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Antec Truepower Quattro 1000W Power Supply Review

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SKYMTL

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Antec TruePower Quattro 1000W Power Supply Review



Product Number: TPQ-1000
Price: Click Here to Compare Prices
Manufacturer’s Product Page : Antec.com - TruePower Quattro
Fan Size: 1x 80mm
Warranty: 5 Years
Availability: Now



Antec is one of those companies both enthusiasts and novices can recognize due to their wide variety of products and dearth of experience in the computer component marketplace. From enclosures to power supplies to fans, they produce some of the most highly regarded products available today. However, even though their products receive glowing customer and professional reviews on a daily basis Antec has not strayed from its original goal set so many years ago: to provide true value for your hard-earned money. When high quality and an excellent pricing structure walk hand in hand we all benefit but at the same time, Antec has not forgotten about the trend-setters in the marketplace: the enthusiasts. In this review we will be looking at a product that has been launched which delivers a broadside in the direction of many of Antec’s competitors: the TruePower Quattro 1000W power supply.

In the highly competitive world of high-end power supplies the Antec TruePower Quattros in 850W and 1Kw flavor somewhat stand out as black sheep. Both of these power supplies represent a price structure that is quite a bit lower than many other power supplies in the same wattage categories which is a bit of an oddity in and of itself. Indeed, the 1000W version which we will be looking at here today seems to have all of the hallmarks of a great power supply which is interesting considering its price. Antec released this unit in order to fill a void in their power supply lineup which (until the release of the Quattro series) simply did not have any products above the 650W mark and in order to cater to the ever-increasing needs of a modern system they needed something more than they already had. Since its release a few months ago, the Quattro 1000W has been a great seller and seems to be a testament to Antec’s goal of bringing consumers the best for their money.

It feels a bit odd to be talking about “value” in a review about an enthusiast-grade 1000W power supply but at first glance, that seems to be exactly what this unit provides. At about $210CAD, it definitely can’t be considered inexpensive but it is priced significantly less than the majority of competing 1Kw units out there. Coupled with the presence of Antec’s excellent customer support and 5-year warranty this really does seem to be a recipe for greatness in the power supply industry. Luckily, we won’t count our chickens before they are hatched so let’s dive into this review to see what more the TruePower Quattro 1Kw has to offer and if its “low” price hides anything we don’t want to see…


TPQ-23.jpg
 
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SKYMTL

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Features & Specifications

Features & Specifications

TPQ-25.jpg

TPQ-24.jpg
 

SKYMTL

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging and Accessories


Unlike the Antec Quattro 850W, the 1000W comes without the eye-blasting yellow and black color scheme of its lower-wattage cousin and makes due with a much more subdued monochromatic package. While this box may not stand out as well in a retail store environment, it is easier on the eyes while conveying all of the relevant information.

The front of the box holds the amazingly large indication of the wattage of the Quattro as well as the 80Plus logo and a place for the Nvidia SLI Certified logo. Interestingly, this unit seems to have been packaged before Antec received the “official” SLI certification so it only says “dual graphics cards ready”. Meanwhile, the back of the box holds information about cable lengths as well as a brief description of all of this power supply’s features.


Once the box is opened, we are greeted with the sight of the power TPQ 1000W wrapped in the protective embrace of foam packaging while the modular cables are pushed off to the side. Much like we saw with the 850W version, Antec has seen fit to protect their flagship power supply exceedingly well.


The accessory package which comes with the Quattro 1000W is limited to say the least. Modular cable pouches, zip-ties, case stickers and fancy manuals have all been sacrificed in the name of cost cutting and all you get are the black mounting screws, a power cord and a brief user’s manual.

However, the star of the show is the power cord which is the thickest we have seen to date and is made out of industrial grade 14AWG wiring. This is the kind of power cord we love seeing with higher end power supplies and its inclusion here does well to cap off an otherwise drab accessory lineup.
 

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Exterior Impressions

Exterior Impressions


Folks, what we have here is one mean-looking power supply; racing stripes and all. Much like its lower-wattage sibling, the Quattro 1000W is decked out in tuxedo-black paintjob which is accented by a pair of white stripes that run its entire length. While the picture above does not show it, this unit is slightly longer (about ¾”) than a standard ATX power supply but that should not cause an issue in the majority of the enclosures on the market.

While we loved the white / black contrasting color scheme, what struck us as the best exterior feature is the fact that the powder coat is damn-near indestructible. It is applied in a thick layer that is almost impervious to the scratches and chips that appear while trying to wrangle it into your case.


