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.
Corsair is known in enthusiast circles as a supplier of high performance memory and has risen to become one of the most talked about power supply brands around. Corsair was initially able to establish a presence in such a short time through the use of quality OEMs such as Seasonic and CWT that had rigorous standards, and excellent support. Since Corsair’s entrance into the PSU field, it has established a number of lines of power supplies of varying quality to address just about every market segment. Today, Corsair brings us another product from their AXi line; the AX1500i (CP-9020057-NA). This power supply is once more produced by Flextronics.
Flextronics International Ltd. is an electronics manufacturing services provider, which makes it a bit atypical from the general consumer SMPS OEM, founded in 1969 and headquartered in Singapore. Flextronics provides a wide range of manufacturing, supply chain management and procurement, logistical support, and technical support services for industries ranging from automotive, to medical, to consumer electronic, and industrial component production. Some of its more familiar customers that it provides manufacturing services, or outright production for are familiar to many users including Lenovo, Lego Group, Microsoft, RIM, LG, SUN, HP, Kodak, Verizon, Amazon, Samsung, Siemens, Apple, and many more. Flextronics subsidiary FlexPower, was founded in 2005 and Flextronics claims that following the acquisition of Friwo and Coldwatt, plus internal growth and development that it is now the "4th largest power supply company in the world." However, its production of products for the consumer SMPS market is still rather limited with Corsair bringing the first product from Flextronics / FlexPower to the enthusiast we have seen to date.
"The Best Enthusiast Power Supply You Can Own"
It has been ~2 1/2 years since we saw our last example from the Corsair AXi line of power supplies. At that time, the AX1200i represented the flagship product from Corsair and today the AX1500i is again coming in as the flagship product from Corsair. Flagship products carry flagship expectations so, before moving on to our evaluation of this product, let's see what Corsair has to say about this unit today:
The best enthusiast PC power supply you can own.
AX1500i defines the state of the art for enthusiast-grade PC power supplies. It provides 1500 Watts of continuous, digitally-controlled power – even on 115V 15 Amp circuits – and 80 PLUS Titanium certification with an incredible 94% efficiency rating.
Zero RPM Fan mode ensures silent operation at low and medium loads, and the fully modular, low profile cable set makes for easy installation and great-looking builds. Corsair Link integration lets you monitor power usage and efficiency and customize performance, directly from your Windows desktop. The AX1500i lets you have it all, and it’s the power supply you want for your ultra-high performance PC.
Calling a unit, "The best enthusiast power supply you can own," certainly does make today's stakes somewhat higher than normal even for a flagship product as to be the best, bar none, is a rare feat in any field. Moving on let’s see what we can expect when a user purchases the Corsair AX1500i supply in retail in terms of documentation, accessories, cable count, rail layout, output characteristics, and general build quality.
Retail and Sample Units
Kyle's Note: In this review we have results of two Corsair AX1500i PSUs. Our relationship on the PSU-front with Corsair has been somewhat strained over the last year or so. Many in the Corsair organization feel as though we are "out to get them." I can somewhat understand that as we have not had a lot of great things to say about Corsair PSUs for a good while. The last time a Corsair PSU saw an award from HardOCP was in 2012. Paul and I have truly felt that Corsair was no longer pushing the PSU industry forward like it was in its early PSU days. The strain on this relationship was not truly evident until recently, after our review of its CX750 PSU that we bought in retail over Black Friday weekend. It was then that we learned that we had been "cut off" from Corsair PSU review samples. This was never communicated to us, and quite frankly we had not been aware that we were missing anything from Corsair, which I think might tell you our overall feelings about Corsair PSU products. This is not to say Corsair is building a bunch of "bad" PSUs, but rather we just were not excited about showcasing its products. As that goes we would rather try our best to show our readers an "exciting" PSU product and a "good" PSU product that you might be interested in buying. It uses a ton less resources to write a good review than it does a bad review, but that is another story...
Our relationship with Corsair on PSUs had failed, but the CX750 review did start an honest dialogue between HardOCP and Corsair, and that is something to be thankful for. I have no problem telling you that Corsair is, and has been for a long time, one of my personal favorite brands in the enthusiast PC space. When it comes to judging products though, I have to leave that bias behind, and I hope that is evident in our PSU reviews. The big outcome of these talks was Corsair agreeing to send an AX1500i sample to us for testing. Given all we had learned in talks with Corsair however, I did not trust Corsair to send a retail representative sample, so we bought an AX1500i out of retail, the same as you would, and it is tested alongside our sample PSU from Corsair. This is far from the first time we have purchased a second retail-sourced PSU for testing, but we usually do not discuss the politics behind our decisions on doing this. However, the issues surrounding this review have been a bit different and I wanted to simply be 100% transparent on what is going on with this review and why there have been some small format changes.