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Corsair HX520W & HX620W Modular power supplies

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.

EXTERNAL TOUR

The exterior of the Corsair PSUs is not usual. The black/yellow (520) and black/red (620) color scheme is attractive.



Nothing out of the ordinary here.



No vents
other than the fan intake and backside exhaust grill.

A single 120mm fan draws air into the power supply from below, blows it across the heatsinks, then out the low-impedance back grill. A wire grill protects the fan while providing a low resistance
to the airflow.



Five connectors for SATA and ATA drive power connectors; two for PCIe 12V power.

(Do these connectors look familiar to you, by the way?)



The labels for the PSUs.

We know of course that Corsair is not the manufacturer, but the E307858 UL file number marked on the label does belong to Corsair. Opening the unit up should tell us who actually manufactures these PSUs.

OUTPUT CABLES



The main output cables are sleeved; the rest are black plastic insulated. No color coding here.

There are a total of nine cable sets for the HX520W:

Permanently connected:

  • 19" cable for main 20+4-pin ATX connector
  • 19" cable for 4x12V EPS12V
  • 19" cable for 2x12V AUX12V

Detachable:

  • 2 x 21" cable for 6-pin PCIe connector
  • 2 x 31" cable with three 4-pin IDE drive connectors
  • 1 x 16" cable with two 4-pin IDE drive connectors
  • 6" 4-pin IDE to two 12V only 4-pin IDE
    connectors (meant for fans)
  • 6" 4-pin IDE to two floppy drive power connectors
  • 2 x 25" cables with two SATA drive connectors

The HX620W comes with two more 25" cables with two SATA drive connectors for a total of 11 detachable cables.

INTERIOR

The internal layout of the components on the PCB is neat and tidy, and the black (painted, most likely) heatsinks are fairly chunky. If it looks familiar to you, this is no surprise. You've seen many pictures of very similar PSU internals here at SPCR over the last couple years. It look virtually identical to the latest Seasonic S12s, with the exception of the black color of the heatsinks. (Now you recall, you saw those output side connectors on the Seasonic M12 review pictures.) Whatever. Someone had to make this PSU, and it would be silly for Corsair to make their own. Choosing Seasonic as their OEM is a perfectly wise decision, considering how successful Seasonic PSUs have been, not only for silent PC enthusiasts but for demanding PS users of all stripes and colors.



Nice clean layout, anodized heatsinks.



It looks very similar to the latest S12s.

As claimed by Corsair, the capacitors are rated for 105°C. The output connectors are soldered on to a separate PCB on the inside panel.



A closer look at output socket PCB, main transformer and primary cap.

FAN

The high speed ball bearing fan is made by Adda, the same model used in the Seasonic M12. Presumably, the fan controller will keep the noise in check.



Familiar Adda fan.

TESTING

For a fuller understanding of ATX power supplies, please read the reference
article Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended
Units
. Those who seek source materials can find Intel's various PSU
design guides at Form
Factors
.

For a complete rundown of testing equipment and procedures, please refer to
SPCR's PSU Test Platform
V.4
. The testing system is a close simulation of a moderate airflow
mid-tower PC optimized for low noise.

In the test rig, the ambient temperature of the PSU varies proportionately
with its output load, which is exactly the way it is in a real PC environment.
But there is the added benefit of a high power load tester which allows incremental
load testing all the way to full power for any non-industrial PC power supply.
Both fan noise and voltage are measured at various standard loads. It is, in
general, a very demanding test, as the operating ambient temperature of the
PSU often reaches >40°C at full power. This is impossible to achieve
with an open test bench setup.

The 120mm fan responsible for "case airflow" is deliberately run
at a steady low level (~6-7V) when the system is run at "low" loads.
When the test loads become greater, the 120mm fan is turned up to a higher speed,
but one that doesn't affect the noise level of the overall system. Anyone who
is running a system that draws 400W or more would definitely want more than
20CFM of airflow through their case, and at this point, the noise level of the
exhaust fan is typically not the greatest concern.

