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Corsair HX1000W Power Supply Review

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SKYMTL

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HX1000W-52.jpg


Corsair HX1000W Power Supply Review




Product Number: CMPSU1000HX
Price: Click Here to Compare Prices
Manufacturer’s Product Page: Corsair HX1000W
Fan Size: 1x 140mm
Warranty: 5 Years
Availability: Now


Fans have been frothing at the mouth for it, reviewers have been begging for it to arrive on their doorsteps and enthusiasts have been waiting for that fateful day when it becomes available to buy. We are talking about the crowning achievement of Corsair’s seemingly never-ending quest to produce a 1000W power supply: the HX1000W. Indeed, forums all over the internet have been abuzz with excitement ever since that fateful day more than half a year ago when the first tantalizing pictures of this behemoth showed up on a few websites. Well, the wait is over; the mothership has landed and the Corsair HX1000W should be available for purchase from you friendly neighborhood retailer as you read this.

Corsair has had a tradition of releasing some of the industry’s most highly-regarded power supplies since the announcement of their HX-series nearly two years ago. Those first 620W and 520W units are still thought of as some of the best choices available in their respective price ranges but even though Corsair was sitting pretty, they definitely weren’t sitting idle. While the original HX-series was produced by Seasonic, Corsair introduced another OEM to consumers with the release of their non-modular VX and TX series: Channel Well Technology or CWT. While the VX450 and TX650W kept Seasonic designs, they used their newfound OEM for the VX550 and their highest wattage power supply to date (until the HX1000W): the TX750. While all of these power supplies were receiving critical acclaim, Corsair was up to their red and yellow beards in working their black arts on the HX1000W with the boys over at CWT. Even though their labor of love has seen a few minor delays (it was originally slated for release before New Year’s) we are told this was for the best since they wanted something unique.

From the outside, it looks like the stars have finally aligned and Corsair has released a 1000W power supply that beggars the competition. By keeping the price here in Canada under the magical $300 mark it seems like Corsair is really gunning for number one, especially considering that the HX1000 is backed up by their excellent 5-year warranty. All in all, this power supply seems to be exactly what everyone has been waiting for but as with all products there is more to the HX1000W than what first meets the eye. So without further delay, let’s take a closer look at one of Corsair’s most eagerly-anticipated launches.

HX1000W-50.jpg
 
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SKYMTL

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Features and Specifications

Features and Specifications

HX1000W-51.jpg


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HX1000W-53.jpg
 
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SKYMTL

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories


When you first look at the box the HX1000W comes in you immediately think that Corsair went to their OEM and said “I don’t care how much it costs…Supersize Me!” since this thing is gigantic. To give you some idea of the size, we were able to fit not two but THREE standard ATX-sized power supplies inside with plenty of space to spare. As with all off Corsair’s power supplies, this one has its own unique color scheme which as you can see (sorry to you readers who are color blind) is blue. There have been jokes flying back and forth across the internet about what will happen when Corsair runs out of “cool” colors and there has been one consensus: Corsair’s next power supply may very well be pink.

All joking aside, this titanic box has a few bullet points describing features and warranty length on the front while the back holds a bevy of information. Things like interior shots, output specifications, fan speed and available connectors are all written out in a variety of languages along with a picture of the HX1000W itself.


Opening the box reveals a very well protected interior complete with a modular cable bag and a massive block of black polystyrene which protects the power supply. Corsair power supplies have always been among the best protected that we have seen and this one is no exception with the HX1000W lovingly placed amid a cocoon of foam and then additionally wrapped in a plastic back for additional protection. We can’t see anything less than a serious shipping mishap (like being drop-kicked off a bridge) causing any damage to its precious cargo.


The accessory package is quite well-rounded with a little something for everyone so you don’t feel as much of a sting after dropping close to $300 on a power supply. You get the usual instruction manual and 16AWG power cord (which now seems to be almost standard on all 900W and higher power supplies) but it is the other accessories which really shine. You get a handy bag for all your unused modular cables, a bundle of black zip-ties, a Corsair case sticker and thumb screws. Wait…thumb screws?


Yes, thumb screws are included with the HX1000W and they replace the normal pain in the ass microscopic screws that come with 99/9% of the other power supplies on the market. While they seem a bit chipped and have lost their black luster after smashing against each other in their small zip-loc bag, their inclusion is very welcome.

We don’t usually focus at all on case badges in our power supply reviews but special mention has to be given to the one included with Corsair’s flagship unit. It is not a mere sticker. Rather, it is a full fledged piece of plastic with the Corsair logo in 3D relief which is backed by ultra-sticky 3M double sided tape. Personally, this is a case badge I would love to show off on the outside of my enclosure.
 
