In the complex world of computer systems, the humble power supply unit (PSU) often gets overlooked, despite being the heart that powers all the digital magic. A power supply’s primary function is to convert the AC power from the wall outlet into low-voltage DC power, which is then utilized by every single component in the system, from the CPU to the storage drives. Among the various power supply options available to consumers, the single/multi-rail switchable power supplies have recently garnered significant attention.
What are Multi/Single-Rail switchable power supplies?
The term “rail” in the context of power supplies, refers to an independent power source that originates from the PSU. A single-rail PSU design provides its entire output current over a single cable, while a multi-rail design splits the output into two or more ‘rails’, each with a limited amount of current. This fundamental difference has implications for both system safety and power distribution flexibility, leading to a long-standing debate between the advocates of single-rail and multi-rail PSU designs.
Single-rail PSUs have the benefit of unrestricted power flow, ensuring high-demand components are never starved of current. This feature is particularly favored among overclockers and users with high-performance parts. However, this design comes with an inherent risk; if a component or wire connected to the rail short-circuits, there’s a potential for the entire supply of current to flow through the fault, possibly leading to significant damage or, in rare cases, a fire.
On the other hand, multi-rail PSUs divide their power among several rails, each with a limited output. This design inherently adds a level of protection by preventing high currents from passing through any one rail, minimizing the risk posed by potential short-circuits. However, for consumers with high-demand components, a multi-rail setup can pose its own set of challenges, including the possibility of power imbalance if the rails are not properly distributed.
Enter the single/multi-rail switchable power supplies – PSUs designed to offer the best of both worlds. These units provide users the flexibility to switch between a single or multi-rail configuration depending on their specific needs. They offer unrestricted power when needed, but also provide the option to switch to a safer, regulated multi-rail mode when system safety is a primary concern.
As power demands continue to grow with the release of more powerful processors and graphics cards, having a switchable power supply can offer unprecedented flexibility. This allows consumers to tailor their power delivery method according to the changing requirements of their system, ensuring optimum performance and safety, and providing a compelling reason to consider a power supply with switchable single/multi-rail capabilities.
Best single/multi-rail switchable power supplies
In this article, we’ll be reviewing and comparing three top-notch single/multi-rail switchable power supply options from Corsair: the AXi Series AX1600i, the HX Series HX1200, and the HX1500i from the HXi Series. They all offer different features and benefits, so by the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of which one suits your needs best.
Power supplies are an essential component of any computer system, providing reliable and stable power to all the other components. Over the years, power supplies have evolved and become more efficient, offering higher wattage outputs, better energy efficiency ratings, and advanced features like digital control and modular cables. These advancements result in improved performance, quieter operation, and reduced power consumption, making them an attractive investment for both gaming enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Now, let’s delve deeper into each product, starting with the Corsair AXi Series AX1600i. This 1600-watt power supply boasts an 80+ Titanium certification, making it one of the most efficient power supplies on the market. It features fully modular cables, allowing you to customize your cable management for a cleaner and neater build. The digital controls allow for real-time monitoring and adjustments, ensuring optimal power delivery. Additionally, the AX1600i comes with a 10-year warranty, providing peace of mind and a guarantee of reliability.
Moving on to the Corsair HX Series HX1200, a fully modular 1200-watt power supply with an 80+ Platinum certification. While not as powerful as the AX1600i, it still offers ample wattage for high-performance systems. The HX1200 is known for its excellent voltage regulation and low ripple, ensuring stable power delivery to your components. With its compact size and fully modular design, cable management is a breeze. Plus, the HX1200 offers an impressive 10-year warranty, reflecting the high-quality build and reliable performance.
Last but not least, we have the Corsair HX1500i from the HXi Series. This power supply combines the benefits of a high wattage output (1500 watts) with the ultra-low noise operation. The 80+ Platinum efficiency rating ensures energy efficiency, while the fully modular design makes cable management a breeze. The HX1500i features Triple EPS12V connectors, making it ideal for workstations or systems with multiple high-power-demanding components. With its zero RPM fan mode, the HX1500i stays silent at low to medium loads and only kicks in the fan for cooling when needed.
So, there you have it. Three excellent power supply options from Corsair, each with its own unique features and benefits. Narrowing down your choice will depend on the specific requirements of your system and your budget. Whether you’re a gaming enthusiast or a professional seeking reliable power delivery, investing in a quality power supply is a worthwhile decision.
