Sunday, June 10, 2012

Corsair TX650W ATX12V Power supply for Gaming - Review

Corsair doesn't have to be introduced as a power supply brand any more, as they've made such a splash since first entering this market in 2006 with the modular cable HX series. In 2007, they introduced four more power supply models: The VX450 and VX550, followed by the TX650 and TX750. All of these have non-detachable cables. We reviewed the VX450 not long ago, and gave it two thumbs up: It's another high quality, quiet PSU made for Corsair, again, by Seasonic. Interestingly, the TX650 is also made by Seasonic, but the VX550 and TX750 are both made by Channel Well. It's not clear why different suppliers were used for these various models.

The TX650W reflects the escalating power trend among enthusiast computer users, driven mostly by power-hungry graphics cards. Its 650W rating is considered mid-range by extreme gamers today. Interestingly, Corsair's marketing makes a big deal about the unit's single 12V line, in contrast to so many other brands which tout multiple 12V lines. As with all the Corsair power supplies introduced in 2007, the TX650 is 80 Plus certified, which assures 80% or higher efficiency from 20% load on up to full power. The packaging is similar to the HX and VX series, with a classy, understated look. The TX750 differs visibly in that it has a 140mm fan instead of the other VX and TX models' more common 120mm fan.

Classy understated retail package.

Inside, the PSU is cradled in a cloth drawstring bag lined with bubble-plastic. A user's manual, screws, plastic cable straps, AC cable and a detailed reviewer's guide completed the sample package. (Note: TX750W shown; TX650W pacakage is identical.)

Corsair TX650W Feature Highlights (from the Corsair web site)
Supports the latest ATX12V v2.2 standard and is backwards compatible with ATX12V 2.01 systems.
Fairly standard for a high end PSU.
Ultra-quiet 120mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow All three Corsair models tested so far have delivered on this promise.
80%+ energy efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% load condition for less heat generation and lower energy bill
Standard for any 80 Plus PSU.
Active Power Factor Correction with PF value=0.99 provides clean and reliable power to your system. >0.9 PC is required by 80 Plus; Active correction is the only way to achieve it.
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.
Dedicated single +12V rail offers maximum compatibility with latest components. Straight-up honesty as with the VX series.
High quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability.
To assure savvy buyers who may be aware of the bad cap fiasco that's plagued China-made electronics for some years.
NVIDIA SLI™-ready certified. Maybe a good assurance for gamers... but a PSU not certified by nVidia doesn't mean it can't do SLI.
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.
Size: 5.9"(W) x 3.4"(H) X 5.5"(L)
150mm(W) x 86mm(H) x 150mm(L)
Modestly sized is better than oversized.
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 with 24/7 support. Very nice.

AC Input
90-264VAC, 5-9A, 47-63Hz
DC Output
Maximum Output Current
Maximum Combined

As with their other PSUs, Corsair provides two graphs that show noise and efficiency curves with a high degree of resolution. Most similar data presented in marketing materials don't really tell much; these are much better than usual.
The noise curve above show a steady noise level of around 21 dBA (at 1m, presumably), and a hinge starting at 325W, at which point the noise rises fairly quickly. We have to assume 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, not actual power output. Ambient temperature during the test has a strong impact on noise behavior, but this data is not provided.
The efficiency curves shown above are also very detailed and show a realistic midrange peak with falloff at either extremes. The 2~4 percentage point advantage in efficiency at 230VAC jibes perfectly well with our own comparison tests of PSU efficiency at 120 VAC versus 240 VAC.

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