Corsair AX1200 Power Supply Review

5. Power Supply Testing Methodology7. Conclusion


Corsair AX1200 Power Supply Review

Corsair AX1200 PSU Testing Results


Corsair AX1200 Testing Results
  300W 600W 900W 1200W
3.3V 3.35V 3.33V 3.31V 3.29V
5V 5.02V 4.99V 4.95V 4.93V
12V 12.06V 12.00V 11.94V 11.92V
 
Efficiency 89.5% 92.4% 91.3% 90.1%
 
Noise Level
(PSU Only)
35.1dBA 38.4dBA 44.0dBA 44.6dBA
 
Ambient Temp 22.0°C 22.0°C 22.0°C 22.0°C
Exhaust Temp 28.6°C 29.4°C 34.5°C 36.8°C

Oscilloscope AC Ripple (mV p-p) +3.3 +5 +12
1200W 11 10 15

In our first set of results, shown above, we look at the performance of the AX1200 when using our various testing tools to run the PSU in a controlled environment. Looking first to the 12V, 3.3V and 5V performance we see a unit which supplies excellent readings across the board. As we hit the various power levels the readings do fall slightly but are at the top end of the industry specification. AC ripple is also minimal, the standard for the industry states no more than 50mV on 3.3/5V and 120mV on 12V, Corsair are well within specification at 11/10 and 15mV.

Efficiency is another strong point; the Gold Certification means that the PSU has to achieve 87% efficiency at 100%. It does this with ease but more importantly at 50% load, a level more consumers will regularly hit, we see the AX1200 exceed the 90% requirement by 2.4%.

Noise levels also impress on the AX1200 with a maximum noise level of 44.6dBA, 5dBA below a Radeon 5870 graphics card and nearly 10dBA below the standard GTX 480.

Finally we have exhaust temperature. The results produced by our AX1200 were fantastic, some of the best we have ever seen and in addition to a low temperature at 100% load it was interesting to note that by placing our hand beside the exhaust we were able to feel that this unit exhausts significantly more air than competing models.

Lower is Better Noise
(dBA)
Exhaust Temp (°C) Minimum Power Maximum Power
AX1200 Idle 50.8 24.3 197 N/A
AX1200 Load 54.3 29.9 N/A 861
BFG EX-1200 Idle 48.9 43.2 211 N/A
BFG EX-1200 Load 56.5 46.5 N/A 879

So, what do these excellent controlled results mean in a real world environment? To show this we take two steps. The first is to build a system which is appropriate to the PSU’s target market. In the case of the AX1200 we assembled the following components:

Intel Core i7-980X CPU (Overclocked to 4.2GHz)
Corsair H50 CPU Cooler
Gigabyte X58A-UD9 Motherboard
6x 2GB Corsair Dominator GT DDR3-1866
2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 SLI OC (755/965) Featuring CoolIT OMNI cooling
1x Corsair F100 SSD
2x WD VelociRaptor SATA Drives
Sony BDU-X10S Blu-Ray Drive

This creates the basis for a high end, enthusiast system with significant power use. Added to this we have 4x 12cm case fans and various USB devices (keyboard, mouse, Wireless-N) which draw additional current. The most significant being the Razer Megalodon headset with built in USB soundcard.

With the system set-up we then test noise, exhaust temperature and min/max power use on the AX1200 and a comparable model from 12 months ago in real world use.

In this test we really get to see what the AX1200 can do for an end user. Corsair’s model drops the exhaust temperature by a huge amount, 17°C at load, with lower noise level coming from the system. Then, looking at the power use at the wall we have the Corsair system requiring 14W less to power the system at idle, 18W less at load. That would benefit the end user in terms of energy bills and is entirely down to the high efficiency design.

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