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"LE GASP!" you exclaim in broken French. "Sacre bleu! Vous insultez le Corsaire?" Yes! Er. No. What?

In my Thermaltake and CoolerMaster threads I pointed out the low-end trash that these companies stock alongside their quality units, and explained why care should be taken to specify which units are worth considering, and which are junk. This is a little different, because Corsair doesn't do that. Instead I'd like to set the record straight: who makes what, what's better than what, why Corsair is NOT always the BEST choice.

Corsair is a relatively new power supply brand, arriving on the scene only two or three years ago (they were and are a popular memory brand prior to that). Their astonishing rise in popularity in such a short time is due to the profusion of high-quality power supplies they deliver, the inclusion of their PSUs on many popular review sites, word of mouth, and keeping at least twenty of their PSUs in sight at all times in every Fry's and Microcenter in the US. They've earned a reputation as being reliable and high-quality, with a dedicated fanbase whose automatic recommendation for any power supply is, "Get a Corsair, they're the best."

Corsair's power supplies are made by two companies: SeaSonic and Channel Well Tech (CWT). SeaSonic was a major supplier of high-quality server PSUs for many years before entering the consumer market. Their designs are found in dozens of power supplies sold by as many companies, and their retail units are often among the best in their class. CWT is a company with a more troubled history, that had a marred reputation prior to its partnership with Corsair. CWT now produces mostly high-quality power supplies with only a few low-end units made for other companies such as Thermaltake.

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CX series (original)
Cheap, budget-oriented units. Fixed cables, rated at 40C, mixed Japanese and Taiwanese caps, 80+, 3 year warranty.

CX400 - SeaSonic S12II (SS-***ES)

CX (v1) "Builder" series
Very cheap, budget-oriented units. Fixed cables, rated at 30C, mixed Taiwanese and Chinese caps, non-80+, 2 year warranty.

CX430 - CWT DSA-II (Note: unit is overrated, actually 380W)
CX500 - CWT DSA-II
CX600 - CWT DSA-II

CXv2 "Builder" series
Cheap, budget-oriented units. Fixed cables, rated at 30C, mixed Taiwanese and Chinese caps, 80+, 3 year warranty. Same as CXv1 but with upgraded switching components and +12V rectifiers.

CX430v2 - CWT DSA-II
CX500v2 - CWT DSA-II
CX600v2 - CWT DSA-II

GS series
"Gamer series", fixed cables, blue/red/white LED fan, rated at 40C, mixed Japanese and Taiwanese caps, 80+, 3 year warranty.

GS500 - CWT DSA-III
GS600 - CWT PSH-II
GS700 - CWT PSH-II
GS800 - CWT PSH-II

VX series
Enthusiast mid-range units, fixed cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+, 5 year warranty. Corsair reps have stated that this is basically a low-wattage extension of the TX line and should have been labeled as such.

VX450 - SeaSonic S12II (SS-***ES)
VX550 - CWT PSH

TX series (original)
Enthusiast mid-range units, fixed cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+ or 80+ bronze, 5 year warranty.

TX650 - SeaSonic S12
TX750 - CWT PSH
TX850 - CWT PSH
TX950 - CWT DSG

TX series (stop-gap)
Enthusiast mid-range units, fixed cables, rated at 40C, Japanese caps, 80+, 5 year warranty. These power supplies replaced the original TX line in approx. Q3 2010. They perform slightly better, but there are questions about build quality.

TX650-C - CWT PSH-II
TX750-C - CWT PSH-II
TX850-C - CWT PSH-II

(Some reports of alternate variations, unconfirmed)

TX v2 series
Upper-mid-range enthusiast units, fixed cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+ Bronze, 5 year warranty

TX650v2 - SeaSonic S12II (SS-***AT)
TX750v2 - SeaSonic S12II (SS-***AT)
TX850v2 - SeaSonic S12II (SS-***AT)

TXM series
Upper-mid-range enthusiast units, modular cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+ Bronze, 5 year warranty

TX550M - CWT PSH-III
TX650M - CWT PSH-III
TX750M - CWT PSH-III
TX850M - CWT PSH-III

HX (original) series
Mid-range enthusiast units, modular cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+, 5 year warranty.

