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Tagan TG420-U02 (i-Xeye) PSU


Product
Power Supply
Date
10th November 2004
Manufacured By
Supplied By
Price
Author

A Look Inside:::...

There's a look to the inside of a Tagan power supply that makes it almost instantly recognisable. The front and rear-mounted pull-push fan arrangement, the large black heat sinks and the beige and blue PCBs are a dead giveaway. Unfortunately it seems who ever Tagan contract out the production to is now building very similar looking units for other manufacturers, something that doesn't detract from the quality but which does make the quality less unique to Tagan.

 

Internal Components

 

Considering this is "only" a 420 watt power supply, it's stuffed to the gills with electronics. Not surprising with the various regulatory controls and damage limitation functions in its spec sheet.

Internal Components

 

It's tempting to believe that the sheer volume of components would work against things with regards effective cooling but what tends to happen is the air gets circulated around both the heatsinks and the components themselves which, while not actually increasing thermal efficiency, certainly brings it back in step.

Internal Components

 

Internal Components

 

Internal Components

 

Internal Components

 

In Use:::...

I've never been troubled by power supply noise if truth be told, nor graphics cards if it comes to it, and I can only imagine that people with no case fans operating every really do. There are a growing number of users working towards building the ultimate silent PC, and it's probably just such a user who will dislike Tagan's use of 80mm fans.

The good news is that they rarely spin at anything more than their minimal, 22dBA, but because they base their speed on load rather than heat, you may find that in passively cooled cases the power supply gets actually quite warm even under relatively light loads. It doesn't have any negative effects as a rule though, and is usually a quieter option than having thermally controlled fans turning full-tilt constantly.

Despite the use of theoretically noisier 80mm fans then it's fair to say the Tagan is one of the quietest power supplies I've tested, quieter even than the 120mm units we have in-house, which in their defense generally keep the PSU interior cooler than Tagan's fans do though with no discernible benefit from doing so.

Voltages

For our test rig I put together an Athlon64 3400+ on a DFI Lanparty UT nF3 250Gb with a Gigabyte of GeIL's PC3200 CAS2 and a Radeon X800 PE from Connect3D. I threw it in a Thermaltake Tsunami case so I could call on its twin 120mm fans to help with the load and I then rigged up a Corsair Hydrocool water cooling setup, a pair of additional illuminated 120mm fans and four 92mm fans to run alongside the usual two hard drives and two optical drives.

Before running our usual stability tests I hopped into the BIOS to take a look at the voltages being reported there and was slightly bemused to see just 11.83V being read from the 12V line.

 

In Windows this figure became even worse, reading just 11.71V without any additional strain on the system.

 

The moment I fired up SiSoft Sandra's Burn-In Wizard running just the CPU arithmetic benchmark, the voltage dipped to a slightly puzzling 11.58V. Despite this the system remained completely stable no matter what I though at it so I decided perhaps I should take a proper look at voltages using my trusty multimeter.

 

Provided my meter is still calibrated and accurate, and it should be, the DFI board is rather pessimistic with its reported voltage on the 12V rail and, by sheer coincidence, 11.98V was the lowest voltage I was able to record which I find actually quite impressive. Even under minimal load the hardware monitoring only reported around 11.75 Volts in Windows. I do have a PSU here that manages 12.25V under the same operating conditions and although this, for some reason tends to make some users feel more confident in the PSU's ability, is as much an error as reading under-voltage.


Metered Voltage Vs Reported Voltage

 

Likewise the 5V rail which despite being reported to me as only 4.97V was actually supplying 5.15V at the Molex, which is where I want it. This is maybe a touch high but bare in mind the lack of demand on the +5V rail during testing.


Metered Voltage Vs Reported Voltage

 

When I initially spoke to NanoPoint about the low reported voltages they suggested I check I had the ground cable connected as this often gives a small boost. By this stage I'd checked the voltages with the meter and was perfectly happy with them but now of course I was curious so I connected the ground cable, which is used primarily to smooth out any ripple and thus aid stability, and looked again the voltages, but they remained unchanged. Certainly at times of dire stress we're told they provide a bit of a crutch but in our test system it made no measurable difference to the output.


Ground Cable


Conclusion

The 3DVelocity "Dual Conclusions Concept" Explained: After discussing this concept with users as well as companies and vendors we work with, 3DVelocity have decided that where necessary we shall aim to introduce our 'Dual Conclusions Concept' to sum up our thoughts and impressions on the hardware we review. As the needs of the more experienced users and enthusiasts have increased, it has become more difficult to factor in all the aspects that such a user would find important, while also being fair to products that may lack these high end "bonus" capabilities but which still represent a very good buy for the more traditional and more prevalent mainstream user. The two catergories we've used are:

The Mainstream User ~ The mainstream user is likely to put price, stock performance, value for money, reliability and/or warranty terms ahead of the need for hardware that operates beyond its design specifications. The mainstream user may be a PC novice or may be an experienced user, however their needs are clearly very different to those of the enthusiast, in that they want to buy products that operate efficiently and reliably within their advertised parameters.

The Enthusiast ~ The enthusiast cares about all the things that the mainstream user cares about but is more likely to accept a weakness in one or more of these things in exchange for some measure of performance or functionality beyond its design brief. For example, a high priced motherboard may be tolerated in exchange for unusually high levels of overclocking ability or alternatively an unusually large heat sink with a very poor fixing mechanism may be considered acceptable if it offers significantly superior cooling in return.

 

The Mainstream User ~

Tagan continue to set the pace, not this time with a monstrously large output but instead with a little something different achieved while still conforming to the necessary industry regulations, which is more than a lot of other PSU manufacturers can claim.

Unless your case allows the internal light show to be shown off to best effect the iX-eye is a bit like buying a car with a custom paint job then driving round with a sheet over it. Fortunately, you can actually get the same unit minus the lighting by opting for the TG420-U01 which costs £49.99.

If you want a lazy way to add a little illumination to your PC and equip it with a top-notch PSU at the same time, then this is the way to go.

NA

 

The Enthusiast ~

420 Watts is perhaps a touch small for some hardened tweakers but you'd be surprised how hard it is to actually get 420- Watts-worth of electronics inside a PC case. Even those with more fans than is sensible, a good selection of lighting and a top-of-the-range graphics card rarely nudge 350 Watts.

As for overclocking headroom, well let's just say our 2.4C system which happily hits 280MHz FSB with a Radeon X800XT, a Gigabyte of memory, a full compliment of drives and water cooled off a 4-pin Molex does all this off a 350 Watt PSU and will run HotCPU's stability tester all week if I want it to.

Naturally people take more notice if you tell them you have a 900 Watt power supply cooled by two swamp-boat fans, but it's overkill for the vast majority of us. The iX-eye is a great power supply with ample power, eye-catching lights and CE conformity. There's not really a whole lot more you could want except maybe a modular design.

NA

 

 

We're always looking for ways to make our reviews fairer. A Right To Reply gives the manufacturer or supplier of the product being reviewed a chance to make public comments on what we've said. They can explain perhaps why they've done the things we were unhappy with or blow their own trumpet over the things we loved. It's easy for us to pick a product apart but sometimes things are done a certain way for very specific reasons.

Should Tagan decide to exercise their "Right To Reply", we'll publish their comments below:

 

 
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