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.

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Overview

The first thing we are going to look at with the Corsair AX1500i 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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Reviewer Sample/ Retail Sample

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While the packaging of the Corsair AX1500i may vary somewhat from what we have seen from other Corsair products, it is instantly recognizable as a Corsair product. On the front of the packaging, we find a number of pieces of information such as the fact that this product has a hybrid fan mode, that it supports Corsair Link, that it has a 7 year warranty (which is excellent and expected with a flagship product), and that it is certified for 80 Plus Titanium levels of efficiency. A quick check of the 80 Plus website does indeed find that this unit is certified for the 80 Plus Titanium specification which is above Platinum in the 80 Plus Standard, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum hierarchy. This is the first unit we have seen to advertise "Titanium" efficiency levels. Moving to the rear of the packaging, we find a bit more information including an efficiency graph, a fan noise graph, power label (reproduced below), and then some of the previous advertising we have seen on various Corsair products. Lastly, when we open the flap of the packaging, we find the connector count (reproduced below) and an image/diagram of the structure of the AX1500i that has some of the same kinds of advertising found elsewhere on the packaging repeated here once more.

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The Corsair AX1500i is somewhat hard to define in regards to it's power distribution as the unit has software control of it's 12v rails over current protection (OCP) but this unit appears to have shipped to us in the "single" 12v rail power distribution as the default setting, as we will see later that may not be true though. That said there is no documentation with the unit that indicates what the 12v distribution would be if the OCP was enabled in the software but we may have an answer for you a bit later on as, to some extent though, we will see this information in the Corsair link software once installed. So, starting from that basis, the AX1500i's "single" 12v rail is rated at 125A (or ~100% of the unit’s possible capacity if needed) while the minor rails are capped at a combined 180W or 30A each which is very similar to the AX1200i we saw some time ago. To go with this 12v capacity, the AX1500i comes equipped with ten modified 8-pin PCI-Express connectors, twelve Molex connectors for peripherals, and twenty SATA connectors good for powering just about any RAID array or combination of peripherals once could think of as those numbers are a bit staggering.

Reviewer Sample/ Retail Sample

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Once we open the packaging of the AX1500i, we see the power supply in a pouch, mounting screws, user manual, warranty guide, power cord, cables in a pouch, zipties, and the Corsair link cables. Unlike previous examples of Corsair power supplies we have reviewed, today's Reviewer Sample lacked a flash drive with preloaded test data. The user manual is unique to the AX1500i and comes in seven languages spanning a total of 56 pages. The manual includes a bunch of advertising, installation instructions, cable count, fan noise graph from the packaging, efficiency curve from the packaging, package contents, and lacks the warranty information. In the warranty guide, we find some of the warranty information but we do not find the length of the warranty, although 7 years is stated clearly on the box.


Is the AX1500i 1500 watts All the Time?

Kyle's Note: There are two points of marketing that are on the Corsair AX1500i box, which I think is extremely important in this review. These are shown in the following two images.

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This image shows that Corsair calls out that this is in fact a 1500 watt PSU, which is obvious in its model name as well, and I think no surprise to anyone reading.

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This image here shows what is stated on the box in terms of voltage input and wattage output. It clearly states here that AC input from 100 volts to 240 volts will net you "TOTAL POWER: 1500W."

If you however visit Corsair's website AX1500i page, you will note a discrepancy. On these pages Corsair states the AX1500i "Delivers 1500 watts of continuous power on 15A circuits of 115V and higher," and "1300W @ 100V," as you can see below from our screen shots taken on 5/6/2015.

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To be succinct, what Corsair states on its AX1500i box and what is on its website are two different things in terms of power delivery.

Looking into this further, at that time, none of the etailers selling this PSU had any specifications on its sites about the 1300 watt limitation at 100v input. Since communicating our concerns to Corsair, both Amazon and Newegg have added notice of this limitation to its sites, but you will have to do some scrolling in most cases to find this.

As you will see on the next page, the power specification labels on our sample as well as our retail PSU on the AX1500i PSUs do specify, "POWER: 1300W 100v."