ASUS ROG Thor 850W & 1200W PSU Review
Published: 16th December 2018 | Source: ASUS ROG | Price: |
So, has ASUS been able to tame the Norse God of Thunder? Has the Republic of Gamers brought the hammer down on their opponents to forever change the PSU market? Well, yes and no.
For starters we will say that ASUS's ROG Thor PSUs are counter-cultural, moving against the modernities of case design by creating a unit which deserves to be on display. You shouldn't buy a Thor if you plan on placing it behind a case's PSU shroud, denying it the ability to showcase its unique feature set its full glory. Doing so carries a death sentence in the Republic of Gamers, though will be a little more lax internationally.
There are three reasons to buy this PSU, at least over alternative models, the first of which is the fact that it's a ROG unit, fully supporting features like ASUS Aura Sync while giving more opportunities to adorn your PC with the legendary ROG eye. If you are not a fan of ROG, you really shouldn't have read this far, as the Thor is about as Roggy as a component can get.
The other reasons that you may be considering the Thor are its inclusion of an OLED screen and its ARGB (addressable RGB) lighting capabilities, both of which set the Thor apart from its peers. Unlike other ASUS OLED products, the OLED screen on the Thor cannot be addressed by users, instead acting as a power indicator, telling users how many watts the unit is pulling from the wall. Sadly, this means that the OLED screen on the Thor isn't adjustable, but that said knowing how many watts you are drawing is a handy feature. It will save you getting a plug adapter and continuously moving to see how many watts it's displaying. You can't beat the convenience of merely looking through your case window.
As far as build quality goes, it is hard to find fault with ASUS' Thor series. These are clearly Seasonic-based designs, but the fit and finish is certainly a plus point for the Thor. The attention to detail of the PSU's heatsinks alone deserves praise, a section of the unit which will likely never be seen by users, but is built to offer 20% lower temperatures and look slicker than perhaps any other PSU on the market.
On the lighting front, the Thor displays ROG Red lighting by default, relying on the PSU's supplied ARGB connector to offer customisable lighting. Please note that this means that your PC needs a 3-pin RGB connector, a feature that is fairly common with modern motherboards. 4-pin RGB headers will not suffice. Make sure your system has an ARGB header, as if it doesn't you are locked out of the feature.
It would have been nice to have the option to toggle the lights between different colours when using this unit, perhaps with a button that cycles between off, red, green, blue, purple etc, but to be honest anyone that is considering a PSU this costly should have a motherboard to match, which should feature ARGB support. Perhaps ASUS will add this feature to their future PSUs.
While testing the Thor's 850W and 1200W models, we were happy to see ROG delivering similar efficiencies to their 80+ Platinum peers, as should be expected from a rated power supply. This is despite the power draw of the OLED screen and ARGB lighting, making the Platinum rating fairly impressive. As far as efficiency goes, there is little to complain about, yes 80+ Titanium units are available, but 90+% efficiency at all times is nothing to scoff at.
On the noise side, ASUS' ROG Thor series has left us impressed, with the Thor's attention to heatsink design paying dividends. Both units are quiet and take a decent chunk of time before fans need to spin, with our 850W unit taking over a minute at 100% load to start spinning its fan while the 1200W took around 2.5 minutes, after which both units remain very quiet. With lesser loads, these PSUs will take longer to start their fans, with the 850W unit taking 4 minutes 50 seconds to start spinning its fan under 50% loads. Not a bad showing from a newcomer to the PSU game.
Moving from efficiency to voltage ripple, we can see one of the few downsides of ASUS' first-ever power supply, a factor that shouldn't be considered as a major negative but nonetheless sets them behind some of their competitors. Not exactly the ripple control that we expect from the God of Thunder.
We chalk this extra ripple up to inexperience, not bad components or anything overly negative. Other PSU makers mount capacitors on their cables, which can significantly reduce voltage ripple. This is a very recent addition to some modern high-end power supplies, so we can see why ASUS hasn't adopted this design, but perhaps they can use this information to improve future units.
Now we are approaching the elephant in the room, pricing. Yes, the ROG Thor series of PSUs are expensive, there is no getting around that, with the ROG Thor 850W costing around £200 in the UK while the 1200W model costs £310, a big investment for a power supply.
When looking at the Seasonic units that these PSUs are modelled after, we can see that the 850W is very close in price to its Seasonic equivalent, a £15-25 (retailer dependent) or so difference that is easily explained away by the addition of ARGB lighting and an OLED screen with power monitoring capabilities. It is only with the 1200W version where we see a larger price premium over its Seasonic equivalent. It is up to end users whether or not this price premium is worth it for the ROG branding and the extra features.
The mains downside of the Thor is that PC builders will need to design their entire setup with the Thor in mind, as you will need to use a case where the PSU is on display, components with an ARGB header for Aura Sync compatibility and, obviously, other ASUS ROG components for component matching.
ASUS ROG Thor 850W
When it comes to ASUS' ROG Thor series of power supplies, one model is our clear favourite, leaving us dumbfounded that ASUS didn't send us this model to review. While we can see some clear areas where improvements can be made, none of this unit's shortcomings are dealbreakers, and its pricing is close enough to its Seasonic equivalent, which it is based on, to be worth it's price premium if the Thor's feature set interests you.
Right now you can find this unit for £200-220 in the UK and the unit that it is based on is £190, those prices are much closer than we expected and has actually surprised us considering the extra Gucci bits that you get with the ROG. Yes, there are better PSUs out there in terms of ripple, but that doesn't make the Thor bad overall.
We cannot deny that there are other options to explore at this price, but as an all-around package, we must admit that ASUS has created a great power supply. ROG's Thor ships with a compelling feature set, and a price tag that, while expensive, offers more than enough to make the price tag seem justified. While this power supply will only appeal to ROG fans, its unique feature set and respectable performance has left us excited to see more from the Republic of Gamers, ticking enough boxes to gain the OC3D Enthusiast Grade Award.
ASUS ROG Thor 1200W
With the ASUS ROG Thor 1200W, we are left a little less satisfied. Yes, a lot of what we can say about the 850W applies to the 1200W, but we must admit that two words are getting in the way of things. Those words are "ROG Tax". The 1300w Seasonic unit this PSU is based on can be found for around £230, so the mark up is massive when you compare it to the 850w version.
The ROG Thor 1200W typically sells for around £310-320 in the UK, a price tag that is far enough away from its peers that it becomes a whole lot easier to consider other options. You can get better ripple results with some other units, you can perhaps aim for an 80+ Titanium-grade PSU, and if you avoid the idea of PSU-mounted LEDs and OLED screens, you can explore a wider range of case opportunities. After all, the ROG Thor series' isn't designed with PSU shrouds in mind.
In short, we think ASUS needs to lower the price of their 1200W model. At its current pricing, it is hard not to recommend exploring other options, leaving the ROG Thor 1200W as a unit that is only for the most ardent of ROG fans. The PSU itself offers very little to complain about, providing performance levels that are incredibly similar to its 850W counterpart, its not a bad PSU but the price hike is just a little too much so it only gets the OC3D Approved Award.
You can join the discussion on ASUS' ROG Thor 850W and 1200W Power Supplies on the OC3D Forums.