Great effort has been made to devise as realistic an operating
environment for the PSU as possible, but the thermal and noise results obtained
here still cannot be considered absolute. There are too many variables in PCs
and too many possible combinations of components for any single test environment
to provide infallible results. And there is always the bugaboo of sample variance.
These results are akin to a resume, a few detailed photographs, and some short
sound bites of someone you've never met. You'll probably get a pretty good overall
representation, but it is not quite the same as an extended meeting in person.

REAL SYSTEM POWER NEEDS: While our testing loads the PSU to full output
(even 600W!) in order to verify the manufacturer's claims, real desktop PCs
simply do not require anywhere near this level of power. The most pertinent
range of DC output power is between about 65W and 250W, because it is the power
range where most systems will be working most of the time. To illustrate this
point, we conducted system tests
to measure the maximum power draw that an actual system can draw
under worst-case conditions.
Our most power-hungry Intel 670 (P4-3.8) processor
rig with nVidia 6800GT video card drew ~214W DC from the power supply under
full load — well within the capabilities of any modern power supply. Please
follow the link provided above to see the details. It is true that very elaborate
systems with the most power hungry video card today could draw as much as another
60~100W, but the total still remains well under 400W in extrapolations of our
real world measurements. As for high end dual video card gaming rigs... well,
to be realistic, they have no place in silent computing today.

SPCR's high fidelity sound
recording system
was used to create MP3 sound files of this PSU. As
with the setup for recording fans, the position of the mic was 3" from the exhaust
vent at a 45° angle, outside the airflow turbulence area. The photo below shows
the setup (a different PSU is being recorded). All other noise sources in the
room were turned off while making the sound recordings.

INTERPRETING TEMPERATURE DATA

It important to keep in mind that fan speed varies with temperature,
not output load. A power supply generates more heat as output increases, but
is not the only the only factor that affects fan speed. Ambient temperature
and case airflow have almost as much effect. Our test rig represents a challenging
thermal situation for a power supply: A large portion of the heat generated
inside the case must be exhausted through the power supply, which causes a corresponding
increase in fan speed.

When examining thermal data, the most important indicator of cooling efficiency
is the difference between intake and exhaust. Because the heat
generated in the PSU loader by the output of the PSU is always the same for
a given power level, the intake temperature should be roughly the same between
different tests. The only external variable is the ambient room temperature.
The temperature of the exhaust air from the PSU is affected by several factors:

  • Intake temperature (determined by ambient temperature and power output level)
  • Efficiency of the PSU (how much heat it generates while producing the required
    output)
  • The effectiveness of the PSU's cooling system, which is comprised of:
    • Overall mechanical and airflow design
    • Size, shape and overall surface area of heatsinks
    • Fan(s) and fan speed control circuit

The thermal rise in the power supply is really the only indicator
we have about all of the above. This is why the intake temperature is important:
It represents the ambient temperature around the power supply itself. Subtracting
the intake temperature from the exhaust temperature gives a reasonable gauge
of the effectiveness of the power supply's cooling system. This is the only
temperature number that is comparable between different reviews, as it is unaffected
by the ambient temperature.

TEST RESULTS

Ambient conditions during testing were 21°C and 17 dBA. AC input was 117V,
60Hz.

OUTPUT & EFFICIENCY:Corsair HX520W











DC Output Voltage (V) + Current (A)

Total DC Output

AC Input

Calculated Efficiency
+12V1
+12V2
+5V
+3.3V
-12V
+5VSB
12.11
0.96
12.11
1.75
5.04
0.96
3.41
0.95
0.1
0.2
43.1
63.7
67.7%
12.11
1.89
12.11
1.75
5.04
1.92
3.41
1.89
0.1
0.4
63.4
87.5
72.5%
12.11
1.88
12.10
3.45
5.04
2.86
3.42
1.86
0.1
0.5
89.0
115.4
77.1%
12.11
3.7
12.10
4.96
5.04
4.58
3.42
3.89
0.2
0.9
148.1
182.8
81.0%
12.10
5.48
12.10
6.66
5.04
5.44
3.42
4.66
0.3
1.1
199.3
236
84.5%
12.11
7.56
12.08
8.11
5.04
6.22
3.42
5.43
0.4
1.4
251.2
295
85.2%
12.06
8.68
12.06
9.70
5.00
8.02
3.40
6.40
0.5
1.7
298.0
350
85.1%
12.01
13.18
11.91
12.82
4.95
9.77
3.36
8.52
0.6
2.3
406.7
486
83.7%
11.96
16.8
11.96
15.66
4.92
13.40
3.41
11.78
0.8
3.0
518.9
638
81.3%
+12V Ripple: [email protected] ~ 14.1mV @ 520W

