x Nichicon (2-5,000h @ 105°C, HD), 2x Nichicon (4-10,000h @ 105°C, HE), 1x Rubycon (6-10,000h @ 105°C, ZLH), 1x Nippon Chemi-Con (4-10,000h @ 105°C, KY), 1x Nippon Chemi-Con (4-10,000h @ 105°C, KYA)
Polymer: 21x FPCAP, 7x NIC
Supervisor IC Weltrend WT7502R
Fan Controller Microchip PIC16F1503
Fan Model Hong Hua HA13525H12SF-Z (135mm, 12V, 0.5A, Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan)
5VSB Circuit
Rectifier
1x D10S45L SBR (45V, 10A)
Standby PWM Controller On-Bright OB2365T

The OEM is Channel Well Technology (CWT), and the platform’s code name is CSZ. The contemporary design uses analog controllers for all circuits. We find a half-bridge topology and an LLC resonant converter on the primary side. The secondary side utilizes a synchronous rectification scheme with eight Infineon FETs generating the 12V rail and two VRMs for the minor rails. The cooling fan is by Hong Hua and used a fluid dynamic bearing, so it won’t have any issues in the long run as long as you don’t push it hard at high temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. Lastly, the build quality is high, and the same goes for the soldering quality. At the solder side of the PCB, CWT also enhanced some PCB traces with copper plates, for better conductivity and lower power losses, at high loads.

Load Regulation

Load regulation is tight at 5V  but above 1% at 12V and 3.3V.

Ripple Suppression

Ripple suppression is great on all rails!

Transient Response

Transient response is good on all rails. At 5VSB, it is in the lowest place, but it is close to the competition, and the transient response on this rail doesn’t play a significant role.

Transient Response ATX 3.0 & 12VHPWR Connector Tests

There were some issues during these tests, and I couldn’t complete them. I am waiting for TT to send me a new sample, and once they do, I will update this section.

Hold Up Time

The hold-up time is long, and the power ok signal is accurate.

Timings

The PSU supports Alternative Low Power Modes.

Inrush Current

Inrush currents are low with 115V input but pretty high with 230V.

Efficiency Normal, Light & Super-Light Loads

Efficiency with normal loads looks low in the charts, but you should keep in mind that most PSUs in the corresponding chart have Platinum certifications and one Titanium! With light and super-light loads, the platform tops my charts.

Average Efficiency 5VSB

The 5VSB rail has decent efficiency. Still, there is room for improvement!

Vampire Power

Vampire power is low.

Average Efficiency

The average efficiency is in last place in the charts, but the difference with the Gold competition is not high. Moreover, the PSU’s efficiency is close to some Platinum units.

Average PF

The APFC converter does a decent job. It would do even better, though, with 115V.

Average Noise

The average noise output is sky-high!

Fan Noise & Speed Maps @ 28-32 °C

The semi-passive operation is very short once you push the minor rails hard. Up to 560W, the PSU is dead silent and remains below 30 dBA at up to 750W. The fan’s noise exceeds 40 dBA with more than 900W; at 1090W, you will probably need earplugs.

Overall Performance

Overall performance is high with both voltage inputs. The Cooler Master unit takes the lead with 230V input, with a small difference.

Epilogue

Thermaltake’s PSU people try hard to offer quality and high-performance products, and their cooperation with manufacturers like CWT plays a key role in this. The ToughPower GF3 1200 uses the proven CSZ platform, equipped with quality parts. The performance of this unit topped my charts with 115V input, and the PSU scored second with 230V input. Most of the PSUs I used for comparison purposes are Platinum, and one of them is Titanium (be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12), showing that I chose extra tough competitors for the GF3 1200. There aren’t many Gold 1200W units, so I had only two options, select lower capacity Gold units or go with Platinum ones with similar capacity, and I chose the latter.

