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Corsair AX860i Digital ATX Platinum Power Supply Review

Manufacturer: Corsair

Efficiency, Differential Temperature and Noise

Efficiency

The overall efficiency of a power supply is very important.  The less waste heat generated the better.  Efficiency is defined by the power output divided by the power input and is usually expressed as a percentage.  If a PSU were a 100% efficient (which none are) 860 watts of AC power going in would result in 860 watts of DC power coming out (with no waste heat to dissipate).  In the real world there are always inefficiencies and power is lost in the form of heat during the conversion process. Newer revisions to the ATX12V Power Supply Design Guide V 2.2 have continued to increase the efficiency recommendations for PC switching mode power supplies and now lists both required and recommended minimum efficiencies.

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We measured the AC power input to the Corsair AX860i Digital PSU with the Extech power analyzer while the total DC load was found by adding all the individual +3.3V, +5V, +12V, -12V and +5VSB loads together. 

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The overall efficiency of the AX860i Digital power supply is excellent and complies with the 80 Plus Platinum criteria even when operating at elevated temperatures. 

80 Plus Program

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Note 1: Power Factor =0.90 (50% to 100% Load)
Note 2: Tests conducted at room temperature (25°C)

Differential Temperature and Noise Levels

To simulate real world operation, some of the warm exhaust air from the PSU under test is recirculated back to the intake through a passive air duct, which allows the PSU air inlet temperature to increase with load, just like it would in a real PC. 

The differential temperature across the power supply was calculated by subtracting the internal case air temperature (T in) from the temperature of the warm exhaust air flowing out the back of the power supply (T out). 

Thermocouples were placed at the air inlet and exhaust outlet. The ambient room air temperature was 23ºC (74ºF) +/- 0.5ºC during testing.

T out = temperature of air exhausting from power supply
T in = temperature of air entering power supply
Delta T = T out - T in

Sound pressure level readings were taken 3’ away from the rear of the PSU in an otherwise quiet room.  The ambient noise level was ~27 dBA. 

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*Fan not running 

Below ~200W output and with a relatively cool ambient inlet air temperature, the Corsair AX860i Digital PSU is silent as the fan does not even turn on.  Above 30% load the fan starts to spin and slowly speeds up as the load increases. At 50% load the fan is still very quiet. Having high efficiency helps with less waste heat to dissipate. Alternate fan speed profiles are also available through the Corsair Link software if you want to customize the fan speed settings.

Note: I was not able to take SPL readings at the higher loads due to all the programmable DC load cooling fans running in the background.   

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(Corsair AX860i Fan Noise - Courtesy of Corsair)
 

December 16, 2012 | 03:14 PM - Posted by BetoAnonymous (not verified)

I wonder if Ron Holt would have ever imagine such awesomeness.

December 18, 2012 | 08:06 AM - Posted by Hood (not verified)

I wonder that nobody thought of PSU monitoring software before this; after all, the least a computer should be able to do is monitor itself, and user control of the power supply is a no-brainer. Kudos to Corsair for taking this bold step, which is kind of a gamble given the price range and state of the world economy. I think the "i" series will be a runaway best seller, despite the high price tag. Same for the "i" series of liquid CPU coolers. Enthusiasts love anything that gives them more info, control, or both, and Corsair has been delivering nicely.

December 28, 2012 | 10:00 PM - Posted by WillRock (not verified)

Gigabyte has thought of PSU monitoring software years ago, so did nVidia with ESA supportive PSU's.

The "i" series won't be the runaway best seller. How many people shell out $250 for a 860W unit like seriously?

Most people are after bang for the buck, which is what this unit definately is not.

February 22, 2013 | 07:45 AM - Posted by FearTec (not verified)

WillRock

I have one on the way to replace my Silverstone ST65ZF.

Silence and dual/tri SLI 680 will be awesome.

March 20, 2014 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I bought one and it failed to self test. First time I've spent such an amount of a PSU thinking I was getting quality and all I've got is something they couldn't be bothered to QC before leaving the factory. Very disappointed, not buying anything from Corsair ever again.

January 9, 2013 | 06:41 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

One thing "i" version is worse at than non "i" version, is having lower quality fan. AX860 non "i" has San Ace fan - generally regarded as higher quality than Yate Loons. One can argue it doesn't matter with semi passive mode in place, but it still looks out of place to have lower end fan on a supposedly premium unit.

November 28, 2013 | 06:17 PM - Posted by the pirate bay.apk (not verified)

The two murdered troopers, Power and Cahill, were men from good Irish families.
Not only does a digger realize that it's very possible
he might discover a lots of gold with little or no
trouble, but, worse still, he knows he might work very, very
hard without getting any gold at all. Juni, als Bombenanschläge in
Kathmandu und anderen Städten Nepals acht Tote und 22 Verletzte forderten.

February 22, 2013 | 12:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does anyone know if you have to use Corsair Link in order for this PSU to work?

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