Beta Orionis – Part XVII: The AX860

Build Log:

I am now thoroughly pissed off at the AX860. I have no fucking clue as to what is going on with this power supply, but when an 800W 80+ rated (not even bronze-rated) power supply is more stable at operating my system than an 860W Platinum-rated power supply, there’s a major problem. And the sad thing: this is the second AX860 unit I’m now replacing.

The 800W power supply to which I’m referring is the Corsair GS800, also known as the “heart lung machine”. And yes, again, the unit I’m now replacing is a replacement itself of my original AX860.

So here’s the setup: overclocked FX-8350 (voltage untouched) to 4.4GHz, two PNY GTX 770s in SLI, pump, 6x120mm and 3x140mm fans, and two 12″ CCFLs. Every evaluation I’ve tried said that 750W should be the bare minimum for what I have, with power ratings for the hardware coming in at about 650W to 675W. The AX860 is an 860W power supply, so it shouldn’t have any problems handling my system. Back in November I wrote about the first power supply that, for some reason, just started acting up, and caused me to replace the power supply and my SATA RAID card. A retail-packaged replacement unit came back on RMA and was not a problem initially.

A couple months later, it started acting up. Somewhat similar symptoms as well to the first, and this would happen randomly: under load the graphics would freeze, the sound would go haywire, and the system would just completely lock up a few seconds later — reset button to the rescue! So first thing I did was change out the PCI-Express cables as initially I had them using the dongled cables to power the graphics cards, so I changed it so each of the power connectors on the graphics cards had a direct line to the power supply. That was sporadic as well. Then I realized that one of the power cables wasn’t entirely seated, but that didn’t completely correct the problem.

Then over this preceding weekend, the system could not remain stable at all. I disconnected the AX860 and hooked up the GS800, and the system has been running completely stable ever since.

Now this is on top of the mainboard also already being replaced. Originally it was the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3, and now it’s the ASRock 990FX Extreme6. So that makes the power supply the common denominator in the system’s instability. Pretty fucking sad, too, that a platinum-rated 860W power supply couldn’t keep the system stable.

Why not just hook up the GS800 and call it a day since it seems to have no problem remaining stable? I want something with a better efficiency rating and quieter fan for my primary system.

There were two potential replacements in mind: the Fractal Design Newton R3 1000W, which is also a platinum rated power supply, or the gold-rated EVGA Supernova GS 1050W. The latter had the lower price tag and a stellar 9.7/10 rating on JonnyGuru, (the Newton R3 received a 9.4/10) so I ordered one from NewEgg. Until I learned of the Supernova GS, I was going to buy the Newton R3. The radiator on the floor of the case is the reason for that: 180mm is the longest I can go on the power supply, and the shorter the better. The AX860 is 160mm long, the Newton R3 is 165mm, and the Supernova GS is 170mm.

The only way I’d be able to get shorter still would be to go with the 160mm long, bronze-rated Corsair CX850M, or even the CX750M but that’d be cutting it close on the power ceiling. But given that neither PSU has enough PCI-Express connectors to put two separate connectors on each graphics card, neither would be a good option.

But depending on which of the Newton or Supernova I selected, it would mean redoing the entirety of the cable management in my system. I think I’m going to save that for the weekend after it arrives.

Now what to do with the AX860… If anyone from Corsair comes across this, I wouldn’t mind exchanging it for a memory kit or an SSD.