Reviews - Corsair HX850 850W
Sample Provided by: Corsair (By OklahomaWolf on Sat, Jun-13-2009)

Page 1 -

Good day, my loyal readers. Once again, it seems that Corsair has sailed their latest and greatest into my harbor, and I intend to give it a good run through the load tester to see what it's all about. This time, I'm looking at the HX850, the newest offering in Corsair's line of enthusiast oriented units.

If the various message boards I keep haunting with my loony presence are any indication, this unit will be most welcome. More and more often lately, I've seen people wondering when Corsair was going to plug the hole between the now long in the tooth HX620 and the HX1000, and for a long time Corsair's response has been to assure people that they were working on it. Well, the waiting is over, because they're releasing both this here HX850 and a 750W little brother.

But enough jibber-jabber... let's look some more at the fancy cardboard.

Our next stop around Corsair Cove is this side of the box, where Corsair has chosen to brag about how awesome a unit you just bought. In case you're having trouble reading that little blurb in the blue box up there, here you go:

"Corsair Professional Series power supplies boast and innovative cabling configuration that uses low-profile, flat modular cables that reduce air friction to help maximizes airflow through the computer chassis. The modular design also simplifies installation as it allows unprecedented flexibility in utilizing only those cables which are needed. Corsair Professional Series power supply units - designed for enthusiasts."

Perhaps Corsair needs assistance in maximizes-ing their grammar checker.

But the bragging doesn't stop there, oh no. It continues on the back of the box where they've given us a load table, several graphs, a few pictures, and a few more bragging points:

  • Flat Modular Cables
    Low-profile cable design allows for superior airflow and complete flexibility to choose only the cables that you need.
    -This is the same cable style found on the HX1000.
  • 140mm Thermally Controlled Fan
    Ultra quiet dual ball bearing fan intelligently throttles fan speed based on temperature.
    -Nothing new to talk about here.
  • Solid State 105°C Capacitors
    Upgraded 105°C solid state capacitors for years of uncompromised performance and reliability.
    -Solid state? So... the capacitors are made of silicon now? That's what solid state means. Methinks they're referring to those polymer capacitors in the picture up there instead. In other words, they're not "solid state," exactly; they're just, well, made of polymers as opposed to the usual aluminum electrolytic caps.
  • DC to DC Converter
    Full DC-to-DC conversion on all voltage rails for best-in-class efficiency levels up to 90%.
    -All rails? I don't think so, Tim. The 12V rail is very unlikely to be supplied via DC-DC conversion because it would have to get DC power from somewhere. Such a thing would only add cost to the design for no real benefit. Likewise, supplying the -12V and 5VSB rails using DC-DC is not only impractical, but even impossible in the case of the 5VSB rail. But, once again, I think the box is suffering from foot in mouth disease, for DC-DC conversion usually refers to the 3.3V and 5V rails being powered from the 12V rail. That's what's most likely going on in this unit. We'll see for sure on page four.

Ooh, look! Connectors!

I trust you can all make out the type in the above picture without me having to re-type everything here. Most of this list is standard boilerplate power supply compliance claims like the largely useless MTBF claim, but there are a few noteworthy things. Like the ability to do 850W at 50 degrees. We're going to test that claim on page three. The other really interesting part is the 90% efficiency claim... that's very impressive. It's also a harder target to meet when one is dealing with Corsair, whose standards are already well above most companies out there when it comes to offering reliable power supplies.

Our first look inside the box shows us an owner's manual, a black bag of modular cables, and a whole lot of foam. So, I'll just unpack this for you now.

The list of goodies in the box is: a power supply, power cord, a user guide, some flat modular cables, a bag for the modular cables, a velvet bag to go over the power supply itself, some zip ties, a case badge, and some screws. Don't worry, I'll take that bag off the unit in a second here.

But first, here are the smaller parts of the packaging, the case badge, screws, and zip ties. This way if you don't have a case with a window, you can still show off the fact that you have a Corsair crammed in there somewhere.

Here's the manual with lots of helpful instructions and unit specs. It's printed in several languages, goes for both this unit and the HX750, and has a few more bragging points. Just in case you need to be sold on the power supply again after you get it home and open the box, I guess.

"Hi, are you the manager? Yeah, I bought this Superhappy FlowerPower SP-830 from your store yesterday. I wasn't sold on it when I bought it, but I figured the manual would finish selling me on it after I drove all the way back across town in rush hour traffic in the blizzard we had where I got my car stuck in a snowbank and almost froze to death. Anyway, there's no manual. No manual at all. I don't want it anymore. It smells funny, too... I think it's making me hallucinate zombies. Look, there's one now. Do your salesmen always look like that? Well... can I have that Corsair over there in exchange?"

And here's the power supply itself. As usual, it's done up in Corsair's tasteful matte black finish, with dark blue accenting on the labels.

The unit is a deep son of a gun, too, at 180mm not counting any modular connectors you plug into it.

Speaking of the modular connectors, here they are. Four blue ones for the PCI-E cables, and four black ones for the peripheral cables. That metallic sticker informs us that the unit has been licensed under some patents, one of which is 7,133,293. Want to guess who holds that one? If you said Ultra, give yourself a prize. Yes indeed, it seems Ultra Products has been compensated for the use of their modular cable patent.

Here's the exhaust grille head on. There's lots of open area for that 140mm fan to push air through, but a good portion of it is blocked off by that "HX850" logo. Perhaps t'would have been better placed below the AC receptacle and power switch, where the fan is mounted. That would have opened up some more exhaust grille real estate. Not that the logo doesn't look nice, because it does.

And here's the label at long last. Yes, folks, Corsair has decided to sock the single 12V rail with a full 840 watts of capacity. That's above average for an 850 watt unit. This is made easier by the DC-DC conversion idea, because the primary side no longer has to power separate 5V and 3.3V circuits... the power comes from the 12V for those rails. As long as the total capacity of the unit is not being exceeded, you should be able to get the whole 840 watts out of the 12V side. I'm going to test that on the next two pages.

Corsair HX850

+3.3V +5V +12V1 -12V +5VSB
25A 25A 70A 0.8A 3A
Max Power 150W 840W 9.6W 15W

And this would be our tentacle shot of the day. As you can see, the hardwired cables of this unit are not the flat kind. Only the modular cables are done in ribbon cables.

Type of connector: Corsair HX850
ATX connector (600mm) 20+4 pin
4+4 pin ATX12V/EPS12V (590mm) 1
6+2 pin PCIe (490mm) 2
Modular Cables
5.25" Drive (450mm+100mm+100mm+100mm) 12
5.25" - 3.5" adapters (+100mm) 2
SATA (450mm+100mm+100mm+100mm) 12
6+2 pin PCIe (610mm) 4
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
180mm x 150mm x 86mm

As is typical for Corsair, they have gone decidedly overboard on the connectors for this unit. Just in case you have twelve PATA hard drives, they have you covered. In case you have twelve SATA hard drives, they have you covered. Need two 3.5" connectors? They'll give you two adapters. Need six 8 pin PCI-E connectors? Even there, they have you covered.

About the only place they don't have you covered is if you have the rare board that needs two 8 pin EPS connectors. That's when you start butchering the modular cables. It would be relatively easy to cobble something together that would run from one of the blue connectors to the second EPS. You're unlikely to need six 8 pin PCI-E cables on an 850W unit anyway... there comes a point when you'll have to go get an HX1000 instead.


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