Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside
The Corsair CV550 550W is an ultra-basic budget power supply, and its looks correspond to its main mission. The CV550 has a depth of only 15.0cm, and is one of the shortest power supplies I have reviewed here in APH Networks. It is important to note this is a non-modular power supply. Most modular power supplies are longer than non-modular units by a centimeter or two, as the extra length is needed to accommodate its connector board at the back. We will take a look inside the PSU on the next page. For most ATX or eATX chassis, length should not be much of a problem, if at all. However, if you have a mATX or mITX case that takes standard power supplies, the shorter length will definitely serve as an advantage.
From our view above, you can see the full branding is implemented on both sides, where you can spot Corsair's logo and CV550 branding prominently placed. To make sure you will see the text right side up at all times, the orientation of it is different on both sides, so whatever side facing the user after installation will always be correct. Its classical SECC construction comes with an integrated fan grille guarding the primary and only cooling fan installed. The fan grille is cut out of the enclosure, so it is not low resistance. The 120mm fan generates airflow by drawing air from the bottom of the power supply over its internal components to keep the temperatures in check. Exhaust heat is allowed to leave at the back of the power supply through the secondary honeycomb mesh opening. Meanwhile, four screws secure the power supply case together. A warranty seal extends over one edge of the power supply, so you cannot open the CV550 550W without voiding its 3-year warranty.
Starting from the back part of the power supply, we have the same familiar honeycomb mesh design as most PSUs with bottom mounted fan. What you will find here is a horizontally aligned male connector for power input on the western edge along with an on/off switch next to it. The low resistance mesh design is implemented to maximize airflow and minimize air resistance. This is done as heat needs to leave the power supply as easily and efficiently as possible, because the CV550 550W incorporates only one 120mm fan at the bottom. The mesh is quite small though; occupying only 40% of the room at the back of the unit. As with all active PFC power supplies, the Corsair CV550 550W has an automatic full range 100V to 240V AC line voltage selection, so the user does not have to worry about manually selecting input voltage.
The Corsair CV550 is a non-modular power supply. Its cable lead out location is situated on the side closest to the edge of your chassis if the fan is installed facing down. The advantage of permanently fixed cables is lower electrical power loss at the connectors, but it comes at a price of more challenging cable management for the end user. The external build quality of Corsair's CV550 550W power supply is commendable; nothing bad, but nothing distinctive, either. We will take it apart in just a moment. Fit is done well with minimal panel gaps and all edges are nicely finished off. The level of refinement with regards to the external build quality is comparable with all the other high quality PSUs I have used in the past. As aforementioned, we will crack open the power supply to see what's inside in the following section.
The voltage specification label is located at the top of the Corsair CV550 550W. There are two main virtual rails. Up to 24A can be delivered via the +3.3V rail for a total of 79.2W, while the 20A on the +5V rail brings the output to 100W in this area. The total combined output for the +3.3V and +5V rail is 120W. In other words, your power allocation combination must fall within the limits of the listed specifications. Meanwhile, a single powerful +12V rail delivers up to 44A -- 528W -- to reduce operating overhead compared to multiple +12V rails. Overall, the combined power output for the whole Corsair CV550 550W is... well, 550W haha. Again, your power distribution in your system must fall within the limits provided -- it must not exceed 79.2W on the +3.3V rail, 100W on the +5V rail and 120W combined for both, 528W on the +12V rail, and 550W combined between the +12V and +3.3/+5V rails. It does sound a bit confusing to understand how this works at first, but generally speaking, this configuration allows very flexible power demands and should be sufficient to accommodate most users. I have seen lower power outputs in the +3.3V and 5V rails for higher output rated units. The overall distribution is very reasonable for an 550W power supply.
The Corsair CV550 550W is 80 Plus Bronze certified, which means that it is certified to be at least 82%, 85%, 82% efficient at 20%, 50%, and 100% load, respectively. Higher certifications available for power supplies of this type include 80 Plus Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium at press time.
The ATX 24-pin, ATX/EPS 4+4-pin, and PCI Express cables are fully sleeved, while the SATA and Molex peripheral cables are flat. Despite varying thicknesses, they are all easy to bend, making them extremely easy to work with. All wires are 18 AWG, including high-current PCI Express and ATX/EPS connectors. Often, manufacturers will fatten them up to 16 AWG, but Corsair opted out on that since this is a budget product.
The following cables and connectors are available for use:
- 1x ATX 20+4 pin, 55.0cm
- 1x ATX/EPS 4+4 pin, 60.0cm
- 1x PCIe 6+2 pin, 2 connectors, 55.0cm to first connector, 12.0cm spacing thereafter
- 2x SATA, 3 connectors each, 45.0cm to first connector, 12.0cm spacing thereafter
- 1x SATA (x1) / Molex (x2) / Floppy (x1), 4 connectors, 45.0cm to first connector, 12.0m spacing thereafter, Floppy at the end of dongle
These are specified measurements from the manufacturer. There are some shorter cables, but most users should have no problem with Corsair's CV550 550W in modern cases. 50cm is the general standard, but the shorter peripherals connectors are acceptable, although not preferred, in newer chassis designs.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Minor Tests and Conclusion