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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  • pvdw - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the good details in the review.

    One significant point that's missing is a comparison to competing PSUs. Something similar to the CPU or SSD comparisons is really needed to save time narrowing down our choices. Also, perhaps end with something like the SSD reviews where you mention which is still your recommended PSU for home/office and single GPU.
  • Murloc - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    you can't really compare PSUs like that imho....
  • djw39 - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Would like to see a comparison vs seasonic g series 450w, or even the 360w
  • hans_ober - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

  • YoloPascual - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Seasonic, unanimous decision.
  • just4U - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Either that or the Antec/Cooler Master variants made by Seasonic.

    I have some pretty big problems with Corsair PSUs of late.. their builder series keep failing.. and I haven't heard a lot of good news about the CS---M series which is being priced fairly high here in Canada. (for instance.. this model at $95..)
  • sparks.nl - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    I have The Seasonic G 360W version and the CS450. They are both fine.
    There is a difference with the G 450W. This version is longer then the CS450W.
    For me lenght is a problem (HTPC PSU).
  • ShieTar - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    I'd love to see the comparison to the Superflower Golden Green HX 450W.

    Similar Specs (but 2 PCIe-cables), and in Europe at least its usually a good 10€ cheaper than the Corsair, Cooler Master and Sea Sonic options. Would be good to understand what you sacrifice for that price difference.
  • lagittaja - Sunday, June 14, 2015 - link

    You sacrifice a lot. Golden Green =/= Golden Green HX.
    Super Flower went Corsair and the quality we all loved in GG lineup is gone in the GG HX.
  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

    Thanks for reviewing more a more reasonable PSU! This sort of information is a lot more useful than the 1kw+ supplies that are a niche product with limited appeal. It's a pity that other companies aren't willing to send competing units. Does Anandtech ever purchase components as retail products directly from physical or digital shelves? If so, that opens up quite a lot more than potentially cherry picked units supplied from a vendor directly (not accusing Corsair or any other company of doing that, but without going directly to the shelves, there is a possibility of getting a sample that isn't representative of what an average person might be able to acquire).

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