HX520 - SeaSonic S12
HX620 - SeaSonic S12
HX1000 - CWT PUC

HX (new) series
High-end enthusiast units, modular cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+ bronze or silver, 7 year warranty.

HX450 - SeaSonic S12II (SS-***ES)
HX650 - SeaSonic S12E
HX750 - CWT DSG
HX850 - CWT DSG
HX1050 - CWT DSG

AX series
High-end enthusiast units, fully modular cables, rated at 50C, Japanese caps, 80+ gold, 7 year warranty

AX650 - SeaSonic X (v2)
AX750 - SeaSonic X (v2)
AX850 - SeaSonic X (v2)
AX1200 - Flextronics, custom

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The S12II (SS-***ES) units (CX400/VX450/HX450) are mid-range low-wattage group-regulated units with decent performance. However, they're a bit pricey for what you get; unless you get a good deal I'd usually recommend the OCZ StealthXStream 400W instead.

The S12 units (HX520/HX620/TX650) are mid-range indy-regulated units. They're solid performers, but nothing spectacular. If you can get them for under $100 I'd consider them a good deal, but otherwise at the moment the SeaSonic S12II/M12II 520W/620W, or Antec True Power New units are a better value.

The S12E-based HX650W is basically just a refresh of the TX650W that gets better efficiency and marginally improved ripple suppression.

The S12II (SS-***AT) units are a completely different design from those found in the SS-***ES series. They're higher wattage and incorporate a DC-DC secondary. They're upper-midrange designs and usually a good value proposition.

The PSH units (VX550/TX750/TX850) are also solidly mid-range. The 750W and 850W are at the maximum of what the PSH platform can provide, and so their performance is less than stellar, especially when it comes to +12V ripple. The VX550 is outclassed by cheaper power supplies, and the TX750 and TX850 aren't usually good bang/buck either, though they are fairly reliable.

The PSH-II platform is a modification of PSH to decrease the cost of manufacture and materials. Performance is usually slightly improved and build quality is similar, although a few small corners were cut.

The PSH-III is an advancement of the PSH-II design which adds DC-DC rectification to the secondary for the minor rails. This design was first used in the Corsair TX-M series.

The PUC unit (HX1000W) is an average-performing 1000W, and is quite frankly grossly overpriced. I really wouldn't touch it at the moment unless they can bring the price down to about $180 at most.

The DSG series vary a bit depending on how much Corsair is paying for them. The 80+ Bronze version used in the TXM series and HX1050 are very good units, but not top tier. The 80+ Silver version used in the HX750 and HX850 are very high end, beating out even the SeaSonic X platform in some tests.

The SeaSonic X based units (AX750, AX850)

The AX1200 is a completely custom, in-house design by Corsair that is manufactured by Flextronics. It has superb ripple suppression and voltage stability, and falls centimeters short of the 80+ Platinum rating. This is undoubtedly one of the best power supplies on the market; however, it will meet stiff competition with the SeaSonic X1200 and Antec High Current 1200W.

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All of these power supplies are quite good and I would recommend any of them. However they are not perfect. The Corsair TX750W and TX850W have an issue with high electrical noise and ripple on the +12V rail when working at full load (http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/505/7). It isn't high enough to be dangerous, but it is disappointing compared to other units in their class.

Also, most of these power supplies are older designs, some of them from when the initial launch. The HX520W and HX620W, while top-end units in their day, are by today's standards merely very good. They've been discontinued, and the HX620W replaced by the HX650W (based on a tweaked S12D platform now sold by SeaSonic as S12E 650W). The TX650-850 have relatively low efficiency compared to some new contenders in their price range such as the SeaSonic S12D/E units and the Antec True Power New (also made by SeaSonic). The HX1000W, while a solid unit, is also lagging behind when it comes to efficiency, and many are choosing to move to 1000-1200W units from brands like CoolerMaster and Silverstone. Corsair's units are also relatively high-priced, making them a difficult choice for those on a budget.

