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
TOTAL 450W

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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  • jann5s - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link

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

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

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

    Corsair should sell this at 50-60$, at 80$ it is eaten by the competition. Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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. Reply

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