+5V Ripple: 3.2mV max @ 520W

+3.3V Ripple: 3.4mV max @ 520W
NOTE: The current and voltage for -12V and
+5VSB lines is not measured but based on switch settings of the DBS-2100
PS Loader. It is a tiny portion of the total, and potential errors arising
from inaccuracies on these lines is

OUTPUT & EFFICIENCY: Corsair HX620W











DC Output Voltage (V) + Current (A)

Total DC Output

AC Input

Calculated Efficiency
+12V1
+12V2
+5V
+3.3V
-12V
+5VSB
12.13
0.98
12.13
0
5.04
0.98
3.41
0.97
0
0.1
20.6
41.7
49.5%
12.13
0.98
12.13
1.71
5.04
0.98
3.41
0.96
0.1
0.2
43.0
66.3
64.9%
12.13
1.85
12.11
1.73
5.01
1.94
3.42
1.9
0.1
0.3
62.3
89
70.0%
12.11
1.90
12.11
3.42
5.01
2.89
3.42
1.88
0.1
0.4
88.5
116.3
76.1%
12.10
3.75
12.10
4.95
4.99
4.66
3.39
3.78
0.2
0.7
147.2
184.3
79.9%
12.07
5.61
12.10
6.67
4.98
5.53
3.38
4.63
0.3
1.1
200.7
240
83.6%
12.13
7.76
12.10
8.11
4.98
6.4
3.38
5.47
0.4
1.4
254.4
301
84.5%
12.10
8.69
12.10
9.78
4.96
8.13
3.38
6.35
0.5
1.7
299.8
354
84.7%
12.04
13.23
12.04
12.60
4.94
9.85
3.37
8.54
0.6
2.3
407.1
485
83.9%
12.00
16.8
12.00
15.58
4.92
13.46
3.35
11.85
0.8
3.0
519.1
634
81.9%
11.93
18.7
11.93
18.7
4.88
20.3
3.32
16.7
0.8
3.0
625.3
785
79.7%
Crossload Test
12.00
18.7
12.00
18.7
5.00
1.90
3.40
1.90
0.1
0.2
467.0
560
83.4
+12V Ripple: 9mV @ 150W ~ 28mV @ 467W (crossload)
+5V Ripple:10mV @ 520W ~ 28mV @ 467W (crossload)
+3.3V Ripple: 7mV @ 520W ~ 28mV @467W (crossload)
NOTE: The current and voltage for -12V and
+5VSB lines is not measured but based on switch settings of the DBS-2100
PS Loader. It is a tiny portion of the total, and potential errors arising
from inaccuracies on these lines is <1W.


OTHER DATA SUMMARY: Corsair HX520W
DC Output (W)
43.1
63.4
89.0
148.1
199.3
251.2
298.0
406.7
518.9
Intake Temp (°C)
25
25
26
25
27
27
28
36
38
Exhaust Temp (°C)
29
29
30
32
36
39
41
48
49
Temp Rise (°C)
4
4
4
7
9
12
13
12
11
Fan Voltage (V)
3.84
3.84
3.85
3.84
3.88
3.88
3.87
5.95
10.7
SPL ([email protected])
22
22
22
22
22
22
22
29
43
Power Factor
0.99
0.99
1.00
1.00
0.99
0.99
1.00
1.00
1.00

AC Power in Standby: 0.5W / 0.13 PF

AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: 11.6W / 0.81 PF
NOTE: The ambient room temperature during
testing can vary a few degrees from review to review. Please take this
into account when comparing PSU test data.

