Corsair AX1500i Digital ATX Power Supply Review @ [H]

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
53,024
Corsair AX1500i Digital ATX Power Supply Review - It is not every day that a company has the moxie to come out and say that it makes "the best" of anything, but that is exactly what Corsair is saying about its AX1500i computer power supply; "The best enthusiast power supply you can own." Of course that begs one question, "Is it, or isn't it the best enthusiast PSU you can own?" We answer that.
 

Everlast

n00b
Joined
Jun 3, 2014
Messages
51
That was a really intense read after the first page. Kept wondering how it was going to end.
 

twzTechman

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
223
That was a really intense read after the first page. Kept wondering how it was going to end.

Same here. On these power supply reviews I usually just skip to the end but i read thru all of this review.

Man - you guys are tough!
 

cinnamonandgravy

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
268
Transparency all day, every day. Thank you guys.

Overall, the PSU looks alright. and the 1300w vs 1500w issue... c'mon corsair :rolleyes:
 

kindasmart

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
1,130
Another excellent review with a bit of drama thrown in at the start. Love it. Thanks again.

Has there ever been another [H]ard tested PSU that had different max power outputs depending on input voltage? Has there been any other [H]ard tested PSU that failed the 100% power test @ 100v and still received the coveted GREEN checkmark? Is the 100v testing just for informational purposes only and isn't a factor in the pass/fail calculus of PSU testing? Is 100v testing still relevant for the North American market?

100 volts is used in Japan, but Korea, Europe, Russia, Brazil, Australia, etc use 220-230 volts. Should [H]ard testing be done at these higher voltages for our non-North American readers?

All interesting questions. Not that I'd ever need a 1500* watt power supply but the "fine print" leaves a somewhat disappointing feeling regarding this OTHERWISE excellent, if a bit overpriced, PSU.


*1300 watts @ 100v input voltage
 

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
19,238
Another excellent review with a bit of drama thrown in at the start. Love it. Thanks again.

Has there ever been another [H]ard tested PSU that had different max power outputs depending on input voltage?

Yes, over the years, we have seen a few power supplies which were advertised at two different power output levels such as the Koolance PSU-1300ATX-12N and the Kingwin Stryker STR500. However, those units were marketed as 1300W and 500W units (respectively) that, under certain conditions, could output more power. The Koolance would be the closest as it was capable of 1700W at 220v/240v versus 1300W at 110v/120v.


Has there been any other [H]ard tested PSU that failed the 100% power test @ 100v and still received the coveted GREEN checkmark? Is the 100v testing just for informational purposes only and isn't a factor in the pass/fail calculus of PSU testing? Is 100v testing still relevant for the North American market?

Units that fail the 100v testing fail to meet the design specification.

100 volts is used in Japan, but Korea, Europe, Russia, Brazil, Australia, etc use 220-230 volts. Should [H]ard testing be done at these higher voltages for our non-North American readers?

I do not currently have the AC power source required to do it correctly at those outputs. Also, those AC input voltages are less stressful than lower AC input voltages and all you would net is a bit better efficiency.
 

EchoWars

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
497
I fully understand the rationale behind testing @ 100V, but given that in nearly the whole of North America, AC voltages tend to be too high (122 to 128V is common), this should not be a reason for someone to shy away from its purchase. If anything, the $400 price tag would be the deal breaker.
 

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
19,238
I fully understand the rationale behind testing @ 100V, but given that in nearly the whole of North America, AC voltages tend to be too high (122 to 128V is common), this should not be a reason for someone to shy away from its purchase. If anything, the $400 price tag would be the deal breaker.

My AC input to my desktop right now is sitting at 112v and the summer has not ever started yet. When our heat pumps kick on and I am testing power supplies the line conditioner AC input often trips the very low (94-100v) boost. I have literally never had it trim.
 

jojo69

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
10,998
Take away the chest beating marketers, correct the specs on the box, and drop the price $50 and you have an [H] Gold pick.


indeed, you can lead a horse to water...
 

gathagan

Gawd
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
677
In a perfect world, where there is no loss of power in the AC-to-DC conversion, heat, or any of a myriad other factors that come into play with PSU's, the best you can get out of 100v at 15A is 1500 watts.

Once you factor reality back into the picture, the only way to get 1500W out of a line voltage of 100v is an increased current demand that should pop a 15A breaker.
If a user expects to get 1500W out of any PSU, neither 100v or 15amps is a viable supply spec.

Frankly, any PSU rated above 1000W should be packaged with a 20 amp power cord instead of a 15 amp power cord and the recommendation of using the PSU only on 20A circuits clearly stated on the box.

Your PSU test documentation does not make note of the current limit on the AC line voltage to your variac is, but I suspect it's not a 15A circuit. As such, you'll probably never run into that issue.

