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Thursday, April 11, 2013

TopPower Nano: When Is Gold Not Gold?

Okay, I admit it: I got duped! I was in the market for a good power supply to run my new Litecoin mining PC, so naturally I went to Newegg and searched for "80 Plus Gold" efficiency power supplies. As the PC currently has two high-end Radeon 7950 GPUs running full tilt (and I might add a third), I also wanted at least a 1000W power supply. A quick search at Newegg gets you these results. The TopPower 1000W is currently out of stock, most likely thanks to other unwitting purchasers like myself.

What really amazes me isn't that someone tried this -- it's that they so far have gotten away with it! Well, that or they changed the packaging? Anyway, check this out: TweakTown calls it an 80 Plus Gold, and so does HardOCP. It looks like the front of the box had an "80 Plus Gold" sticker for both reviews, but look at the back of the box (these are my photos, but the above reviews have the same image, more or less):
Okay, so now it gets interesting, right? The box says 80 Plus Bronze, but that's because the box is sort of made for all of the six PSUs in the same family. The front of the box is clearly different (it says 1000W), but that's just a sticker over the original label (most likely 700W). So the question is: is this an 80 Plus Gold or an 80 Plus Bronze?

To answer that, let's turn to the HardOCP review. Oh, what's that? It fails to reach 80 Plus Gold certification levels? Color me not surprised. They pretty much skewer the TopPower, and rightfully so (good job, [H]. It did better over at TweakTown, where it appears to actually meet the requirements. They gave it an award as well, based on the value proposition. So which is it, Bronze or Gold?

Unfortunately, in my book it's neither -- at least in terms of awards. I've read a few other reviews, and I've come to the conclusion that there's a good reason this is the least expensive 1000W "gold" power supply around: it's also one of the worst. Thankfully, even a bad "80 Plus Gold" is usually good enough, but hopefully I don't end up eating my words. You see, a PSU may not seem like a big deal -- it just supplies power, right? -- but if you end up with a PSU failing at some point, it can take out most of the rest of your PC as well.

If I had it to do over, I'd spend more to get a power supply with better reviews and a real 80 Plus Gold efficiency, like this KingWin. In fact, all things considered at that price I would just go whole hog and upgrade to 80 Plus Platinum, which once again lands me with KingWin, this time with the LZP-1000. The Platinum model even gets a JohnnyGuru Recommended award, which is about as good as you'll find.

In the meantime, my Liteminer PC is chugging along merrily at around 1100kHash/s from the combined GPUs. That should get me around 4-5 LTC per day, which works out to a mere $6.75-$8.50. You see, Litecoin (and Bitcoin) just took a tumble on pricing, to about half their former value. Still, with a power use of around 600W for Liteminer, that's about $1.50 per day in electricity, so $5-$7 in profit isn't terrible. It does mean that it might take a few more months to pay off the hardware in Liteminer, at least if I were selling my LTC.

You see, I did that before with BTC; I could have stocked up on roughly 1000BTC if I had just been patient, and that would have been worth more than my house just last week! It might take a while, but we've been here before and I expect BTC and LTC are both here to stay; now, it's only a matter of waiting for the pricing to get high enough! My current MtGox has a standing sell order in for the crazy eights: $888.88. I wonder how long it will take us to get there? I'm hoping before the end of 2014, as that will take care of all my debts and then some. :-)

BTC: 1JSrAuxPUhD2rS6yYLiPPT6X8fvz7c7k1W
LTC: LXpEZcNJtikd263z7Ha3vrdYDcLU7hiKWv

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