Rightfully, there have been many requests for us to review medium-to-low wattage power supply units. This is more than reasonable, as the average home PC almost never requires a PSU with a maximum output greater than 550-600 Watts. On our end, it is a little difficult to source such units, both because there are few worthwhile models and because manufacturers are more eager to supply samples of their high-end/flagship models than they are their lower-end models. There are a number of assumptions one could make about why the manufacturers prefer to have only their top models reviewed, but we would rather stick to the facts.

One of the very few manufacturers that responded to our call for sub-500 Watt units and immediately dispatched a sample is Corsair. Corsair provided us with a CS450M, the modular 450W version of the CS series. The CS series is a low-to-mid tier power supply – not the cheapest series that Corsair currently offers, but still value-minded – aiming to combine good performance and a high value for money. On paper, the 80Plus Gold certified CS450M appears to be a good deal for the retail price of $80 including shipping. The specifications however rarely ever say anything about the true quality and performance of a PSU, which we will examine in the following pages.

Power specifications ( Rated @ 40 °C )
AC INPUT 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
RAIL +3.3V +5V +12V +5Vsb -12V
MAX OUTPUT 20A 20A 35.5A 3A 0.8A
110W 426W 15W 9.6W

Packaging and Bundle

Corsair supplies the CS450M in a relatively simple, serious cardboard box. It is smaller than the boxes of the higher end models and that is because there are no polystyrene foam pieces protecting the unit, only a bubble bag. The CS450M however is much lighter than a >1kW PSU and the box is sturdy, therefore it should provide enough protection during shipping. The sides and the back of the box are littered with the specifications and the features of the PSU.

The bundle is exactly as we expected it to be - basic but not overly so. Corsair supplies a simple manual, the typical AC power cable, four black screws, and a few cable ties with the CS450M. This is nothing special but it is not that bad, considering that some companies even skip the AC power cable with their low cost models.

The CS450M is a semi-modular PSU, with the ATX and the CPU EPS cables hardwired to the unit while the rest of the cables are modular. There are only four modular cables, two with SATA connectors, one with Molex connectors and one with a single PCI Express connector.  With the exception of the sleeved ATX cable, of the cables are "flat", ribbon-like, with black wires. 

Corsair CS450M
Connector type Hardwired Modular
ATX 24 Pin 1 -
EPS 4+4 Pin 1 -
PCI-E 6+2 Pin - 1
PCI-E 8 Pin - -
SATA - 4
Molex - 3
Floppy - 1
The Corsair CS450M PSU
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  • kmmatney - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Just get an adapter to convert a 4-pin Molex to another PCI power connector. From the specs: ""For a system using a single Radeon R9 270 graphics card AMD specifies a minimum of a 500 Watt or greater system power supply. The power supply should also have a maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current rating of 28 Amps or greater and have at least one 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors"

    So it's not 500W, but does have the recommended amount of current available on the 12V line, and I'm sure will be fine due to the quality components inside this PSU.
  • der - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Will this replace the legendary Corsair 430W tho?
  • meacupla - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    Why do you think it wouldn't be able to?
    Or any other decent PSU for that matter?
  • Ashinjuka - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Just want to add my voice to the chorus of readers thanking AnandTech for listening to us and reviewing more realistic, less "halo-y" power supplies. Keep up the great work!
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    I'm sure I speak for many people when I say great review and thank you for listening to the AT readers who have requested reviews covering non-1KW+ models.

    The CS450M represents a PSU I think most people here would end up buying for PC's they build for family, friends or even businesses.

    Keep'em coming.
  • Xanavi - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Built a Z97/4690K/GTX960 powered by the CX430 v3, it's been great so far!
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    What an awesome review.

    It's nice to see Anandtech vet a psu that goes on sale a ton.

    I know I would consider this psu for any future gaming builds that used single 6/8 pin gpus.

    Keep it up. I'd love to hear more about the awesome psus in the ~500w range that most people shop for.
  • haukionkannel - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Well, even to HTPC usage would be ok with this card. Quite nice!
  • nmm - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    So glad to see this review! I've bought 2 of these PSU's (for 27 bucks each after rebates), one in a HTPC I built for my parents and one that's sitting in my closet as a spare. I figured this review might not turn out so well for me since I was able to pick them up for so little, but wow am I pleasantly surprised! I hope you guys manage cover a lot more of these mid-range items that are likely to show up in your typical sub-$1000 PC's. I have no interest in 700+ watt PSU's, and I don't even know anyone who uses one. Hope to see more like this!
  • Peichen - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    I would have bought this unit a month ago when it was on sale for $27 if it came with CS550M's cable set. The larger unit has 2x 3-SATA cables and 2x 6+2-pin PCI Express cables.

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