Thermaltake is no stranger to the Play3r website, with various products and awards across its ranges. Today’s review sees us look at the TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w. We’ve replaced the old GF1 850w we looked at last year with this in our test bench to give it a thorough shakedown; let’s see how it gets on…
Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w: Specifications
Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w: Features
Power Up Next-Generation Hardware
Toughpower GF3 ARGB Gold Series (750W/850W) is designed to meet ATX 3.0 standards, including a PCIe Gen 5.0 12VHPWR connector; the new ATX 3.0 PSU is ready to take full advantage of next-gen GPUs and CPUs. The 16.8 million-color 140mm addressable RGB fan with 18 LEDs preinstalled helps deliver brighter and richer lighting and supports synchronization with mainstream motherboards.
Fully Compatible with Intel ATX 3.0 Standards
Toughpower GF3 ARGB series is fully compatible with Intel ATX 3.0 Specifications which supports up to 200% power excursion, reaches 70% low load efficiency, and complies with required power supply timing standards.
PCIe Gen 5.0 Ready
Toughpower GF3 ARGB Gold has a 16-pin connector to offer robust and stable performance allowing the PSU to run next-generation GPUs natively. The wattage marked on the 12VHPWR’s connector is the recommended wattage. (Ref. Intel design guideline) The native 16 PIN (12VHPWR) PCIe connector of the GF3 ARGB 850W can deliver up to 450W for PCIe 5.0 graphics cards.
Glow with the Flow
The built-in RGB Fan features addressable LEDs, great light coverage, and uniform color and brightness to paint your build with 16.8 million colors. The lighting modes and color options can be switched through physical control buttons.
Be Smart, Stay Quiet
It features a 140mm fluid dynamic bearing fan to balance silence and superior cooling perfectly. Furthermore, the Smart Zero Fan will not spin until it reaches a specific temperature, minimizing the fan noise.
Fully Modular Low-Profile Flat Cables
Offers cable selection for users while powering the system at an advantageous voltage. Low-profile flat black cable makes cable management easier, reduces clutter, and increases airflow inside the chassis.
80 PLUS Gold Certified and Intel C6/C7 States Ready
Toughpower GF3 ARGB series saves energy through its high energy efficiency of up to 90% and is certified to 80 PLUS® Gold. The series has been optimized to work with all generations of Intel processors to achieve maximum energy saving.
Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w: Unboxing and Closer Look
In keeping with Thermaltake’s Premium branding, the black and grey box can be seen here with a picture of the PSU itself taking up much of the front of the box with a feature list on the right-hand side along with the name and 80PLUS Gold rating.
The rear details the efficiency, smart zero fan, low noise ripple design, strict voltage regulation, and connector and output specifications.
Opening the box, we see the PSU itself covered in foam, ensuring it survives the delivery in one piece. The modular cables have come in a nice cloth bag for some time now, so this is great to see nothing has changed in that department.
Taking a first look at the GF3 ARGB 850w itself, it has to be said that it’s quite the aesthetic piece. Notice plenty of ventilation cutouts on the top, front, rear, and sides above the labels indicating the GF1 has plenty of airflow throughout.
On the rear side, we can see the power switch, a cover over the 3-pin plug that explains the second on/off switch, which is the switch for the “smart zero fan.” Below, we have a “mode” and “color” switch which controls the ARGB LEDs should you not want to connect them to the motherboard ARGB connectors. Turning this on enables a mode where the fan doesn’t turn on until it’s under load—keeping the unit as quiet as possible.
The GF3 ARGB 850w is a fully-modular PSU, and the input bank is well-designed and clearly labeled here. The back-to-back design allows for easy installation and removal of the cables, even when installed in a case, and the 3-pin ARGB connector at the bottom.
The cables are delivered in a canvas bag. The lid is lined with velcro, so it can be used to store and seal the cables you don’t need safely and securely.
The cables are primarily low-profile flat cables and wholly black, providing more overall aesthetic, reducing clutter, and increasing airflow inside the case.
With a final shot of the GF3 ARGB 850w installed inside the case with the RGB effect on display. It’s great to see bright LEDs with great clarity on offer, even on a PSU.
Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w PSU: Performance and Load Testing
Since we don’t currently have access to an ATX load tester, a multimeter shows the PSU performance on the +3.3v, +5v, and +12v rails. Although we can’t do complete load tests, we can provide relative information regarding variance and fluctuation of current and ripple on the rails, which is integral and indicative of the quality of a power supply.
To perform the above tests, the components and methodology were as follows:
Intel Core i5 13600K @ 5.1GHz P-cores & 3.9GHz E-cores
AORUS Z790 Elite AX Motherboard
Kingston Fury RENEGADE RGB 6800MT/s DDR5 32GB
MSI NVIDIA GeForce RTX3070Ti Ventus 3X
Voltages will be monitored via a multimeter, and the AC power draw will be monitored via a power monitor when drawn from the wall. For the idle test, the system will be simply booted up and let run into Windows 11, and after 5 minutes, the readings will be taken when the power draw has leveled out.
To load the power supply, a combination of Cinebench R23 multi-threaded and Furmark will be run to put as much strain on the power supply as possible. After 10 minutes, the readings will be taken.
Intel’s ATX spec specifies that a fluctuation and variable of 5% is acceptable, so to number crunch, it means that:
+3.3V = 3.135V-3.465V is acceptable.
+5V = 4.75V-5.25V is acceptable.
+12V = 11.4V – 12.6V is acceptable.
Any readings outside of these figures will be an automatic fail!
|3.3V = 3.323v
|5V = 5.060v
|12V = 12.023v
|3.3V = 3.334v
|5V = 5.060v
|12V = 12.074v
Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w PSU: The Verdict
From our limited testing, the Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER GF1 850W excelled in our load testing.
It looks brilliant! Its fully modular design is pleasing to the eye but removes the need for additional cables, and the cables you need are flat and all completely black. What makes the GF3 ARGB different from the usual Thermaltake Premium product line is the addition of ARGB on the fan, which is undoubtedly a selling point of this unit and will most definitely be the deciding factor of your purchase. This choice will either trigger the RGB “fanboi” or please those who detest it. That being said, Thermaltake is very experienced in creating lines of fans that utilize ARGB very well, and this is no exception.
It’s also great to see Thermaltake keeping up with the latest specifications, as this GF3 ARGB 850w unit utilizes the latest Intel 3.0 ATX specification and PCIe Gen 5.0 GPU power connector.
The overall aesthetic is excellent, and plenty of ventilation cutouts are on the top, front, and rear. The sides above the labels indicate the GF3 ARGB 850w has plenty of airflow throughout, especially when the “smart zero fan” mode is turned on, keeping the fan off until it’s under load. That said, it was silent when the fan was on, so I couldn’t tell it was on!
In summary, the TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w power supply from Thermaltake is an 80PLUS Gold unit with the latest Intel ATX 3.0 spec and the 16-pin PCIe Gen 5.0 power connector that has a beautiful aesthetic, excellent performance, great on-paper specifications, and features that truly make it a Premium product and is undoubtedly worthy of your consideration, especially as at the time of writing, the TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w is available for £179.99 which is on the expensive end of the tier. Still, you can appreciate why when you factor in what you are getting.
That being said, we’d wait for this to reduce to around £150 before making a purchase ourselves!
Thank you to Thermaltake for sending the TOUGHPOWER GF3 ARGB 850w unit for today’s review!