The Emperor of Efficiency: Corsair's AX1600i PSU Rules Alone (Review)by E. Fylladitakis on April 18, 2018 9:30 AM EST
Corsair is a company that needs no introduction. They are one of the oldest names in the PC industry and, although they initially only marketed memory-related products, nowadays the company has diversified into most segments of the PC market, with products ranging from PC hardware components to office/gaming chairs.
The company has been particularly active in the PC power supply (PSU) market. It was one of the first markets the company diversified into, and their first few products that the company released over a decade ago were a huge success. Nowadays Corsair is one of the biggest players in the PC PSU market, with dozens of competitive products covering every want and need.
The company places a lot of weight on their PSU division, which has been one of the innovation leaders during the past decade, always coming up with new features and/or technological upgrades. It is no chance that Corsair's units were always amongst the first to meet the new 80Plus programme certifications when they were being introduced. Corsair has always been trying to be a technological step ahead of their competition, striving to bring the best out in the market first.
It is somewhat of a tradition for Corsair to always have one pinnacle product, a PSU that has no equal in the market, regardless of the cost. For quite some time this PSU was the AX1500i, a behemoth PSU with 80Plus Titanium certification. While the 80Plus Titanium certification is rare and costly even today, Corsair achieved it four years ago. As the electrical performance of the AX1500i already was outworldish and there are no better quality or efficiency certifications to be earned, the top-tier PSU market has been lethargic for quite a long time, with hardly any new products coming out for years.
Suddenly, a few months ago Corsair announced the release of the AX1600i, an upgrade of the original AX1500i, boasting that it is even more efficient and with improved overall performance. There is no official certification higher than the 80Plus Titanium that the AX1500i already had, but since we did review the AX1500i back in 2014, we can compare the two units and see what has been improved and by how much.
And without spoiling too much in advance here, the true highlight of the AX1600i is not its total capacity, but its efficiency. Corsair enabled an unparalleled super-high efficiency design for the AX1600i by equipping the PSU with Gallium Nitride (GaN) MOSFETs. These are expensive, but afford an extra bump to the brand; no other consumer power supply has these, and we take a close look at them over the next few pages. If these work well, they could easily be a game changer for the industry as other providers use them.
|Power specifications ( Rated @ 50 °C )|
|AC INPUT||100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz|
Packaging and Bundle
Corsair is using their usual yellow/black artwork for the packaging of the AX1600i, with the only major difference compared to the packaging of less powerful models being the massive size of the box. The box is very strong and should provide ample shipping protection and inside we found the power supply well protected between thick foam paddings.
Unlike most of their other PSUs and older versions of the AX series units, the AX1600i comes with a fairly rich bundle. The first thing that stands out is the C19 power cable, which is necessary because the input amperage of the AX1600i can surpass the rating of regular C13 cables in countries where the grid voltage is low. Corsair also supplies black 3M mounting screws, a case badge, some short cable ties, a few cable straps, and side stickers in three different colors (red, white, and blue).
The AX1600i is a fully modular design and all of its cables come neatly organized in a rolled-up storage pouch. All of the connectors and wires are black. SATA/Molex/Floppy/USB cables are "flat", ribbon-like cables. The thicker PCIe, EPS, and 24-pin ATX cables are additionally covered into black sleeving and hide extra filtering capacitors.
|ATX 24 Pin||-||1|
|EPS 4+4 Pin||-||2|
|EPS 8 Pin||-||-|
|PCI-E 6+2 Pin||-||10|
|PCI-E 8 Pin||-||-|
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Belldandy - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - linkFor most people the Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium is the best PSU they will ever need.
IBM760XL - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - linkThat's the one I want to buy next. I was curious if this would match it at my typical 100-200W loads, despite being so much lower on its efficiency curve than a 600-700W Seasonic Titanium model. But the price is pretty eye-watering. The environmentalist in me will be satisfied by the Prime Ultra.
Still, glad to see technological progress being made. Put the new technology in a 700W PSU in a few years, with a bit more economy of scale, and I'd probably buy it.
SonicIce - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - linkStrange the Prime series was made in Taiwan (the only PSU I've ever seen not made in China), but the new Prime Ultra series is made in China. Hmmm.
rtho782 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - linkMy AX1500i died a month ago, and I got one of these as a warranty replacement :)
It's a very nice PSU, even though it's still way overkill for me really. My system never draws more than about 750W. I am also very happy that it's a little shorter than the AX1500i.
rtho782 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link> The side stickers can be (permanently) replaced with those supplied with the unit's bundled items.
Are you sure? Mine were magnetic.
nowwhatnapster - Friday, April 20, 2018 - linkCan confirm, they are magnetic. It's a sleek cover up. Not permanent at all, which is a good thing IMO
CheapSushi - Friday, April 20, 2018 - linkI dream about these designs getting smaller. Imagine this in SFX-L. As all our systems get more efficiency, smaller scaled, etc, the ATX PSU's are starting to seem like relics. Not the wattage, but the volume of the thing itself. SFX and SFX-L I hope become the de facto "standard" size. GaN components, like mentioned, is the step to that. I know people are making snide comments, but thank you Corsair for actually doing something to push PSU designs. A future SFX-L version would be amazing.
Ninjawithagun - Thursday, May 10, 2018 - linkThere is an SFX-L 800W Titanium PSU made by Silverstone:
Ninjawithagun - Thursday, May 10, 2018 - linkNo need to replace my AX1500i Titanium PSU, but it's good to know Corsair has not fallen asleep ;-)