Corsair AX1200 Professional Series 1200W 80 PLUS Gold Power Supply Long-Term Review @ ModSynergy.com
By: Michael Phrakaysone

Working for one of the leading companies in the semiconductor industry is a treat because one gets to use the most current state of the art computing systems out there in order to do their job.  In some cases we get to use systems that no regular consumer has in their hands yet.  These systems are stacked with goodies and makes use of the highest quality components money can buy.  An integral part of these powerful systems, in relation to the testing being done, is in fact the power supply.

The fact that some of these systems are left overnight stress testing speaks to the high importance of having a power supply that can supply required power to all components without issue, provide power to multiple configuration of graphics cards with total system stability, and do it while being highly efficient in the process.  If you can imagine, leaving these hungry beasts overnight means a hefty electricity bill, so having a power supply that is efficient in the process can lower the bill and give the company savings in the process.  From experience, it's not uncommon for some of these power supplies to prematurely quit and die outright.  It's not uncommon to see power supplies left out in the hallway for electronic recycling pickup, needless to say there is a list of specific power supplies that we do not order in the next quarterly order or we decide to allocate more budget for better power supplies.

A name synonymous with high-performance is without a doubt Corsair.  Throughout the 10-years ModSynergy has been on the Internet, I've seen Corsair go from a niche company with only high-performance memory in their arsenal to now a trusted brand with more variety of products offered in their lineup such as audio products, gaming peripherals, power supplies, USB drives and wireless storage, cooling, PC cases, and the Corsair Link system. 

I was given a chance at reviewing the top dog of Corsair's power supply lineup, when I was offered. The beast of Corsair's power supply lineup is the 1200-Watts of sheer power and efficiency, with it being 80 PLUS Gold approved.  Today I share with you about the Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 1200W Fully-Modular power supply and my 2-years of long-term use within in our ModSynergy Test PC and see whether or not its worthy of your hard earned money.

Corsair

About Corsair

Meeting Performance Computing Demands since 1994

Corsair is a global company bringing innovative, high-performance components to the PC gaming market. Specializing in very high performance memory, ultra-efficient power supplies, and other key system components, our products are the choice of overclockers, enthusiasts, and gamers everywhere.

Founded as Corsair Microsystems in 1994, Corsair originally developed Level 2 cache modules for OEMs. After Intel incorporated the L2 cache in the processor with the release of its Pentium Pro processor family, Corsair changed its focus to DRAM modules, primarily in the server market. In 2002, Corsair began shipping DRAM modules that were specifically designed to appeal to computer overclocking enthusiasts. From its roots in  high-performance memory, Corsair has expanded its award-winning product portfolio to include ultra-efficient power supplies, builder-friendly cases, ground-breaking CPU coolers, blazing-fast solid-state drives, and other key system components.

Corsair has developed a global operations infrastructure with extensive marketing and distribution channel relationships. Corsair’s products are sold to end users in over sixty countries worldwide, primarily through leading distributors and retailers.

About the Corsair AX Series of Power Supplies

Corsair AX Series™ power supply units set a new standard for performance, quality, reliability, and energy-efficiency in consumer PSUs. 80 PLUS® Platinum certification guarantees more than 90% efficiency at typical loads, while unflinching voltage stability, low-noise levels, and a fully modular cable set make the AX Series PSUs the ultimate choice for discerning enthusiasts.

Corsair AX1200 Product Overview

The Corsair AX1200 provides the power level, reliability, and stability required for the ultimate SLI and CrossFire gaming PCs. It delivers more than 90% energy-efficiency, and is built to Corsair’s renowned quality standards with one aim alone — to deliver the precise features and performance that enthusiasts demand.

A Fully Modular Cabling System

All cables detach from the power supply. During installation, this gives you the flexibility of using only the cables you need for a clean system build with optimal airflow. And, when it’s time to replace or upgrade your power supply, it can be removed from your system without interfering with your cabling — the cables stay in place and connect to your new fully-modular Corsair power supply.