You may have noticed in the last picture that there was no top-mounted fan and this is because the Quattro 1000W makes due with a lone rear-mounted 80mm exhaust fan for all its cooling needs. This limited cooling solution is augmented by several grilles placed at strategic locations on the exterior in order to exhaust any additional heat which may build up.


The “interior” portion of this power supply makes use of a perforated metal grille in order to increase airflow to the interior components and it also holds the modular interface.

The modular interface on the Quattro is quite limited in its connection options but it is a great space saver nonetheless. You get five separate connectors of which two are for the PCI-E cables (in red) while the other three are for whichever combination of Molex and SATA connectors you want to attach. In a case with hardware already installed, we found this positioning of the modular interface to be very hard to work with since it is sometimes inaccessible due to various wires getting in the way. We would have much rather seen it centered with the perforated grille rather than below it.
 
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SKYMTL

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Cables and Connectors / 9800GX2 Compatibility

Cables and Connectors

- Molex: 9 Connectors (modular)
o 3x 33” length (3 Connectors each)

- SATA: 8 Connectors (modular)
o 2x 34” length (3 connectors each)
o 1x 27” length (2 connectors)

- PCI-E 6+2 pin: 2 Connectors
o 2x 21” length

- PCI-E 6-Pin: 2 Connector (modular)
o 1x 21” length

- Floppy: 2 Connectors (@ end of 30”Molex cables)
o 2x 36” length

- 24-pin ATX Connector: 21 1/2” length

- 4-Pin CPU Connector: 21 1/2” length

- 8-Pin CPU Connector: 21 1/2” length


All of the cables on the TruePower Quattro are of an excellent length and there are more than enough connectors to go around. Through all of our tests (in a Gigabyte Aurora 570 case and a P182) the PCI-E cables reached every part of our enclosures without a problem. On the other hand, at 21” the 8-pin CPU connector had to be stretched a bit in order to reach its location in the P182 case but this was a very minor annoyance since we still found that the length of the CPU connector was sufficient for the majority of situations.


The Quattro is considered a modular power supply but as we have already seen, not all of the connectors on this one are modular. To tell you the truth, there are a fair number of cables which are fixed to the power supply itself so I guess we could call this a semi-modular power supply. All kidding aside, attached to the TPQ are 8 and 4-pin CPU connectors (no break-off 4+4 pin here), the main ATX connector and a pair of 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors. Antec must have figured that anyone buying a 1Kw power supply will be using at least two PCI-E connectors so it only makes sense that they are not modular.


One thing we don’t like about the cables is that while they are sleeved from one end to another and the sleeving itself is held on by flimsy rubber clamps. To make matters worse, the sleeving does not extend all the way into the power supply and the opening in the metal housing is not bordered by the usual plastic grommet which is supposed to protect the exposed cables. Overall, this smells like cost-cutting on Antec’s part.


While we had a few issues with the fixed cables, the modular cables are a case-study in perfection with excellent sleeving (other than the ever-present rubber clamps) and good overall length. They are attached to the modular interface in the same tried, tested and true fashion we have seen time and again with countless other power supplies. Basically, all you have to do is push them into their designated spot and they clip into place until you depress the tab on the connector and pull it loose.


9800GX2 Compatibility

As some of you may know, the Nvidia 9800GX2 requires a particular layout of the 8-pin PCI-E connector in order for a power supply to be compatible with it. If your power supply does not have the right kind of 8-pin PCI-E connector, you will either have to modify the connector or the fan shroud of the card which would void your warranty in both cases. In this section we will be looking at this power supply’s compatibility with Nvidia’s new dual-GPU monster.


Unfortunately, due to the layout of the 6+2 pin connectors on the Quattro we can say for certain that this power supply is NOT compatible with the 9800GX2. As we have seen with some other power supplies, the retention clip on this power supply is slightly offset from center which means it runs right into the GX2’s fan shroud. At this time it is good to remember that the TruePower Quattro was designed and released before the GX2 was introduced.
 
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SKYMTL

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Output Specifications / Interior Impressions

Output Specifications

TPQ-26.jpg

Unlike some power supplies which cater to the enthusiast crowd, Antec has decided that their flagship power supply should forego the single +12V rail design. Instead they have made use of multiple +12V rails, each with its own OCP circuit to limit output to 18A or 216W. While some “purists” may decry the lack of a single massive +12V rail, with good rail layouts people will most likely never tell the difference between single versus multiple rails. Considering each rail can supply more than enough amperage before you bump into the OCP, we feel that Antec has not limited us with their rail layout. However, it would have been nice to have seen a few more +12V rails so each 8-pin PCI-E connector could have its own dedicated rail.

