Our load tests utilize a couple of FAST ATE active load testers and a variety of other equipment such as an oscilloscope, power conditioner, temperature probe and a power consumption meter. You can read more about our standard testing approach here.
The tests performed are based around six conceivable setups that are out there and progressively load down the PSU up to the power supply's limits or 1000W, whichever comes first. Since our test equipment's limits are higher than that of the Corsair AX860 860W power supply, we can test it to the maximum.
The above tests represent typical loads that we have measured from various systems and are meant to give a rough idea of where your computer might fall in line with our tests. Please keep in mind that each system is different and actual loads can vary greatly even with similar hardware.
Let's start by taking a look at the voltages to see how well this unit did during testing. Starting with the 12V rail, we see 2% regulation from start to finish with a total drop of .14V. The 5V rail managed to stay within 1% of specification with a total drop of .03V from start to finish. Moving towards the 3.3V rail, we see that regulation was within 2% of specification with a total voltage drop of .03V.
DC Output quality for the Corsair AX860 860W was excellent and well within specifications. During Test 1, we saw 11mV of noise on our scope. When we increased the loads in Test 3, the ripple climbed to 17mV at just over half. During Test5 under a load of 860W, the oscilloscope showed a maximum of 22mV on noise on the 12V rail.
The Corsair AX860 860W is rated for 80 PLUS Platinum efficiency. This means that the power supply AX860 860W passed on our bench, and wasn't close to failing at any point.
There's no other way to say it other than that the Corsair AX860 is a fantastic power supply. The voltage regulation, DC output quality and voltage regulation are all just what you would expect from an enthusiast grade power supply. Even the price of about $190 is pretty good for a top notch power supply between 800W and 900W.
This is also the problem with the AX860 as it seems Corsair may be their own worst enemy. Corsair has four different enthusiast grade power supplies within 100W of each other just considering the AX760, AX860, AX760i and AX860i. With the price drops since the units went on sale, there has been a blur between these units, especially the two in the middle.
The AX760i is currently available for the same price as the AX860, yet it offers the same performance, but with the addition of digital features and Corsair Link integration. It becomes a no brainer that unless you absolutely have to have the extra 100W that the AX860 offers, the AX760i is a better route to go.
That doesn't mean that the AX860 isn't worth your consideration. It will be a great addition to your rig if you need the additional wattage over the AX760i, or don't need the extra features that the AXi model offers.