Corsair SF600 Power Supply Review

We recently evaluated Corsair's SF450, which left a good impression on us. Now it's time to test the family's flagship SF600, which can deliver 150W more power using exactly the same cable configuration.

Corsair escalated the war for SFX form factor supremacy where, until recently, only SilverStone sat atop the throne. Most vendors don't seem to care much about this category. But now that Corsair is involved, that could change. Size limitations make it hard to build a high-performance SFX-based PSU that isn't super loud. Airflow is restricted, and it's tough to find room for big fan blades. As a result, most SFX PSUs have to rely on noisy 80mm fans that spin fast to keep up with cooling.

Instead, Corsair uses a 92mm fan in its SF600, which benefits from a semi-passive mode under light workloads. This model has 150W more capacity than the SF450 we recently reviewed though, so its thermal load is greater and the fan has to work harder to cope with waste heat. As you can imagine, that translates to more noise. If you want 600W of power from such a compact PSU, then you have to be aware of the trade-offs.

Like its smaller sibling, the SF600 is 80 PLUS Gold-certified and fully-modular. It also uses the same cooling fan, though in this case the fan profile is notably more aggressive. Despite the fact that the SF600 offers 150W more capacity than the SF450, it uses the same cable configuration. We find this to be a bit odd and leaves us wondering what to do with the extra wattage. A 600W PSU can drive a couple of high-end graphics cards and an overclocked CPU. But with only two PCIe connectors, the SF600 natively supports just one enthusiast-class GPU. It's a shame that Corsair cripples the SF600's usability like this. To make matters worse, the modular panel is exactly the same as the SF450's; there are no open sockets for extra cables.

Specifications

The SF600 is 80 PLUS Gold-rated, fully modular, Haswell-ready and able to deliver its full power continuously at up to 50 °C ambient. Considering its compact dimensions, that's not as easy to achieve as it sounds. According to Corsair, all necessary protection features are provided, including over-temperature protection, which is especially crucial in units featuring a semi-passive mode. The 92mm cooling fan should last for quite a while thanks to its rifle bearing. Finally, we approve of Corsair's seven-year warranty.

Power Specifications

Rail3.3V5V12V5VSB-12V
Max. PowerAmps2020502.50.3
Watts12060012.53.6
Total Max. Power (W)600

The minor rails are strong with 120W max combined output and so is the +12V rail, which can deliver up to 50A. Meanwhile, the 5VSB rail has the minimum allowed amperage for a modern PSU.

Cables And Connectors

Modular Cables
DescriptionCable CountConnector Count (Total)
ATX connector 20+4 pin (300mm)11
4+4 pin EPS12V (400mm)11
6+2 pin PCIe (400mm)22
SATA (100mm+115mm+115mm+115mm)14
Four-pin Molex (100mm+115mm+115mm+115mm)14

The SF600's cable configuration is identical to the SF450, which doesn't make sense to us. Able to output an extra 150W, the SF600 should be equipped with more cables (including additional PCIe and EPS connectivity). Moreover, four SATA connectors is a bit light for a 600W PSU, even if it's destined for a small form factor chassis. Sure, limited space on the modular PCB imposes design limitations, but Corsair could still give you two connectors on a PCIe cable instead of one.

In short, the provided connectors don't match up well to this PSU's capacity, and Corsair should address the issue. We would also like to see a Berg (FDD) adapter included with the bundle for anyone who might need it. Everyone else could set it aside in the provided felt bag.

All connectors use standard 18-gauge wires, which are recommended by the ATX spec.

Power Distribution

Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.

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38 comments
    Your comment
  • dudmont
    Are these small SFX designed for systems with ITX boards? I understand your complaints about the 8 pin cpu cables, but your complaints about PCIe cables doesn't make sense in light of the fact that no ITX board can handle more than one card. If you're using a micro-atx board, you can use a standard size PSU.
  • powernod
    Wait a moment. Only 2 pci-e cables with 1 connector each one? That means that only one high-end GPU can be supported.
    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???!!
  • LePhuronn
    Quote:
    A 600W PSU can drive a couple of high-end graphics cards and an overclocked CPU. But with only two PCIe connectors, the SF600 natively supports just one enthusiast-class GPU


    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?
  • LePhuronn
    Quote:
    Wait a moment. Only 2 pci-e cables with 1 connector each one? That means that only one high-end GPU can be supported. 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???!!


    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.
  • g-unit1111
    1919666 said:
    Are these small SFX designed for systems with ITX boards? I understand your complaints about the 8 pin cpu cables, but your complaints about PCIe cables doesn't make sense in light of the fact that no ITX board can handle more than one card. If you're using a micro-atx board, you can use a standard size PSU.


    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.
  • turkey3_scratch
    Great Wall really is great. It's incredible that this compact unit blows most 600W units out of the water. It's not so much as "headroom" but if you take this PSU vs the SF450, and put that PSU on a machine with the same load, which will have the lower ripple and tighter voltage regulation? The SF600.
  • jimmysmitty
    2077519 said:
    Wait a moment. Only 2 pci-e cables with 1 connector each one? That means that only one high-end GPU can be supported. 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???!!


    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.
  • turkey3_scratch
    Also let's not forget peak efficiency at 50% of a power supply's capabilities, so the SF600 is ideal for that.
  • RedJaron
    Peak efficiency may be around 50% load, but you're forgetting that this is an 80 Gold unit. While it's at least 90% efficient at 50% load ( the graphs looks to be a bit above that ), it's still ( at least ) 87% efficient at 90% load. You're only losing about 5% efficiency between the two here. That only means it draws a few more watts from the wall. Delivery inside the case remains unchanged.

