Most helpful critical review
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2013
I read, I researched, and it spent a good amount of time doing this. Corsair AX860 has many complaints of "coil whine" or a constant high pitched sound even if your computer is off. It gets worse when your computer is on. I thought "how bad could it be?" and "others were just unlucky." Big mistake. Not surprisingly, this item states "unavailable from Amazon due to investigation" at the time of this review.
After trying to ignore it, the coil whine is REALLY annoying after hours of sitting near the computer. It is a subtle noise that you really notice because it is really high pitched and stands out from other environmental noise. I bought a Seasonic X850 PSU to replace this and couldn't be happier! This PSU, like the Corsair AX860, is made by the best "internet rumored" US PSU manufacture, Seasonic. The Seasonic X850 has different branding (looks really similar to the Corsair AX860 though), different cable patterns (Corsair AX850 cables don't work on the Seasonic X850), does not come with all sleeved cables (only the motherboard cable is), and a 80 Plus Gold rating (opposed to 80 Plus Plat of the Corsair AX860). But it doesn't have a droning high pitch noise! It is literally mute if you put your ear on it while the computer is running or not. The fan doesn't turn on until your computer parts demand more power. At full blast, the fan is no louder than "quiet" rated computer fans.
After doing some research, the reasoning behind the Corsair AX860 and its identical twin Seasonic 860 having the high pitched "coil whine" noise deals with recent requirements changing for 80 Plus Platinum rating. Different components have to be used to meet this new high efficiently requirement, which results in electronic noise of coils. It can happen to any coil, but the ones used by the Seasonic 860 and Corsair AX860 happen to all exhibit this issue. Some people are less susceptible to this high pitch noise and may not hear it much, but if your hearing is really good (though not perfect), you will notice it.
On another note, I bought a Corsair AX860i (made by Flextronics) and it also had a high pitched noise (less than the AX860, no "i"), but it would run the fan full blast for a few seconds every boot up, which was annoying. The fan at full blast was extremely really loud.
Lesson learned... don't buy 80 Plus Plat rating PSU's from Seasonic or Corsair. The benefits of a high efficiently PSU are moot - 80 Plus Gold is more than good enough. Not hearing the high pitch drone is such a relief to my ears! Looking for another PSU? Get the Seasonic X850... literally noiseless and arguably the highest performance you can get.