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Corsair SF450 PSU Review

Corsair enters the SFX PSU market with its new SF series consisting of two models at 450W and 600W capacities. Both power supplies are fully modular, promise high performance and come with 92mm fans to minimize noise output.

Pros, Cons And Final Verdict

Corsair cooperated with Great Wall and the outcome is nothing less than amazing. The new SF models are top performers and will easily dominate the sparsely populated SFX market. On its first try, Corsair manages to snag the top spot in our performance metrics, leaving behind competitors with lots of experience and a huge presence in this segment.

Besides very high performance, the new SF units also offer quiet operation. That's particularly difficult in such a compact form factor. The use of a larger 92mm fan surely plays a key role in this. The other SFX-based units we've tested employ 80mm fans that spin faster to keep their platforms cool, creating more noise in the process. The only other compact PSU that uses a larger fan is SilverStone's SX500-LG. However, it's also bigger than a typical SFX power supply. Corsair's fan also benefits from optimized blades designed to reduce noise and improve airflow. A semi-passive mode and conservative ramp combine to enable an amazing 24 dB(A) output through the SF450's operational range under normal ambient temperatures. This is definitely a great PSU for enthusiasts who value peace and quiet.

The SF450's performance is high in every discipline: load regulation, ripple suppression, efficiency and response to transient loads. On top of that, the hold-up time is pretty long, while the inrush current is kept at normal levels thanks to a proper design. Another significant advantage of this PSU is its highly efficient 5VSB rail. Only in recent FSP PSU reviews have we measured such efficient 5VSB rails, and it's great to see other manufacturers paying more attention to this rail's performance.

Other assets include fully modular cabling, high-quality Japanese capacitors that filter the DC outputs and good build quality. Great Wall did a fine job under Corsair's guidance and supervision. The only major downside is a high price, though in this case you get what you pay for. There are almost no compromises (and we say almost because some of you probably want an even higher quality FDB fan rather than a rifle-bearing one) on this unit's quality, which undoubtedly has an impact on production cost.

As a side note, we would like to see an SFX-to-ATX adapter bracket bundled in the package, as that comes standard in SilverStone's SFX units. Some folks might want to use this PSU in a normal chassis, where the bracket would be needed. Then again, given the short cables, installation inside of an ATX chassis would be pretty tough. Moreover, you could argue that anyone shopping for SFX power supplies won't be putting it into a larger chassis, so why jack up the price even more? FDD adapters don't cost much though, so Corsair should provide one of those.

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Aris Mpitziopoulos is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Power Supplies.

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  • joz
    "No berg connector," is a con? And this is why Johnnyguru is the better website.
    Reply
  • spdragoo
    Interesting...a small-factor PSU with enough power & PCIe connectors for those with a prebuilt system that want to upgrade their GPUs without having to rebuild the entire system from scratch.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    17801331 said:
    "No berg connector," is a con? And this is why Johnnyguru is the better website.

    I find it hard to believe you actually read power supply reviews, because on Jonnyguru OklahomaWolf always scores against having a berg connector. Also, Jonnyguru only tests a few things compared to Aris's reviews on Tomshardware and Techpowerup.

    Edit: I just realize I misinterpreted what you said. I do apologize, it was my mistake. I did not realize the word "not". Yes, Aris and Jonnyguru have different reviews on berg connectors. I still don't think that just because a berg connector is a good thing means that Jonnyguru is a better review site. That seems to be an extremely minor detail to judge one whole review site to this one.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Hmmm, looks like the only thing not to like is that all the SATA connectors are on one cable, which could be a problem even in some small cases where this would be used; the optical drive might not be near the other drives.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    17801372 said:
    Hmmm, looks like the only thing not to like is that all the SATA connectors are on one cable, which could be a problem even in some small cases where this would be used; the optical drive might not be near the other drives.

    And that is easy to solve since you will probably be able to buy cables and change the molex out for another SATA cable, like all Corsair PSUs.

    I wish this was out when I rebuilt my HTPC. Would have preferred it since what was available at the time was just meh and nowhere near the performance.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    Just finished review. Great unit, wonderful. I'd take this over one of the Silverstones any day.
    Reply
  • Aris_Mp
    "No berg connector," is a con? And this is why Johnnyguru is the better website.

    Some components still need a berg connector ( e.g. sound card panels, fan controllers, etc.) And it costs almost nothing to add a berg adapter into the bundle.
    Reply
  • JQB45
    Exciting to see more SFF power supplies of good quality. Now I have even less reason not to buy a mini-itx case next time.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    17801331 said:
    "No berg connector," is a con? And this is why Johnnyguru is the better website.

    On second read of your post, I misinterpreted what you said, and I do apologize. I thought you were upset that including a berg connector was a con, I'm sorry I misinterpreted it. Yeah, this unit doesn't have a berg connector. Here's the thing: you have OklahomaWolf who scores against having berg connectors, and you have Aris who likes to see berg connectors. Two complete opposite subjective standpoints. What I don't understand is how this makes Jonnyguru a better site.

    Whenever I read power supply reviews, I always ignore the conclusion page. I usually don't read it. The information is all there for you to judge. Whether or not the author thinks a berg connector is good or bad is an opinion, but it does not detract from how professional Aris's reviews are. I mean, come on, Jonnyguru does not test transient response, hold-up time, AC_LOSS to PWR_OK, 1500 crossload possibilities, extensive efficiency and fan RPM, etc. tests. I just can't see how Jonnyguru can be a better review site because they only do a fractional amount of testing.

    Jonnyguru's resources are limited, so it's understandable. I think some people like Jonnyguru just because of how "fast" one can fly through the reviews. It takes me a solid 25 minutes of thorough analysis to read Aris's reviews, I can go through a Jonnyguru one in under 10 minutes. There is just so much information here, so why is it you think Jonnyguru is a better site?
    Reply
  • AlistairAB
    Thank you Tom's Hardware for highlighting the lack of the SFX adapter bracket. It can be purchased directly from Corsair at the following link:

    http://www.corsair.com/en-us/sfx-to-atx-psu-adapter-bracket

    This was also mentioned in a newegg.ca review, and received many down votes. Perhaps this is because of American focused reviews, so most people think it is not a big deal to order a $5.99 adapter directly from Corsair or through a 3rd party.

    However this is actually a serious mistake, as ordering this to Canada from Corsair requires over $50 USD in shipping. Total cost for the bracket after shipping and taxes is over $80 CAD which is absolutely ridiculous for a part with no retail availability or alternatives that should have been included in the box.

    I talked with Corsair support this morning and opened a ticket, and they provided exemplary customer service and have now promised to send the adapter to me in Canada for free. Perhaps this will work for some of you having the same problem.

    There are many small form factor cases that accept ATX PSUs that need this bracket (Silverstone and Lian Li cases), where the short cable lengths don't pose a problem.
    Reply