Affordable power supplies can achieve high performance and more than decent efficiency levels. Corsair's CX650 is definite proof of this. The sample that we tested uses a Great Wall platform featuring a modern design, given its price tag. The topology used in this power supply is the same used in the high-end category, and the same goes for the LLC resonant converter on the primary side, and the synchronous rectification of the 12V rail and the DC-DC converters that generate the minor rails.
The build quality is quite good, also. Don't expect to find fully Japanese caps, but Corsair's engineers selected all parts wisely. They managed to keep the cost at normal levels and achieve the highest possible reliability. After all, this product is supported by a five-year warranty and has a 40-degree Celsius temperature rating.
The Corsair CX650 is a good power supply that will easily support a mid-range system. If it had a second EPS connector or at least an ATX12V connector, it could support power-hungry CPUs as well since it would be compatible with all high-end mainboards. Corsair should consider this option for a future version of this product. In the US market, according to our sources, only the CWT flavor of the Corsair CX650 is imported, because the GW version suffers from higher tariffs. However, this version should offer very similar performance to the GW-powered model we tested.
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Disclaimer: Aris Mpitziopoulos is Tom's Hardware's PSU reviewer. He is also the Chief Testing Engineer of Cybenetics and developed the Cybenetics certification methodologies apart from his role on Tom's Hardware. Neither Tom's Hardware nor its parent company, Future PLC, are financially involved with Cybenetics. Aris does not perform the actual certifications for Cybenetics.