External Appearance

When you are on a tight budget, aesthetics are of secondary importance, but they are rarely ever of no importance at all. Corsair realizes that and they kept the appearance of the CS450M relatively plain but aesthetically subtle. Perhaps even overly subtle, as almost everything on the CS450M is black. The steel chassis has been sprayed with a matte black paint, a standard round black finger guard stands above the black cooling fan and the cables are entirely black as well. Only the side stickers with the company and series logo intrude on the blackness of the CS450M.

Other than that, the CS450M is built inside a standard, ATX-compliant 140 mm steel chassis. A sticker with the electrical and safety specifications of the PSU can be seen at the top side of the chassis. There is virtually nothing of real importance at the rear of the chassis, only a basic on/off switch and an AC power cable receptacle. Four cable connectors for the modular cables can be found at the front of the chassis.

Internal Design

Yate Loon supplies the black 120 mm fan responsible for the cooling of the CS450M. It is a rather basic model, with a sleeve bearing engine and a maximum speed of 1,650 RPM. Considering the small power output and efficiency of the CS450M, this fan should never go anywhere near its maximum speed to maintain low operating temperatures.  

Corsair entrusted the CS450M to Great Wall, a Chinese OEM that we are not very accustomed to seeing. As a matter of fact, no other PSU that we have ever seen uses this particular platform, so either Corsair designed it themselves and Great Wall is just building the PSUs, or Great Wall is allowing Corsair to use it exclusively. It does not matter either way, as the quality and performance of the PSU are what actually matters to the consumer. As far as quality is concerned, CS450M is substantially better than we initially anticipated considering the retail price of the PSU.

The filtering stage is textbook, with four Y capacitors, two X capacitors and two filtering inductors. One of the X capacitors, the one at the back of the AC receptacle, is a little oddly placed, with wires connecting it to the PCB and the body of the capacitor glued on the back of the PCB itself. An effective but very crude solution to the space problem. A NTC thermistor blocks large inrush currents and a simple relay short-circuits it once its job is done. The primary capacitor of this particular unit is relatively small and the inrush current should not reach noteworthy value, but Corsair is using the same platform for many other products, including models nearly twice as powerful, with much higher capacitance.

The primary side heatsink holds the main rectifying bridge, the active PFC components and the primary inversion transistors. The PFC inductor is a sealed type, meaning that the naked large inductor has been replaced by a black plastic block. Theoretically, this could suppress the generation of "coil-whine" noise problems, as that high frequency sound originates from the high frequency vibrations of the inductors under electromechanical stress. Surprisingly, the primary PFC capacitor is supplied by Rubycon and is rated at 400V/390μF. Rubycon is one of the most reputable capacitor manufacturers and we rarely see their products used outside premium products, so finding one in the CM450M is, mildly put, unexpected.

Meanwhile the secondary conversion transistors generate the 12V line, while the 3.3V/5V lines are being derived from it using DC-to-DC conversion circuits. A small transformer is present for the generation of the 5VSB line as well. The secondary capacitors are a very complex mixture of electrolytic and polymer capacitors alike. The electrolytic capacitors are supplied by Nippon Chemi-Con, Teapo and CapXon, while the polymer capacitors are a mix of Teapo and Chinsan products.


Introduction, Packaging & Bundle Cold Test Results
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  • jann5s - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    +1 on "Thanks for reviewing more a more reasonable PSU!"
  • alin - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    I agree!!! Thank you for this review and others like this.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    "With the exception of the sleeved ATX cable, of the cables are "flat", ribbon-like, with black wires."

    I've seen this in a number of other PSUs and it's always annoyed me. IMO the main functional advantage of flat cables is that they're easier to bend for routing purposes; but 6/8 wire round cables are still relatively easy to manage. The bloated dinosaur that's the 24pin ATX cable is another story entirely and getting it through tight spaces or sharp bends is a major pain.
  • meacupla - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    I like ribbon cables, but I don't like the 90deg sata connectors found on some of them.

    The bending and stress on the cables ends up being worse than straight connectors, as the distances between connector vs. the distance between drives is never a perfect match.
  • romrunning - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Thanks, E., for your review of a decently-sized PSU for a regular budget build! It's really nice to see a review that I can actually use.

    I would second the comment that it would be nice if you were able to get a retail unit or two to see if it scores similarly to the review unit you were provided. Perhaps Purch can provide a monthly allowance for the retail purchase of units to ensure review units aren't just cherry-picked for the reviewer.
  • romrunning - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Typos - the conclusion erroneously calls this model the "CM450M" a lot.
  • hans_ober - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Nice review!
    Would be nice if you could do a roundup of cheap 300-500W PSU's
    Antec, EVGA, Seasonic, Corsair + a crappy one (for fun).

    A roundup of competing products would be nice
  • YoloPascual - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Corsair should sell this at 50-60$, at 80$ it is eaten by the competition.
  • rocktober13 - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    I purchased one earlier this year for a home server for $40 after rebates ($60 with $20 mail in rebate). This model is always on sale with mail in rebates from newegg. I have seen it as low as $35. I was skeptical about the performance, but after the review it looks like great value. Thanks for the very useful review.
  • JesusVanDam - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    The CS450M only provides 1 6+2 pin PCI-E cable? That's really disappointing. I'm running an R9 270 and it requires 2 6 pin cables.

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