Corsair Link compatibility
The latest version of the Corsair Link Desktop software incorporates a new Power tab that pulls data from the AX1200i. There are monitoring windows for the three main voltage rails in addition to separate displays for the 24-pin connector's 12V line and the AC voltage at the wall socket. The individual current trackers for the auxiliary PCIe power connectors are particularly nice.
Next to each one of those PCIe monitoring windows is a slider that can be used to set an arbitrary over-current point from 20-40A. This options allows users, effectively, to roll their own multi-rail configs, and changes can be made in real time. The app also supports multiple profiles for folks who want to save different setups.
Up top sit two graphs that monitor the PSU's input and output wattage, plus a calculated efficiency based on the difference between those values. The power-in numbers were within a couple watts of the reading on our Watts Up power meter.
Obsessive fan-control nerds (like yours truly) will be pleased to note that the PSU's solitary spinner can be toggled between a "quiet," temperature-based speed control profile a static, manually-tuned percentage of full speed that can be set no lower than 40%. In quiet mode, I don't believe our Sandy Bridge-E test system, which is equipped with a Core i7-3960X and a hot-clocked Radeon HD 7970, ever drew enough power to spin up the fan.
The AX1200i reports its own temperature to the software, of course, and users can set email notifications associated with specific temperatures and fan speeds. Those triggers can also be set to run files, to spin up system fans, and to activate the LED light strips that come with Corsair's standalone Corsair Link hardware.
True to the software's mission as a system-wide monitoring and control application, the AX1200i "fan" and "temp" variables can be renamed and assigned to different groups. You'll need other Link-compatible Corsair gear to really take advantage of the software, though.
Corsair has done a good job with the user interface, which can be switched between a couple of different skins and loads of font colors. Users have some freedom in how the panes are arranged. They can also control whether select panes are pinned to the UI, pop over it when activated, or float freely the desktop. Logging is built into the app, although the only PSU variables available are the AX1200i's temperature and fan speed. It would be nice if Corsair enabled logging for the individual voltages, amperages, and wattages that are already displayed by the software.
We've been too busy with other projects to put the AX1200i through its paces on our custom load generator. To reach any meaningful conclusions about performance, we'd really need to pit Corsair's new hotness against a couple of its high-wattage rivals. We may do just that, but for now, we'll simply note that we've had very good experiences with other models in the Professional Series lineup. Although none of them have the AX1200i's new DSP, we have multiple models and units deployed in multiple labs, and we've yet to have a problem with any of them.
New innovations tend to trickle from the top down, and the AX1200i is definitely a high-end PSU. Retailers are expected to charge $350 for the thing, a $50 premium over the existing Professional Series AX1200. That model is only certified 80 Plus Gold and lacks the DSP-enabled Corsair Link compatibility. Both are covered by a seven-year warranty, though. If we were putting together the sort of ultra-high-end system that demands a 1200W PSU, we'd be inclined to pay the extra for the AX1200i.
Based on our limited time with the unit, the AX1200i seems like a solid power supply. What's exciting is the software monitoring and control enabled by its DSP. Enthusiasts have always liked tweaking their setups and keeping an eye on what's going on in their systems. Now, Corsair is giving us a glimpse inside the power supply. If this is truly the direction for future PSUs, we might need to start paying more attention to them.