Performance (40% of the final score) - Ok, so last time we was here, I pondered where to start. Today we will just dive right in. This thing put out what can only be called Excellence when it comes to voltage regulation, with an average of 0.45% on the +3.3V, an average of 0.70% on the +5V, and an average of 0.12% on the +12V. Efficiency was just a little shy on the 20% tests, but squeaks by with a Pass. When it comes to ripple suppression and noise, we ended up with an average of 20mV being the worst on the +12V and under 10 on the rest of the rails. Can you say... Hell Yeah! We managed to hit the 10 a little quicker this time.
Functionality (20% of the final score) - The AX860i is fully modular which is a plus in my book. It also comes with a total of 15 cables. Where the AX1200i fell short was it only came with six PCI-E 6+2 cables. The Ax860i comes with a total of four, but has a total of six PCI-E 6+2 connectors, which I think is suitable. Like with the big brother, the silent mode on the fan is a much welcomed features. However, the AX860i and AX760i's start out at 20% instead of the 30% the AX1200i started at. Although there hasn't been a lot of change in the Corsair Link software, you can see where its adds to the functionality of the unit by allowing one to modify fan curves, and monitor voltage, amperage, and temperatures of their PSU. And don't forget it allows the ability to adjust the OCP (Over Current Protection. With the AX1200i having the issue of having only six PCI-E connectors, which fit a lot better on this 860W unit. I think we'll have to let it slip by with a 10 here.
Value (20% of the final score) - Looking over at NewEgg, I found four Platinum units in the 850 ~ 860 watt range. We have the AZZA PSAZ-850PT14 coming in at $184.99, the Seasonic Platinum-860 comes in at $199.99, the Kingwin LZP 850 comes in at $209.99. The most expensive unit is the Enermax Platimax 850 coming in at $239.99. Three of these have mail-in rebates, but we don't count those. With the AX860i coming in at $249.99, this will make it the most expensive unit of the bunch. If we factor in the Corsair Link software and functionality, it adds to the value of the unit. This covers $20 or so of the price, which leaves us with the AX860i still being the highest priced unit. Factor in the excellent performance and functionality and that will warrant a price premium. I am not as comfortable with this price as I was with the AX1200i at the time of it's review. I think I will go with a 8.5 here, especially when you can drop another $50 and get the big brother.
Build Quality (20% of the final score) - Like with the big brother, this Flextronics beast shows us what everyone should be looking for when they talk about build quality. Everything from component selection through component installation, this thing hasn't left a thing overlooked. Corsair's definitely hit one out of the park with the DSP based AXi series. I have to give it a 10 here simply because it's every bit as good as its big brother.
Three months ago we watched the AX1200i test almost perfectly, and show us what the DSP design had to offer. Today we watched the younger brother turn around and show its big brother up on a few occasions, and took notes in a few areas as well. Overall, this unit did everything it was supposed to do and smiled the entire way through. It took everything we had to throw at it without batting an eye. The only thing that could make this unit any better would be a lower price point. But with the added value of the Corsair Link software and the added functionality it brings to the table. A little higher price for these features and excellent performance isn't that far out of line.
80+ Platinum Efficiency.
Excellent Voltage Regulation.
Excellent Noise/Ripple suppression.
Superb build quality.
Silent fan mode up to around 20% load.
7 Year Warranty.
Not a damn thing!
Still has the mixed flat / sleeved cables.
A little pricey, but easily overlooked.
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