Clearly Corsair is not always the best. However, sometimes they are. The HX850W is arguably among the best 850W power supplies on the market, at least for under $200. The low-priced TX950W probably provides the best cost/benefit ratio for those who need a ~1000W PSU and don't need modular cables. The HX650W is probably the best modular 650W PSU at its price point. The new AX series in particular looks to set a new bar for performance and efficiency.

So sometimes Corsair is the best. But sometimes they aren't. However, I think I can say without hesitation that Corsair is one of my favorite power supply brands. Why is that? With brands like Thermaltake and CoolerMaster I have to qualify recommendations: "The ***** are quite good, but stay away from *****". Even with brands like Antec there are some less than stellar units in their lineup. With Corsair I can point at any PSU they make and say, "It's a good one." I can safely list Corsair as a recommended brand without any hesitation or qualification, because they have not and do not make a single bad power supply. And that's a good thing to be able to say.

Further Reading
 

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The Fabricat0r
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Quote:
the HX620W replaced by the HX650W (based on a tweaked S12D platform now sold by SeaSonic as S12E 650W)
The hx520/hx620/tx650 are based on the original M12-600/700W design. The hx650 is the same design as the S12E-650 and the 80plus Bronze versions of the 520/620W S12II/M12II. All of those are based on the same design using the UCC28515 PFC/PWM controller with the more efficient units having a couple different components to boost efficiency. The S12D/M12D is a completely different design.

/pedant
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shinji2k View Post
The hx520/hx620/tx650 are based on the original M12-600/700W design. The hx650 is the same design as the S12E-650 and the 80plus Bronze versions of the 520/620W S12II/M12II. All of those are based on the same design using the UCC28515 PFC/PWM controller with the more efficient units having a couple different components to boost efficiency. The S12D/M12D is a completely different design.

/pedant




Bump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Great article. I just moved up from an HX620 to an HX1000 and I was sad that the HX1000 feels like it's lower quality. The voltages and ripple isn't as tight as the HX620 when I measured it with my Fluke 70III and HP 54601A.

HX1000 is still a pretty good PSU but I do feel that I overpaid for the Corsair name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unleash The Beast View Post
So the ones made by seasonic are the better ones?
Not necessarily. The two "best" ones are the CWT-made HX750W and HX850W, and the TX950W (also CWT).

The SeaSonic ones up to 450W are all their low-end group regulated design; the HX520W, HX620W, TX650W, and HX650W are all M12 or derivatives and are mid-range.

So the CWT ones range from mid-range to high-end, vs the SeaSonic low-end to mid-range. However, the SeaSonic ones seem to have a lower DOA rate from what I've seen.

So basically, don't worry about the OEM too much, they're all quality units.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not a Corsair. SeaSonic M12II 620W would be my pick in that category, followed by the Antec True Power New 650W and SeaSonic S12II 620W, then the Corsair HX650W.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post
Not a Corsair. SeaSonic M12II 620W would be my pick in that category, followed by the Antec True Power New 650W and SeaSonic S12II 620W, then the Corsair HX650W.
Well all of those psu are really out of my budget. I'm only buying a new psu because of your review on coolermaster psu's( see sig). I want to spend about $60 for a 500 watt+ psu. Any recommendations in that range?

Edit: I found this, is it any good?
http://www.frys.com/product/5019175?...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Unleash The Beast View Post
Well all of those psu are really out of my budget. I'm only buying a new psu because of your review on coolermaster psu's( see sig). I want to spend about $60 for a 500 watt+ psu. Any recommendations in that range?

Edit: I found this, is it any good?
http://www.frys.com/product/5019175?...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG
It's one of the best examples of the FSP Epsilon design. It's an above average performer and the price is pretty good. There are better ~600W PSUs but not for anywhere near that price, plus it is modular. If you looked around you could probably find something like an OCZ ModXPro 600W for around that price with a rebate, but you would be taking a slight step down in quality. That is a great price if you can get ahold of one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not horrible. See if you can wangle it down a bit further.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129
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Not horrible. See if you can wangle it down a bit further.

He is firm at $60. I asked for $55 and he said no because of shipping costs. And if I ever need to RMA this psu will I need to give proof of purchase?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes, you need original proof of purchase. The warranty is not, to my knowledge, transferable.
 

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