Corsair CS-M Series 550W ReviewManufacturer: Corsair
If Cooler Master’s V Semi-Modular Series PSU was reasonably priced, Corsair’s CS-M Series 550W is downright cheap. You'll have to pay around £55 for it, but that gets you a bona fide 80 Plus Gold PSU that, according to our tests, performs very well indeed.
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Of course, the low price means that Corsair has had to save money somewhere and apparently it did so with the capacitors. That is a thorny subject, as hardware enthusiasts everywhere have learned the problems caused by substandard quality capacitors by now, usually the hard way. As such, you tend to be suspicious of anything that isn’t branded as a high-end Japanese product, and Corsair obtains the ones used in the CS-M Series in China. It's a risky move, but if there's one company that inspires confidence in quality it might well be Corsair, which has built a sterling reputation when it comes to high-quality products. If the brand is willing to risk that reputation, arguably its most valuable asset, you might be willing to risk one of these PSUs and save yourself some cash, as the price difference with the competition is £10-20.
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Having said all that, based on our tests we find the CS-M to be an eminently worthy piece of kit. It has semi-modular cabling, though only the mainboard cable has been sleeved. The rest are flat cables though, so that’s quite alright. The amount of connectors is a bit skimpy compared to some other models on test, with four molex, five SATA and two 6/8-pin PEG, but the cables themselves are all long enough to make installing any reasonable system a snap.
The test results reveal a strong contender: stable voltages, albeit a tad worse than the Cooler Master’s, decent ripple (a bit high under heavy loads, but still very acceptable) and great efficiency, fourth in line with 89.48 percent overall. Noise production is fantastic too, measuring a whisper quiet 23 dB(A) at 300W and just 28 dB(A) at 500W, second only to the Super Flower PSU.