Mention also has to be made about the maximum combined +12V output since we find it is a bit low for a modern 1000W power supply. Since the majority of today’s most power hungry components draw their power from the +12V rail(s), we like to see a combined +12V rail output somewhere north of 90% of the total output for the power supply. While the TruePower Quattro is capable of outputting up to 840W (or 84% of its maximum output) on the +12V rails, this is about 60W to 120W less than some of its competition. In a perfect world, the TPQ 1000W would have had six 18A or four 20A +12V rails and a combined +12V output of 900W to 950W.


Interior Impressions


Without a doubt, the interior of this Enhance-built unit is unique. Its large ribbed heatsinks are laid out in such a way that they can take full advantage of the somewhat limited airflow the single 80mm exhaust fan provides. There are also a number of plastic baffles in order to direct the airflow over certain areas that need better cooling. Unfortunately, this layout does not allow for many detailed pictures to be taken of the interior so please bear with us while we take what shots we can.


Both the primary and secondary sides on this unit are extremely well appointed with industrial-grade components but there is precious little room for good airflow. Other than the absolutely massive size of the components (just look at the size of that choke!) the single cap on the primary filtering side is a Hitachi 105°C unit while the secondary gets a ton of Teapos along with a light sprinkling of Nippon Chemicon capacitors.


One of the plastic baffles hides an inverted PCB onto which the majority of the +12V wiring is soldered onto. This design saves space on the main PCB so the overall length of the Quattro didn’t have to increase too much over the size of a standard ATX-sized power supply. As you can see, the soldering job isn’t the best in the world but we will see a bit later if this has any impact on this unit’s performance.

Other than the gargantuan-sized components, it looks like Enhance has attached a pair of rectifiers to their own aluminum heatsink. This is done to more effectively disperse the heat they generate and they are provided with prized real-estate right in front of the exhaust fan.


The modular interface is very well done which is always good to see since a clean transfer of power between the interface and its connectors ensures that there will be no adverse effects to having modular connectors. Years ago, modular power supplies got a somewhat bad reputation due to the fact that the implementation of the modular interface was horribly done by some manufacturers. As you can see, we don’t have to worry about any excessive voltage drops or ripple where Antec’s modular interface is concerned.
 
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SKYMTL

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Performance Testing Methodology

Performance Testing Methodology

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.5Ghz (B3)
Memory: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 @ 1600Mhz (Thanks to Corsair)
Motherboard: Asus Blitz Extreme
Graphics Cards: 2X Gigabyte HD2900XT 512MB
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB SATAII
Fans: 5X Yate Loon 120mm @ 1200RPM
Monitor: LG Flatron L2000CN-BF (1600X1200)

For our complete power supply testing methodology, please go here: Hardware Canucks Power Supply Testing Methodology


Introducing the 1Kw+ Test Platform

Even the setup we have for sub-1000W PSU testing does not put sufficient load on a high-end power supply so we decided to take things a step further. In addition to the standard Q6600 and dual HD2900XT setup, the GPUs are overclocked to 842Mhz on the core and 1776Mhz on the memory. This platform then ran the standard Full System Stress test as detailed in our PSU Testing Methodology.

In addition to this, a second system was added with the Zeus’ additional PCI-E and EPS12V connectors powering the CPU and GPU from the following setup:

AMD X2 3800+ @ 2.6Ghz
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64Pro
2GB Corsair XMS @ 520Mhz
DFI Lanparty SLI-DR Expert
8800GTX @ 625Mhz / 1970Mhz
Samsung Spinpoint 250GB

Startup was staggered between the two systems with the primary Q6600 test bench being started first while it started benching first as well. 10 seconds were counted on a stopwatch before starting the benching suite on the secondary test bench so we can normalize test conditions once we test more high-powered units.

To load the second system we ran the Orthos CPU test on the processor while the ATItool spinning box was allowed to spin in order to keep constant load on the graphics card.

This test was conducted for 30 minutes with both systems running full-tilt for the whole time. This test is called the Extreme Load Test in all of the charts.

Here is what our Frankenstein setup looks like when everything is said and done.

ZM1200-44.jpg

This will be (unfortunately) the last time you see this particular setup in a power supply review since shortly after these tests were conducted, this test system met an untimely end at the hands of the computer gods. So long old friend. :(
 

SKYMTL

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Efficiency / Voltage Regulation Testing

Efficiency Testing

TPQ-27.jpg

Overall, the efficiency numbers put out by Antec’s Quattro 1000W were extremely good when compared to the competition. Even though it is too bad that we can’t measure the actual efficiency in percentages, it certainly looks like the 80Plus certification of this unit is warranted. What is slightly more exciting is that this power supply actually stayed on during the Extreme Load test since we were almost positive that we would have tripped one of the OCP circuits while powering 3 graphics cards. This proved to be a bit of a head-scratcher for us but who are we to complain about a positive result?