Incredible Efficiency

With 90% efficiency at 50% load, the Corsair Professional Series Gold power supply runs quieter, generates minimal excess heat, and saves you money every month. It's earned the 80 Plus® Gold seal of approval, your guarantee that you're making the right choice for smart, efficient power delivery.

Corsair AX1200 Product Features

  • Supports the latest ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 standards and is backward compatible with ATX12V 2.2 and ATX12V 2.01 systems
  • An ultra-quiet 140mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow at an exceptionally low noise level by varying fan speed in response to temperature
  • 80 Plus Gold certified to deliver at least 90% efficiency at 50% load
  • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99
  • Universal AC input from 90~264V
  • No more hassle of flipping that tiny red switch to select the voltage input!
  • A dedicated single +12V rail offers maximum compatibility with the latest components
  • Over-voltage and over-current protection, under-voltage protection, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety to your critical system components
  • High-quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability
  • Completely modular cable system allows you to use only the cables you need
  • Power supply upgrade and replacement is easy, as the cables only need to be disconnected at the power supply
  • Low-profile, flat cable design reduces air friction and helps maximize airflow through your computer’s chassis
  • A seven year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair’s legendary technical support and customer service
  • Dimensions: 150mm(W) x 86mm(H) x 200mm(L)
  • MTBF: 100,000 hours
  • Safety Approvals: UL, CUL, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick

Corsair AX1200 Product Specifications

  • Warranty: Seven years
  • Dimension: 150mm(W) x 86mm(H) x 200mm(L)
  • Modular: Fully
  • Power: 1200 Watts
  • 80 Plus: Gold
  • ATX Connector: 1
  • EPS Connector: 2
  • PCI-E Connector: 6
  • 4 Pin Peripheral Connector: 12
  • SATA Connector: 16
  • Floppy Connector: 2
  • MTBF: 100,000 hours

First Impressions and Product Information

The Corsair AX1200 has without a doubt the largest box I've seen for a particular power supply; its massive and very weighty, more rectangular than typical square power supply boxes.  The designers have managed to give the design a clean modern look throughout.  The entire box is shrink wrapped to ensure product security from tampering before purchase.

The front of the box contains a background overlay of the fully modular design which remains a key selling point.  Below is a bar that contains the bold AX1200 model name and a small image of the power supply to the left with the description of High-Performance ATX Power Supply next to it.  The same design is on the side flaps of the box.  Respective company logo and series designation sits at the top left and right. 

Corsair AX1200

Turning to the rear the consumer is given all the need to know before purchasing the AX1200, the information is clear and concise with text and visuals to provide you with needed knowledge. You have a clear description of the product with the headings of Unprecedented Power Protection, A True Modular Cabling System, Incredible Efficiency, and The Corsair Advantage on the rear of the box to lead you in the right path along with visual images of the connectors and how many there are on the AX1200.

Corsair

The headings at the back of the box read this information:

Unprecedented power protection

The Corsair Professional Series Gold power supply pushes the state of the art for reliable delivery of clean power under imperfect conditions. If you require mission-critical stability or you simply want one of the best power supplies available, the Professional Series Gold is for you.

A true modular cabling system

All cables detach from the power supply. During installation, this gives you the flexibility of using only the cables you need for a clean system build with optimal airflow. And, when it’s time to replace or upgrade your power supply, it can be removed from your system without interfering with your cabling – the cables stay in place and connect to your new fully-modular Corsair power supply.

Incredible efficiency

With 90% efficiency at 50% load, the Corsair Professional Series Gold power supply runs quieter, generates minimal excess heat, and saves you money every month. It’s earned the 80 Plus® Gold seal of approval, your guarantee that you’re making the right choice for smart, efficient power delivery.

At the very bottom of the rear of the power supply box contains a noise and efficiency graph and AC/DC Input/Output Ratings.  Some of the power supply boxes do not mention or give the DC Output Rating information, so you don't know what each rail can do.

The AC/DC Input/Output Rating is as follows for the Corsair AX1200...


