Tom's Hardware's 2010 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders

Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series AX1200

www.corsair.com
$300
By: Andy Patrizio

Even as hardware vendors strive to reduce power consumption in their components, hobbyists find just as many ways to draw more juice from their systems. The latest generation of video cards, even on their own, demand serious power, especially from the +12 V rail (Nvidia rates the GeForce GTX 480 at an astounding 250 W per card; just imagine SLI with two or three cards). Add in the needs of flagship CPUs, multi-drive storage arrays, and multiple gigs of memory. It all adds up.

Not only do you need reliable power delivery, but you need efficiency, converting as much AC power into DC as possible, minimizing heat in the process. The PSU vendors have been as green-minded as the rest of the industry, and are making an increased effort to improve the efficiency of their products. Organizations like 80 PLUS give them a marketing tool to brag about products that fare particularly well in testing.

Corsair's Professional Series Gold AX1200 earns an 80 PLUS Gold designator for its efficiency. The company claims that much of the technology in this 1200 W PSU comes the server world, where steady performance and reliability are a must for 24/7 uptime. The AX1200 promises 90 percent power efficiency at 50 percent load, and at least 87 percent efficiency from 20 to 100 percent load. Technically, that could help save money on your power bill, but when you consider this unit's peak output, the idea of saving money on power is somewhat comical.

Perhaps the best reason for an enthusiast to drool over Corsair's AX1200 is the fact that the PSU delivers 100 amps through its single +12 V rail. That's more than enough for a Core i7-980X and four GeForce GTX 580s in SLI. The power supply also features over-voltage and over-current protection, under-voltage protection, and short circuit protection, just as we'd expect.

Power users attempting to avoid a rat's nest of cables inside their meticulously-managed chassis (and aren't we all trying to keep things neat?) will enjoy that the AX1200's cables are all detachable. So, you can remove all of them to get the PSU installed in your case, and then add them as needed for your devices.

One of the most telling specifications for any product is its warranty--the period of time a vendor is willing to support your purchase, even after they already have your money. The Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 has seven years of coverage and customer support via telephone, e-mail, forum, and the company's tech support express helpdesk. Do you think Corsair is confident that this will be a trouble-free power supply? We'd think so. You may pay more upfront for the max load, large +12 V rail, and super-efficient design. But in a build full of high-end hardware, you get what you pay for. The AX1200 comes as close to sexy as a power supply can get.

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    Top Comments
  • alexttlyrocks
    I'm only reading this article to look at the chicks
    16
  • LuckyDucky7
    Alternative title:
    Gift Guide Part 1, for Deep Pockets :)
    10
  • Other Comments
  • alexttlyrocks
    I'm only reading this article to look at the chicks
    16
  • rohitbaran
    ^ Keep reading!
    8
  • dogman_1234
    Wait until SB and BD.
    4
  • Anonymous
    Radeon 6870 girl ... someone forgot to photoshop her ^^
    1
  • LuckyDucky7
    Alternative title:
    Gift Guide Part 1, for Deep Pockets :)
    10
  • squanto
    scroll...picture....next...scroll..picture...
    5
  • cangelini
    LuckyDucky7Alternative title:Gift Guide Part 1, for Deep Pockets


    Phenom II for under $100? You must have those pockets that are sewn shut at the top, for decoration! =)
    2
  • Bluescreendeath
    girls > computer parts that we already know about
    5
  • Silmarunya
    Nice review, but I'd have liked to see advice for different budgets. For example, you could recommend a budget, mid range and high end product. For example, I'm currently in the market for a discrete sound card, but don't such an expensive one. On the other hand, I wouldn't be satisfied with a Phenom II X2. It's still a great article, mind you, but it'd have been nice to see some love for every end of the market.
    1
  • Onus
    ntrRadeon 6870 girl ... someone forgot to photoshop her ^^

    No, it's the taint that a Diamond product radiates. They're #2 on my personal "Do not buy" list, right after Belkin.
    1
  • garyshome
    The ps costs as much as the cpu and mb? So much for the budget.
    0
  • sandmanwn
    Quote:
    Ed: You'll have to pardon this little gem missing out on the gift guide photo shoot.

    Off with his head!!!
    1
  • nevertell
    The phenom II x2 555 is some of the BEST bang for the buck. I dropped it in my build, got a quad core running at 3,6 ghz for about 25 $ per core, and I didn't even have to disable any of the powersaving features or anything actually to get it working like this.
    1
  • mi1ez
    Why the hell does the US site work fine and the UK site have it'ss CSS in a twist?
    0
  • tony singh
    Some one gift me please....:)
    1
  • cknobman
    I have no clue what products Toms is actually recommending here, too busy looking and the beautiful product modelers and not the actual products!!!
    1
  • fausto
    Toms needs to spend more money on the holiday Models department. seen much better chicks at Quakecon 2008. No offense to the ladies but some of you are not booth babe material
    -1
  • ta152h
    Bluescreendeathgirls > computer parts that we already know about


    If you're that desperate to see pictures of girls, you're probably right; you must know computer parts better than girls.

    It's pretty sad when pictures of girls gets so much of a reaction. I swear if you get out of the house, you'll actually see them in real life. I'm not lying. You can even say "Hi" to them, and they'll probably even give you a response. I know it sounds far fetched, but I'm really confident about this, so just trust me.
    0
  • ta152h
    faustoToms needs to spend more money on the holiday Models department. seen much better chicks at Quakecon 2008. No offense to the ladies but some of you are not booth babe material


    The pathetic part is, how it's still getting these desperate guys worked up.

    Some of the pictures are just bad too, like the one with the Radeon.
    -4
  • accolite
    TA152H, I'm not desperate... I'm married, but I enjoy a good looking woman more than looking at some hardware components after all we are guys! If you don't your probably a woman yourself or a homo!
    4