Rightfully, there have been many requests for us to review medium-to-low wattage power supply units. This is more than reasonable, as the average home PC almost never requires a PSU with a maximum output greater than 550-600 Watts. On our end, it is a little difficult to source such units, both because there are few worthwhile models and because manufacturers are more eager to supply samples of their high-end/flagship models than they are their lower-end models. There are a number of assumptions one could make about why the manufacturers prefer to have only their top models reviewed, but we would rather stick to the facts.

One of the very few manufacturers that responded to our call for sub-500 Watt units and immediately dispatched a sample is Corsair. Corsair provided us with a CS450M, the modular 450W version of the CS series. The CS series is a low-to-mid tier power supply – not the cheapest series that Corsair currently offers, but still value-minded – aiming to combine good performance and a high value for money. On paper, the 80Plus Gold certified CS450M appears to be a good deal for the retail price of $80 including shipping. The specifications however rarely ever say anything about the true quality and performance of a PSU, which we will examine in the following pages.

Power specifications ( Rated @ 40 °C )
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 20A 20A 35.5A 3A 0.8A
110W 426W 15W 9.6W
TOTAL 450W

Packaging and Bundle

Corsair supplies the CS450M in a relatively simple, serious cardboard box. It is smaller than the boxes of the higher end models and that is because there are no polystyrene foam pieces protecting the unit, only a bubble bag. The CS450M however is much lighter than a >1kW PSU and the box is sturdy, therefore it should provide enough protection during shipping. The sides and the back of the box are littered with the specifications and the features of the PSU.

The bundle is exactly as we expected it to be - basic but not overly so. Corsair supplies a simple manual, the typical AC power cable, four black screws, and a few cable ties with the CS450M. This is nothing special but it is not that bad, considering that some companies even skip the AC power cable with their low cost models.

The CS450M is a semi-modular PSU, with the ATX and the CPU EPS cables hardwired to the unit while the rest of the cables are modular. There are only four modular cables, two with SATA connectors, one with Molex connectors and one with a single PCI Express connector.  With the exception of the sleeved ATX cable, of the cables are "flat", ribbon-like, with black wires. 

Corsair CS450M
Connector type Hardwired Modular
ATX 24 Pin 1 -
EPS 4+4 Pin 1 -
PCI-E 6+2 Pin - 1
PCI-E 8 Pin - -
SATA - 4
Molex - 3
Floppy - 1
The Corsair CS450M PSU
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  • Black Obsidian - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    I've used a number of CS450M and CS550M PSUs for budget builds, since they can both regularly be found <$50 (and sometimes <$40, in the case of the reviewed model).

    I've been relying on the Corsair name and warranty as a proxy for actual PSU quality, and I'm quite happy to hear that the quality I'd been assuming actually exists.

    Thanks for prodding manufacturers to provide reasonable-wattage PSUs for review, Fyll!
    Reply
  • Computer Bottleneck - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    It actually drops to $26.99 after rebate on a fairly regular basis at Newegg. Reply
  • MapRef41N93W - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    You've been relying on the wrong company then as Corsair are known to release lots of dodgy PSU's in the past. Their "I" series PSUs are hot garbage and usually a complete waste of money compared to the standard series. Their RM series beyond 550 watts suffers from horrible ripple voltage issues. Their CX series (one of the most popular PSU lines due to their extremely cheap price) are not something that should ever be paired with a "high end" setup (like a 4790k/GTX 980) and yet we see this all the time.

    Never trust a single brand of PSUs and always check the OEM of the unit you are buying first. The only real exception to this is Seasonic as they make most of their own PSUs.
    Reply
  • Zap - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    What is this "horrible ripple" that you speak of? Does it not stay within ATX specifications and manufacturer claims? Or does it just not measure up to "enthusiast" expectations?

    I did a quick search and found "Why you might not want to buy a Corsair RM PSU" on overclock.net which referenced a TechPowerUp review of the RM1000 as showing the worst performance. The review mentioned a few places where it "failed" such as exceeding ATX specifications for 3.3v ripple at 110% output and OTP triggered at 45°C. Note that both failures exceeds specifications (Corsair rates this PSU to only 40°C).

    The only real fail is in hold-up time, which failed to meet ATX specifications. This would be a good reason to not get this particular PSU, especially if power in your area fluctuates more than normal.

    These PSUs are a far cry from the true "crap" units. Diablotek anyone? Deer? Apevia?
    Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    Diablotek units are just as likely to destroy your entire system as work properly so that's not a very good comparison. The previous poster has a point that Corsair's power supplies have a checkered history with certain series (like the CX) being notoriously poor. Maybe this new CS series is them trying to improve their low end offerings, but because Corsair sources power supplies from many, many companies you have to be careful buying from them. Some of their power supplies are great, some are not so great. It's not like Seasonic where they build all their own power supplies. Reply
  • Zap - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    My point was that there is a difference between "will destroy your computer" and "horrible ripple but still in spec." Reply
  • PICman - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Your reviews are excellent, thanks! For the power efficiency tests, was your mains voltage 220V? Maybe it is listed, but I missed it. Reply
  • Wwhat - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    There is a link to 'how do we test', on that link page it says:
    "We should note that all testing is being performed with a 230V/50Hz input, delivered by a 3000VA VARIAC for the perfect adjustment of the input voltage. "

    Incidentally 230V is the EU standard.
    Reply
  • ATC9001 - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    I understand that high end (i.e. reliable and consistent) equipment for electronics can be expensive, but PLEASE try to convince anandtech to foot the bill so we can get 120V and 230V!

    Great review though, thank you!
    Reply
  • leexgx - Saturday, June 13, 2015 - link

    230v is optimal for PSUs , where as USA it can be as low as 90V or as high as 120V (why HardOCP tests there PSUs at low voltage as well) Reply

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