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Corsair Professional Series AX1200i Power Supply Review

Additional technical assistance: Peter McFarland and Jeremy Price.

Correctly testing power supplies is a complex procedure and KitGuru have configured a test bench which can deliver up to a 2,000 watt DC load. Due to public requests we have changed our temperature settings recently – previously we rated with ambient temperatures at 25C, we have increased ambient temperatures by 10c (to 35c) in our environment to greater reflect warmer internal chassis conditions.

We use combinations of the following hardware:
• SunMoon SM-268
• CSI3710A Programmable DC load (+3.3V and +5V outputs)
• CSI3711A Programmable DC load (+12V1, +12V2, +12V3, and +12V4)
• Extech Power Analyzer
• Extech MultiMaster MM570 digital multimeter
• SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa)
• Digital oscilloscope (20M S/s with 12 Bit ADC)
• Variable Autotransformer, 1.4 KVA

DC Output Load Regulation

Combined

DC Load

+3.3V
+5V
+12V
+5VSB
-12V
A
V
A
V
A
V
A
V
A V
330W
5.59
3.39
5.55
5.07
21.23
12.18
0.85
5.06
0.20 -12.04
620W
11.07
3.37
11.08
5.04
42.54
12.14
1.74
5.04
0.40 -12.05
918W
16.58
3.35
16.45
5.03
63.75
12.09
2.64
5.03
0.60 -12.08
1204W
22.04
3.33
22.04
5.00
85.03
12.05
3.6
5.02
0.80 -12.12
Corsair Professional Series AX1200i Maximum Load
1324W

We managed to get 1324W from the unit before it would switch off. The over circuit protection system worked well and it shut off safely.

Next we want to try Cross Loading. This basically means loads which are not balanced. If a PC for instance needs 500W on the +12V outputs but something like 30W via the combined 3.3V and +5V outputs then the voltage regulation can fluctuate badly.

Cross Load Testing +3.3V +5V +12V -12V +5VSB
A V A V A V A V A V
1190W 4.0 3.37 3.0 5.06 88.0 12.04 0.20 -12.04 0.50 5.04
195W 19.0 3.33 22.0 5.00 2.5 12.13 0.20 -12.03 0.50 5.03

The Cross loading performance is excellent. We hit the supply with 88A on the +12V rail and it held at 12.04v. Other rails exhibited class leading results.

We then used an oscilloscope to measure AC ripple and noise present on the DC outputs. We set the oscilloscope time base to check for AC ripple at both high and low ends of the spectrum.

ATX12V V2.2 specification for DC output ripple and noise is defined in the ATX 12V power supply design guide.

ATX12V Ver 2.2 Noise/Ripple Tolerance
Output
Ripple (mV p-p)
+3.3V
50
+5V
50
+12V1
120
+12V2
120
-12V
120
+5VSB
50

Obviously when measuring AC noise and ripple on the DC outputs the cleaner (less recorded) means we have a better end result. We measured this AC signal amplitude to see how closely the unit complied with the ATX standard.

AC Ripple (mV p-p)
DC Load +3.3V +5V +12V 5VSB
330W 5 5 10 10
620W 10 10 15 10
918W 15 10 20 15
1204W 25 20 25 15

Noise suppression is fantastic. The +12V rail peaked at 25 mV under full load. The +5v rail peaked at 20mV and the +3.3V rail peaked at 25 mV – not class leading results, but still well within tolerance specifications.

Efficiency (%)
330W
90.68
620W
93.67
918W
92.63
1204W
91.45

Efficiency is excellent, peaking at 93.67% when under 50% load. Efficiency drops to 91.45% at full load. Excellent results.

We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built a special home brew system as a reference point when we test noise levels of various components. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

Today to test the Power Supply we have taken it into our acoustics room environment and have set our SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter (6-130dBa) one meter away from the unit. We have no other fans running so we can effectively measure just the noise from the unit itself.

As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 Player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

Noise (dBA)
330W
<28.0
620W
<28.0
918W
32.2
1204W
34.7

The fan didn’t spin up until around 40 percent of system load, although it wasn’t really audible until around a 900W load was placed on the system. At full load it was still surprisingly quiet, measuring 34.7 dBa via our noise metering equipment.

Temperature (c)
Intake
Exhaust
330W
35
38
620W
38
44
918W
42
48
1204W
45
54

At full load, the ambient temperatures are well maintained, with a 9c variable on exhaust.

Maximum load
Efficiency
1324W
90.2

Pushing the PSU above its rated limits generates an efficiency level of around 90.2%. This is not a viable ‘real world’ situation, but its interesting nonetheless.

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