OTHER DATA SUMMARY: Corsair HX620W
Output (W)
20.6
43.0
62.3
88.5
147.2
200.7
254.4
299.8
407.1
519.1
625.3
Intake (°C)
25
25
25
26
25
27
27
28
36
38
40
Exhaust (°C)
27
29
29
30
32
36
39
40
48
49
52
Temp Rise (°C)
2
4
4
4
7
9
12
12
12
11
12
Fan (V)
3.84
3.84
3.84
3.85
3.84
3.88
3.88
3.87
5.95
10.7
10.7
SPL ([email protected])
22
22
22
22
22
22
22
22
29
43
43
Power Factor
0.93
0.98
0.99
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00

AC Power in Standby: 0.6W / 0.13 PF
AC Power with No Load, PSU power On: 15.5W / 0.77 PF
NOTE: The ambient room temperature during
testing can vary a few degrees from review to review. Please take this
into account when comparing PSU test data.

ANALYSIS

1. EFFICIENCY was very good across the board for both the 520W and 620W samples. From about 150W and up, both samples reached 80% efficiency or higher, with the peak of ~85% centered at about 300W. This is excellent performance. Below 150W, both samples dropped off, the 620W model a little quicker than the 520W, although it's hard to say whether this was a design difference or sample variance. Still, at a modest 65W load, both achieved >70% efficiency.

2. VOLTAGE REGULATION was excellent. At most loads all the voltages were just about dead on, within a minuscule 0.1V. The voltage drop at maximum load with the HX620W was only 0.07V on 12V, and 0.12V on the 5V line. The latter represents 2.4%, which excellent for the very worst single variance we saw. Even under crossloading, the voltage regulation
was excellent. (Crossloading was tested only on the HX620W; we plumb forgot to do it on the 520.)

3. RIPPLE fell well within the limits specified by the ATX standards.
The worst ripple occurred on the HX620W during crossloading, where it reached 28mv on all the lines.
To put that in perspective, the ATX12V requires +12V ripple to be below 120
mV, and below 50mV on the +5V and +3.3V.

4. POWER FACTOR was excellent thanks to the active power factor correction
circuit, staying very close to the theoretical maximum of 1.0.

5. LOW LOAD PERFORMANCE

Standby and no-load performance were both reasonably efficient, with standby
coming in well under one watt, and no-load at 11.6W and 15.5W for the two samples. Neither sample had any issues starting up with no load at all.

6. LOW AC VOLTAGE PERFORMANCE

The power supply was set to about 75% load with 120VAC through the hefty variac in the lab. The dial on the variac was then set 10V lower every 10 minutes. The Corsair PSUs are rated for operation 90~260VAC, a wider range than the usual 100~240VAC. We pushed them down to 80VAC. We also checked the efficiency at 240VAC input for the sake of readers in the EU.

Low VAC Test: Corsair HX620W @ 470W Output
VAC
AC Current
AC Power
Efficiency
+12V
+5V
+3.3V
246V
2.22A
545W
86.2%
12.11
4.93
3.40
120V
4.64A
567W
82.9%
12.11
4.93
3.40
110V
5.10A
570W
82.4%
12.11
4.93
3.40
100V
5.70A
576W
81.6%
12.11
4.93
3.40
90V
6.47A
583W
80.6%
12.11
4.93
3.40

80V

7.37A

592W

79.4%

12.11

4.92

3.40

Both samples stood up to the drops in AC voltage admirably, even when
operating at 80VAC. Neither voltage regulation
nor ripple changed measurably during the test, and efficiency dropped only marginally
under the most severe conditions. At the 246VAC available on our 240VAC line at time of testing, efficiency improved at the 75% load to 86.2% (from 82.9% for 120VAC). That's a 3.3% advantage for 240VAC users. Only the data for the HX620W is shown; the results for the 520 are essentially identical.

7. TEMPERATURE & COOLING

The cooling of the Corsair PSUs worked well, especially considering the slow speed of the fan through the lower portion of the power tests. Temperature rise remained quite low and did not reach double digits until about the 250W mark. From 250W all the way to 620W, the temperature rise stayed at about 11~12°C. These are cool running PSUs.