..at least until those 2200W PSU's come out...
:p
 

Duredhel

n00b
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
7
I do understand that [H]ardOCP is north-american and as such caters first to its north-american readership, the people who will be able to eventually buy the products tested as they're marketed and sold in north-america.
As such I can understand the 'drama' about the 100v AC input failing to deliver the promised 1500w. Even if it might affect a tiny minority of the north-american readers, it's important for them to be informed about it.

That being said [H]ardOCP authority in the world of tech spreads far beyond north-america. It's not just a well-deserved compliment, it's the naked truth. And in the rest of the world (aside from Japan it seems), 100v AC input is just 100000% irrelevant. There's no dancing around it, it's just is. On the other hand, the 220-240v AC range, the one which actually matters, is not tested at all. Therefore, we non-american readers know that this PSU fails to deliver for a part of the north-american market and as such doesn't deserve more than a 'Pass' for this market... But we don't know what it's worth for us: is it still just a 'Pass' ? Or does it become a 'Fail' ? Or a 'Gold' ?

May be you should clearly as something like 'If you don't live in the States (or Japan ??), then this PSU definitely deserve a Gold/Pass/Fail/whatever' ?

Now if you say "this is an north-american website for north-american readers, just piss off", then my point is moot and I'll even understand your position. That being said, I've been reading your site for a long now and I've never felt [H]ardOCP didn't care at all for it's international readership, quite the contrary...

PS: I should add that I actually own this PSU (was the only game in town at the time of purchase for a 1500w PSU in France). I don't have your equipment nor your expertise so I'd be hard pressed to tell if the unit meets or exceeds its specs... But what I can tell is that I'm very happy with it and yes it's incredibly quiet :)
 

SpeedyVV

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Messages
4,211
I have this psu, so after reading it, it made me feel ok, but not great.

Psu reviews are a funny beast. To me they are probably the most important, BUT least sexy.

Mind you, this particular review gets the SpeedyVV gold award for excellence in all respects. ;-)
 

Ricey

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
371
so if you had to choose, what IS the best 1200-1500w PSU out right now?
 

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
19,238
And in the rest of the world (aside from Japan it seems), 100v AC input is just 100000% irrelevant. There's no dancing around it, it's just is. On the other hand, the 220-240v AC range, the one which actually matters, is not tested at all.

That was covered in reply 6, for what is at least the 15th or 16th time over the years. The bottom line is, the old saying is not "when the going gets the easy, the easy get going" which is what 220v/240v is; easy and only nets you a few fractions to whole percents more efficiency. I should have also checked the 90v startup requirement when I ran into this issue, but alas I got tied up and forgot.

Therefore, we non-american readers know that this PSU fails to deliver for a part of the north-american market and as such doesn't deserve more than a 'Pass' for this market... But we don't know what it's worth for us: is it still just a 'Pass' ? Or does it become a 'Fail' ? Or a 'Gold' ?

It still has the same issue, it is somewhere on the pass/fail border.
 

David-Duc

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 22, 2010
Messages
1,236
That being said [H]ardOCP authority in the world of tech spreads far beyond north-america. It's not just a well-deserved compliment, it's the naked truth. And in the rest of the world (aside from Japan it seems), 100v AC input is just 100000% irrelevant. There's no dancing around it, it's just is. On the other hand, the 220-240v AC range, the one which actually matters, is not tested at all. Therefore, we non-american readers know that this PSU fails to deliver for a part of the north-american market and as such doesn't deserve more than a 'Pass' for this market... But we don't know what it's worth for us: is it still just a 'Pass' ? Or does it become a 'Fail' ? Or a 'Gold' ?

May be you should clearly as something like 'If you don't live in the States (or Japan ??), then this PSU definitely deserve a Gold/Pass/Fail/whatever' ?
Don't have to defend your choice so hard, bro. You did not make the wrong decision purchasing the ax1500i. Anyone with some knowledge knows that ALL PSUs will perform better with higher ac input voltage so you can be assured that it will perform better with 220/240v.
 

Duredhel

n00b
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
7
...The bottom line is, the old saying is not "when the going gets the easy, the easy get going" which is what 220v/240v is; easy and only nets you a few fractions to whole percents more efficiency...

Don't have to defend your choice so hard, bro. You did not make the wrong decision purchasing the ax1500i. Anyone with some knowledge knows that ALL PSUs will perform better with higher ac input voltage so you can be assured that it will perform better with 220/240v.

Thanks for your answers guys, I didn't know about that "higher voltage = better performance" rule. So now I know that [H] PSU benchmark rules actually validates a PSU for the whole world :)
Well I've still got myself a barely 'pass' PSU, nobody's perfect ;)
At least it's quiet...
 

magoo

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
14,492
I simply can't imagine needing this much PSU, ever.

