Corsair VX450W: Quiet Value PSU

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August 16, 2007 by Mike Chin

Product
Corsair VX450W
ATX12V v2.2 / v2.01 power supply
Manufacturer
Corsair Memory
Market Price
US$75~80

Corsair Memory is a brand best known for high performance memory, but they made a big splash when they entered the PSU market last year with the HX series 520W and 620W power supplies. The combination of excellent performance and very low noise made them a hit with both overclockers and silent PC enthusiasts. The only downside seemed to be low level humming with a small number of units, which caused frustrations among the silent enthusiasts. However, Corsair's user support has been excellent, with buzz/hum complainants quickly issued replacement units.

The new VX450W is a lower powered, less ambitious model that seeks to fill a value niche. It's one of two models in the VX series; the other being a 550W version that has yet to be released. The VX450W does not feature detachable modular cables like those found on the HX series. Corsair's marketing makes a big deal about the unit's eco-friendliness, emphasizing the high efficiency and active correction for very high power factor. These features are hardly unique to the VX450W, however, and could be found in numerous PSUs even dating back a couple years. The packaging is very similar to the HX series, with a classy, understated look that suggests a lot of time, money and attention have been paid to this aspect. There's little doubt that Corsair's marketing/PR is on the ball.


Classy understated retail package.

Inside, the PSU is cradled in a cloth drawstring bag lined with bubble-plastic. A user's manual, screws, plastic cable straps, AC cable and a detailed reviewer's guide completed the sample package.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS AND SPECIFICATIONS

Corsair VX450W Feature Highlights (from the Corsair web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Supports the latest ATX12V v2.2 standard and is backwards compatible with ATX12V 2.01 systems.
Very good; unlike the HX series, the VX is not EPS12V compliant. This has to do with dual-video card support.
Guaranteed compatibility with dual-GPU configurations. To be expected.
Double forward switching circuitry design offers high efficiency, up to 85% under wide load range.
Sounds good and familiar, though the percentage has jumped from the 80% claimed for the HX series.
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.
Dedicated single +12V rail offers maximum compatibility with latest components. The straight-up honesty is refreshing.
High quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability.
To assure savvy buyers who may be aware of the bad cap fiasco that's plagued China-made electronics for some years.
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.
Standard ATX/PS2 size: 5.9"(W) x 3.4"(H) X 5.9"(L)
150mm(W) x 86mm(H) x 150mm(L)
Not oversized 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 with 24/7 support. Very nice.

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS: Corsair VX450W
AC Input
90-264VAC, 5-9A, 47-63Hz
DC Output
+3.3V
+5V
+12V
-12V
+5VSB
Maximum Output Current
20A
20A
33A
0.8A
3A
Maximum Combined
140W
396W
9.6W
12.5W
450W

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

The noise curve above show a steady noise level of around 21~22 dBA (at 1m, presumably), and a hinge at 400W, at which point the noise ramps almost vertically. This is the most extreme "hinged" noise/fan speed to load curve we've seen in any power supply, and it promises that the VX450W will be quieter at higher power than any other PSU tested to date. We have to assume 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, not actual power output.

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 230VAC jibes perfectly well with our own comparison tests of PSU efficiency at 110~120 / 220~240 VAC.



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