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SKYMTL

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Exterior Impressions

Exterior Impressions


At nearly eight inches long the massive black form of the HX1000W is definitely an intimidating sight to behold. The 140mm Sikorsky-like fan dominates the top of the housing which is coated in an extremely resilient black powder coating. Each side holds a small splash of this unit’s signature blue color in the guise of a logo which tends to lighten up an otherwise severe-looking façade.


The rear of the unit holds exactly what you would expect from a high-end power supply: a on / off switch as well as the main AC power connector with nary a glimpse of an input voltage selector since the HX1000W features Active PFC. Like most things on this power supply, the on / off rocker is suitably huge so you won’t be blundering around the back of your case searching in vain for this sometimes impossible to find switch. There is also a perforated metal grille here which is used to exhaust hot air and facilitate air movement within the housing.


Here we stumble across the first somewhat glaring issue I have with this power supply: the fact that the cables aren’t sleeved all the way into the housing. While it may seem minor, we have seen CWT do this with other products as well and we were hoping that Corsair would draw a line in the sand regarding the incomplete look this gives their flagship product. To us, this rainbow splash of wiring colors in a sea of black and blue looks downright out of place and odd.

The fan grille is finished in a black semi-luster paint with a white Corsair smack dab in the middle. This white logo actually works quite well to contrast an almost entirely black power supply.
 
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SKYMTL

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Cables and Connectors

Cables and Connectors


*Please note that Corsair has informed us they will send you free of charge (not including shipping) additional modular 6-pin cables if you wish to replace the native 8-pin connectors.

Corsair really hit the proverbial nail on the head with the cable lengths and number of connectors that the HX1000W has on tap. The shear number of connectors will leave many a customer weak in the knees with six PCI-E connectors (of which two are native 8-pin and two are 6+2 pin), ten Molex and another ten SATA connectors and to top this all off, there are a pair of EPS12V 8-pin CPU connectors (both of which have a 4+4 pin layout) for anyone using a dual-CPU system.

So, what more could you possibly want? How about obscenely long cable lengths? At nearly two feet long, the main ATX cable is like a dream come true and the CPU connector is able to reach even further than that (24 ” to be exact). All of the PCI-E cables are also long enough to get the job done in any case on the market. Finally, while having 10 Molex connectors may seem to be a bit of overkill to most of you, their layout is absolutely brilliant with two of the cables being significantly shorter so you don’t have to use one long cable to reach your top-mounted drives. For those of you who have cases with bottom-mounted power supply locations, Corsair hooks you up with suitably long Molex cables as well so you have no reason to panic. All right, enough with the gushing…on to business.


While most of the cables on the HX1000W are modular, one CPU connector, a pair of 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors and the main ATX connector are all non-modular. Since these are the cables you are most likely to use, it is perfectly fine with us that they fixed in place.


The sleeving on all of the cables attached to the power supply is absolutely perfect; it is not tight enough to hamper bending them to fit into every corner of your case but not loose enough to look cheap.


Here we have the entire family of modular cables and let me tell you, there are a lot of them. As you can see, Corsair went a bit different route with these cables than we are used to seeing with most power supplies since they have used the flat “Flex Force” cables we are used to seeing on ye olde Ultra power supplies. In addition, all of the PCI-E cables along with the lone 8-pin CPU connector are color-coded blue so people won’t get their places on the modular interface mixed up.


While the flat cables have many die-hard fans due to how easily they can be routed through your case, there is one issue that needs to be brought up: the way they are handled on the PCI-E connectors. While each of the Molex and SATA cables has a quartet of wires bundled together, the 6-pin PCI-E connectors get six wires which are bundled into two bundles of three wires each. Personally, I think this looks unfinished and downright ugly and I would have much rather seen these types of cables used exclusively for the Molex and SATA cables.

Each PCI-E connector also gets a filter (also called a bead core) much like we see on some Topower builds but in the HX1000W’s case; these filters are blissfully small compared to those seen on power supplies from Tagan, Mushkin and others. Whereas the flat cables are supposed to make cable routing easier, the filters are just a royal pain in the butt to fit through smaller spaces. Luckily they are not much wider than the connectors so they should only prove to be a minor hindrance in most situations.
 
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SKYMTL

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Cables & Connectors cont'.

Cables & Connectors cont'.


The 8-pin PCI-E connectors get the same flat cable treatment as their smaller cousins but they use an additional wire for a total of two bundles of four wires.


The additional 8-pin CPU connector is modular and unlike the other modular cables it is covered in regular sleeving instead of being completely flat. While this may strike you as a bit odd, it was a welcome change after seeing what happened to the PCI-E cables.


