Date: Tuesday , December 04, 2007
Corsair has been known among enthusiast circles as a premier supplier of high performance memory for quite some time and has recently risen to become one of the most talked about power supply brands around. Corsair was able to establish such an amazing presence in such a short time through the use of quality OEMآ’s (Seasonic and CWT), rigorous standards, and excellent support. Corsair began branding power supplies with two units in the HX series, the very well received CMPSU-HX520 (branded as HX520W) and the CMPSU-HX620 (branded as HX620W). Recently Corsair established a second line of power supplies the VX series and released two more units, the CMPSU-VX450 (branded as VX450W) and the CMPSU-VX550 (branded as VX550W). Not content to stand still Corsair has gone ahead and introduced a third line of power supplies, the TX series, which currently consists of the CMPSU-TX750 (branded as TX750W) and the CMPSU-TX650 (branded as TX650W). With so many products available in a mere 300w DC output range and indeed some units landing almost right on top of one another we have decided to pit two closely matched units against one another today the older CMPSU-HX520 (branded as HX520W) versus the newer CMPSU-VX550 (branded as VX550W). In pairing these two units we are also pairing both of Corsairآ’s OEM partners CWT and Seasonic.
Channel Well Technology (CWT) was founded and began manufacturing power supplies in 1993. Since 1993 Channel Well Technology products have shown up under various guises including Antec, Xclio, 2theMax, CWT, ThermalTake, and now Corsair. While most familiar to our North America users from when they used to provide OEM services for Antec, CWT is one of the more complete OEM manufacturers as they have a fairly high level of vertical integration providing transformers all the way up to their well designed independently regulated SMPS. Recently however, CWT has begun stretching out and is providing OEM services for a number of brands as todayآ’s unit demonstrates.
Sea Sonic Electronics CO Ltd is one of the older companies producing consumer power supplies having been founded in 1975 and entering the PC power supply production market in 1980. During that more than 30 years as a company Seasonic has cultivated lines of power supplies that are today some of the standard bearers for efficiency and quiet computing. This focus, and their reputation for quality, has lead to a real explosion in production as Seasonic can be found providing OEM services on various model lines for Antec, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, and of course under their own Seasonic brand.
As we indicated above Corsair has a large number of power supplies being offered in the 450w-750w range with some that just about land on top of one another in their DC output capacity. With so many offerings in this narrow range and with the two units we have selected today being within 30w's of each other, how does Corsair differentiate the two and what groups are being targeted by each? A quick peek at Corsairآ’s webpage delineates the closely specified VX550W and HX520W like this:
Extending Corsairآ’s legendary reputation in performance and quality, the new Corsair VX family of power supplies features the industryآ’s most efficient power management and ultra-quiet design for mainstream users. Unlike most power supplies in the market, the Corsair VX incorporates a single +12V power rail that delivers continuous power under heavy loads. This conservative design ensures reliable operation in todayآ’s most demanding system configurations and adds compatibility for future platforms. The unique combination of rock solid performance and incredible value puts the Corsair VX family of power supplies in a class of its own. Ideal for home theater PCs and ENERGY STAR PCs, the VX line maximizes energy savings and minimum noise generation thanks to double-forward switching circuitry design. Each Corsair VX power supply is backed with an industry-leading 5-year warranty and 24/7 on-demand customer service.
The Corsair HX620W/HX520W power supply is versatile and robust. Utilizing superior triple +12V power rails and a whisper quiet double ball-bearing 120mm fan, the HX620W/HX520W is ready for todayآ’s most power hungry components. The HX620W/HX520W conforms to the latest ATX12V 2.2/EPS12V 2.91 and RoHS standards, and delivers unparalleled continuous power to all of your critical system components reliably and safely. Corsairآ’s easily detachable and flexible modular cables allow you to use only the cables you need and enhance the air flow inside your system. The HX620W/HX520W is backed with a Limited 5-Year Warranty and Corsairآ’s legendary customer service.
It would seem from the comparing the product pages for these two lines of power supplies that the VX series is marketed as being Corsair's value line of power supplies while the HX line is going to be placed as their premier product line for the foreseeable future. As such there are only a few differences in each units fit, finish, and functionality that we will cover in more detail later in the review.
Moving on, letآ’s see what we have to look forward to when we purchase the Corsair VX550W and HX520W power supplies in terms of documentation, accessories, cable count, rail layout, output characteristics, and general build quality. First, we will look at the VX550W.