Corsair is a company that needs no introduction. They are one of the oldest names in the PC industry and, although they initially only marketed memory-related products, nowadays the company has diversified into most segments of the PC market, with products ranging from PC hardware components to office/gaming chairs.

The company has been particularly active in the PC power supply (PSU) market. It was one of the first markets the company diversified into, and their first few products that the company released over a decade ago were a huge success. Nowadays Corsair is one of the biggest players in the PC PSU market, with dozens of competitive products covering every want and need.

The company places a lot of weight on their PSU division, which has been one of the innovation leaders during the past decade, always coming up with new features and/or technological upgrades. It is no chance that Corsair's units were always amongst the first to meet the new 80Plus programme certifications when they were being introduced. Corsair has always been trying to be a technological step ahead of their competition, striving to bring the best out in the market first.

It is somewhat of a tradition for Corsair to always have one pinnacle product, a PSU that has no equal in the market, regardless of the cost. For quite some time this PSU was the AX1500i, a behemoth PSU with 80Plus Titanium certification. While the 80Plus Titanium certification is rare and costly even today, Corsair achieved it four years ago. As the electrical performance of the AX1500i already was outworldish and there are no better quality or efficiency certifications to be earned, the top-tier PSU market has been lethargic for quite a long time, with hardly any new products coming out for years.

Suddenly, a few months ago Corsair announced the release of the AX1600i, an upgrade of the original AX1500i, boasting that it is even more efficient and with improved overall performance. There is no official certification higher than the 80Plus Titanium that the AX1500i already had, but since we did review the AX1500i back in 2014, we can compare the two units and see what has been improved and by how much.

And without spoiling too much in advance here, the true highlight of the AX1600i is not its total capacity, but its efficiency. Corsair enabled an unparalleled super-high efficiency design for the AX1600i by equipping the PSU with Gallium Nitride (GaN) MOSFETs. These are expensive, but afford an extra bump to the brand; no other consumer power supply has these, and we take a close look at them over the next few pages. If these work well, they could easily be a game changer for the industry as other providers use them.

Power specifications ( Rated @ 50 °C )
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 30A 30A 133.3A 3.5A 0.8A
180W 1600W 17.5W 9.6W
TOTAL 1600W

Packaging and Bundle

Corsair is using their usual yellow/black artwork for the packaging of the AX1600i, with the only major difference compared to the packaging of less powerful models being the massive size of the box. The box is very strong and should provide ample shipping protection and inside we found the power supply well protected between thick foam paddings.

Unlike most of their other PSUs and older versions of the AX series units, the AX1600i comes with a fairly rich bundle. The first thing that stands out is the C19 power cable, which is necessary because the input amperage of the AX1600i can surpass the rating of regular C13 cables in countries where the grid voltage is low. Corsair also supplies black 3M mounting screws, a case badge, some short cable ties, a few cable straps, and side stickers in three different colors (red, white, and blue).

The AX1600i is a fully modular design and all of its cables come neatly organized in a rolled-up storage pouch. All of the connectors and wires are black. SATA/Molex/Floppy/USB cables are "flat", ribbon-like cables. The thicker PCIe, EPS, and 24-pin ATX cables are additionally covered into black sleeving and hide extra filtering capacitors.

Corsair AX1600i
Connector type Hardwired Modular
ATX 24 Pin - 1
EPS 4+4 Pin - 2
EPS 8 Pin - -
PCI-E 6+2 Pin - 10
PCI-E 8 Pin - -
SATA - 16
Molex - 9
Floppy - 2
Dissecting the Corsair AX1600i PSU
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  • TelstarTOS - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    Now, please scale down this platform and gimme an 800W AXI with a pricetag of 300W and I'll buy it for my next system. Reply
  • SirPerro - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    Well that's exciting.

    Now build one of those for normal people.
    Reply
  • Ninjawithagun - Thursday, May 10, 2018 - link

    Um, define 'normal people' please? Reply
  • baka_toroi - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    Isn't this the perfect mining PSU? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    Too expensive. There's actually a passage I cut from the article that I'll go ahead and post here.

    "One could argue that the PSU might be appealing to cryptominers, but we find that to be unlikely. Cryptominers usually only care about having a reliable high output regardless of the power quality or noise, and thus prefer to source regular >2 kW designs that sell for a fraction of the AX1600i's price"
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    Correct. Server grade PSUs are being used for mining. There are Chinese branded PSUs with similar capacity and efficiency not far from the Corsair but just above $100.
    I just read somewhere that it is actually easier to make a more efficient PSU with high capacity, around 1KW and above.
    Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    $100, you are smoking your socks. Unless you're willing to buy something that some random dude has spliced a bunch of PCIe connectors onto and only gives a 30-day warranty on. Reply
  • gavbon - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    I don't think I have spent less than $150 on a PSU in the last 5 years - Obviously price tag doesn't necessarily equate to quality, but you're more likely to buy quality at higher price points...as this review proves, this unit is TOP quality, but you're always going to pay big bucks for it Reply
  • AdrianB1 - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    You can buy a Corsair with 2 year warranty for $75 in my part of the world (Europe). Semi-modular, not 80 Plus Titanium rated, but still a very decent PSU. Same for Antec or other brands, you can find a decent Fortron much cheaper. Most computers you buy here have ~$25 PSU + case combo and they are covered by 2 year warranty that you can extend to 4 years and the reliability is surprisingly good. Building PSU's is no rocket science anymore. Reply
  • Spazilton - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - link

    They are using stuff like this. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Supermicro-PWS-1K21P-1R-1... Reply

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