Tagan EasyCon XL 700W: A Tagan at Last

Power
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January 10, 2007 by Devon Cooke

Product
Tagan EasyCon XL TG700-U35
700W EPS12V v2.9 compliant power supply
Manufacturer
Tagan
Market Price
US$180~200

Tagan's reputation for quiet power supplies has been slowly expanding for years. We get asked about them every so often, but, because we've never had a chance to examine one first hand, we've never been able to say much on the subject.

That's about to change, since we've finally managed to get our hands on one: A 700W EasyCon XL with detachable cables, dual 12V transformers, and a US$200 price tag. The EasyCon XL is one of seven different model lines that Tagan maintains, and we are assured by Tagan's marketing department that it contains the latest and greatest technology — which is all well and good, but it doesn't really tell us what we want to know most: Is it quiet?

At 700W, it's almost a given that it won't be quiet at full load, but it does have several things going for it, including a high efficiency rating, a large, 135mm cooling fan, and a wider than usual mesh on the back panel. And, of course, it has Tagan's as yet untested (by SPCR) reputation behind it.

There's only one market where a power supply this large and this expensive has any hope of succeeding: The gaming market. As such, the EasyCon XL comes with a healthy dose of bling to go along with its technical prowess. Foremost among the extras: A sturdy "Easy Access Box" with two drawers — one for spare cables and one for the power supply itself. The box is quite impressive, if a little absurd. Why does a part that will spend its time installed in the back of a computer case require its own carrying case? Most users will probably want to repurpose the box for something else — screws and spare cables anyone?


The retail package looks like it could hold tools — or jewelry...


...but in fact it's just a very fancy way of packaging a US$200 power supply.

Other extras include velcro cable ties, a grounding cable (?) and EMI shielded cables for the VGA cards and the main AC power cable (another ?).

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

Tagan EasyCon XL TG700-U35 Feature Highlights (from Tagan's web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Compatible with Intel EPS12V Ver.2.9 and EPS/ATX downward versions with four independent +12V rails.
EPS12V is a workstation standard, and is more stringent but compatible with the more common ATX12V standard.
Independent four +12V rails provide individual electricity to different devices and avoid heavy-loading devices share power in the same time. The usual technobabble about the wonders of multiple +12V rails. Oddly, there's no mention of the dual +12V transformers, which is a more logical way of identifying separate rails.
Universal motherboard support due to 20+4 pin main power as well as 4-pin & 8-pin +12V power connectors for 20, 20+4, 24+4, and 24+8 configurations.
Server, workstation or desktop machine, old or new, doesn't matter.
≥80% electricity efficiency average saves money and reduces losing power become heat. It's 80-Plus certified, although Tagan's marketing department doesn't seem to be aware of this.
Extraordinary round TMI connector and socket with different color (black and green) avoids wrong connection and pin scratch.
An unusual connector for the detachable cables.
User can use TMI modular cables on demand to optimize air flow for PC cooling.
Detachable cables.
Two 6-pin PCI Express connectors support NVIDIA SLI technologies, and ATI Crossfire graphic cards. A high end power supply for high end graphics.
PCI-Express 6PIN cables with REMI technology reduce EMI ripples and noises to save device lifetime and enhance display performance. A ferrite core around the PCIe cables to reduce EMI. Why reduce EMI? That's a tougher question...
Support high-end motherboard with VGA 4pin socket for graphic card electricity.
A few (older) high end motherboards use a standard Molex connector to provide extra power to the PCIe slots. The EasyCon XL provides a "special" cable for this purpose
Total 14+1* IDE and SATA hard disks are available for top users. (*VGA 4Pin) But... 15 drives would be LOUD!
Rear window with honeycomb structure is the strongest framework for case and biggest air-flow space. The honeycomb grill is very common, but for what it's worth, this one is more open...
Thermal control fans are adjustable automatically by temperature inside of the power supply. Fan speed up when temperature rises. Almost all power supplies have these.
Super-big heat sink inside the power release heat in optimum efficiency. That "super-big" heatsink will have to fit into the same space as every other.
Black mesh and copper-shielding cables help user to optimize airflow for thermal release. They do? The real function is probably aesthetic. Sleeving helps keep cable bundles looking tidy.
Internal OVP (Over Voltage Protection) and OCP (Over Current Protection) function avoids sudden power surge damage peripherals. Standard and required.
Universal AC input range for all countries: 110~240VAC with active PFC for better electricity performance. Another feature that is increasingly standard among high end models.
Unique ground wire with golden pin can release static electricity from power supply and avoid damage. It can't hurt, and we *have* seen the odd grounding fault cause some strange effects. Most power supplies work just fine without it though.
Including cable bands for cable management. Every power supply should come with these.
Guarantee 36 months warranty. No details are given either in the package or on Tagan's web site.

SPECIFICATIONS

Those who like to track OEM manufacturers (as opposed to retail brands) will be interested to know that the UL number (E223995) for the EasyCon XL is actually owned by Tagan, which suggests that Tagan had more than the usual cursory involvement in the design of the unit.

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Tagan EasyCon XL 700 TG700-U35
AC Input
100-240Vac; 10/6A; 60/50 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
+12V4
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum
Output Current
28A
28A
20A
20A
20A
20A
0.5A
3.0A
56A
Maximum
Combined Power
180W
672W
6W
15W
700W

As you would expect of a 700W power supply, power is plentiful on all of the major lines, with all four +12V rails boasting peak capacities of 20A and a combined maximum of 56A in total.

As always, it is wise to take these ratings with a grain of salt — all the more so because of a design quirk that Tagan mentions in passing but doesn't really explain. The first page of the PDF Datasheet for the EasyCon XL refers to "Dual Transformer Technology". The transformer is akin to the heart of the power supply, and having two means that, speaking loosely, the EasyCon XL actually contains two power supplies: One that powers +3.3V, +12V1 and +12V3, and another that powers +5V, +12V2 and +12V4.


Dual transformers make it easier to meet a 700W output capacity, but do they benefit the end user?

The practical benefit of this arrangement is that components powered by different transformers are electrically isolated from each other. In theory, this could lead to a more stable system, especially when overclocking, as isolated components will not have to cope with the electrical noise that other parts produce, allowing them to be pushed further before they become unstable.

However, it's not clear whether this is actually the case in practice. Separate components are rarely isolated within the system anyway, and a common path on the motherboard between different components is enough eliminate the electrical isolation that comes from having multiple transformers.

In reality, the dual transformers are probably there because they make it easier to design a 700W power supply without overloading the transformer, not because of any advantage to the end user.



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