Before we began testing the AX860, we honestly were preconceived that it could be a great product but no match for its digital counterpart, the performance of which had already astonished us last month; However, the AX860 managed to positively surprise us as its performance not only was comparable to that of the digital model but there were tests that it even managed to overtake the Flextronics design.
Regarding the overall performance of the AX860, we can say little, as the results of the previous two pages speak for themselves. The electrical performance of the AX860 is setting new milestones, with efficiency which easily grant it the 80Plus Platinum certification, unequaled voltage regulation and excellent ripple suppression. This high efficiency allowed Corsair to implement the Hybrid fan mode, allowing the fan to completely stop while the internal temperature of the AX860 is low, allowing the power supply to operate noiselessly while the system is idling or performing trifling operations, such as when watching/listening to media or web browsing. Considering the capacity of the AX860, it is highly likely that the fan will never even start if the system is using a typical new CPU and an average VGA card.
Quality-wise, the Corsair AX860 is an impressive specimen. Commenting on how much effort Seasonic is placing on sustaining very high quality standards on their high end designs feels redundant; they are not one of the favorite companies amongst hardcore overclockers and enthusiasts for no reason. The AX860 is made by using the finest quality components and the grade of the assembly job is nothing short of textbook. It is no wonder that Corsair supports these units with a 7 year long warranty, a time frame in which the vast majority of enthusiasts and gamers will have their systems upgraded at least twice.
The AX860 is not all about performance; even though the design of this power supply is a little simpler than that of its digital AX860i counterpart, the AX860 remains a visually interesting product. It might be a subtle all-black design but Corsair ironed out the blunders which many other companies fall prey to, such as the use of black wires and connectors for every cable, creating a product that will easily match the interior of most modern high performance systems.
We found the AX860 retailing for $199 + shipping, $30 less than the digital AX860i; a worthwhile monetary difference for those who were not impressed by the digital Corsair Link interface of the –i variants of the series. The AX860 obviously is by no means a cheap power supply, making it nearly twice as expensive as a “mainstream” 850W unit, but it is clearly not a product meant for the mainstream market. Considering the 80Plus Platinum certification and the power rating of the AX860 alone, the retail price actually is very competitive; take the long warranty and awesome performance into consideration and then the list of the units capable of competing with the AX860 becomes very, very short. And if you power requirements are not as high, you can go for the AX760 model for $20 less.
Legit Bottom Line: Are you seeking a very high performance and quality product within the 800W-900W power range and the digital Link interface of the AX-i models finds you indifferent? Congratulations, you probably found the best such product which you can invest on at this point of time.