AC Input

100-240V * 15A * 50Hz - 60Hz

DC Output

+3.3V

+5V

+12V

-12V

+5Vsb

Max Load

30A

30A

100.4A

0.8A

3.5A

Maximum Combined Wattage

180W

1204.8W

9.6W

17.5W

Total Power

1204.8W

Opening the $299USD MSRP Corsair AX1200 (cheaper if purchased through Amazon, see link near conclusion) you pull out the outer paper cover and find a large Corsair labeled rectangular corrugated box which contains all the goodies.  A white sticker is placed on one side of the box opening to ensure again product integrity from tampering. 

Lift the top and the AX Series manual booklet and power cable are the first items shown.  Looking beneath you notice secure foam padding encompassing the power supply and a Corsair branded bag.  Take everything out and you see a small plastic zip-lock bag containing zip ties and grommets to prevent vibrations during installation. The power cord supplied is thick and beefy with 14AWG gauge wire used, not the cheap thin ones that are packaged with other products.

Corsair AX1200 Power Supply

The Corsair branded bag that you saw earlier contains the wide variety of modular connecting cables that you will use when building your computer.  The great thing about a fully-modular power supply such as the AX1200 is that you can use only the cables that you need.  What this prevents is that whole spaghetti mess other non-modular power supplies have to suffer with, affecting air flow inside the PC case and getting tangled in components. 

Modular Cables

The cables themselves are excellently done in either black cable wrap or thin bonded wire.  Other power supply cables are usually not bonded together, rather each cable is separate from the rest creating tangles of all sort, the ones on the AX1200 look so much better.  The wires are also generous in length, you should not have issue routing the cables around the PC case or reaching drives in a full-size tower.

Here is a list of the available connectors the Corsair AX1200 has and their respective length...


Connector

# Available

Length

Per cable

ATX 24-pin

1

610mm

1

EPS/ATX 12V (4+4)

2

610mm

1

PCIE (6+2)

6

610mm

1

SATA

3

Longest 750mm

4

SATA

2

Longest  500mm

2

MOLEX

3

Longest 850mm

4

Floppy

2

101mm

1

Modular

Each connector such as the MOLEX connector has either a thumb quick release button or a single thumb clip lock that helps you easily remove them from components in the system or from the modular power supply itself.  The actual plastic MOLEX connector seems typical enough, they feel the same as any other consumer power supply I've seen, I don't really notice if they are upgraded for higher current or not. 

At work we actually had one power supply (which I will not name) have its PCIE power connector melt away because of higher current drawn from the connector, first time I've seen such a thing happen and it made me more aware, but this was in an extreme configuration though.  The AX1200 wires vary connector to connector but mostly range from 16-18AWG for the main connectors such as ATX, EPS, PCIE.

80 PLUS Gold Approved! - At Least 90% Efficiency @ 50% Load

I have given this part in the review to talk about 80 PLUS and what it means.  The Corsair AX1200 1200W power supply is marketed as being highly efficient due to its approval as being 80 PLUS GOLD certified; what this means is simply that this power supply, or others whom have this approval will save you money when the computer is running.  This is significant because I'm sure most regular consumers have little to know clue about 80 PLUS certification and what it can provide them. 

Ecova Plug Load Solutions is the creator of this voluntary certification program in 2004 and the premise of 80 PLUS is to encourage power supply manufacturers to create energy efficient power supplies that can use energy more efficiently, saving money in the process.  In this case you can argue that there is a distinction between what a clean power supply is, and what a dirty power supply would be.  After all, power supplies are converting AC power to DC power, there's bound to be some efficiency losses along the way.  80 PLUS approved power supplies are able meet the requirement of having  at least 80% energy efficiency at 10, 20, 50, and 100% of rated load.

Learn more about 80 PLUS certification: http://www.plugloadsolutions.com/80PlusPowerSupplies.aspx#

There are currently five levels of certification.  From good to best are 80 PLUS, 80 PLUS BRONZE, 80 PLUS SILVER, 80 PLUS GOLD, and 80 PLUS Platinum.

In the case of the Corsair AX1200 1200W Fully-Modular Power Supply, it receives 80 PLUS GOLD certification for its ability to at 20% load be 88.46% efficient, at 50% load be 90.48% efficient, and at 100% load be 87.62% efficient.

