We first saw this little beauty at Computex this year where it managed to pick up a number of industry innovation awards, as well as our very own Atomic Innovation Award in issue #138. Needless to say we were giddy like school girls when the PSU-sized box from Corsair strode into the office safely under the arm of a courier, unaware of the sheer awesomeness that he possessed in his hands.
We didn’t waste much time pulling the old test bench apart, lovingly connecting each of the AX1200i’s modular cables. Double checking everything is plugged in, we hit the power button and the fan starts up with a huge burst of speed, creating a vigorous burst of air. We’re told this is to blow any settled dust out of the PSU on each start up, greatly reducing sediment build up over time.
Setting up the “Corsair Link” feature takes two steps. The first is to connect the PSU to an internal USB header, while the second is installing the “Corsair Link 2” software found on the corsair website. Inside this software the user can take control over PC case fans, and many component fans (deepening on if they are powered via mainboard power), along with water pump settings if you’re also using a Corsair Hydro series cooler.
Today we’re going to focus more on the PSU tab, and to be honest while impressive, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done (it’s still in Beta development). The ability to graph efficiency and voltage ripple is good, but given the software isn’t perfectly accurate at accumulating and generating the data, it’s not 100% reliable. We received 100% efficiency reports almost constantly, which despite being 80+ Platinum, simply isn’t possible to achieve at all times.
The voltage monitoring is a similar story, with only one decimal place used for voltage monitoring. So 3.3v only reads as 3.3 or 3.4 for example, and there is no way to see if there are small fluctuations happening. When comparing the numbers to our volt meter however, the software is actually accurate. The 3.3v rail was sitting happily on 3.31v, and the 5V rail on 5.05v, both very impressive.
One feature that is working very well in the Beta is the ability to track power usage. You can monitor CPU voltage and power consumption, along with GPU, mainboard and SATA devices. This allows you see what parts of your PC are using the most power, enabling you to see the incremental power curve climb as you overclock your components further.
While Link Technology is good for an enthusiast PSU is the 1200W range, we can’t wait to see Corsair Link offered on cheaper and smaller units. It could spawn a completely new sport for people wanting to build low power computers, as they compete with one another to draw the least amount of power from their gaming PCs. With the added ability of fan control, low power and low noise PC’s will certainly be a much larger focus areas for consumers in the future.
Sure, there is still room for improvement in the software, as things like efficiency seem to be miscalculated. It seems to currently work by measuring the wattage draw from the wall, then comparing it to wattage output of the unit. This however could be something like 90W>140W on the measurement, meaning the PSU is actually running at greater than 100% efficiency according to the software plot. It’s likely an easy fix, and hopefully something Corsair get around to before the software hits final release in the coming months.