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This review is from: CORSAIR CX550M 550W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Power Supply
Pros: I really like the simplicity of design for Corsair power supplies. The “wrinkle” paint that the unit is covered with is tough and not easily scratched. The cables are well sleeved with the mesh for the CPU and main 24pin power connectors secured under the heatshrink. I can appreciate that the modular cables are the same as most other modular units. I had no problem just pulling the old modular supply out and slotting the new one in with the existing modular cables (from a Corsair CX600M) I really like the ribbon modular cables that come with Corsair supplies and found them easy to work with. As with previous Corsair units, I found the modular connectors for this one easy to plug in with a nice secure clip. The connections are also easy to get to even when it’s bolted into the case.
All cables are plenty long even for my NZXT Phantom case (which is quite large, placing the hard drives very far away from the PSU).
Quite short which helps with space, although that’s more to do with the wattage of this unit than anything specific.
The fan in the PSU appears to be high quality and isn’t very loud at normal operation.
With my build, the computer draws about 68W on average when connected to the power meter. This is right in line with the power supply I pulled out of it which was also an 80+ bronze certified unit.
I will take the time to say that I appreciate the minimal logo design on these units as well.
Cable ties included is a nice gesture and they are big enough for most of the job.
Cons: Not that I necessarily expected it, but there isn’t any point where the fan on the PSU shuts off while in operation. I realize most in this price range don’t, so that’s more of a design quibble than anything further.
The 24-pin cable is almost too long even for my massive case, requiring me to find a place to zip tie up some of the excess.
The 4/8-pin CPU connector is annoying. I really wish they’d leave a little extra space between the connector and the end of the heat shrink tube. I honestly miss the flat ribbon cable version on the CX600M that this unit replaced. There’s just not a lot of room to get the other half of the connector out of the way if you only have a 4-pin module on your board.
That’s really all of the cons I can think of.
Other Thoughts: It’s a no frills unit, but it does the job and does it well. I’ve always had really good luck with the CX series and have three in operation in various NAS devices and computers in my house. They are all still running (including the one that I pulled for this test).
Testing using a Kill a Watt Power meter from P3
OS: FreeNAS 9.2.1
Processor: AMD A6-5400K APU
RAM: 8GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3
Drives: 4x 4TB WD Green drives
Pros: Really well packed. Comes in a fancy velvet bag which is totally unnecessary but does add to the charm. Also comes with a nice nylon back to keep the extra cables you don’t use.
I really like the fully modular design even though I can’t really think of a time when it’s entirely beneficial.
The power supply looks really cool as well. I like the flat black finish, integrated fan grille and the rounded corners. This is one of those components that you almost feel guilty putting it in a case without a windowed side panel. The paint seems very durable and not prone to scratching. I should know after wrestling it into a Mini ITX build.
On to performance. Being an 80 Plus Gold unit I had high hopes, and was not disappointed. The old Antec PSU that came out of the Freenas NAS this went into drew about 75watts full load and 67 watts at idle. This power supply is even more drastically under stressed and pulls around 65 watts at full load and 54 at idle with the same hardware.
Honestly, the fan basically never runs in this unit. I’d imagine if you really pushed it, it would, but it basically stays silent in my setup.
The modular cables are of high quality and I especially like that they went with flat ribbon design cables for the SATA and Molex cables. Everything is well made and all of the connectors plug in easily and securely into the unit. The Molex connectors come with little “squeeze tabs” that allow you to more easily disconnect. Honestly, I really like that feature and will probably never get another power supply without them again. This is probably not an issue if you’re just building the system once, but I tear down and swap parts a lot in my builds so a feature like that is very very appreciated (also, NASs that run 24/7 tend to need fan replacements a lot). All the cables are excessively long even for my NZXT Phantom case.
Comes with six SATA connectors which is probably enough for most people. They are even thoughtful enough to throw in some cable ties and velcro along with a molex to floppy power adapter (you know, just in case). I know there are a few odd devices out there (here’s looking at you AMD and your crazy cable CARD tuners) that use the floppy power as well, so it’s an appreciated addition if not a little funny.
All of the modular cables appear to be pretty standard so you can probably obtain extras if needed since there are some extra spaces that don’t have matching cables for them (PCIe power to be specific).
Very heavy unit which (funny enough) I’ve kind of come to associate with the more well-built power supplies.
