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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.

Packaging, Contents, Exterior And Cabling

Packaging

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The box is small to match the PSU. Up front, you'll find a picture of the power supply with its modular panel exposed. The model number is highlighted in large letters, and right above it two badges depict the seven-year warranty and the 80 PLUS Gold rating. On the front-bottom, Corsair lists the most crucial features, including modular cabling, Japanese caps and semi-passive operation, in three languages.

On the top of the box you'll find a useful list of available connectors and cable lengths. The back of the box provides more detailed information, including a paragraph with an overview of the SF series, two graphs showing the efficiency and fan noise curves, a diagram of the PSU's dimensions and finally, the power specifications table. All in all, the box conveys a lot of information and this is definitely a good thing.

Contents

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Once you remove the outer sleeve and open the box, you immediately notice the user's manual and warranty leaflet. Under them, you find the PSU surrounded by two thick pieces of packing foam. In addition, the PSU is stored in a nice cloth bag.

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The bundle includes a case badge, several zip ties, a set of fixing bolts, the user's manual common to both SF models, a warranty leaflet, an AC power cord and the modular cables. Unfortunately, Corsair doesn't include an SFX-to-ATX bracket/adapter, which would facilitate installation in a normal ATX case. That's an egregious oversight given the SF450's high price. However, we'll add that particularly short cables would make installation in an ATX case tough, if not impossible.

Exterior

A label informs you that the PSU's fan won't spin under light loads. Every time it's switched on, the fan rotates a bit, showing that it works. Still, it'd be nice if Corsair added a fan test button, and it'd be even better if there was a switch for enabling/disabling the semi-passive mode. Some users don't want/need absolute silence, which increases stress on electrolytic caps due to increased heat.

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Although the design is plain, Corsair uses a high-quality finish. Around front, a small power switch is installed below the AC receptacle, and the fan faces upwards.

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There's a power specifications label on one side and a large model number decal on the other. On the bottom, Corsair's logo is stamped onto the chassis.

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Around back, the modular panel exposes seven labeled sockets. Two of them are for the 24-pin ATX cable, three are for the PCIe and EPS connectors and two correspond to peripheral and SATA cables.

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The unit's dimensions are notably compact, and the 92mm fan takes up a lot of space on the top. Clearly, a larger fan wouldn't fit in such a compact PSU.

Cabling

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All cables are flat, stealth and flexible enough thanks to 18-gauge wires. Since this is a low-capacity PSU, there is no need for thicker wires. They'd only serve to make the cables rigid and render the routing process more painful than it needs to be.

  • 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