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The problem with a single PSU brand

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post #1 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I like SeaSonic. They're a good company who make solid power supplies with outstanding performance.

I like Corsair. They've had their hiccups, but they've overall been a very reliable company who's kept a high standard of quality across all their product lines.


But there's a problem in the power supply industry right now. Corsair and SeaSonic are on their way to total domination of the enthusiast power supply segment, something which will hurt the industry, and enthusiasts, in the long run. No, there's no evil plan afoot, but the market forces right now are pushing us in a very bad direction and we should take a close look at the industry and our buying habits as consumers and see if we can avoid it.


I've run several surveys over the past couple years to measure peoples' preferences and purchasing habits in regards to power supply brands and manufacturers, and I've been watching trends here on the forums for quite a while. It's pretty obvious: since 2007 Corsair has dominated the enthusiast PSU market in terms of sales of high end units, brand recognition, and has even acquired a "cult status". Starting in late 2009/early 2010 I started a campaign to try to stop Corsair from totally dominating the market, by educating people about other brands and about the fact that Corsair and most other PSU companies do not design or manufacture their own power supplies. I pointed out that Corsair PSUs are built by SeaSonic and Channel Well, and urged people to buy the available SeaSonic retail units instead of their Corsair counterparts.

The results were not very good, it turns out. "Corsair is the best" became "SeaSonic is the best", and then "Corsair is made by SeaSonic" and then "Corsair is SeaSonic, which is the best. BUY CORSAIR AND SEASONIC!"

In my last couple polls, Corsair and SeaSonic have led as the most popular power supply brands by a huge margin. In my most recent one Corsair and SeaSonic are the top picks, at a combined 64%, with the next closest follow-up, Antec, having a mere 7%.

This is dangerous, people. Already--months ago in fact--SeaSonic started raising prices to its retail partners, increasing PPU by up to 20%. This forced Antec to completely discontinue some units and reduce production of others; and forced XFX to implement cost-reduction measures on some of their power supplies (fewer cables, cheaper finish, etc.). Meanwhile Corsair sells their SeaSonic-built units at a steep premium, selling their mostly lower-end Channel Well-built units at loss leader prices to keep their market share even higher. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with these actions; they're simply intelligent business decisions in light of consumer demand. But in the long run, if these trends continue, we could be in for serious trouble as revenue decreases for all other players in the enthusiast PSU market. Without significant sales in that area there's little incentive to develop new designs and technologies for enthusiast PSUs. With the high-end market monopolized by Corsair and SeaSonic, other brands may be forced to focus on lower-end budget units; except with the Corsair CX series being sold at essentially cost, and without sales in the high-end market to compensate, the other brands will be in serious trouble. They might have to lower quality on their budget units to compete with the CX series on price while still making money.



I'm not saying to stop buying Corsair and SeaSonic PSUs entirely. That would be silly, and they don't deserve that treatment. But don't just use them as the default. Look at all your options. Antec has some very nice units, Thermaltake is releasing some nice products these days, there are a host of excellent 80+ Gold SuperFlower built units on the market sold under the Kingwin, NZXT, and Rosewill brands, XFX is a good source of SeaSonic-built products that aren't under the Corsair name. Even CoolerMaster is starting to introduce better units, although they should still be treated with skepticism at this point. Do comparative shopping. Rather than spend $200 on a Corsair AX or SeaSonic X unit, look at other alternatives from other companies that may save you money.

Just don't settle for Corsair or SeaSonic as a default. The consequences could be dire in the long run.

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post #3 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 09:54 PM
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I agree! I chose to go with Enermax because my corsair ax850 had problems tongue.gif

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post #4 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 09:54 PM
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Nice read. I too have seen the trend in people automatically praising Corsair and Sea Sonic, with Corsair being the more popular out of the two. I couldn't agree with you more with future buyers looking into other brands/companies that have comparable units in terms of quality and features, plus it saves the said buyer some money! thumb.gif



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post #5 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 2slick4u View Post

I agree! I chose to go with Enermax because my corsair ax850 had problems tongue.gif

Only thing with Enermax is that you have to be wary of some of their lower-end units. Although Enermax manufacture many of their power supplies themselves, many of their lower-end units (for instance NAXN) are manufactured by Channel Well. Currently their NAXN 80+ and NAXN 80+ Bronze units are Channel Well DSA and DSAII units (on low wattage at least) with relatively low +12V wattage, average/mediocre construction, and average performance, and usually for a higher price than the Corsair CX units. Not *bad* by any means, but not great value what with Corsair CX, Antec NeoECO and Basiq and Earthwatts, Rosewill Green and Hive, and CoolerMaster GX450/550 available. Also, original NAXN units <500W, which are still sometimes sold, were CWT PUF units, which were overrated garbage. PUF = poof (magic smoke).

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post #6 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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I like it, but the end sentence makes you sound like an end of the world Mayan.
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post #7 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ScribbyDaGreat View Post

I like it, but the end sentence makes you sound like an end of the world Mayan.

lol, conspiracies.




Here's an analogy. Remember the American car market in the 1950/60s? Now imagine it in the 1980s, right before the Japanese import market really smashed them to pieces. That's the type of situation we might be headed for in the next decade, with consolidation and a nascent oligopoly. Except there won't be any Japanese brands coming out of the blue to compete with the established names, so we'll just be stuck in a cycle of low competition and high prices.

Burning books is like burning bras; after the adrenaline rush of the symbolic moment wears off all you're left with is a pile of ashes and unsupported boobs.
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post #8 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 10:13 PM
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Point taken. I've never owned a corsair. I either go enermax or antec. Gotta love antec's "booger" green earthwatts wink.gif



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post #9 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 10:13 PM
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I bought the Enermax Maxrevo. When I asked in the forums about power supplies what I heard consistently was go with Corsair.

I went out and did my homework, looked at multiple reviews, read the single rail versus multirail document etc...

The final 3 choices were the Maxrevo, The Corsair Ax1200 and the Thermaltake ToughPower 1350.

I think I made a solid choice that will last me many years. I have no regrets in going with Enermax.


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post #10 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 10:20 PM
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Don't blame me. I have an Enermax Evo 1250w and will continue to support Enermax and buy the Enermax Platimax 1500 on my next build.

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