Voltage Regulation Testing


+3.3V Regulation

TPQ-31.jpg

As usually, there isn’t much to see here since we don’t have a system that puts much load on the +3.3V rail


+5V Regulation

TPQ-30.jpg

Just like we saw with the +3.3V regulation, our system (an most modern systems for that matter) do not put sufficient load on the +5V rail and thus we see very little movement from it.


+12V Regulation

TPQ-29.jpg

While +12V regulation isn’t as tight as some other (more expensive) units on the market, the Quattro provides very stable performance all the way into the Extreme Load test. With this power supply feeding 3 graphics cards and 6 processor cores, there was a pretty drastic drop in voltages but they still stayed well within ATX specified norms. Without a doubt, this is an excellent result that Antec should be proud of.
 

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+12V Ripple / Heat & Noise Characteristics

+12V Ripple Testing

TPQ-28.jpg

While not perfect, the ripple exhibited by the Quattro was well within the norms through all of the tests…even the Extreme Load test. There was a jump up to a bit over 50mV-pp to go hand in hand with the voltage drop in the Extreme Load test but this was to be expected and once again this power supply stayed well within ATX specifications.


Acoustical & Heat Characteristics

Even with a single (and potentially loud) 80mm exhaust fan, the Antec Quattro 1Kw stayed extremely quiet through all of the tests…until the Extreme Load test. Where all of the other tests showed our 1200RPM case fans to be louder than the lone 80mm on the power supply, the EL test showed that little 80mm could put out quite a bit of noise. While it was far less annoying than the dust busters ATI equipped their HD2900XT cards with, it was noticeable over the case fans. Just remember that this is a case of extreme load which you will not likely put your Quattro under and other than this test, Antec’s power supply was near silent.

The heat produced while the Quattro is under normal sustained load the heat exhausted by its fan is well within the norms but naturally in our higher-wattage stress tests the temperature picks up quite a bit. By the end of the Extreme Load test, the temperature being exhausted was approaching 34°C which is not bad at all.
 

SKYMTL

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Conclusion

Conclusion

No matter which way you look at it, the Quattro 1000W is one hell of a power supply; it has solid rails, high efficiency, good ripple suppression and a price to die for. Wait a sec…”a price to die for”? On a $200 power supply? Upon face value it may seem like we are a bit nuts, but truth be told this Antec power supply represents an excellent value for your money. In our testing it stood toe-to-toe with the Silverstone Zeus 1200W which carries an approximate $120 price premium while offering a better warranty and extremely quiet performance. While it is not the power user’s power supply the Zeus is, the Quattro has made a niche for itself in the market by offering solid performance at a great price. Granted, the majority of users out there don’t need 1000W but the Quattro retails for about the same price as many 800W units so if you are in the market for a high-end power supply, you owe it to yourself to seriously consider this one.

However there are a few things which always seem to conspire to keep so many power supplies from our top honors and this unit is no different since there are several minor issues that kept us from completely falling in love with Antec’s creation. Yes we would have liked to have seen more wattage available on the +12V rails but that can be easily overlooked considering how well the power supply did in our tests. To be honest, the one thing that kept coming back to haunt us was the cables. While they were all more than long enough the issue lies in the way Antec went about the job of sleeving them. The minor amount of money spent for a FULL sleeving job would have gone a long way to making the Quattro more aesthetically pleasing and it would not feel like the sleeving was about to fall off. One of the other minor problems we see is that while this power supply has almost everything going for it, its PCI-E 8-pin connectors do not support the new 9800GX2 graphics cards. Whether this is Nvidia’s fault for designing a restrictive fan shroud or Antec’s for not sticking to the 8-pin specifications can be debated until the cows come home but one this in certain: taking a shortcut by making a 6+2 pin connector is definitely not working in Antec’s favor.

Antec has once again shown that they can take the reigns and provide great product without asking their customers to break into a bank in order to afford a high wattage power supply. While the Quattro is not a perfect power supply, it shows that it has the balls to get the job done while being backed up by top-notch 5-year warranty. So, with quality few manufacturers can brag about and a price which makes extremely accessible, the Antec TruePower Quattro 1000W receives our Dam Good Value Award.


Pros:

- Good performance
- 5-year warranty
- Quiet operation
- Efficient
- Good build quality


Cons:

- Sleeving on cables not entirely secure
- 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors not compatible with 9800GX2
- Racing stripes may not be for everyone



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Thanks to Antec for providing us with this power supply

 
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