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Final Analysis

The following video footage shows a brief overview and unboxing of Corsair's HX850.

This power supply boasts high performance. It's even better than the supposedly higher-end HX850i thanks to superior ripple suppression (attributable to those Type 4 cables with extra ripple filtering caps and more voltage sense wires). The price difference between both models isn't large, so anyone who doesn't prioritize low ripple might prefer the HXi's hardware monitoring and custom fan profile functionality.

Reasons to consider the vanilla HX850 are numerous, including quiet operation, fully modular cabling, excellent build quality, plenty of available connectors, a semi-passive fan mode, the ability to switch between one and multiple +12V rails, and of course the 10-year warranty.

On the other hand, there are only a few negative points: bulky ATX, EPS, and PCIe cables are an issue that most builders will complain about, and the short distance between SATA and peripheral connectors could cause compatibility problems in some enclosures.

Because of its larger footprint, which allows for a clean design and optimal airflow inside, the HX850 is a particularly quiet 850W power supply. Even when we pushed beyond its limits, the PSU's fan wasn't annoyingly loud. Surely, a depth measurement of 18cm makes the HX850 one of the largest models in its capacity class, though.

Corsair's price tag is much higher than what Seasonic charges for the impressive Focus Plus Gold 850 and EVGA for its SuperNOVA 850 G3. But neither of those two PSUs offer such quiet operation. In fact, their overall noise output exceeds 30 dB(A), so many builders consider them too loud under taxing loads.

Really, Corsair just needs to drop its price a bit to achieve a higher value score. That's what matters to most enthusiasts nowadays. At least you get what you pay for in the HX850.

Apparently you can't go wrong with a high-end Corsair PSU, especially when it's made in cooperation with Channel Well Technology. The new HX line-up continues proving to be superb in this, our third review of a model from that family. Like the HX1200 and HX1000, the HX850 also earns a recommendation, even if there are still areas we'd like to see improved. Efficiency could certainly be increased, while inrush currents with 230V input need to be lower. The 5VSB rail's OCP triggering point should be dialed down across the HX series. Hopefully Corsair implements our recommendations at some point and makes the HX850 an even more impressive piece of hardware.

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

  • ilogic450
  • derekullo
    Would it be possible to do a comparison between the Corsair HX850 and the AX860?

    All digital sounds nice on paper, but how does it translate into power supply performance?

    Does the extra $12 for the AX860 give you a quantifiable difference between them?

    And if the AX860 does turn out to be superior in some way then why does the HX850 even exist in the first place?

    Corsair AX860 $181.99

    Corsair HX850 $169.99

    I remember back in 2002 I blew my power supply while overclocking and playing Tron 2.0 .
    (The power supply didn't take out anything, just had to buy a new one.)

    Ever since then I've always used the highest priced AX line, with the rationale of never going cheap on my power supply again.
    (And being more conservative with my overclocks)
  • mauro2003_9
    The AX860 OEM is Seasonic.
  • Aris_Mp
    The AX860i has 1.42% higher overall performance score than the HX850 and the AX860 is very close to the AX860i. I would say that the performance of the AX860 and the HX850 is really close, however the second is much more silent.
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Congrats to Corsair on another stellar PSU , and thanks for the review.
  • ElectrO_90
    The first paragraph talks about the HX850i and the new cables in this HX850.
    Where are the comparisons between the 2?
    Why even mention it, if you aren't going to show how much better the HX850 cables are, if at all?