Corsair CS550M 550W Power Supply Review

Corsair is famous among computer hardware enthusiasts for its power supplies. Today we have what is considered a low range PSU for most of us, but the CS550M boasts some upper end features such as its semi-modular design and gold level efficiency. Corsair also says this PSU is very quiet so it might be right at home in HTPC boxes.

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Overview

The first thing we are going to look at with the Corsair CS550M is its packaging, accessories, and documentation. While normally none of these items is a make or break item for a power supply the packaging quite often contains a lot of information about the product we are purchasing. The inclusion of an owner’s manual that provides actual information about our product is also of great help. Accessories are almost unnecessary with a power supply as the unit is self contained, unless it is modular, but there are cases where a manufacturer can include useful accessories to make installation, routing, and use more efficient.

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The packaging of the Corsair CS550M is similar to what we saw from the recent RM750, but smaller. There is, of course, the required super close up psudeo-artschool picture of the fan grill on the front of the packaging along with the 80 Plus Gold seal and a logo indicating that this unit has a 3 year warranty. That 3 year warranty is a good bit shorter than the 5 year warranty we saw on the RM750 and the 5 year warranty that comes with the TX series. Moving to the rear of the packaging, we find a few more tidbits of information including an efficiency graph, a fan noise graph, connector count (reproduced below), and a power label (reproduced below). We also see a lot of talk about the reliability and ease of installation here. All in all, some basic, run of the mill, stuff with no real selling points to note.

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The Corsair CS550M is once more a single 12v rail power supply. The single 12v rail is rated at 43A which makes it good for a possible ~94% of the unit’s total DC output capacity if needed which, interestingly, is a bit lower than what we have come to see from modern designs. The minor rails are good for up to 25A on the 3.3v rail but only 20A on the 5v rail, for some reason, and the pair are capped at 120W total output. To go with this 12v capacity, the CS550M comes equipped with two modified 8-pin PCIe connectors as well as four Molex connectors for peripherals and five SATA connectors good for powering your disk drives. This represents a reduction of two Molex connectors and one SATA connector compared to the TX550M which may or may not affect users as this kind of unit is rarely something someone who has serious cash in disk drives would even be considering.

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Once we open the packaging of the CS550M, we see the power supply, mounting screws, user manual, warranty card, power cord, cables, and flash drive. As usual, the user manual is useless. Let's try and forget the documentation and move on to see if Corsair does something better than the user manual it provides.