Corsair’s AX1500i Released: A 1500W 80 Plus Titanium PSU
Shopping around for a power supply on a tight budget can be a bit of an ordeal. On forums, everyone will have their own opinion of what constitutes a good power supply, and similarly to mechanical HDDs, a single bad experience can put a user off a brand forever. My golden rule, unless you need a specific feature/amperage on the power lines for unique GPUs, is to take the total power draw of your system and add 40%. My analogy is thus – a car whose top speed is 80mph will squeak and rattle if you run it every day at 70mph, whereas a car whose top speed is 130mph will hum along nicely at 70mph. Others may disagree, but I find this is a nice guideline when building systems for family and friends.
Most desktop systems bought and sold today are often very basic, with integrated or a low end graphics card, making power requirements very low. However the extreme is also true, with users wanting to make the most out of three or four end GPUs with a heavy deal of overclocking. If you can recall our Gaming CPU article from April 2013 we used a 24-thread dual-processor system with four 7970 GPUs, lightly overclocked, which drew 1550W at load. This is why power supplies north of 1000W exist, and it can be very frustrating to get these units to be very efficient. To that end, Corsair is releasing today their AX1500i, a 1500W model certified with 80 Plus Titanium qualifications.
80 Plus Titanium is a newer addition to the 80 Plus, derived from server requirements and first realised back in 2012. As with all 80 Plus specifications, it requires a specific efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% loading (it can be any efficiency in between these values), although Titanium also adds an element for 10% loading. For the AX1500i, this means a minimum efficiency rating of 90/92/94/90% for 10/20/50/100% loading in the 110-120V regions and 90/94/96/91% for 220V+ regions.
The Corsair design implements their Zero-RPM Fan technology, meaning the power supply fan will only activate when a 450W load or above is detected.
The supply comes with ten connectors for PCIe devices, is fully modular, and has native USB support for Corsair Link for monitoring the power supply. This includes real-time temperature, power use and efficiency ratings in the operating system. The AX1500i blows the ATX specification out of the water in terms of size, measuring 225mm (8.86in) long, which is still shorter than a big GPU.
The price is not for the faint hearted: $450 MSRP, to be initially available direct from Corsair followed by worldwide distributors in late May. This price is indicative of the high power rating combined with the high efficiency certification, as well as a 7-year warranty. I have already seen interest online from extreme overclockers and modders designing hardcore top-end desktop machines, which indicates the niche that Corsair believes this supply will fit in to.