Cooler Master MasterWatt Maker 1200 PSU Review

Cooler Master finally released its MasterWatt Maker PSU, which was designed for true enthusiasts. Sporting Titanium-class efficiency, a digital interface, and other exotic features, we didn't expect an affordable price. But $450 looks insane!

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Pros, Cons & Final Verdict

Cooler Master took its time developing the MasterWatt Maker 1200, but our evaluation shows it's not up to the level we were expecting. Given its price tag, this unit should be on par with Corsair's flagship AX1500i. That's not the case, though. Corsair offers more power, higher performance, and a lower price tag. On top of that, Cooler Master's Connect software still needs lots of development work to match the functionality and accuracy you get from Corsair Link.

In reality, there's no comparison between the MasterWatt Maker 1200 and AX1500i. Corsair leans on an almost all-digital platform, while Cooler Master only uses an MCU as a digital bridge between your system and its PSU. The MasterWatt Maker 1200's only advantage is its Bluetooth interface and the corresponding application. The ability to monitor/control your PSU through a smart mobile device is indeed a nice idea, and we expect other manufacturers to adopt it in the near future.

The MasterWatt unit offers high efficiency above 80W loads. Under that point, efficiency is particularly poor, putting to shame its Titanium badge. Nonetheless, the lowest load for which the 80 PLUS Titanium certification sets a minimum efficiency reading is 10% of maximum capacity, leaving a lot of room for manufacturers to get sloppy. In our opinion, an efficiency certification should take into consideration more load levels and combinations like we do in our cross-load tests.

Cooler Master's most notable advantages are its high efficiency levels between 10% and 100% load, good ripple suppression, and the +12V rail's amazing response in transient loads. The PSU also features quiet operation, even in its default mode. Set to Silent, the MasterWatt Maker 1200's fan is deactivated under light loads and normal operating temperatures. The fan itself exudes quality, and the number of cables/connectors Cooler Master includes should allow you to build a very capable PC.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of shortcomings to mention. The most obvious is a high price tag, though we can't forget about those low efficiency numbers under light loads and a hold-up time shorter than 17ms. Moreover, we were troubled by the push-button power switch's reliability issue. We broke it without even trying, forcing us to ask why Cooler Master didn't use a rocker switch instead. The MasterWatt Maker 1200 has issues with loose load regulation on its 5VSB rail and mediocre load regulation performance on the minor rails.

For $450, you get an enormous PSU featuring unique aesthetics and generally good build quality, though, at that price, we were expecting Japanese capacitors exclusively. Performance-wise, the MasterWatt has nothing innovative to show. When you show up with a higher price tag than Corsair's mighty AX1500i, you'd better be ready to match its performance or at least come close. Cooler Master urgently needs to cut the price on its MasterWatt Maker 1200, and then fix some of the issues we found. Otherwise, this power supply won't survive against Corsair and EVGA. Here's hoping that the next high-end PSU from Cooler Master is based on a true digital platform. 

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Aris Mpitziopoulos
Contributing Editor

Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor at Tom's Hardware US, covering PSUs.

  • LFCavalcanti
    Holy toaster!
  • Onus
    Shades of the GX line; Coolermaster swings for the fences, but a competitor (pick one) in the outfield snags it and throws this one out trying to stretch a single to second base.
  • MasterMace
    CM doesn't get to put a $450 price tag on something that isn't in the same park. That voltage regulation is disappointing.
  • turkey3_scratch
    A lot of hype and little delivery for that price tag of course. Lower that price down to $200 and then we may be talking. The efficiency under low loads was quite poor. I'd like to bash the 5VSB regulation, though that's going to be unimportant and unrealistic with the majority of consumers, having load changes on that rail. Though if you are charging multiple devices I'd rather have it at 5V than 4.75V.

    At least the transient response performance was really good. The PWR_OK signal, eh. Aris, do you think that transient filter is really enough? I have a feeling it would fail EMI testing, only 4 y caps, 4 x caps, and 2 cm chokes on the unit.

    Overall, Cooler Master paired with the wrong OEM.
  • Aris_Mp
    the transient filtering stage looks complete since it has more than the required X caps, however you can never know unless you actually test it. I have the equipment and knowledge but I lack the time to do it :)
  • turkey3_scratch
    What are the exact requirements? I know what the ATX spec says but you have units like the FSP Hydro G 750 that failed by a good margin with 4 y caps, 2 x caps, and 2 cm chokes. So when talking about a 1200W unit with 4 y caps, 4 x caps, and 2 cm chokes, those 2 extra x caps are enough to do the trick?
  • Aris_Mp
    it doesn't have to do with the Wattage but with the design.
  • Nuckles_56
    The performance per dollar chart was great, it showed how badly overpriced this unit is and that there is a lot which could be improved on for the money spent on the unit
  • Andi lim
    It's seem like the solid polymer caps on front side modular PCB's not from Nichicon, I think it belongs to Unicon taiwan ( UPT series ).
  • jimmysmitty
    18352433 said:
    CM doesn't get to put a $450 price tag on something that isn't in the same park. That voltage regulation is disappointing.

    Sadly it is more than the AX1500i, lower efficiency and specs overall and a lower warranty (7 year vs 10 year).

    If someone is going to spend that much on a PSU It would be better to go for the Corsair.