Corsair Limited Warranty - 7 years (Manual Snippet)

Corsair provides a warranty to the original purchaser only that this genuine Corsair power supply, purchased from an authorized Corsair reseller, will be free from defects in material and workmanship for seven (7) years from the date of purchase.

Except where prohibited by applicable local law, this warranty is limited to the original purchaser and is non-transferable. This warranty provides you with specific legal rights, and you may have additional rights that vary under local laws. In general, this warranty means your Corsair power supply is guaranteed to operate, as specified by its datasheet and/or product documentation, and in the operating environment for which it was intended, for the life of the product or the extent of the warranty.

The Star Of The Show - Visual Overview

The whole Corsair AX1200 power supply package and experience so far is of a high-quality and high-end emotion.  Coming to the star of the show, we find the power supply protected even further inside its own Corsair branded velvet feeling string back tote-bag!  This is getting crazy, I've never seen a power supply inside a carrying bag, the best I've seen other power supplies is inserted into bubble wrap. 

Velvet bag

Corsair has obviously showcased the high-quality experience with the AX1200 and the care is easily seen from the tote-bag.  Ease the string of the tote-bag and the Corsair AX1200 is revealed!  And it looks down right beautiful!  The power supply is draped in matte black powder coating and looks ready for business, the powder coat has a fine texture to it.

Corsair

As you begin to stare at its looks, you can finally see how large the AX1200 power supply really is!  The stance is very elongated from normal lower wattage power supplies.  The AX1200 is a monstrous beast measuring in at 200mm long (7.9"), 150mm wide (5.9"), and 86mm tall (3.39").  Design wise it looks well done up.  On both ends of the power supply is the Corsair brand logo and large AX1200 model name in gold and white font, it definitely grabs your attention.  The whole power supply design is flat and flush making it aerodynamic in a sense that air can flow through the PC cases without being redirected somewhere else by the design of the power supply.

Corsair 1200W

Up top we find the Corsair badge on top of the fan grill protecting the large 140mm ultra-quiet dual ball-bearing fan from well known DC manufacture Yate Loon who have been making DC fans since 1987.  The days of small and louder 80mm fans are a thing of the past, what makes these 140mm so quiet is that they can push more air at a lower RPM, thus perform silently in the process.  The fan in the AX1200 is thermally-controlled as it is on every power supply nowadays.  Add the fact that Corsair bundles rubber grommets to prevent vibrations from occurring, you will notice even less noise.

The whole power supply enclosure is rather open to allow heat to be dissipated effectively.  Through all the openings you are able to see quite a lot of the internals.  Certainly I could see and read the names of the components used on the inside of the AX1200, not all obviously but a good number.  I could that it looked well organized and well done on the inside.  Looking from the rear you can easily see such components used for input filtering stages along with multiple small heatsinks inside to help further cool components and dissipate heat further, four blue Y-capacitors to help in the filtering stages along with the yellow x-capacitor, a couple of large ferrite coils, and up top through the fan grille much can be seen with more heatsinks, separate daughterboards, transformer, and Japanese Nichicon capacitors used, all of this is designed towards making the AX1200 more efficient and therefore receiving 80 PLUS GOLD certification.

Honeycomb

Coming to the rear of the power supply we find a fairly typical honeycomb mesh grill pattern that will allow heat to be dissipated away from the power supply.  To the right is the AC Input plug and large toggle on/off switch.  The AX1200 has no LED light at the back of the power supply to indicate that its operating, some power supplies have a light.  The AX1200 does not have the manual sliding red color voltage selector switch that some other power supplies have to change between 115 and 230 volts depending on where you live, because it has an intelligent circuit that automatically sets the correct voltage for you.  Lastly coming to the bottom of the power supply has the sticker that tells you the AC/DC Input/Output Rating of the Corsair AX1200.

The Testing Configuration

The Corsair AX1200 power supply was tested on our current ModSynergy Test PC featuring an Intel P67 DP67BG(B3) motherboard, Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB GDDR5 graphics card, and Patriot Memory Wildfire 120GB SATA3 SSD (you can see the full configuration here).  That is the general configuration, however, for this test of the Corsair AX1200 1200-Watt power supply I had to add everything and anything I could tothe computer to give it some more load for a good test. 

