Corsair HX520W & HX620W Modular power supplies

Power
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November 17, 2006 by Mike Chin (with Nicholas Geraedts & Kelly Stich)

Product
Corsair HX520W and HX620W
ATX12V v2.2 compliant power supply
Manufacturer
Corsair Memory
Market Price
US $120 / $160

PSU brands continue to proliferate. It's a trend we noticed a couple of years ago, and it's not going away. Corsair is a brand best known for high performance memory. They've expanded into a couple of other sectors in the past year or so. First into watercooling, both discrete (COOL) and integrated (Nautilus 500), then into power supplies. In both cases, they've aimed for the enthusiast end of the marketplace (although it's arguable whether there's any other kind of buyer for watercooling).

The Corsair HX620W and HX520W are nicely positioned in the performance sector. Rated high enough to be taken seriously by gamers but efficient and not so high powered to provoke tongue clucking by energy misers like SPCR. They are 120mm fan units with detachable modular cables, and they come nicely packed in cardboard retail boxes that are tastefully executed.


Sizable retail boxes.

Inside, the PSU is carefully cradled in black closed-cell foam. The cables are neatly packed in a padded nylon pouch, along with screws, plastic cable straps, and a user's manual.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS AND SPECIFICATIONS

Corsair seeks to go the high road with their power supplies, offering advanced features like Active PFC, 80% efficiency, modular cables.

Corsair HS520W / HX620W Feature Highlights (from the Corsair web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Supports the latest ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 standards and is backwards compatible with ATX12V 2.01 systems.
Very good.
Guaranteed compatibility with dual-GPU configurations. To be expected.
Double forward switching circuitry design offers high efficiency, up to 80% under wide load range.
Sounds good.... and familiar.
Active Power Factor Correction with PF value=0.99 provides clean and reliable power to your system. Well, it has little to do with the outputs and everything to do with the input, but it's a good thing.
Universal AC input 90~264V automatically scans and detects the correct voltage. No more hassle of flipping that tiny red switch!
Fairly standard, but the 90V input is lower that the usual 100V, which is good.
Ultra quiet 120mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow at an exceptionally low noise level by varying the RPM in response to temperature.
OK.
Triple 12V Rails provide independent reliable power to the CPU, video card and other components with a combined rating of 50A (40A on 520W) maximum! Advanced circuitry design that automatically enables power sharing between the triple +12V rails in an event of overload on any single +12V rail. The second sentence suggests that it's really only one line with a single OCP circuit. Perfectly safe, imo.
Powerful +5Vsb rail with 3A rating.
Low +5Vstandby capacity may be a cause of instability with lots of USB peripherals plugged into the system.
Over Current/Voltage/Power Protection, Under Voltage Protection, and Short Circuit Protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components. About par for the high end course.
105ºC rated industrial grade capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability, delivering 4 times the lifespan of conventional 85ºC rated capacitors. Very good. 85ºC is typical.
Enhanced modular flexible cables enable easier cable routing and increased airflow in the system. Nice.
Gold Plated connectors provide oxide free ultra low-resistance contact between the power supply and your critical components. If the matching connectors are not also gold-plated, there is still risk of corrosion between the metals, esp. in high humidity.
8 Serial ATA connectors (4 on 520W). OK.
Dimension: 5.9"(W) x 3.4"(H) X 5.9"(L)
150mm(W) x 86mm(H) x 150mm(L)
Not oversized, which is good.
MTBF: 100,000 Hours That's a long time. Wonder how it's calculated...
Safety Approvals: UL, CUL, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick. The more the merrier.
Five year warranty. That's a very long time.

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Corsair HX520
AC Input
100-240V, ~9A, 50/60 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
24A
24A
18A
18A
18A
0.8A
3A
Maximum Combined
140W
480W
9.6W
15W
520W

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Corsair HX620
AC Input
100-240V, ~10A, 50/60 Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
24A
30A
18A
18A
18A
0.8A
3A
Maximum Combined
170W
600W
9.6W
15W
620W

Surprisingly, Corsair provides two graphs that show noise and efficiency curves with a high degree of resolution. Most such data presented in marketing materials are very coarse and don't really tell much; these are substantially better than usual.

The noise curves above suggest a start and low load level of around 20 dBA (at 1m, presumably), and show a hinge at 40~50% load beyond which the noise rises gradually. This is about perfect for quiet computing. We have to presume that the load refers to typical temperatures reached at the plotted power levels, since every PSU we've tested only ties fan speed to temperature. The fact that the higher rated 620 model gets noisier a bit faster suggests that it has the same cooling system and fan; 60% load for the 520 would be 312W while 60% load for the 650 would be 372W. My prediction is that the two PSUs will sound the same at the same output wattage.

The efficiency curves shown above are also very detailed and show a realistic midrange peak with falloff at either extremes. The 2~4% advantage in efficiency at 240VAC jibes perfectly well with our own comparison tests of PSU efficient at 120 / 240 VAC.



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