Corsair AX 1200w ATX PSU Review
Cables & Connectors
As you've probably guessed from the picture at the top of every page, the AX1200 is FULLY MODULAR! Very few manufacturers have managed to pull this off in the past with models from Silverstone and ULTRA receiving mixed press on the effectiveness of the connectors. Why Corsair had the sudden change of heart and decided to go fully modular for the AX series I'm not sure. After all, if you're planning to use the AX1200 as part of a 'normal' PC system you'll be needing the ATX connector at the very least anyway!
Corsair have, however, instantly improved on the fully modular design used by their competitors. Rather than the main ATX cable being a large 24-Pin connector, Corsair have split it into two connectors (10-Pin and 14-Pin) to help increase the strength of the mating and prevent situations when the pins at the edge of the connector lose contact due to the cable being bent at a tight angle.
Additionally, the whole modular experience has been simplified by splitting the connectors into two groups: Peripheral & SATA and PCI-E & CPU. Basically anything that runs on only 12v (Graphics Cards, Motherboard EPS) goes in one of the eight available 8-Pin connectors, while any other devices that make use of 3.3v/5v (Hard Disks, DVD..etc) go in any one of the six available 6-Pin connectors. Simples!
Plugging as many cables into the unit as possible leaves you with two unused modular cables. Obviously depending on whether your system uses more SATA or Molex connectors you can decide which ones exclude. Regardless of the combination you certainly won't find yourself short of connectors though with the AX1200 having a total of 16 SATA and 12 Molex connectors.
|Corsair AX1200 Connectors|
|ATX Connector||Modular ||1x 20+4 Pin|
|EPS-12v / P4-12v Connector(s)||Modular ||2x 4+4 Pin|
|Floppy Disk Connectors||Modular||2x|
|PCI-E Connectors||Modular||6x 6+2 Pin|
Much to my relief Corsair have stuck with the flat 'ribbon-style' modular SATA/Molex cables that have been made popular by their HX series. These have a much better bend radius than traditional 'bunched' cables in sleeving with the only slight downside being that they only bend in two directions. However, due to the sheer number of cables needed for EPS and ATX modular cables, Corsair has reverted to sleeving in order to keep them looking tidy. But fear not, there's no ugly rainbow coloured wires anywhere to be seen - so if you're not a sleeving fan, you can happily cut the sleeving off and keep the black wires bunched together using zip ties instead.
Now for the good stuff, and ooh-err this is just a tad different to any other PSU I've seen in the past. It's not a Seasonic, it's not a CWT, it's not a Delta. Could this mean that Corsair really have specc'd this unit from the ground up themselves? Time to put the cameras lens protector on so I can push it right up against some of these tasty looking components..
First things first, the insides of the unit are more tidy than a female porn stars rhododendron. Everything is perfectly positioned and there's absolutely no cables trailing across the internals or any of that sticky white...glue used to keep components from touching. While this accounts for little in the performance side of things, it does go to show that Corsair have put a lot of thought into the cooling pattern of the fan.
The AC receptacle at the rear of the unit features a built-in filter that should remove any transients coming in from the mains power line. This also serves as barrier for any noise produced by the transistors inside the PSU from returning back out to mains supply where it may cause interference on other electronic devices. The two main transformers for the unit are rather strange looking fellows too, but are actually part of the +12v VRM.
The 3.3v and +5v VRM's appear to sit at opposite sides of the PSU and each have a collection of solid state caps. Also pictured in the image on the right is the PCB responsible for a large part of the AX1200's safety features - namely OVP, UVP, OCP...etc.
The caps on the primary side of the unit are manufactured by Japanese company Nichicon and carry the specs of 470uF / 420v / 105°C. Interestingly over on the secondary side of the unit Corsair has switched to another Japanese manufacturer, Rubycon, for filtering the 12v output.
See those big 12 gauge wires? Well that's where the massive 100A 12v current is distributed to all of the modular connectors at the front of the PSU. Rather than using a standard traces design with the several wires soldered to the back of the PCB, Corsair have opted for solid metal rails that run along the top and down between each of the connectors. This is not only more efficient (as thick lumps of metal tend not to heat up as much as solder traces), but it also means that a considerable amount of amperage can be delivered to connectors that are in close proximity to each other.
Normally at this point I'd show you some pictures of the fan used to keep this beasty cool, but unfortunately I forgot to snap any shots *blushes*. Anyway, I can tell you that the fan is a Yate Loon D14BH-12 with the specs being available here.
Now to put the AX1200 through hell....