We have a heatsink on the outside edge of the PCB so it's hard to see the meat of the primary side, but that blue 330uF 400V capacitor back there is a Hitachi rated at 105°C. Not bad for a "budget" power supply.
The three sink design reminds me a bit of the FSP Epsilon design. If you have a look at open housing shots of the 520W and 620W, you'll find that those Seasonics are a more traditional two sink (one for the primary, one for the secondary) design. This layout actually uses four (it looks like three, but the two sinks on the secondary side are back to back.) I'd stick my neck out there and say that this Corsair is actually S12 II based, but I can't confirm that it's an exact replica without taking every component out of it.
The fan is a 120MM Adda AD1212MB-A71GL. This is still a ball bearing fan, like the one used in the HX520W and HX620W, but those other model power supplies use an AD1212HB-A71GL. The difference between the two models of fans is that this fan has a slower maximum RPM and therefore moves less air. That brings us to the next difference between the VX450W's fan and the fan used in the HX520W and HX620W. Note the acetate shield screwed to the left side of the fan housing. This shroud directs air flow away from the exhaust vents and towards the components that require the cool air. A couple years ago, some reviewers laughed when they saw these acetate sheets on PSU fans for the first time, stating that they couldn't possibly direct air within the power supply and may even add to fan noise. Here we are two years later and the acetate sheet trick is still being used. I guess that's just one of the differences between a reviewer and an engineer.
As my camera makes it's way to the secondary side, I'm quite please to find that all of the secondary caps are Nippon (United) Chemi-Con. Again, a very nice touch for a "value" power supply.
That said, let's throw the cover back on this thing, rate it and get down to our conclusion.
Judging is done in four categories: Performance, Functionality, Value and Aesthetics. Each category has a different weight that accounts for a different percentage of the total score. At the end, they are all added up to make the final score. If the final score is 9 or higher, the power supply earns the jonnyGURU Recommended award.
The Performance score is 40% of the total score...
Keeping in mind that this power supply is only a 450W and only has one PCI-e connector, I will say that this unit, rated at continuous, can certainly power any single GPU rig. The efficiency is good, the regulation good, the noise non-existent.
Only the fact that the PSU wasn't at least 80% efficient during test 1 and the 3% regulation I experienced on the +5V rail kept this unit from getting a perfect performance score. Today, Corsair gets a 9.5.
The Functionality score is 20% of the total score...
First, we have to admire Corsair's willingness to put really long cables on this unit. Although this might not work well for those with SFF boxes or micro ATX towers, it's great for those of us with taller towers or the infamous "upside-down case." There are also plenty of connectors. With six SATA and six peripheral connectors, there's not a good chance you're going to end up needing a power connector splitter in your build.
It is too bad that the unit only has one PCI-e connector. Although most people don't have SLI or Crossfire, some times people use SLI or Crossfire certification as a mark of superiority. The VX450W has more power on the +12V than most 500W units and some 600W units and the build quality is probably better than half of the units on the SLI Certified list of power supplies.
Finally, we give props to the VX450W being in such a small package. The 5.5" depth is the perfect size for a power supply.
So for having a small housing, long cables, and plenty of connectors we give the VX450 props. But because of the lack of SLI or Crossfire capability, we can only give the VX450W a 9.5 for functionality.
The Value score is 30% of the total score...
When this review went live, this unit was not yet available retail, but when I asked Corsair what the sell price on this unit would be, I was pleased to hear that it should street for between $79 and $85. That's good because what we normally get when we're only willing to spend $85, if we even get a 450W power supply, is a power supply that's not 80% and up efficient, that's not quiet, that doesn't have sleeved cables and certainly doesn't use all Japanese capacitors. And typically, we don't get a 5 year warranty at this price point either.
There's a few other gems in this price range: The SilverStone Strider ST40EF, the Enhance ENP-5150GH, the Antec NeoHE 500W... but even in an across the board comparison the Corsair is still feature rich enough to stand out in the crowd. For value, I score the Corsair VX450W a 10.
The Aesthetics score is 10% of the total score...
The aesthetics score is up for having the cables sleeved to the last connector, but the flat black paint and neon green stickers aren't necessarily everyone's cup of tea. Then again, it might be. That's why aesthetics only makes up 10% of the total score. I'm giving the VX450W an 8.5 here.
If we add up our numbers, we end up with a score of 9.5.
Corsair hit the ground running last year with the release of two top notch modular power supplies. This year, they took a chance and instead of going with a mega-high power unit like everyone else has and so many enthusiasts think they want, Corsair has taken the route of providing the DIY community with what they need: A top notch quality, feature rich power supply capable of putting out enough power for 90% of the users out there.
Let's face it. Most people don't have SLI. Most people don't even have video cards that require auxiliary power. The VX450W provides solid power, is efficient, is quiet and has nicely, fully-sleeved cables. All in a package that should retail for $85 or under. A price point where people typically neglect to make good decisions on their power supply. Now, when people in the forums ask for a good power supply that doesn't have to be modular and they have a sub-$100 budget, I know I can steer them towards the Corsair VX450W.
Active Power Factor Correction
Decent voltage regulation
Nicely sleeved cables
Plenty of Molex and SATA connectors
Excellent price point
Only one PCI-e connector. I'm confident this power supply could power even a pair of 7950 or X1950 cards.
+5V regulation not up to my expectations.
Efficiency not up over 80% by 20% load.
Not to sure about the flat black and acid green color combo, but most of us can't see our power supplies in our rigs, so..... (for those with a green color scheme though, this power supply is a shoe in!)
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