Corsair really pulled out all the stops when it came to the HX1000W since everything is done to near-perfection and that even includes something as small as a Molex connector. All of the Molex connectors have the very handy quick-release tabs installed which makes them a breeze to remove from components.


We have finally come to the brains of this operation: the modular interface. In our option, this is one area which either makes or breaks many power supplies since some companies have gone completely the wrong direction with their interfaces. That being said, like so many other things about the HX1000W, Corsair got this right.

To begin with they have included an easy to understand diagram detailing the locations of each cable along with the +12V rail it is associated with. In addition, they make the process of installing the connectors downright easy since a Molex or SATA cable won’t be able to fit into the connectors designated for the CPU and PCI-E cables and vice versa. To make matters even simpler, Corsair has color-coded one set of modular connectors blue while the other set stays black. Once you have chosen which cables you will use, it is just a simple matter of aligning the connector with the modular interface and pushing it in until you feel it click into place.

If you have been keeping track of the number of cables we have been going through, right about now you have probably realized that there are more cables than there are modular interfaces on the HX1000W. While there are six connectors for the SATA and Molex cables, there are actually eight cables in total. The same goes for the four blue connectors where Corsair gives you four additional PCI-E cables and one additional CPU connector. So, if you are using a Skulltrail system you will be able to use three modular PCI-E cables while the last blue interface connector will be take up by the extra CPU cable. All in all this suits us just fine since if you need every cable supplied you are probably running a system that would draw more power than the HX1000W could safely provide.
 
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SKYMTL

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Output Characteristics

Output Characteristics

HX1000W-54.jpg

This power supply is quite a bit different for anything else we have seen here at Hardware Canucks since we started doing power supply reviews. Where most power supplies out there will have combined +12V ratings, the Corsair HX1000W completely bucks this trend and instead goes down a very interesting and unique path.

The outputs are laid out like two separate 500W power supplies where each +12V rail is completely separate from the other and paired up with either a +5V or +3.3V rail. This means there is no real “combined +12V rating” since in theory this layout could conceivably produce 480W on each +12V rail making this power supply capable of putting out 960W of +12V power. This represents an incredible 96% of this power supply’s total continuous output which should be more than enough for even the most hardcore enthusiast.

Overall, the output specifications of Corsair’s 1000W power supply are simply stunning and goes to show that a great deal care was put into the fact that it will be providing oodles of power in a very +12V-centric marketplace. It should be interesting to see what the interior of this thing looks like.


Fan Impressions


Fan used on the HX1000W is a 7-bladed Yate Loon D14BH-12 140mm ball bearing unit which is rated to produce 48.5dB while moving 140CFM of air at its maximum speed of 2800PRM. Since this is on a fan speed controller which is directly linked to the output of the power supply, as you increase the load so too will the fan speed.

HX1000W-53.jpg

At lower wattage all we way up to 500W loads, Corsair claims their power supply should stay quite quiet at around 24dBA. Naturally, as load increases so to does the heat put out by the interior components which means that the fan needs to spin faster to cope with the higher thermal loads. At 1000W of continuous output, the fan would be spinning very close to its rated maximum RPMs and also producing the max amount of noise Yate Loon specifies it being capable of.
 
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SKYMTL

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Interior Impressions

Interior Impressions


When we said it looked like the HX1000W is actually two power supplies in one, we weren’t kidding but looking a bit closer we see it is actually THREE separate power supplies. In the pictures above you can see two distinct layouts on the one PCB, each with its own transformer and single primary cap. It is an extremely impressive design where one “power supply” is a combination of +12V2 and +5V (via a small daughter board) outputs while the other one seems to handle the +12V2 and +3.3V rails. Meanwhile, there is a small inverted PCB which holds a small +5vsb power supply complete with a transformer and caps.

The heatsinks are designed perfectly for a downwards-pointing fan and look to be well placed to dissipate as much heat as possible. The only potential issue that we see with this design is the fact that the interior is so cramped; the components not in direct contact with the heatsink may not be sufficiently cooled. However, as you will see Corsair chose premium parts for this power supply so the risk of overheating is slim to none.


On one side of the power supply holds a pair of small vertical PCBs of which one (closest to the camera above) is used for the fan speed controller and a few other outputs we couldn’t identify but look to be PCF controls. Meanwhile, while we can’t see most of the rectifiers and diode packs, the ones we are able to take a look at were all well attached to the heatsinks in order to dissipate the considerable heat they generate.


The capacitor situation with this power supply is very interesting since while the primary filtering stage uses a pair of high-quality 105°C Nippon Chemicon caps, the entire secondary side is populated by solid caps. These solid caps are Nichicon LG-series conductive aluminum electrolytic units which should last much longer than standard electrolyte capacitors and this is the first power supply we have seen with the entire secondary side populated with such an abundance of these.


