Pros, Cons And Final Verdict
Corsair knows how to get the best out of every OEM it collaborates with. In this case, the outcome is an amazing SF family that sets new performance standards in the underrepresented SFX form factor. We've known about the SF PSUs for a while now, since one of them is used in Corsair's Bulldog system, and we believe the company did the right thing introducing this line-up. After all, many enthusiasts are interested in smaller form factors these days.
Up until now, the performance of SFX PSUs couldn't match the ATX-based competition due to size restrictions. But this changes with Corsair's SF PSUs. Both of the current models easily stand up to popular ATX power supplies with similar capacity.
The SF600 registers amazing performance with super-tight load regulation at +12V, very good ripple suppression on all rails and low deviations on transient loads, which every PSU is faced with on a daily basis. In addition, it doesn't have a problem doing its job under extremely tough conditions. In fact, Corsair states that this unit can deliver its full power continuously at up to 50 °C ambient. Given our test results, we concur.
No PSU is perfect though, and the SF600 has some issues we'd like to see addressed. For starters, it uses the same cable configuration as its smaller sibling, the SF450. We find this odd because too-few connectors mean you can't fully exploit the power supply's 150W-higher output. You'd rightly expect the higher-end implementation to include more cables. With only a couple of PCIe connectors, you're still limited to a single high-end graphics card when the SF600 should have no trouble supporting a couple of them. Moreover, it would be nice if this PSU was equipped with an additional ATX12V connector to support motherboards that need extra connectors besides the EPS one. On top of that, four SATA connectors are too few for a 600W unit. We are well aware that the modular panel's dimensions are a limiting factor. But clever design work could get around some of these issues.
Another downside is the overly aggressive fan profile, which renders the PSU noisy under taxing loads. Taking into account the SF450's quiet operation, we didn't expect the SF600 to behave so differently. We noticed that even under the same load levels, the SF600 is noisier than the SF450. Clearly, Corsair has adjustments to make to its fan control circuit.
Despite our critiques, the SF600 is a good SFX PSU that serves up very high performance, even if it doesn't offer a clear advantage over the SF450 because it uses the same cable configuration. Worse, the SF600 generates a lot more noise under the same operating conditions. Our recommendation is to stick with the SF450 for now. Even if you spend more on the 600W version, you'll probably have a hard time fully utilizing its increased capacity.