Right off the bat, I am going to say this is not a complete review in that I do not have the equipment to measure DC performance of the PSU (AC to DC power efficiency, voltage ripple and so on), and this is more of a detailed overview + noise/thermals review similar to what I did for the EVGA SuperNova 1600T2 PSU here. So why am I doing this? I have noticed a lot of very good to excellent PSU reviews from various media outlets that do a good job testing the PSU and making sure it complies with the 80 Plus certification, and also test how well it transfers power over the 12, 5 and 3.3 V rails. But very few, if any, have the means to cover how loud a unit is or how well it behaves at different ambient temperatures and these days I would rather know that for a PSU from a reputed brand. Consider this a supporting review then, and please do check out other reviews for more tests that are not covered here. At this point, I would generally refer you to Jonnyguru.com or TechPowerUp’s review but they are still working on it, and so I would recommend taking a look at the detailed review on Eteknix instead. They focused on their strength and used a load tester, but did not even attempt to quantify noise or thermals. So with that taken care of, let’s proceed on.
It may be a bit ironic that I have gone from covering a monstrous 1600 W 80+ Titanium rated ATX PSU to a 600 W 80+ Gold rated SFX PSU, but in a way that is very telling of how the enthusiast market is going. Between multi GPU support trending downhill, and Nvidia’s latest move to restrict >2-way SLI to a handful of synthetic benchmarks is not going to help that, and most other accessories shrinking down to match the dies on CPU and GPU packages (see what I did there?), the SFF (short form factor) build category has never been more popular. Corsair’s first entry into SFX form factor PSUs came as a design choice forced by the Bulldog chassis, which also gave us the blower style H5 SF CPU cooler we saw earlier, and is part of their multi year plan to get into the mITX build market. There was no way Corsair would make cases that fit SFX PSUs but not sell their own such PSUs, after all. As such, the SF450 and SF600 were announced at Computex, 2015 and made their way to the retail market earlier this year. Thanks to Corsair for sending a sample of the SF600 for analysis.
As always, let’s begin by taking a look at the specs from the product page:
Corsair has also provided example efficiency and fan noise curves:
As always, these are only meant as a reference to the end user and treat it as such. So what can we gather from the information provided? We have here a unit that is 80+ Gold certified and that is quickly becoming the default standard for any non-budget oriented PSU today. Corsair is especially proud of having crammed in a 92 mm fan, as opposed to an 80 mm fan which a lot of earlier design SFX PSUs used. The benefit is obvious- given the same design, a larger fan will be able to blow more air at the same fan speed as a smaller fan, and alternatively can provide equal to or potentially even higher airflow at lower noise levels as a smaller fan. This, combined with the unit efficiency, has led to a zero RPM mode on by default wherein the fan is not rated to spin at all at <20% rated capacity which here is 120 W.
The SF600 is also part of Corsair’s Advanced series of PSUs, and has a fully modular cable set to support that along with an excellent 7 year warranty. I still find it amazing how people short change themselves on PSUs, and yet these are the most critical components of any build. As with any decent PSU, the SF600 is compatible out of the box with Intel 6th generation Core (Skylake) specific power states and is also backwards compatible with earlier generation low and idle power states as well (Haswell, Broadwell, for instance). The unit is rated for continuous output up to 40 °C as measured by the thermistor inside the unit, which is something to note as you don’t want a hot box of a case here. A common trick PSU manufacturers use is to undersell the max wattage deliverable by the unit so as to get a higher efficiency rating, and this also means that their max power rating and temperature cutoff is on the cautious side. In fact, the SF600 is rated to deliver 600 W on the 12 V rail alone with the minor rails providing power from the 12V rail as drawn from them. Again, this is something we will see for ourselves soon.
Let’s now take a better look at the unit on the next page.