Corsair SF600 600W SFX Power Supply Review

Corsair has gotten into making computers smaller lately with its Bulldog 4K Living Room Gaming System, and now it is going to share its SF600 power supply that follows the SFX standard form factor, which is tiny for a 600 watt PSU. Given its diminutive stature, has Corsair packed it to the gills with good power?

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Build Quality

The Corsair SF600 features a single 92mm fan design that is similar to the preferred 80mm cooling solution by some brands. The major downside to this fan design is that to move a sufficient volume of air to cool a high output power supply it must spin very fast resulting in elevated noise levels. While these 92mm designs are not great for quiet computing environments the key criteria in our evaluation is whether or not the cooling solution is sufficient, not necessary its sound level or form factor and our comments on such later are not absolute decibel values.

External Build Quality

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The exterior of the Corsair SF600 looks a bit different from what we have seen from previous Corsair units and not just because it is tiny. Among the things that are retained from previous units are the black slightly textured finish, modular interface, and the Chrysler-esque fan guard. Things we see changed up today include the washed out grey fan color, the new logo work, and the restricted exhaust grill. None of which are things we'd call "great," but that is surely subjective. Overall, the fit and finish is consistent and done well for what it.

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The Corsair SF600 comes in at ~4 inches long. Additionally, the modular cables reach out to ~6 to 16 inches at the first or only connector. Now, while this is a unit meant for SFF cases, the cables are considerably shorter than what we have seen on previous SFX units making this unit far less flexible in the applications that it can be used in. Certainly, one could purchase after market cables that are longer (or make them) but then you are just adding more and more cost to this unit. Between the lack of the ATX backplate mentioned before and the cable length issues here, Corsair has just about excluded themselves from applications where one may wish to use this unit in anything other than a SFX-centric build. On the bright side, the cables are all the FlexForce style cables and if you are doing a very small build you will not be choked with extra cabling.

Internal Build Quality

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Once we open the new Great Wall built SF600, we see a rather compact unit on account of the fact that the SFX form factor is tiny for such a large capacity power supply. The topology used is very modern with a resonant LLC primary and a secondary which uses synchronous rectification and DC-DC VRMs for the minor rails. From the top, we don't see much in the way of heatsink space as there is just one on the primary side and the 12v MOSFETs are installed on the rear of the main PCB. These power components then use a thermal pad and the housing as their heatsink for the most part. In addition to the components on the rear of the main PCB, we see that the soldering is generally well done. The fan paired with this unit is a Corsair branded rifle bearing fan rated at 0.22A at 12v. A rifle bearing fan is, in theory, better than a sleeve bearing fan but it is hardly the soup du jour among quiet cooling enthusiasts or the old standby workhorse bearing choice and, on a premium offering like the SF600, it seems a bit out of place.

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Starting at the input filtering, we see that it begins on the AC receptacle with a PCB that is attached here and directly soldered to the main PCB. This PCB contains a coil, X and Y capacitors. The filtering then moves on to the edge of the main PCB. In a bit of a change, the primary and secondary have flipped sides from the normal orientation so as we move to the right of frame we come to the main primary side heatsink which has the bridge rectifier attached to it. Continuing on to the primary side proper, we see the large flat bar-like heatsink also houses the APFC and primary side power components. Between the heatsink and the edge of the main PCB, we find the input capacitor which is a Nippon Chemi-con rated at 420v 470uF 105C. Slightly behind this by the modular PCB, we find the +5vsb transformer tucked out of the way. The PFC controller is missing from the topside here as it is on the rear of the main PCB.

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Moving over to the secondary side, we see that there aren't any heatsinks here as the majority of the heat producing components that usually need to be sinked are on the rear of the main PCB. Now, what we do see moving from the large transformer in the center to the left of frame are a number of capacitors and the add-in PCB which houses the DC-DC VRM's. The capacitors we see are a bit mixed with some FPCAP solid capacitors, a Nippon Chemi-con standard capacitor, and then a step down to CapXon solid capacitors on the DC-DC VRM PCB. Moving to the modular PCB, the soldering we can see on the PCB looks good and when we swing around to the front of this PCB we see a slew of solid capacitors here and a few standard capacitors as well. The standard capacitors are Rubycon and Nippon Chemi-con and they actually belong to the +5vsb output. The solid capacitors are a mix of two different manufacturers that have been variously reported as Nippon Chemi-con/United Chemi-con. However, they do not seem to conform to the Chemi-con series/code standards so if anyone out there has a datasheet on these, feel free to send it in! Otherwise, there is not a lot to see here and this side of the PCB is very compact on account of the fact that this is a SFX unit.

Build Quality Summary

The overall build quality of the Corsair SF600 is very good. The exterior of the unit is a bit different from what we have seen before in form from Corsair units we have reviewed and this starts right away with the color scheme/finish. Grey on black is not exactly something that looks great as there is just not a lot of contrast and the grey finish portions are very dull. Otherwise, the exterior has good integration and the unit has the flat FlexForce style cables. However, the cables are extremely short which is fine for many SFX builds but if for any reason you want to use this in a small ATX case or an SFX case were you need a bit of length in the cables this unit just falls flat. You can, of course, spin your own cables or buy aftermarket ones but be prepared to pay up for the privilege. When we move to the interior, we find the overall build quality, and integration, to be well done. The component selection includes Nippon Chemi-con and Rubycon standard capacitors along with FPCAP solid capacitors (all three of which are excellent). Moving down the food chain, we come across solid capacitors from CapXon and a rifle bearing fan (which could be better). Overall though, while there are compromises to the component selection and design, the SF600 looks to be a lot better built than the last Great Wall/Corsair offering that we saw. Anyway, let's move on now to see how this unit performs!