Partly because the components would be crazy expensive, and at the least I'd need to have an electrician install a dedicated circuit.

OR........disconnect the oven or the clothes dryer........yeah.......that's the ticket......who needs an oven when we have a grill right outside.....:eek:

Interesting review.;)
 

jojo69

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
10,998
I do hope Corsair understands that they are not being picked on, but rather held to a very high standard, a standard they themselves set with the release of the original AX1200.

Paul and I have truly felt that Corsair was no longer pushing the PSU industry forward like it was in its early PSU days.

This is actually high praise indeed.
 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
2,316
I kinda want one of these over the other 1500W's you've reviewed despite the "issues" as those issues don't really matter to me much and the things I do care about such as efficiency and the ability to actually regulate seem to be better than units of similar capacity...
 

dropper

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2011
Joined
Jul 20, 2000
Messages
732
I do like the comment about the simple V x A = W, so in a perfect situation on a 15A circuit, you could get 1500W throughput. I didn't see a response on the testing if you were putting it on a 20A circuit, or not.

I know you don't like the marketing, and I think you should dock it a bit for the hyperbole, but also at a certain point take a step back from it. Ask yourselves, are you reviewing the PSU, or the marketing department? The label on the outside was incomplete, but was correct on the PSU and Corsair's website. I am reminded of the whole GTX 970 blow up over the memory. You need to put that card in a very specific set of conditions to make it slow down, and most will never see that happen.

While you can put this PSU under a 1500W load on a tester at 100W, how likely is that going to happen? What sort of system will you need to put together to get even near that capacity? A quad-Titan X setup will consume 1000W max, leaving 500W of overhead for the rest of the system (which you'd probably be hard pressed to get to that 300W).

I think this may come down to methodology. In your case evaluations, you have regular and enthusiast configs. I'd like to see that sort of thing here. How well do these PSUs handle a 650W load? How well do they do at 1200W? I know it is important to max these things out, but I don't really think that tells much of the story. If I have that maxed out system above at 1200W and don't want to fear that I am maxing out my 1200W PSU and have some headroom (also, I don't have way below average power coming into my home), how does the Corsair compare then?

One last thing, the PASS/FAIL/GOLD/SILVER may have revealed an issue here. Yes, it is nice to go see on the last page some simple graphic, or be featured on Newegg with a rating (which drives readers back to the site), it is too simple. Does the PSU pass its power tests? Does it pass its marketing hype? Is it worth what they are charging (this is very subjective, since you don't test longevity, other than the one-off "let's grab an old PSU and see how it is still going", and I don't see you pursuing the RMA process like I think you used to)? How does it compare to other models in the same wattage range? Does it look pretty?

Perhaps you need to get rid of the Gold/Silver and stick to PASS/FAIL, based simply on the power performance of a PSU. There are parts of your review that state this is the most efficient PSU you've see to date, yet that doesn't seem to count as much as the sticker on the box that didn't mention the 100V limitation. It also seems like the review and purchased units weren't that different, which I think should have been emphasized more, since you came out at the beginning on an adversarial note.

Maybe for me, it comes down to where the review started. Was it important to the review that you stated that Corsair was at odds with you? I don't think it was. The review should stand on its own, and be written as if none of that previous stuff happened. If you need to talk about your dealings with Corsair, it should stand apart from this in its own article. If you feel that you get cherry-picked units from a manufacturer, then by all means, that goes in an article, but most sites get "review" units to review and the only thing that keeps you above that is to get a purchased unit.

But even better yet, you need bigger sample sizes. Perhaps the site cannot afford to do that and that's understandable, but on the other side, as others have mentioned, you do get a lot of traffic and with it carry a lot on influence and responsibility in that regard.

Well, that's all just my opinion of things and take it as such.

Keith
 

dropper

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2011
Joined
Jul 20, 2000
Messages
732
Deleted - accidental re-post.
 
Last edited:

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
19,238
I do like the comment about the simple V x A = W, so in a perfect situation on a 15A circuit, you could get 1500W throughput. I didn't see a response on the testing if you were putting it on a 20A circuit, or not.

Well, over the years we have tested less efficient 1500W-1600W power supplies at 100v (which all passed) such as:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/01/30/thermaltake_toughpower_1500w_power_supply_review/

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2014/12/02/silverstone_strider_gold_1500w_power_supply_review/

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/07/enermax_maxrevo_1500w_power_supply_review/

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/06/11/lepa_g_series_1600w_power_supply_review/


So, as is normal with modern construction and NEC code, they are on 20A branch circuits. My office differs some in that I have three 20A branch circuits in the office to accommodate the equipment, power supplies, and my office equipment/lighting.

