The Modular PSU and the Modern Gaming Rig - A Replacement Tale

The Modular PSU and the Modern Gaming Rig - A Replacement Tale

  • By: Geofry S. Glenn
  • Posted 27th Dec 2011

What is 80 PLUS?

80 PLUS is an innovative, electric utility-funded incentive program to integrate more energy-efficient power supplies into desktop computers and servers -- the idea being to provide the required system power but to offer the end-user power savings wherever possible. It is easy enough to build a power supply that meets the minimum standards for high-performance computing, but a lot harder to do that while retaining a green rating...

Considering how serious the impact has been for the customers of power companies who use oil as the fuel source for their power plants, being able to save a few dollars every month on your power bill from one device is not really something that should be overlooked in this modern age of conservation. The 80's was the era of conspicuous consumption, but I have to wonder if they knew what was coming would they have changed their lifestyle? Would conservation of resources have been an important issue? Probably not, but today it is, and PSU's that comply with this new standard are green -- which is pretty cool.

-- Corsair CMPSU-1200AX 1200-Watt Power Supply ($280 Average Retail) --

The Corsair CMPSU-1200AX 1200-Watt Power Supply pushes its reliability and its well-engineered features as the answer to mission-critical service -- the PSU was created to condition the power to deliver a clean supply to the system regardless of its varianves at the source, touting its reliability which is a good thing since the more noise that a manufacturer makes about that sort of thing the more likely it is that it is true.

All of the cables on the CMPSU-1200AX detach from the unit, allowing the user full control over which cable configurations that they use -- the idea being to promote a clean and open airflow design regardless of the case structure, but the real advantage with this tech is that if it is ever necessary to replace the PSU, or you decide that you want to upgrade it to a higher rated wattage, the process will not require tearing down the system or disconnecting the business end of the cables! All that you will need to do is detach their connections at the PSU, pull the unit, install the replacement and then hook everything back up -- easy-peasy lemon-squeezy!

According to the specs that were released by the manufacturer, the unit has a 90% efficiency rating at 50% load, which puts it right at the top of the spectrum when it comes to the energy-conserving green-friendly variety of PSU -- and the Corsair Professional Series Gold power supply runs a lot quieter than I was expecting -- and the minimal thermal footprint for the unit means you do not have to add axtra cooling to the bottom end of the case just for it... It should not be a surprise to learn that the model easily earned an 80 PLUS Certification and Gold Seal.

The Corsair CMPSU-1200AX Stand-out Features include:

-- A dedicated single +12V rail -- prividing maximum compatibility with the latest components;
-- A standard seven year warranty;
-- Engineered with Over-Voltage and Over-Current protection;
-- Engineered with extra Under-Voltage and Short Circuit Protection;
-- High-Quality All-Japanese Capacitors;
-- Lifetime Access to Corsair's Technical Support and Customer Service;
-- Low-Profile flat cable design helps reduce cable airflow issues to nill.

In the End

There are a lot of other makes and models on the market, many of them similar to the three units that I evaluated for replacement of my failing PSU, but these three are representative of the different approaches and more than meet with the needs for high-end gaming rigs.

After carefully evaluating all three units I ended up choosing the Cooler Master RSD00-SPHAD3-US Silent Pro Hybrid for my gaming rig, setting the other two aside for eventual installation in my work system and my SO's gaming computer. The reason that I ended up going with the Cooler Master unit was really simple -- it was much more quiet than the other two units, and while its features matched those of the rest of the field, the fact that it delivers an extra 100 Watts for the same price was the final factor.

One of the interesting side-effects of the new tech in PSU's is that handling and installing them feels a lot different now. The sturdy materials that they use and the practice of packing the wire arrays and other kit in special bags along with the high-profile branding of the devices that, let's be honest here, unless you have a show-system is never going to be seen by anyone but you -- delivers the general impression that you are not only getting what you pay for, but it feels good!