I had an issue during ATX v3.0 transient testing for PSUs equipped with 12VHPWR connectors, so you won’t find these tests in the review. I have informed TT to send me a second sample to run the tests, and I will update the review once I have all the data. The lower capacity GF3 models, 750W and 850W, passed the corresponding tests successfully, but things will be tougher for the 1200W model since it will have to go up to 2400W for the 0.1ms transient response test! Given that the highest power spikes I measured in a low-end RTX 4090, by Palit, were 700W, there is no need for the PSU to be able to handle such high power spikes, so the GF3 1200W won’t have an issue with any RTX 4090, even if you push the power limit up to 600W. Still, NVIDIA will raise the bar even higher, asking PSU manufacturers to tune their platforms for up to 235% power spikes! Either NVIDIA knows something that I don’t, or it just prepares the ground for the next generation of GPUs. Either way, 200% power spikes were crazy already, and now the bar will go even higher!

 

Buy Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 1200W Buy Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 1200W Buy Corsair HX1200

 

Buy Cooler Master MWE Gold 1250 V2 Buy EVGA Supernova 1300 G+

 


Pros:

  • Full power at 47°C
  • High overall performance
  • Top build quality
  • Properly set OCP at 12V and OPP
  • 12VHPWR connector (600W)
  • Good transient response
  • Great ripple suppression
  • Highly efficient at light loads
  • High PF with 230V
  • Low vampire power
  • Long hold-up time
  • Low inrush currents with 115V
  • ALPM support
  • FDB fan
  • Fully modular
  • 10-year warranty


Cons:

  • Noisy at high loads
  • Load regulation at 12V and 3.3V exceeds 1% deviation
  • High OCP on the minor rails
  • High inrush with 230V

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6 thoughts on “Thermaltake Toughpower GF3 1200W ATX v3.0 PSU Review

  1. Hello, between 1000-1200w would this be the best PSU atx 3.0 pcie 5 value for money? In this price range, would you recommend any other that was superior in quality? If you had to choose an immediate purchase between the Thermaltake gf3 1200, FSP Hydro G pro atx 3.0, MSI MPG A1000G PCIE 5 80 Plus Gold 1000W ATX 3.0 which would you buy? The Gf3 1350 is manufactured by high Power and the Gf3 1200 by CWT, which of the two is of higher quality?
    Excuse me for so many questions, but I am in great doubt about which one to buy and since it is a purchase for years, I do not want to make the mistake of buying a bad product.
    Thank you and greeting.

    1. I would go with the CWT version of the GF3, so I would choose the 1200W unit. Another great option, but more expensive, is the MSI MPEG 1000W PCIe5. It uses an advanced CWT platform and it can easily handle an RTX 4090.

  2. I see that in the characteristics of the GF3 manufactured by CWT the maximum operating temperature maximum power 24/7 is 40º and you estimate that in the high ranges it must be 50º, is this characteristic an important problem for the gf3 or I shouldn’t take into account?
    Once again, thank you for your excellent work.

  3. hello, finally the gf3 1200w has successfully passed the transient tests of ATX 3.0 and pcie 5 at 200% like its little sisters? How would this psu behave if it had to work in a very hot environment close to 50°, I see in the characteristics that the continuous power is marked at 40°, would that be a problem?
    Greetings.

  4. Hey,

    Thank you so much for being the go-to for in-depth information about electronics. You’ve helped me a great deal in the past with PSUs. However, with this model, I’m at a loss. I’m not a technical user, but I seem to have gotten the “wrong” power connector for the CPU power? One is the basic one, the other has two latches. I’ve made a post about it, where I provided pictures as well:

    https://www.overclock.net/threads/two-cpu-cables-different-ends-for-the-cpu-end-from-thermaltakes-toughpower-gf3-1200w-what-to-do.1802075/

    I don’t know where to put that second one in, not sure which orientation it has, etc.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you so much, again.

    1. The small latch goes to the PSU side and the large latches go to the mainboard. You followed this and still the EPS connectors don’t fit to the mainboard’s EPS sockets?

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