There are parts of your review that state this is the most efficient PSU you've see to date, yet that doesn't seem to count as much as the sticker on the box that didn't mention the 100V limitation. It also seems like the review and purchased units weren't that different, which I think should have been emphasized more, since you came out at the beginning on an adversarial note.

Correct. Efficiency doesn't mean that the unit is a good unit or that is even a functional unit where as the 100v limitation does render the unit non-functional under the spec and other products on the market that we have reviewed do not have this problem.
 

PungeX

n00b
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
16
Surprising and disappointing to hear about the recent issues with Corsair.

After years I am still rocking on my HX1000 and I have purchased several Corsair PSU's in the past with the decision of which PSU to use based mainly on the reviews here.

Great article as usual. Hopefully Corsair will pay a little more attention to quality and the small details to make them the premium company that they have been in the past when they first started making PSU's.
 

Macross

Weaksauce
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
71
.

While you can put this PSU under a 1500W load on a tester at 100W, how likely is that going to happen? What sort of system will you need to put together to get even near that capacity? A quad-Titan X setup will consume 1000W max,

Keith

You can very easily max out the PSU and it has been done. When you start getting into extreme overclocking 5960x and a modded Titan X which these type of power supplies are targeted for.
 

SpDFre@k

n00b
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
21
This is kinda what gets to me about the reviews of higher wattage power supplies out there today. At no time is it stated in reviews in general that people are testing on a 20 amp circuit. It is not mentioned that those units that passed @ 100v ship with a 15 amp plug in the US. It is not mentioned that the standard 5-15 household outlet in North America is only rated for 15 amps. When you are pulling your 17 amps through your breaker and sockets they are upgraded to handle it. Your average home built in North America does not have these items and you don't call it out that it is in fact a safety hazard to run these products the way you have without upgrading the breaker, wiring, and outlets. That is pretty dangerous in my opinion and the manufactures who allow the products to be run this way without implementing any safety measures are putting themselves and their customers at risk. Then again, who wants something that's safe. Lets let people burn their houses down.
 

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
19,238
This is kinda what gets to me about the reviews of higher wattage power supplies out there today. At no time is it stated in reviews in general that people are testing on a 20 amp circuit. It is not mentioned that those units that passed @ 100v ship with a 15 amp plug in the US. It is not mentioned that the standard 5-15 household outlet in North America is only rated for 15 amps. When you are pulling your 17 amps through your breaker and sockets they are upgraded to handle it. Your average home built in North America does not have these items and you don't call it out that it is in fact a safety hazard to run these products the way you have without upgrading the breaker, wiring, and outlets.

The NEC specifies a number of different branch circuit capacity's and wiring requirements. Among the standard branch circuits, not "upgraded" as you call it, is the 20A (12 gauge) circuit (which is standard in home construction and required in a number of locations such as kitchens, etc) with which receptacles may be rated at 15A or 20A as long as there is more than one 15A receptacle on a 20A branch circuit. There quite simply is no upgrade in the basic electrical infrastructure, nor anything than varies from code, at the location I work from as the house was simply built to code 20 years ago as I still have the same 240A service and all 20A branch circuits/breakers (save for the usual Heat Pumps, stove, dryer's, etc) with their accompanying 12 gauge runs and a mix of 5-15R/5-20R receptacles. I have had additional extra branch circuits (with AFCI now due to code changes) wired in, because I have more equipment in that office than is standard, but the 20A circuits that were used in the addition are still standard construction practice under the NEC today just as they were when the home was built. Quite simply, the testing is all done on residential code standard wiring and has been even over a number of different locations in the last 8 years.

That is pretty dangerous in my opinion and the manufactures who allow the products to be run this way without implementing any safety measures are putting themselves and their customers at risk. Then again, who wants something that's safe. Lets let people burn their houses down.

Everyone can have an opinion, but it is important for the opinion to be an informed one. That said, as the 1500W products are complaint under the NEC standard there is no reason for them to do anything and if your home was built correctly (with a circuit breaker that is functional) they aren't going to "let people burn their houses down". The power supplies are not responsible for a users infrastructure so failing a unit or dinging it for not meeting a users unknown infrastructure situation when it is not actually an issue would be capricious and inequitable due to it falling outside of the power supply and vendors purview. If you were to take your approach we should fail every single power supply because someone may have knob and tube/ungrounded electrical wiring still.
 
Last edited:

jojo69

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
10,998
When did the 15A circuit even become "standard" ? Most of my life 12Ga 20A circuits were "standard" and this crappy crackerbox wiring got foisted off on the populace pretty recently.

That said, I do agree that they should at least supply a 20A rated IEC cord with these large supplies.
 

zEcToR45

n00b
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
61
I do hope Corsair understands that they are not being picked on, but rather held to a very high standard, a standard they themselves set with the release of the original AX1200.



This is actually high praise indeed.


INDEED
 
Top