Corsair TX650W ATX12V power supply

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7. TEMPERATURE & COOLING

Our sample reached considerably higher temperatures than usually encountered, starting at around the 200W mark, where the temperature rise through the unit reached 15°C. With a majority of quiet PSUs that have been tested on the same platform, the temperature rise at this level tends to be around 10°C. The Corsair VX450W and the Seasonic S12II-380, for examples, both had a temp rise of 11°C at this load. Both intake and exhaust temperatures rose a bit faster and higher than in most other PSUs. The exhaust air temperature exeeded 50°C at just 250W and rose to over 70°C after about 15 minutes at continuous full load. This seems a bit too hot for comfort, although nothing untoward occurred; the only related "misbehavior" was the somewhat higher than normal ripple at full power. Admittedly the chance of a desktop PC actually demanding 650W sustained power for any length of time other than a momentary peak (with the most excessively power-hungry components) is extremely remote.

8. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE

The PSU fan stabilized at 3.78V within a couple minutes after turn on. The Sound Pressure Level (SPL) reading was 21 dBA@1m, audible at 1m, but quiet and smooth. There was no audible buzzing from a meter away. There was none at this distance above the fan noise at any load. When the fan was stopped with a plastic wire tie jammed into the blades, a bit of buzzing could be heard from under a foot away, but this was about at the same level as fanless PSUs we've tested. In other words, audible buzzing or humming was not an issue.

The fan noise and voltage remained essentially unchanged in our thermal test rig all the way to over 250W output load. This is extremely quiet performance, close to the very best we've encountered in any PSU.

Beyond 250W, the fan speed and noise climbed quickly, as expected. The overall noise up 300W load matched that measured on our Corsair HX520/620 and Enermax Modu82+ 625 samples, the quietest in our database. In the comparison table below, the >30 dBA@1m readings are highlighted in light green.

Comparison: Various PSUs Noise Vs. Power Output
Model
90W
150W
200W
250W
300W
400W
500W
600W
Corsair TX650W
21
21
21
21
23
38
43
44
Corsair VX450W
21
21
21
22
26
44
50
n/a
Enermax Modu82+ 625
19
19
20
21
22
26
36
37
Corsair HX520/620
22
22
22
22
22
29
40
40
Seasonic S12 E+ 650
20
20
20
21
26
38
40
40
Seasonic S12II-380
21
21
21
25
31
39
n/a
n/a
Antec EW 430
22
22
24
29
37
41
43
43
Zalman ZM600
25
27
29
30
31
36
40
40

The above comparison table should not be taken as an absolute. It shows sound pressure levels recorded on SPCR's test platform. The ambient temperature varies a bit, in a range of 20~23°C, and some of the PSUs may have the small advantage of lower ambient temperature during testing. This can help lower the overall noise curve, and more importantly, increase the power level at which the fan starts getting seriously louder. Still, at higher power levels, the temperature in the test box is determined mostly by the load. Several models are about equally quiet up to ~200W load. The Corsair HX series, the Enermax Modu82+ 625 and this TX650W have the lowest measured SPL at 300W. At 400W and above, the Enermax is considerably quieter than all but the Corsair HX series.

If you want the best noise performance from the TX650W, use it in a system that draws no more than ~350W DC or about 400W (AC) at the wall. Ensure that the room ambient temperature stays under 30°C. Note that 32°C was the air temperature at the intake side of the TX450W with 300W load. Given the tendency to higher operating temperature, pay close attention to effective case cooling airflow.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review. Two recordings of each noise level are made in some cases, one from a distance of one meter, and another from one foot away. More details about how we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.

The one meter recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The one foot recordings are designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the subject sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording after you have listened to the one meter recording.

Each recording starts with 6~10 seconds of room ambience, followed by 10 seconds of the product's noise. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible.

  • Corsair TX650W at 250W, 21 dBA@1m: One meter
  • Corsair TX650W at 300W, 23 dBA@1m: One meter

    The higher level noises were not recorded; you can rest assured they are simply too loud.

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives


CONCLUSIONS

The Corsair TX650W is aimed at the dual-video card, power-demanding, PC gaming user. It hits the target smack in the center. The rated power may be a bit lower than what the uber gamers seek, but that's usually more about bragging rights and pseudo-machismo than actual need. Its voltage regulation is excellent, its acoustics very quiet, and its efficiency very good. The AC ripple on the 12V is bit higher (only at full power) than we've seen from Corsair models in the past, but still within the ATX12V spec. Corsair's five year warranty remains the longest for any computer power supply we know of. It sits nicely along with the HX520 and HX620 models, which it essentially matches for acoustics.

The TX650W doesn't quite reach the acoustics and performance heights of the recently reviewed Enermax Modu82+ 625W, but it comes close. It also doesn't have the convenient detachable cables of the HX or Modu82+ series. Price and availability, however, may often be the determining factor when choosing among the top ranked PSUs in our Recommended PSUs. The TX650 certainly belongs near the top of that list. Corsair's pricing also seems quite aggressive; at publication time, there were rebates on the web for the TX650 which broght the final price down to just $75.

The best way to take advantage of the TX650W's quiet qualities has already been mentioned: Ensure that the PSU intake air does not exceed 30°C often, nor demand more than ~350W DC output. With a decent case and well selected components, these requirements are not difficult to achieve. Following these guidelines will reward you with a PSU that's always very quiet, making the basis for a very quiet computer.

Much thanks to Corsair Memory for this review sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Power Supply Fundamentals
Recommended Power Supplies
Power Distribution within Six PCs
SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4
Seasonic S12 Energy Plus 550 and 660
Zalman ZM600 heatpipe-cooled modular PSU
Seasonic M12-700
Corsair HX520 & HX620

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