Before we get into this week's review, join with me in a little imaginary scenario, won't you?
It's Friday, and you've just completed a very long week at your job as a PC support technician. On Monday, you were forced to clean out a tower belonging to a forty-five year old hoarder who had left her computer next to her kitty litter box, and as the week went on things only went downhill from there. Now, here you are at the end of the week and quitting time is nigh. The radio the boss left on all day, not to be touched by the staff, has now played Hey, Soul Sister a total of thirty-nine times now but that's ok because it's almost quitting time. Crazy Bill, who works at the station next to you, hasn't stopped picking his nose and quoting Jar-Jar Binks all week, but it's ok. You're almost done for the week.
And that's when it happens. The boss comes up to you, a computer under one arm.
"Hello, Peter. What's happening. Yeah, I'm gonna need you to stay a little late today. You see, my son was playing World of Warcraft and his computer died. Do me a big favor and fix it up for him before you take off, ok? Hey, it's that Train song. I love that song. And if you could make the repair as cheap as possible, that would be great. M'kay?"
Now, don't kill your boss. That would be extremely counterproductive to your future employment prospects, no matter how good an idea it seems to you right now. Almost certainly, the little snot's computer has a dead power supply. If only there was a replacement on the shelf, something inexpensive, good quality, from a company that cares about such things.
Corsair's looking to help you make the pain of your terrible Friday go away. Today I'm looking at the next iteration of their Builder Series CX430, a modest 430 watt power supply. In the plain old cardboard box pictured above is a unit that promises to be reliable, cheap, and reasonably efficient.
As with most units I look at, there's some marketing to deal with on the box.
IDEAL FOR HOME AND OFFICE USE
The Corsair Builder Series of PSUs are designed for worry-free compatibility for your home desktop PC system build or upgrade. With features usually reserved for premium power supplies, it's a great choice for systems where continuous and reliable power delivery and low noise are essential. Inside you will find a power supply that conforms to universal ATX standards, a power cable, and a clear detailed Quick Start Guide. Corsair Builder Series power supplies get your system up and running quickly and easily, for years of trouble free operation.
Also present on this side of the box is a series of graphics showing the connectors present on the unit, as well as a list of how many of these can be found on the unit.
But wait, there's more marketing. Let's see what's on this side of the box:
COMPATIBLE Designed to universal ATX standards, and works with standard cases and motherboards.
RELIABLE Engineered to deliver clean, continuous power.
PROTECTED Backed by a three-year warranty and legendary Corsair customer and technical support.
The rest of this panel is devoted to repeating the above marketing in five other languages.
Spinning the box around, we find yet more marketing. Let's see what this one says:
Auto-switching circuitry provides universal AC input from 90V-264V
Supports ATX12V 2.3 and EPS12V 2.91 standards and is backward compatible with ATX12V 2.2 and 2.01 systems
Dimensions: 150mm x 86mm x 140mm
Alas, as with all things, the marketing must end. It's time to unpack this week's review sample.
While the box did indeed tell us some of what we would find inside the box, I found a few more goodies than were promised. Aside from the power supply, power cord, and user guide; there were also some screws, some zip ties, and a case badge. Nice.
Please try to resist the urge to attach the case badge to your boss' forehead with a hammer for making you stay late.
This is the user guide, a very good effort for something targeted toward the value market as this unit is.
Here's the power supply itself, done up in a nice matte black and green color scheme.
If we go by appearances, this unit certainly doesn't disappoint. I like me some matte black.
Just in case Junior's dead computer has a window in it, this is what he'll see through that window. He might actually be happy with this swap, if he can hold his tongue about the new truck daddy bought him being better than your old Dodge Neon long enough for your urge to "install" the old power supply in new and creative ways to pass.
Here's the grille area on the Corsair. This should be adequate to cool the unit.
A good look at the 120mm fan from above.
And now for the load table. As one might surmise from the low-ish 12V rating, this isn't likely to be one of those units that supplies the two minor rails using VRMs. That kind of thing belongs in more expensive units.
Max Power @ 30°C
You may have noticed a change about the table above, where I've supplied the maximum temperature this thing is rated to handle at full power. I must admit, this is a little low for my tastes. Then again, we're not dealing with an expensive enthusiast unit, here. Going cheap on a power supply without compromising in some way is impossible. The lower the price, the harder it is. Corsair is not immune to this. Back when I got started with this power supply recommending habit, there were very few units at a low price point on the market that would hold up over time. There was FSP, and... uh... FSP.
In making a dent in this market, Corsair had a monumental challenge to overcome. How can you go cheap in the market and not go cheap in build quality? Where do you stop? When it comes to the temp rating, I think Corsair's been quite sensible. If the case the unit is being used in is well cooled, thirty degrees ambient is realistic. Of course, that doesn't help that one guy that keeps coming in. You know the one, the boss calls him "Golden Goose" because he keeps putting his computer next to the heating vent. He's been into the shop three times this month already. But in that case, you just go for the next model up. Or talk him into something more expensive rated at fifty degrees.
Some of you may be sitting there saying, "Phooey. This is Corsair we're talking about here. They should all be rated at fifty. And using the best parts they can find. And with that load table, that's no 430W unit. That's a 400W unit, if I compare it to the 12V output on this and this and this unit."
To this, I respond thus: want fifty degree ratings? Spend more. Want better parts? Spend more. Want more 12V current? Spend more. You're an enthusiast - this is not your kind of power supply, here. This unit is for builds whose most demanding task is a Facebook post on how annoying that damn Train song is, how much like an ice pick to the brain the lead singer's voice is, and why won't that bloody station play something - anything - else already?
Before we get to the good stuff on the following pages, here's a look at the cabling. As you might expect from an inexpensive unit, this is not a modular design. Modular costs money. Just be glad these cables are short enough to manage easily, and yet the ATX and CPU cables are still long enough for bottom mount cases.
Type of connector:
ATX connector (610mm)
4+4 pin EPS12V/ATX12V connector (610mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (600mm)
5.25" Drive (430mm+150mm+150mm)
3.5" Drive (+150mm)
Unit Dimensions(L x W x H)
140mm x 150mm x 86mm
I'd also like to remind you that although the cabling is long enough to use as a garrote for your boss, that's probably not a good idea in front of all those witnesses. Even if the boss turned off the radio at last only to start singing that Train song himself, and has no concept of the words "on key."
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