If you are searching for a power supply that can handle high wattage demands while offering top-tier efficiency, look no further than the Corsair AX1600i from the AXi series. With its robust design and reliable performance, this power supply is ideal for demanding gaming rigs, workstations, and server builds.
The Corsair AX1600i stands out among its competitors due to its impressive 1600W continuous power delivery and 80+ Titanium certification. This means that it provides exceptional energy efficiency, converting a higher percentage of AC power into usable DC power, thereby reducing energy waste and saving you money on your electricity bills.
The Corsair AX1600i is designed for power-hungry systems that require stable and efficient power delivery. Equipped with 100% 105°C Japanese capacitors and top-specification internal components, this power supply offers excellent longevity and reliability.
One of the standout features of the AX1600i is its digital design, which allows for advanced monitoring and control via the powerful CORSAIR LINK software. With this software, you can easily supervise and adjust the power supply’s settings, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency.
When it comes to overall quality, the Corsair AX1600i does not disappoint. Featuring Totem-pole PFC Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors, this power supply offers superior efficiency in a smaller form-factor compared to traditional silicon parts. This cutting-edge technology allows for better heat dissipation and improved power delivery, resulting in a more reliable, stable, and efficient performance.
Furthermore, the AX1600i features world-class electrical performance, delivering incredibly stable voltages with ultra-low ripple noise. This means that the power supply can provide consistent and clean power to your components, reducing the risk of damage or instability.
Pros and Cons
Impressive 1600W continuous power delivery
80+ Titanium certification for exceptional energy efficiency
Top-specification internal components for longevity and reliability
Advanced monitoring and control through CORSAIR LINK software
Totem-pole PFC Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors for superior efficiency
World-class electrical performance with stable voltages and low ripple noise
Higher price compared to lower wattage models
May be overkill for less demanding systems
With its exceptional power delivery, energy efficiency, and advanced monitoring capabilities, the Corsair AX1600i from the AXi series solidifies its position as one of the top power supply options for high-performance systems. Whether you are a gaming enthusiast, a professional content creator, or a server administrator, this power supply provides the necessary reliability and efficiency to meet your needs. Invest in the Corsair AX1600i for a seamless and worry-free power supply solution.
The Corsair HX Series, HX1200, 1200 Watt, Fully Modular Power Supply is designed to provide efficient and reliable power to your computer system. With its 1200-watt capacity, it is suitable for high-performance gaming setups and demanding workstations. Whether you are a gamer, graphic designer, or video editor, this power supply can handle your power requirements with ease.
We are particularly impressed with the 80 Plus Platinum certification of the Corsair HX Series power supply. This certification guarantees that the power supply operates at an efficiency level of at least 90%, reducing energy waste and minimizing heat output. This not only results in lower electricity bills but also ensures stable and reliable power delivery to your components.
The primary purpose of the Corsair HX Series power supply is to deliver clean and consistent power to your computer. It features fully modular cables, which means you can easily connect only the cables you need, reducing clutter and improving airflow within your system. This modularity also enhances cable management, resulting in a cleaner and more professional-looking build.
One of the standout features of this power supply is its 135mm FDB fan with Zero RPM mode. During low-load operations, the fan remains in silent mode, ensuring a noise-free computing experience. It only spins up when necessary, keeping your system cool and ensuring optimal performance.
Another key feature is the 8 PATA connectors, which provide multiple options for connecting peripheral devices such as hard drives and optical drives. Additionally, the Plus12V Rail Switch allows you to choose between a single Plus12V rail or multiple Plus12V rails, depending on your specific power requirements.
The Corsair HX Series power supply demonstrates exceptional quality and reliability. Backed by Corsair’s legendary technical support and customer service, it comes with a 10-year warranty. This extended warranty period ensures peace of mind and underscores the confidence Corsair has in the durability and performance of their product.
Pros and Cons
80 Plus Platinum certified for high energy efficiency
Fully modular design for improved cable management and airflow
135mm FDB fan with Zero RPM mode for silent operation
10-year warranty for long-term reliability
Plus12V Rail Switch provides flexibility for different power requirements
Higher price point compared to other power supplies in its wattage range
The Corsair HX Series, HX1200, 1200 Watt, Fully Modular Power Supply is an excellent choice for those in need of a powerful and reliable power supply for their high-performance system. Its 80 Plus Platinum certification, fully modular design, and advanced features make it a top contender in the market. With a 10-year warranty and Corsair’s renowned technical support, you can trust in the quality and durability of this product.
