Introduction, Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Lately we've focused on enthusiast power supplies capable of satisfying the needs for high end systems with multiple GPU's and overclocking. Unfortunately we haven't given much insight into some of the more mainstream power supplies that your average gamer or entry level enthusiast would consider as a part of their build. That's exactly what we are doing today.
Corsair's GS-series power supplies are aimed at those looking for a high quality power supply at a competitive price. They lack some of the additional features you see with enthusiast power supplies, but they also lack the price premium. Does the drop in price and the lack of features pay off for someone not looking for the best of the best? Keep reading on for the full review of the Corsair GS800 power supply.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The GS800 focuses on 12V output via a single rail. Of the 800W of total power available, the GS800 is capable of outputting over 97% of that on the 12V rail. This makes it great for someone looking to build or upgrade to SLI or CrossFire. Corsair also gives you 25A of power on both the 3.3V and 5V rails, which should provide plenty of power to the rest of your rig.
Corsair gives you plenty of features for a mainstream power supply including all of the important protections and cable features. What they don't give you are over-temperature protection and modular cabling, neither of which are huge deal breakers. While Corsair don't give the GS800 a 50C rating, they do give it a modest 40C rating instead, which is more typical of the mainstream/entry level enthusiast power supplies. The GS-series power supplies also feature a 3-color LED fan inside. The fan can be illuminated in red, blue, and white via a switch on the back of the power supply. The illumination can also be turned off if desired.
Availability is a little odd for the GS-series of power supplies. Corsair says that their GS-series customers are more likely to shop at retail outlets than at online stores, so they are only selling the GS power supplies in stores such as Fry's and Best Buy. I made a quick trip to both stores to see what I could find. While I was able to find the GS800 at Best Buy, my local Fry's only had the 600W version available. The GS800 retails at $139.99 and comes with a 3-year warranty.
The front of the box is simple and meant to draw you in. There is very little here other than that it is made by Corsair, is an 800W unit, and what the PSU looks like.
On the back things get a little more complicated. Corsair throws almost all of the information on the GS800 here including power ratings, connector availability, and main features.
Oddly enough, the only place that Corsair displays warranty information and the 80Plus logo is on the top of the box. Most would find this information important enough to have displayed on the front or on the back with the rest of the other pertinent information. The sides simply display the tri-color fan and the model of the power supply.
Inside the Box
Popping the top of the box open, we can see the user manual sitting on top of the foam that surrounds the power supply. It is well protected and shouldn't suffer any damage from shipping and/or handling.
Taking the foam off the top half of the power supply gives us our first real glimpse of the power supply.
Pulling the GS800 out of the box lets us see the nice high contrast logo on the side that will be visible once mounted inside the case. The same logo is also displayed on the other side and is upside down so that it is displayed correctly in BTX cases. We also get a good look of the massive bundle of hardwired cables. It makes you wonder how we ever did without modular cabling.
The back of the GS800 features the typical honeycomb grill with an on/off switch. The extra switch controls the illumination on the tri-color LED fan.
On the bottom of the power supply we can see the 140mm fan and wire grill.
Corsair has located the specification label to the top of the power supply.
Normally we find a grommet of some sort where the wires exit the power supply, but this isn't the case with the GS800. I guess this is one of those additional features that the GS800 lacks.
Cabling Arrangement & A Look Inside
Corsair gives you a modest amount of connectors for a mainstream power supply. Most importantly are the four PCI-E connectors that will allow you to fully power two GPU's. The GS800 also has eight SATA and eight Molex connectors which allows you to fill a case with just about everything and still be able to power it.
Rail distribution is as simple as it gets here. There is a single 12V rail that feeds everything.
A Look Inside
Opening up the GS800 shows that Corsair wasn't too worried about heat dissipation with the puny heatsinks. This does however allow excellent airflow through the power supply.
On the primary side of things we can see the single large Samxon capacitor. Samxon's parent company is Man Yue Electronics Company Limited out of Hong Kong.
The capacitors on the secondary are a mix of Japanese Nippon and Taiwanese Teapo caps.
Test Results & Final Thoughts
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 greater than the Corsair GS800, we can test it to the maximum.
With the exception of the 5V rail, the GS800 performs quite well for a mainstream power supply. Unfortunately the 5V rail started out low, was out of ATX specifications halfway through our testing, and only got worse as the load was increased. Noise on the 12V rail was also higher than we like to see, but it is still well within specifications.
I went back and re-ran the tests with multiple multi-meters just in case something was configured wrong or I had a bad meter, and the test results were the same.
Corsair gives you just what you would expect from a mainstream 800W power supply. Enough connectors are available for the task at hand, enough power is available for the mainstream gamer/entry level enthusiast, and the price is right for a retail unit. If only the performance was all within specifications, I would gladly label the GS800 as an all around good deal.
Unfortunately the 5V rail on the GS800 just isn't up to specs, literally. The voltages were low from the start and dropped fast as the load was increased. They aren't even close to borderline.
The rest of the power supply was spot on with what you would expect throughout the entire test. Power supplies are all or nothing when it comes to performance and unfortunately this one just isn't all there.