One word of warning: Due to recent changes in our test bench, thermal results
are not perfectly comparable to many of the earlier tests that we have done. Our new test
bench uses a larger 120mm fan that provides a more realistic simulation of the
kinds of low-noise systems that are in use today. Earlier tests used an 80mm exhaust fan which means the newer PSU cooling data may look a bit better; it may stay cooler to a higher load point.

8. FAN, FAN CONTROLLER and NOISE

Upon turn on, the PSU fan started at 3.84V. The system was audible at 1m, but very quiet and smooth.
A slight buzzing could be heard with very low 12V or +5VSB loads, but it was mild and quickly dissipated once >3A was reached on the 12V line. At 65W load, there was just a trace of buzz and at 90W, there was none.

As the load increased, the fan voltage remain unchanged in our thermal test rig all the way to about 300W output load. This was true for both samples. The upgraded 120mm fan cooling in our test rig probably helped, but 22 [email protected] at 300W load is really about as good as you can expect any PSU to do. This is extremely quiet performance, the best we've encountered from any PSU.

Beyond 300W, the fan speed and noise climbed fairly quickly, as expected from Corsair's own graphs, but even at 400W output, the overall noise was still just this side of 30 dBA. That's pretty good, even though it is too loud to be considered very quiet.

One item worthy of note: Big changes in power load seemed to trigger a very quick response in the fan speed, almost as if the fan controller was sensing current instead of just temperature. A current-based fans controller seems unlikely though. The other explanation is that the thermistor is embedded inside a semiconductor, rather than being crudely glued onto a hot spot, which allows the fan controller to be much more responsive. The quick fan slowdown was pleasant when the load was reduced from maximum to modest. At the same time, the response was not so quick as to cause an up/down yo-yo effect in noise. Besides, the fan did not change speed till the power load was so high; by then other components in your system would probably be ramping up their fans and making plenty of noise.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

Each of these recording have 10 seconds of silence to let you hear the ambient
sound of the room, followed by 10 seconds of the product's noise.

Sound Recordings of PSU Comparatives

HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

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 were made, one from a
distance of one meter, and another from one foot
away.

The one meter recording
is 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. For best results, set your volume control so that the
ambient noise is just barely audible. 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 recording is
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.

More details about how
we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio
Recording Methods Revised
.

CONCLUSIONS

The new Corsair PSUs are not only aimed at the power-demanding PC gamer, but also the growing class of quiet PC enthusiasts who also want to be able to run some seriously powerful gear. The HX620W and HX520W deliver clean, ultra-stable power under a wide range of demanding conditions. They also happen to be about the quietest fan-cooled PSUs we've tested to date, matching the best of the Seasonic S12s. They are also energy efficient, matching and even besting many of the 80 Plus certified models we've tested. The
modular sleeved cables ease the challenges of keeping the system tidy and aerodynamic for optimal airflow, which is especially important if you wish to maximize cooling with the slowest of fans for the lowest noise. To top it all off, Corsair offers a five year warranty, which is the longest for any computer power supply we know of.

Given the manufacturing source, the most obvious comparatives are the Seasonic M12-500 and M12-600 models, which have the same basic circuitry and modular cable system, and probably the same noise-conscious fan control circuitry. However, the M12s have that extra 60mm fan. Although the 60mm fan is there for good reason — to clear a hot zone that seems endemic to all 120mm fan PSUs — once they turn on, admittedly at a high power load, they do not turn off. The small degree of noise the 60mm fan adds to the M12's signature at higher loads is enough for us to favor the S12 or S12 Energy Plus series in the Seasonic line... but they lack the modular detachable cables of the M12. Which leads us back to the Corsairs: They seem just about perfect for a quiet-loving power PC user who wants to have his cake but not hear it as well.

About the only thing SPCR could ask for are a couple more lower power models for those of us who seek to make a high efficiency, quiet, yet highly capable computer. 300W would be plenty for such a PC in these days of improving CPU efficiency. Perhaps if enough users pester Corsair (and Seasonic?)...

The final words: Great job, Corsair.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended
Units


Power Distribution within Six PCs

SPCR PSU Test Rig V.4

Seasonic S12 Energy Plus 550 and 660

Seasonic M12-700

Mushkin XP-650

Silverstone Element Plus ST50EF-Plus

* * *

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