Corsair HX1500i Platinum Modular ATX Power Supply with Triple EPS12V Connectors, Ultra-Low Noise, 140mm Fan, Zero RPM Fan Mode (Black)
The Corsair HX1500i, HXi Series, 80 PLUS Platinum Fully Modular Ultra-Low Noise ATX Digital Power Supply is designed to provide high-quality power with minimal noise for your computer system. It is suitable for a variety of applications, from gaming rigs to professional workstations, ensuring stable and efficient power delivery.
We highly recommend the Corsair HX1500i for its exceptional performance and advanced features. This power supply offers a fully modular design, allowing you to connect only the cables required for your system. This not only makes installation and cable management effortless but also promotes a clean and tidy build.
One standout feature of the HX1500i is its triple EPS12V connectors, which ensure compatibility with modern motherboards. This feature is particularly valuable for users with high-end systems that require additional power connections.
Another reason to love this product is its 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fan. This fan delivers not only incredibly quiet operation but also long-lasting performance. It effectively keeps the power supply cool during heavy usage, enhancing its overall reliability and lifespan.
Additionally, the Corsair iCUE software is a significant advantage. This powerful software allows you to create custom fan curves, monitor power settings, and toggle between single to multi-rail overcurrent protection (OCP) on-the-fly. Having this level of control enables you to optimize your power supply’s performance and tailor it to your system’s specific needs.
Lastly, the zero RPM fan mode is a notable feature for those seeking near-silent operation. When the power supply is under light or moderate loads, the cooling fan shuts off entirely, ensuring minimal noise production. This feature is especially beneficial for users who prioritize a quiet computing environment.
The Corsair HX1500i is designed to provide reliable power for high-performance systems. Its key features include its fully modular cabling, triple EPS12V connectors, 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan, Corsair iCUE software, and zero RPM fan mode.
The fully modular cabling allows you to connect only the necessary cables, promoting a clean and organized build. With the triple EPS12V connectors, the power supply ensures compatibility with modern motherboards, catering to the needs of high-power systems.
The 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan operates quietly and effectively cools the power supply, contributing to its longevity. The Corsair iCUE software grants you unparalleled control over fan curves, power settings, and overcurrent protection, enabling you to optimize performance. Finally, the zero RPM fan mode ensures near-silent operation during light or moderate loads.
The overall quality of the Corsair HX1500i power supply is exceptional. Its build quality is top-notch, ensuring durability and stability. The power supply’s performance is reliable and efficient, meeting the demands of high-power systems without compromising noise levels.
The incorporation of advanced features, such as the Corsair iCUE software and the zero RPM fan mode, elevates the power supply’s value. These features offer customization and convenience, allowing you to fine-tune your system’s power delivery and enjoy a quiet computing experience.
Pros and Cons
Fully modular design for easy installation and cable management
Triple EPS12V connectors ensure compatibility with modern motherboards
Quieter operation with the 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan
Corsair iCUE software provides extensive control and customization options
Zero RPM fan mode for near-silent operation
Higher price point compared to standard power supplies
Limited availability of some regional power connectors
The Corsair HX1500i, HXi Series, 80 PLUS Platinum Fully Modular Ultra-Low Noise ATX Digital Power Supply is a fantastic choice for those seeking high-quality power and advanced features. Its fully modular design, triple EPS12V connectors, quiet operation, Corsair iCUE software control, and zero RPM fan mode make it a reliable and customizable solution for various computer systems.