    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.
  • Aris_Mp
    In my opinion a 600W PSU (even an SFX one) should have 4x PCIe connectors, because VGAs like the GTX970 and GTX980 consume 160W-200W at worst case scenario, so a couple of them can be easily supported.
  • jimmysmitty
    1903369 said:
    In my opinion a 600W PSU (even an SFX one) should have 4x PCIe connectors, because VGAs like the GTX970 and GTX980 consume 160W-200W at worst case scenario, so a couple of them can be easily supported.


    True but again who is going to buy a SFX PSU when there is no case designed for the SFX that supports more than a single GPU?

    I guess it is a design for what it is for thing. Of course you wouldn't need a 600W PSU but I personally always build with a lot of overhead. I have a AX860i for a i5 (Overclocked) and a single 980Ti Strix but I do that so I don't have to upgrade my PSU for years. It has served me well, my last PSU lasted me over 7 years then another 3 for my wife and I sold it in working condition after that.

    I guess its a each to their own. I agree the options would be nice but the majority will probably not buy this to power a SLI high powered gaming system or CFX system.
  • Samer1970
    Since this powersuply is single rail , you can always use adapters for additional PCIe split plugs and EPS plugs ... so there is no issue here ... Just be sure you know what you are doing and dont overload the cables.
  • turkey3_scratch
    1793606 said:
    Since this powersuply is single rail , you can always use adapters for additional PCIe split plugs and EPS plugs ... so there is no issue here ... Just be sure you know what you are doing and dont overload the cables.


    Splitters can cause too much heat because all that current is still in the primary wire before the "fork".
  • Samer1970
    1712875 said:
    1793606 said:
    Since this powersuply is single rail , you can always use adapters for additional PCIe split plugs and EPS plugs ... so there is no issue here ... Just be sure you know what you are doing and dont overload the cables.
    Splitters can cause too much heat because all that current is still in the primary wire before the "fork".


    as I said , dont overload the wires. calculate it right and if needed share a sata plug/12v plug with the PCIe split in parallel connection. EASY . remember your physics at school.
  • Porcelainbowl
    Who uses a 600W PSU for multiple GPUs? Ignoring the fact that this thing is SFX and is therefore obviously meant for mini-ITX builds, I wouldn't want to use a regular 600W ATX PSU for more than one GPU, let alone an SFX model.
  • Aris_Mp
    According to Corsair's PSU PM, the fan profile of the SF600 should be much more relaxed. I am expecting for a second sample to confirm this.
  • RedJaron
    2110595 said:
    Who uses a 600W PSU for multiple GPUs? ... I wouldn't want to use a regular 600W ATX PSU for more than one GPU, let alone an SFX model.

    Whether ATX or SFX makes no difference. If it's built right, the unit can handle the power draw safely. It's also quite simple to run two GPUs on 600W. Twin 970s and an i5 would easily stay beneath 500W, let alone 600W.
  • Valantar
    "The cables are flat and stealth."

    I've seen this use of the word 'stealth' quite a few times here on Tom's. What on earth is up with that? 'Stealth' is not an adjective! StealthY is, but how does that describe wiring? Does it mean anything but black?
  • Aris_Mp
    if you google it you will see that the correct term for modular cables is stealth and not stealthY. It means that the cable are darkened, so they can be easily hidden inside a chassis with a dark interior. Hence the description "stealth".
  • Luay
    Aris The review was top notch and I know you're eager to get the new fan profile and I can't wait to see the new benches. Many reader and I are celebrating the performance of this PSU and the riddance from Silverstone's dominance so if you're going to criticize it, make sure you get it right or you're going to hurt allot of feelings.

    This is how it is; If your case fits two video cards, then it must fit an ATX power supply.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Quote:
    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.

    Let's rather wait for the benchmarks from Polaris and Pascal, g-unit1111. :-)
  • Samer1970
    2110595 said:
    Who uses a 600W PSU for multiple GPUs? Ignoring the fact that this thing is SFX and is therefore obviously meant for mini-ITX builds, I wouldn't want to use a regular 600W ATX PSU for more than one GPU, let alone an SFX model.


    600w psu is enough to power a system with 2x gtx 980 ti in SLI . have a nice day.

    Also you can use 2 GPU card as well like Titan Z or AMD 2x
  • RedJaron
    1793606 said:
    600w psu is enough to power a system with 2x gtx 980 ti in SLI . have a nice day. Also you can use 2 GPU card as well like Titan Z or AMD 2x

    That's a bad idea. All those cards you listed want about 250W at load ( and that's on the low side ). The 390X goes up to 275W easy with factory overclocks. Even being conservative and saying 250W per GPU, that still only leaves 100W for the rest of the system ( which leaves nothing for headroom ). While you could technically do this, it's not something any experienced builder would recommend.
  • Samer1970
    570460 said:
    1793606 said:
    600w psu is enough to power a system with 2x gtx 980 ti in SLI . have a nice day. Also you can use 2 GPU card as well like Titan Z or AMD 2x
    That's a bad idea. All those cards you listed want about 250W at load ( and that's on the low side ). The 390X goes up to 275W easy with factory overclocks. Even being conservative and saying 250W per GPU, that still only leaves 100W for the rest of the system ( which leaves nothing for headroom ). While you could technically do this, it's not something any experienced builder would recommend.



    well I was talking about normal systems not OC systems.

    i7 and i5 non oc are 65W TDP only ... so you can run 500w 2xgpus and 100 the rest given your system has one harddisk/SSD .. itx systems in general are small and not crowded with extras.

    and in general 2 GPU cards are lower clocked than SLI setups .. (400 watts vs 500 wats)

    I agree that if you oc you will need around 750-800W power supplies.