Corsair AX860: Giving up on it

Note: This review is RETRACTED IN FULL. Read the details here.

First let’s talk specifications: I have an AMD FX-8350 overclocked to 4.4GHz with an ASRock 990FX Extreme6 mainboard and two PNY GTX 770 4GB graphics cards in SLI. My system is also watercooled. If you were to evaluate how much wattage this configuration draws, most evaluations will put it in the ballpark of 650W to 700W maximum draw, something an 860W power supply should be able to handle.

The first AX860 unit, the one I bought through Amazon, was RMA’d in November 2014, about two months after purchase. Corsair sent back a full retail packaged replacement unit — with a cable kit and everything. That power supply lasted another 3½ months before I replaced it.

The concern? The system wasn’t remaining stable under any significant load. With the first unit, the system would randomly power down — not power off, but just power down such that the monitors would go blank but the fans, lights and keyboard and mouse would still be on. The reset button wouldn’t work in such a situation. The only option is to hard power off the system with the switch on the back.

With the second unit, the problem was a little more subtle: graphics would freeze, the sound would go all weird, and eventually the system could completely lock up and I’d have to press the reset button to get things working again. It actually got to the point where it wouldn’t remain stable under *any* load — merely browsing the web for a few minutes off a cold boot caused the system to lock up completely. In both instances I had to hook up a spare power supply to run my system — a Corsair GS800 that had no problem keeping the system stable, meaning the power supply was certainly the problem.

In the interim I also changed out the mainboard — original was a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 — due to not liking how it functioned with overclocking enabled. That still could not keep the system stable with this power supply.

I have no idea what happened, but I’m done with it. When one unit goes bad, you blame the unit. When two units go bad, you blame the design, especially when it is the only common denominator in the problems you have. When an 800W power supply can better keep a system stable than an 860W power supply, there’s a problem with the power supply, especially when it cannot keep the system stable under the kind of load every online evaluation says it should be able to sustain.

I replaced it with a unit from a different brand — only been running that new unit a few days as of this writing — so now it’s a matter of what to do with the unit I currently have.