Thursday, October 6, 2011

Corsair Builder Series CX600 Power Supply

Rating: 5 out of 5
Pros:Inexpensive, lots of connectors, plenty of power. 40 amps on the 12v rail
Cons: Not modular?

Current System

AMD Athlon II X3 450 3.2GHz Processor (Overclocked to 3.6GHz)
Antec 300 Case
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24x DVD Burner
ASUS M4A87TD EVO AMD870 Motherboard
ASUS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card
Corsair Builder Series CX600 PSU
G.SKILL Ripjaw X 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive
Samsung Spinpoint F4 EcoGreen 2TB Hard Drive
Samsung SyncMaster 2333T 23" LCD Widescreen Monitor

Computers today use way more power than they did just five years ago. Even when building a low to mid-range gaming system like this one, it requires more than the 350 watt puppies that come from many computer manufacturers. At the time of this writing, Walmart has an eMachines computer for sale with a 220 watt power supply. That's just a little bit ridiculous, and if you ever put a proper video card in there it wouldn't be anywhere nearly enough power for it, let alone for adding anything else.

If your power supply isn't strong enough to power your system, you may experience random system freezing, reboots, or maybe it won't start at all. Even more important than the total wattage, however, is the quality of the power supply.

When a cheap power supply goes out it can take out system components along with it, so it's often worth it even in a budget build to not cheap out on the power supply and end up having to replace motherboards, processors or RAM sticks later. When my previous power supply decided it was time to leave the world it merely sparked once, whistled, and billowed forth a stream of nasty stinky smoke. It didn't take out any other parts and it was a simple matter to swap in a replacement and be on with my day, but it could have been much worse.

I've had other terrific products from Corsair in the past, such as my flash drive, so it made sense to go with them again when I replaced my power supply. The replacement I opted to go with is the Corsair Builder Series CX600. While the Builder Series power supplies are not as top-of-the-line as the Professional Series or Enthusiast Series, the CX600 was more than sufficient for my needs. It's quite a bit quieter than my previous Thermaltake power supply, and can supply plenty of power to my system. In addition, it also has plenty of connectors for all of my components, which is a major thing to keep in mind when deciding on a power supply unit.


1x 24 Pin ATX/Main
1x 8 Pin EPS/CPU
4x Molex/Peripheral
2x PCI-E
1x Floppy

The CX600 features fully sleeved cables for all it's connectors, and they are extra long to aid in routing in a full tower case. It has a single 120mm fan to push plenty of air while keeping the noise level down. It's ATX12V v2.3 standard and energy efficient up to 80%. It also has short circuit protection as well as over and under voltage protection to help protect your components from disaster.

My CX600 came in a shrink wrapped glossy black cardboard box, with a brown cardboard box inside of that. It contained the actual power supply unit wrapped in bubble wrap, along with a case badge sticker, a power cord, a product manual, 4 black screws and a baggie of black cable ties. The power supply itself is an attractive flat black color with the standard logo and output stickers. Having the cable ties included is nice because of how long the cables are.

The power supply mounts in the bottom of my case, and it was no problem at all to install. First, I shut off the hard switch on the back of the old power supply and then unplugged it. Next I had to unplug the 24 pin ATX connector and the 8 pin EPS connector from my motherboard, the hard drive SATA connectors, the DVD SATA connector, and a couple fans that were plugged into peripheral connectors. Remove 4 screws that held the old power the old power supply to the back of the case, and then reverse the process with the new power supply unit.


150mm wide, 86mm tall, 140mm long
4.44 pounds
0.99 Active Power Factor Correction
Universal AC input from 90~264V
Maximum Power: 600W continuous output at 30ºC
Input: 90V-264V
Output: +3.3V@25A, +5V@25A, +12V@40A, -12V@0.8A, +5VSB@3A
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures): 100,000 hours
2 year warranty

CPUID Hardware Monitor shows 11.53 volts on the +12v rail, and 4.96 volts on the +5 volt. System temperature is a comfortable 40ºC with a max of 42ºC.

I've had this power supply for about 8 months now in my computer, and it's been completely perfect the whole time. My computer runs 24/7 except for the one day I shut it off to move it, and reboots for updates to install. I always have a few things going at once, I play loads of games on it and tax the system compiling programs. Even the one time our power momentarily flickered, both of the other computers in the house restarted but mine kept going without skipping a beat. I would certainly recommend the CX600 to a friend.

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