Cons: I would I liked that all of the cables be the same flat ribbons but we can’t have everything we want.
The 8-pin/4-pin CPU power cable is a little bulky along with not having nearly enough room after the heatshrink for easy separation of the two 4-pin sides. Not so much a problem if you have an 8-pin board, but it was pretty annoying with a 4-pin application.
The 24-pin plug is a bit annoying in modular form as the long heatshrink on the PSU end causes some cable routing issues.
The SATA connectors are definitely designed specifically with a bottom mounted power supply in mind as they are all pointed in such a way that you are forced to route the cable to the bottom of your case and turn around to line them up correctly lest you install your drives upside-down. Not really too much of a problem since they are super long.
Other Thoughts: In my honest opinion, this is a great power supply at the current price
Power ratings were measured on a Kill-a-Watt power tester over a 48-hour period on the old unit and then again on this power supply.
System specs as follows:
OS: FreeNAS 9.3
Processor: Intel Core i3-3220 CPU @ 3.30GHz
RAM: 4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3
Drives: 4x WD Black 4TB
Motherboard: ASRock H61MV-ITX LGA 1155
Pros: The router seems to be well made out of quality plastic. The buttons are properly labeled and I can also appreciate a button for disabling all of the LEDs on the unit. To that end, however, the LEDs on my unit weren’t very bright (like most other routers I’ve recently reviewed). Connectivity is relatively conveniently laid out on the back of the unit.
The web UI for the router (after the firmware update) was easy to get to and setup. Setting up things like wireless SSIDs and security can be easily accomplished by any novice in my opinion. Setting up a USB NAS share with this device proved to be relatively easy to understand and do without any trouble. From what I’ve seen, your performance will wildly vary based on device and disk format. I found that transfer speeds were acceptable, but not “amazing.” Average speeds over a USB 3.0 flash drive and a USB 2.0 external hard drive both came out to about 15MB/s both reading and writing.
WAN and WLAN speeds are what I’d expect at this price point and claimed hardware. See my Other Thoughts section for details on what I’m seeing over Google Fiber.
Cons: You cannot mount this router and it doesn’t have a removable stand. So vertical it is. While that may not bother some, others may not appreciate this limitation (myself included). I just don’t find it very convenient.
Flashing the firmware on this unit was an absolute nightmare. Accessing the site through the router’s OS failed multiple times at first. When it finally did connect, it took nearly 45 minutes to pull the update down (I’m on a 1Gbps fiber connection so there’s really no excuse for this). After the firmware was downloaded, you’re presented with a screen stating that it will take three minutes to update. Nearly five hours later, the router dropped this loading page and rebooted. Honestly, I’ve no idea what it was doing all that time, but it wouldn’t let me in until it was finished (clearly pointing out that it would be available once it completed. I could excuse this if the firmware loaded on the unit from ASUS was any good. The firmware that came installed on my device wasn’t really operational. There are a lot of performance issues and dropped packets during inspection by it’s “smart” system. Once I was finally able to get the unit upgraded, it’s quite good. Major issues abounded with setting up a USB file share as well using this old firmware.
That being said, the newer firmware works as intended (see other thoughts for version) and most of my review is based on post upgrade.
I’m slightly annoyed that we’re still using chunky wall warts for power supplies in this day and age. Really takes up a lot of space on my power strips.
Other Thoughts: If you’re on an older version than 22.214.171.124.380 I would highly recommend downloading the most recent update, but only if you have issues. The firmware update process took my example almost all night to load with constant reboots and resets.
On the 5GHz band, I’m averaging about 370mbps when running speed tests and downloading files from FTP sites that have higher bandwidth. Windows negotiates the connection at about 800 mpbs so that’s pretty on point with ASUS’ claims (obviously you mileage may vary based on device). Performance drops are easily noticeable at around 50 feet through two drywall walls. So, don’t expect miracles, but it’s pretty on point with the other APs in my home with similar specs.
On the 2.4GHz band, don’t expect anything more than about 65 mbps as this is about as good as it can accomplish. However, signal strength remains at “full” throughout my entire house without a lot of noise. All about priorities there as it’s obviously a lot more stable over distance. If you have older devices that are only able to use 2.4 then you’re in luck as it performs as expected. My laptop auto-negotiated at 144mbps which is about standard wireless N 2.4 speeds.