As high-performance entertainment and gaming PCs are gaining ground, manufacturers are placing greater effort on the development of better and more efficient small form factor (SFF) parts. These days it's possible to build an advanced gaming PC that rivals gaming consoles in terms of size, at least so long as you have an appropriate SFX power supply unit (PSU) capable of delivering enough current to a power-hungry graphics card.

Not more than a few years ago, it would have been very difficult (and costly) to purchase a high performance SFX PSU. As the market demand for such units increased, some companies jumped on the opportunity and added a couple of SFX units into their product lineups. Although their overall performance was much better than the average run-of-the-mill SFX PSU, their cost was relatively high and their performance was not quite comparable to that of regular ATX units, especially when it came to acoustics. The market matured quickly though and this year we are seeing a number of new SFX PSU platforms appearing, promising performance comparative to that of advanced ATX units.

Corsair is one of the first companies that released advanced SFX PSUs into the market. Their SF PSU series used to be one of the very few choices that advanced users had when building a system requiring an SFX PSU. Corsair usually upgrades their PSUs without renaming them or their series, and this month the company decided to give their SF series a revamp. The new SF series units now come with an 80Plus Platinum efficiency certification and very impressive electrical specifications.

In this review we are having a look at the SF450, the less powerful model of the series that has a maximum power output of 450 Watts. The SF450 has an MSRP price of $99 and seemingly is a quite cost-effective solution for an advanced PSU powering a single graphics card SFX gaming system.

Power specifications ( Rated @ 50 °C )
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 15A 20A 37.5A 2.5A 0.3A
100W 450W 12.5W 3.6W
TOTAL 450W

Packaging and Bundle

We received the SF450 in a medium-sized cardboard box with the same yellow/black artwork that the company has us used to over the past several years. The artwork is simple and clean, with the front focusing on a subtle picture of the unit itself and the detailed information moved to the rear and sides of the box. Inside the box, we find the unit well packed, protected between foam paddings and inside a reusable nylon pouch.

The bundle of the SF450 is relatively rich for a PSU. Corsair supplies the typical AC power cable, black 3M mounting screws, a very thorough multilingual manual, a case badge, a few short cable ties, and a couple of cable straps. The company also supplies an SFX to ATX case adapter that will certainly be useful to users who upgrade or fiddle with their systems often.

The new SF450 SFX PSU is fully modular. Its stock cables are a little shorter that those of a standard ATX PSU, which may cause compatibility problems when trying to install the unit inside a large ATX case. Corsair does offer longer cable versions but at an additional cost. All of the connectors and cables are black, with individually sleeved wires. This creates a unique aesthetic effect and does not make the cables as stiff as we thought they would be. Flat ribbon-like cables would probably be a little better for very tight spaces, as they are more flexible and take up less space.

Corsair SF450 2018
Connector type Hardwired Modular
ATX 24 Pin - 1
EPS 4+4 Pin - 1
EPS 8 Pin - -
PCI-E 6+2 Pin - 2
PCI-E 8 Pin - -
SATA - 4
Molex - 3
Floppy - -
The Corsair SF450 450W SFX PSU
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  • Spoelie - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    Actually installed the 2015 in my ITX build one month ago (2700x & RX580) - both this and the 2018 were available in the shop but the most recent version came at a 25% premium (80 vs 100). I figured any improvements were not worth this premium, given how extraordinary the 2015 version already was (see jonny guru's review). Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    Yeah, the price increase is a bit disappointing, since going from ~$80 to $100 is a 25% price hike. That being said, assuming SF450-2018 comes down in price a bit (even $90 would be good), I feel like it'd be a good replacement for the previous SF450, considering the additional benefits the new model comes with, as the 80+Plat rating.

    The initial hurdle with Mini-ITX is just paying extra for the form factor in regards to the case, sfx psu, heatsink quality for price/size (as opposed to cheaply affordable Cryorig H7 or CoolerMaster Hyper 212 +/Evo). (Followed by another hurdle with installation tediousness/difficulty of the cramped space and potentially unknown compatibility with certain parts which theoretically would've fit if it weren't for a piece that stuck out). Having to pay another $20 for a 80+Plat PSU over what most would already consider is _already_ great for an equal wattage 80+Gold PSU might just be another Nvidia RTX issue, where their hardest competition is ironically their older product which provided a compelling value at a lower total cost.
    Reply
  • meacupla - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    But have you ever used the ribbon cables that come with the Gold version?
    They suck shit.

    The Platinum version already includes the individually sleeved cables, which are like $50 on their own.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    I've used other PSUs with flat ribbon cables that appear the same sort as with the gold 450 before without complaint. What don't you like about them? Reply
  • meacupla - Thursday, October 25, 2018 - link

    The ribbon cables are way too damn stiff and the sata connectors are 90d, which don't work with quite a lot of mITX cases.
    Unless you want to break sata connectors on the drives, you either use the more malleable individually sleeved cables, or you use extensions that have 180d connectors.
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    Uhhh... Yes? Have YOU ever tried stuffing cables in a low volume MiniITX build? It's not easy. I don't think I could've managed my build WITHOUT the thin ribbon cables that can be folded and wedged in nooks and crannies. The whole individually sleeved cable thing is just a meme to make PCs "look" prettier, but the fact of the matter is that those cables take a lot more volume and when you're building true miniITX, cable management becomes a big hurdle.

    https://imgur.com/a/HeiVayH
    Reply
  • milkywayer - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    And the 2019 will be the year of SFF pc. So many awesome cases and psu coming out. Including the next version of Dan Case and DrZaber Sentry as well as Louqe's 2nd batch of Ghost SFF. What a year. Reply
  • jonnyGURU - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    FYI: It's not called "SF 2018". It's "SF Platinum". Calling it "2018" would imply it replaces the older, Gold version.. . Which it does not. Both are now being sold together, with the Platinum being sold at a slight premium. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    Good to know both models will remain in circulation. The 80+Gold SF450 was probably the next best choice to go with if the user wasn't comfortable with going with an 80+Bronze unit from Silverstone or someone, and was price competitive with all the other high efficiency SFX power supplies on the market. I was a bit concerned that the 80+Plat being a possible replacement would have pushed it out of that ideal position, leaving ITX builders with tougher budgets to accomodate. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - link

    Thanks Jonny. We got a similar note from Corsair as well. Reply

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