Performance, Performance Per Dollar, Noise And Efficiency Ratings
The following graph quantifies the total performance rating, comparing Corsair's unit to other PSUs we've reviewed. To be more specific, the SF600 is shown as 100 percent, and every other unit's performance is shown relative to it.
Sporting high performance, the compact SF600 easily matches high-end ATX PSUs with similar capacities. As you can see from the graph above, the competing SilverStone SX600-G is left way behind.
Performance Per Dollar
The following chart may be the most interesting to many of you because it depicts the SF600's performance-per-dollar score. We looked up the current price of each PSU on popular online shops and used those figures (along with relative performance data) to calculate the index. If the specific unit wasn't available in the United States, we searched for it in popular European Union shops, converting the listed price to USD (without VAT). Note that all of the numbers in the following graph are normalized by the rated power of each PSU.
SFX PSUs are expensive, so it's tough for Corsair to compete in a measure of value.
The graph below depicts the cooling fan's average noise over the PSU's operating range, with an ambient temperature between 28 °C and 30 °C (82 °F to 86 °F).
We expected quieter operation, similar to what we heard from the SF450. However, Corsair decided to tune its fan profile more aggressively, leading to increased noise when the PSU is taxed (update 5/2/2016: According to Corsair's PSU PM, the fan profile of the SF600 should be much more relaxed. We are expecting for a second sample to confirm this). Delivering 600W from a compact platform isn't easy, and without adequate cooling reliability can be compromised. But given the SF600's efficiency numbers, we believe that a more relaxed fan profile could be offered.
The following graph shows the average efficiency of the PSU throughout its entire operating range, with an ambient temperature between 28 °C and 30 °C.
The SF600's overall efficiency is a tad lower than the SF450's. It's still high though, beating all of the other Gold-rated PSUs we used for comparison purposes.
Just like Aris said, what is the reason to go from the SF450 to the SF600, if you can't put another GPU?
+150 watts only to feed SATA devices???!!
Yeah, because this PSU is intended to power top-end Mini ITX systems which can only run a single GPU. I thought that was obvious, or is there some standard requirement to review a component entirely in isolation without considering its application?
Headroom. I'm current running an original Titan and i5 2500 on Silverstone's ST45-G modualr PSU, and I'm only overclocking the Titan. However, I'm moving the Titan to a new build with a i7 6700K and I don't feel too comfortable pushing both the CPU and the GPU as far as they'd go with only 450W. I'd have no worries with a 600W.
Yes. They're designed to work in ultra compact cases like the Silverstone Raven RVZ01B, RVZ02B, as well as the Fractal Design Node 202. I think Corsair is even releasing their own ultra compact case at some point. But the trend is that cases are getting smaller, not bigger. Sure there will always be a market for ATX and EATX, but with Steam Box, you will start to see more of a demand for this type of case. With each generation from here on out, you'll see single cards be just as powerful as a dual card system. So you can get by with no SLI.
A 980Ti is recommended, by nVidia, to have a 600W PSU and that is for the stock 1000MHz speed 980Ti. If we consider the fact that the majority of 980Tis come stock with 10-20% overclocks then a 600W SF PSU would be preferable for a high end ITX build. I can tell you a lot of people throw 980Tis into ITX builds.
GPU mfrs' recommended PSU capacities are always inflated to compensate for the mediocre ( or worse ) PSUs that flood the mainstream and OEM space. A 980 Ti will pull at most 250W - 275W, depending on OC, during a heavy gaming load. Torture tests can go above 300W, but no one mines with an ITX box. Adding the 130W you'll see from the rest of a typical i7 system, you'd rarely see this go above 400W. That's an 88% load on a 450W PSU. Tight, but certainly not risky or dangerous. As I constantly remind people, my i7 + 290X test bed runs just fine on a 500W PSU, and that GPU is a lot hungrier than the 980 Ti.
The only legitimate use for this PSU, with it's 600W but very limited cables, that I can think of is a heavily OC'd ITX gaming box built in a case that requires an SFX PSU. I can't find a single Z170 or X99 ITX board that has more than an 8-pin CPU power connector, so the PSU's limitation there shouldn't matter. Split the load 300W for the GPU, 250W for the CPU and rest of the system and you duck in just under the power limit. But again, that only makes sense if you MUST use a SFX PSU. Plenty of small cases support full size ATX units, where you have a lot more selection.
This feels as though either Corsair is trying to fleece some customers into spending more than necessary or they got lazy in expanding a product line by increasing capacity without also taking the trouble to re-tool the cabling.