Page 4 - Minor Tests and Conclusion
Power supplies are interesting products, because often, reviews of products in this category are conducted and tested in methods that make it difficult to distinguish one power supply from another. Many aspects must be taken into consideration. Certain criteria consist of efficiency, noise, power ripples, and of course the ability to pull out the rated specifications. Because many cannot afford such equipment to obtain results regarding those aspects, articles covering power supplies often come out with less than adequate and acceptable information. As this is a product report -- not a review -- what we are doing is a close examination of the power supply and the internal hardware and build. But what we can do for you is do some minor testing with the results we can present to you with and let other review sites with professional equipment show you the actual test results. We are not going to try to create useless test results by installing the power supply into the latest gaming rig and try to take readings from that, as this is not even remotely the correct way to test power supply units. We understand that many websites do that as a means of load testing, but the results, even if you use an oscilloscope and multimeter at each output location, it is not sufficient, nor does it accurately reflect the performance of the power supply.
Using our power supply tester which exerts minimal load on the power supply, the initial consumption was 8W as measured by our wall meter unit, indicating that the basic load-free power consumption of the power supply is very good. Independent reviews from websites with professional load testing equipment showed the Corsair CV550 550W delivered efficiency in accordance to its specifications. This is an 80 Plus Bronze certified power supply. Performance otherwise is what you would expect from an ultra-budget unit.
Voltages with minimal load are generally accurate, which is a basic requirement of power supplies out of the box. In this situation, all are all within 2%. The PG (Power Good) delay seems to be well within its rated range and general power supply standard of 310ms.
Active power correction is important to correct AC load line loss. In AC power, there are three components to it; as there is a phase difference between current and voltage. This makes up the power triangle, which consists of the following: Average usable power (P, measured in watts), reactive power (Q, denoted as VA-R), and total power (S, written as VA). While they all have the save physical units, it is not the same thing as aforementioned. What we want is the average usable power with as little wasted reactive power as possible. The total power provided over the AC line is the magnitude of the two combined (sqrt(P^2+Q^2)). Power factor can then be easily calculated by P divided by S. The ideal value is 1.00, and this is where active PFC comes in. The Corsair CV550 550W has active PFC, and the power factor will approach 0.99 with a nominal load.
The Corsair CV550 550W is fairly quiet power supply, but definitely not the best we have seen. Under regular loads up to 60%, the 550W CV550 is reasonably low noise. Personally, I found the Yate Loon D12SH-12 is a not as smooth running as I would like it to be, but good placement of internal components contributes to minimal turbulence noise. While this is very subjective, I am quite a picky person on noise. On a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is silent and 10 is the loudest, I would rate the Corsair CV550 550W to be at 3.0/10 acoustically under nominal loads. The fan is out of the way to approximately 60% of its maximum speed, but it will become exponentially more audible when it kicks in. If you are a silent PC enthusiast, the Corsair CV550 550W is still a respectable choice, but the fan motor's smoothness may bother the pickiest.
Corsair provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
For a power supply that has dipped as low as $40 before, the Corsair CV550 550W is certainly very wallet-friendly. But whether it is good is a question that needs to be answered very carefully. Will it outperform the company's higher end offerings? Certainly not, and no one expects it to. Will it do the job for those who are on a very limited budget and not a lot of demands? Sure. Its performance meets a very basic standard. There is nothing fancy about the CV550; its platform and component selection is what you could expect for the price. The good news is it will not blow up your house like some no-name PSU from a shady source. At the end of the day, the Corsair CV550 550W is an ultra-budget power supply with absolutely no frills backed by a 3-year warranty.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Minor Tests and Conclusion