The modular interface is built quite well with the two +12V rails getting their own separate solder points while the +3.3V and +5V rails are also partitioned off into separate points which are clearly marked. The soldering seems very good overall so we can be assured of a clean transfer of power to the connectors.

We already mentioned that there is a separate +5VSB power supply and it is lurking near the back of the HX1000W and in the picture above it can be seen in all its glory. The small transformer is the green-wrapped object in the center while its main capacitor is a Nippon Chemicon unit.
 
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SKYMTL

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Efficiency / Voltage Regulation Tests

Performance Tests

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.5Ghz (B3)
Processor #2: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.6Ghz
Memory: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 @ 1600Mhz (Thanks to Corsair)
Motherboard: Asus Blitz Extreme
Motherboard#2: DFI LANParty X38 Dark
Graphics Cards: 2X Gigabyte HD2900XT 512MB
Graphics Card #3: ASUS 9800GX2 TOP
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB SATAII
Hard Drive #2 Hitachi Deskstar 500GB SATAII
Fans: 5X Yate Loon 120mm @ 1200RPM
Monitor: Samsung 305T

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR 1KW TEST PLATFORM HAS BEEN UPDATED

For our complete power supply testing methodology, please go here: Hardware Canucks Power Supply Testing Methodology


Efficiency Testing

HX1000W-49.jpg

Overall, the efficiency if the Corsair HX1000W is extremely good; even better than the Antec Truepower Quattro 1000W which is another 80Plus rated unit. Since the Toughpower 1200W and Corsair’s units are both based off of the same platform, it isn’t surprising that their numbers are very similar across all of the efficiency tests. Is the 80Plus rating warranted? Yes, definitely.


Voltage Regulation Testing

+3.3V Regulation

HX1000W-43.jpg


+5V Regulation

HX1000W-44.jpg


+12V Regulation

HX1000W-45.jpg

As the famous Star Wars line goes: “Impressive. Most Impressive.” The voltage regulation shown by the HX1000W is some of the best we have seen with a maximum of voltage delta of 0.05V on the +12V rail which is just stunning. What impressed us the most was that in the Extreme load test where Corsair’s high wattage unit is powering more components than literally any consumer has, its voltage barely budged.

Since both the idle and the CPU load test +12V readings are taken directly from the non-modular CPU connector, it was interesting to see that this is where the HX1000W displayed its largest voltage drop. Whether this is due to resistance or something else can be debated forever, the voltages still stayed well within tolerances.
 
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SKYMTL

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Output Quality Testing / Acoustical Performance

Output Quality Testing

+3.3V Ripple Testing

HX1000W-46.jpg


+5V Ripple Testing

HX1000W-47.jpg


+12V Ripple Testing

HX1000W-48.jpg

First of all let us say that we were once again floored by how well the Corsair HX1000W performed from one end of our test suite to the other and this was borne out once again in our output quality tests. While all of the results were more than acceptable, we were most impressed by the +12V ripple tests where even with it outputting copious amounts of power, the HX1000W kept the traces below 35mV. All of these tests go to prove that Corsair has an extremely well-built power supply on their hands.

A little mention should be made about the sudden decrease in ripple seen on the +3.3V rail chart during the GPU Load test. We believe this is happening because the game used does not put much load on the RAM (through lower CPU usage than in the CPU Load test)and thus not much load on the +3.3V rail either.


Acoustical Performance

Before we get too far into this section I would like you to hearken back to the original Corsair Fan Speed chart which was posted way back in the review. It showed that at loads up to 500W, the Yate Loon fan would spin at a constant speed producing about 24dB. Then, since the fan is load controlled, as the user increases their demands on the unit, the fan would naturally increase its speed as well in order to keep the heat generated by the interior components under control.

In our tests, we experienced a situation exactly like the chart showed where through the Idle, CPU Load and GPU Load tests the fan stayed completely inaudible over the system fans we were using. However, as we progressed to the Full System Stress Test the fan’s speed picked up to the point where it produced a very muted “whoosh” sound which couldn’t be heard over the racket the two HD2900XT cards put out. The same can be said for the Extreme Load test where the Yate Loon seemed to be spinning for all it was worth but it still couldn’t drown out the annoying drone of our graphics cards.

So, all in all we believe that as load increases so to will the noise of your GPU fans and CPU fans which will both completely drown out literally any noise this power supply can produce. All in all, if you are running a higher-end system you should be more worried about the assault on your senses the graphics card will provide rather than worrying about the audibility of the HX1000W. It really is a quiet power supply.
 
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