For the test I borrowed an extra AMD Radeon 6970 2GB graphics card to put it into CrossFireX multi-graphics card configuration, I also added two DVD ROM drives, 1TB HDD, 2x 500GB HDD, 3 cold cathode lights, and a couple of more DC fans to the system aside from the three already in the Corsair 600T PC case.  The graphics card were not overclocked, the Intel Core i7-2600K CPU was left also in stock conditions but had ability to dynamically overclock because of Turbo Boost technology to 3.8GHz from 3.4GHz stock.

The Idle & Load Results

Idle

Idle results are taken with the PC sitting in idle after 10 minutes


+12V

+5V

+3.3V

12.28

5.08

3.36

Load

Load results are taken after the PC running Furmark in the background to put the 2x AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB GDDR5 graphics card under load conditions, and with OCCT stress test and an HD video in the foreground for 15 minutes putting the rest of the components such as CPU and RAM under load conditions.  With the Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor that I reviewed a while ago, it told me that from the wall the computer was consuming roughly between 757-815 watts (fluctuating back and forth) under load.


+12V

+5V

+3.3V

+12.160

+5.02

+3.34

Observations

The Corsair AX1200 1200W power supply easily handled our configuration without issues.  The rails held steady and stable even under load and was quite impressive to see how close they stayed within their limits and never strayed below spec.  The system was totally stable throughout the test and no abnormalities were seen.

Anything strange?

The only negative and strange bit from this specific Corsair AX1200 1200W power supply was the fact that only when I shut off the computer from Windows, once the computer shut down I could hear a slight high-pitched buzzing noise from the power supply.  The sound felt like this is coming from coil whine from inside the power supply.  After another 20 seconds or so the sound completely disappears and there is no more whine.  It's only when the system is shut down that this happens.

I remember the Huntkey GreenStar 550W power supply I reviewed long ago having an even worse high pitch buzzing/whining noise that was even louder and happened even when the system was operating.  In fact when the computer was on and depending on the load of the system, the whine noise fluctuated during any type of load conditions.

Other than that, the Corsair AX1200 for the past 2-years has been stellar without complaint.

Where do I buy one?

If you wish to purchase the Corsair AX1200 1200W Fully- Modular Power Supply, the best place in my opinion is to purchase from Amazon.com. I shop at Amazon very regularly and find that they are the most customer oriented online e-tailer available today with a great return policy. If you do plan to purchase through Amazon, use our link below to make your purchase as you will be helping us out in the process.


Conclusion

The Corsair AX1200 Professional Series 1200W 80 PLUS Gold Fully-Modular Power Supply is one heck of a power supply.  The overall product Corsair has given to the consumer is just fantastic, from the packaging, to the bundle, to the power supply, to the silent fan, and to its steady performance, the Corsair AX1200 is something that will surely last and be remembered for years to come.  The Corsair AX1200 is undoubtedly the power supply to which all other power supplies will be measured against.  In addition, it has a lengthy seven (7) year warranty which puts it on par with the longest power supply warranties in the industry.  There's no need to purchase any sort of extended warranty package.

It's construction and quality is top notch, the bundle with the tote-bag, cable bag and rubber grommets to prevent vibrations is a welcome, the fully-modular system gives you freedom to use what you want, there are plenty of connectors, and the cables are of sufficient length for most systems out there that you'll likely not have any issues. The only possible issue you might encounter on small cases is the ability to have the AX1200 fit inside length wise at 200mm or 7.9".  You will have to measure your PC case beforehand to see if it'll fit.

The only other negative I experienced was a slight whine coming from the coils inside the unit but it only ever occurs after you've shut down the computer completely and goes away after 20 or so seconds.  It's a minor fault at least on this unit.  Other than that, I could find literally no other fault, not even ones to nitpick forcefully.

The Corsair AX1200 1200W power supply has left a lasting impression and therefore gets to be the power supply of choice powering our current ModSynergy Test PC.  It's simply superb! It easily earns our Editors Choice award!

Editors Choice