We were glad that we had the opportunity to test one of the basic products from a respectable manufacturer today and see firsthand what a good engineering team can deliver to the market with just a few tens of dollars. It is a fact that the largest percentage of users do not require power supplies any bigger than the CX430M; as long as it is a common home/office PC or even a gaming PC with a mainstream graphics card, the 430 Watts of the CX430M are more than adequate. Technologically, the CX430M is not really a cutting-edge product. No solid-state capacitors have been used in the CX430M and there are no DC to DC conversion circuits. That however does not mean that the power supply lacks the potential to perform well enough or maintain a high level of reliability. Quite the contrary; we have to admit that the electrical performance of the CX430M was better than we expected from a PSU of such a price range and we could easily compare it to that of much more expensive and powerful products. Electrically, only the efficiency figures are cutting it close, barely satisfying the 80Plus Bronze certification of the CX430M, but we cannot really complain as long as the power supply fulfilled its specifications. Due to the low power output and good efficiency, little heat is generated, which translates to both respectable thermal performance and very low noise figures.
Quality wise, the Corsair CX430M is much better than most people would expect from a power supply which now ships for $24.99 after rebate and a $10 off coupon. (Note $10 off code EMCYTZT3255 ends 4/11/13) We cannot claim that it has been built like a tank; we have certainly seen better but certainly not in a $25 product. Still, Corsair cooperated with a highly respected OEM, CWT, the circuit design is that of a “by the book” APFC unit without the companies cutting corners on filtering and or safety and, finally, the choice of components was excellent for a product of such a class. For instance, we did not expect to see capacitors from known manufacturers at all, let alone a Japanese main capacitor! Regarding the secondary electrolytic capacitors from Teapo and CapXon, both companies are reputable manufacturers and their products are being used in many middle-range power supplies. We realize that enthusiasts would prefer capacitors from other (mainly Japanese) companies but there is only so much a designer engineer can do when working under such a tight budget.
The virtually only drawback of the CX430M is that the upgrade room for gamers is limited. Four SATA connectors and three Molex connectors usually are enough for common home and business PCs, where the installation of more than 4-5 drives is extremely rare; however, the CX430M offers only a single 8-pin PCI Express connector, meaning that the CX430M can power only a single graphics card with one PCI Express connector or, by using an adapter, with two PCI Express connectors, as long as one is a 6-pin connector and two Molex plugs get sacrificed. Such graphics cards today are very powerful and capable of offering great frame rates at high resolutions, yet the gamer will never be able to upgrade towards an SLI/Crossfire solution in the future; at least not with high-end graphics cards. We do have to admit however that it is highly unlikely that a gamer would ask for more than that from a 430W power supply, especially expecting it to power two $400+ cards!
Legit Bottom Line: With its performance, warranty and modular design, at $24.99 including shipping after rebate, the Corsair CX430M is far beyond the point of a good bargain; it is a steal. We highly recommend it to anyone building a standard home/business PC or even to those looking to buy a couple of backups.