Comparison of Specifications
Below is a comparison of the specifications for the three products:
|Specification||Corsair AXi Series CP-9020087-NA||Corsair HX Series CP-9020140-NA||Corsair HX1500i|
|Efficiency Rating||80+ Titanium||80+ Platinum||80+ Platinum|
|Modular Type||Fully Modular||Fully Modular||Fully Modular|
|Fan||140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB)||135mm FDB with Zero RPM mode||140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB)|
|PSU Software||CORSAIR LINK Software||None||CORSAIR iCUE Software|
|Warranty||Not mentioned||10 years||Not mentioned|
|PATA Connector||Not mentioned||8 connectors||Not mentioned|
Comparison of Features
Corsair AXi Series CP-9020087-NA
- Delivers 1600W of continuous ultra-stable power
- Efficiency rating of 80+ Titanium
- Fully modular cabling for clean and tidy builds
- 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fan for quiet operation
- Allows monitoring and control through CORSAIR LINK software
Corsair HX Series CP-9020140-NA
- Provides 1200W of power
- Efficiency rating of 80+ Platinum
- Fully modular cabling for easy cable management
- 135mm FDB fan with Zero RPM mode for silent operation
- Offers the choice of a single plus12V rail or multiple plus12V rails
- Offers 1500W power output
- Efficiency rating of 80+ Platinum
- Fully modular cabling for easy cable management
- 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fan for quiet operation
- Comes with the CORSAIR iCUE software for customization and control
- Zero RPM Fan Mode for near-silent operation at low and medium loads
After careful review of the Corsair AXi Series, AX1600i, Corsair HX Series, HX1200, and Corsair HX1500i power supplies, a clear understanding of their features, performance, and drawbacks has been achieved. Each power supply offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Corsair AXi Series, AX1600i
The Corsair AXi Series, AX1600i power supply stands out with its impressive 1600 watt capacity, 80+ Titanium certification, and fully modular design. Its digital power supply capabilities allow for precise control and monitoring, ensuring optimal performance. However, one drawback is its relatively higher price point, which may not be suitable for budget-conscious individuals. Overall, this power supply is recommended for high-end gaming setups or professional use, where maximum power and efficiency are required.
Corsair HX Series, HX1200
The Corsair HX Series, HX1200 power supply offers a slightly lower wattage at 1200 watts, but compensates with its 80+ Platinum certification and fully modular design. It provides reliable power delivery and excellent efficiency. Although not at the same level as the AX1600i, the HX1200 is still a solid choice for enthusiasts and gamers looking for a balance between performance and affordability. Its lower price point makes it an attractive option for those seeking a quality power supply without breaking the bank.
Corsair HX1500i, HXi Series
The Corsair HX1500i, HXi Series power supply excels in offering ultra-low noise levels, thanks to its 140mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan and Zero RPM fan mode. It also boasts a fully modular design and 80+ Platinum certification. This power supply is ideal for users who prioritize a quiet operation in their build, such as content creators or individuals working in noise-sensitive environments. However, its higher wattage and additional EPS12V connectors make it more suitable for advanced setups or professional applications.
In conclusion, each of the reviewed Corsair power supplies offers its own strengths and weaknesses. The Corsair AXi Series, AX1600i is recommended for those seeking maximum power and efficiency, while the Corsair HX Series, HX1200 offers a balance between performance and price. Lastly, the Corsair HX1500i, HXi Series is a great choice for users who prioritize a quiet operation. Choose the one that aligns with your specific needs and requirements to ensure a reliable and efficient power supply for your system.
In the increasingly diverse landscape of computer hardware, switchable power supplies can serve as a valuable ally for various types of users. Whether you are a gamer running power-hungry graphics cards, an enthusiast pushing the boundaries of overclocking, or a professional running demanding workloads, switchable power supplies allow you to fine-tune your system to meet your specific needs.
For the high-performance user, the unrestricted power flow of a single-rail setup ensures that even the most demanding components receive the power they need. This makes it a favored choice for overclockers, who push their hardware beyond its standard capabilities and, therefore, require more power. Switchable power supplies provide the flexibility to tap into this ‘unrestricted’ mode when necessary, providing the required power without any hiccups.
On the other end of the spectrum, multi-rail configurations, with their inherent safety measures, can be an excellent fit for more conservative users, who prioritize system stability and safety over the absolute performance. This configuration offers peace of mind by limiting the amount of current that can flow through any single rail, minimizing the risk of potential component damage or system failure due to short-circuits or overloads.
When considering switchable power supplies, one must also think about power efficiency and the PSU’s form factor. Power supplies with 80 Plus Gold, Platinum, or Titanium certifications ensure high energy efficiency, which translates into lower electricity bills, less heat, and, consequently, quieter operation. Additionally, the form factor of the PSU can be crucial, especially for those working with small form factor (SFF) builds.
In conclusion, the versatility and adaptability of single/multi-rail switchable power supplies make them an excellent investment for modern computer systems. They provide users with the flexibility to tailor their system’s power delivery to their specific needs, ensure optimal performance, and provide a safety net against potential power-related issues. In this article, we will be delving into the detailed comparison of the best switchable power supplies available in the market, helping you make the most informed decision for your computing needs.