Most of the user review on the internet are done by half whited morons. Never trust Amazon/Newegg/ext reviews. The CX is a tier 4 PSU, so they made the list all be it one of the lower quality ranks. I would bet most people that have issues with the CX line are trying to push the PSU too hard. Don't OC on them, don't make a build that idles at over half the max output really just common sense things.
I used a CX500w in a build of mine (i5-4690k [no overclock] and a R9-270x) for about 2 years with absolutely no issues, I did recently get a better PSU because I want to overclock now. I played by the rules and the CX did fine.
Overclocking within its claimed capabilities shouldn't be a problem, but agreed, it shouldn't be used for heavy overclocking or mid-high end gaming rigs. It's CWT that make them, with cheap parts, very cheap, and thin gauge wiring.
The noise they make is the first sign of poor quality, it might not happen straight away, but it will, maybe a month, maybe a few months, but in the end you'll get the horrible grinding, whining, vibrations and noise, it's a VERY common problem, corsair themselves tell you to push the middle of the fan in, and put it back in your case with the fan facing up, which in most cases means it pulls air through the case, not from outside, mix that with cheap parts inside the psu and you'll get problems eventually.
They are made for office rigs or low end gaming, if your putting high specs into your pc, the cx should be avoided if possible. The XFX TS series is a good alternative, those are made by seasonic, the XFX XT range is also suitable, although it is only designed by seasonic, not built by them, there is at least a very good brand behind the design. These would suit anything up to high end gaming rigs. After that, anyone making a high end rig, will get a high end supply.
In the end I think we really agree, the CX should be put in a reasonable build. If you push the PSU you are asking for it. However I have not noticed some of your complaints such as the horrible grinding, whining, vibrations and noise. I have two CX PSU's that I have been using for over 2 years.
You got lucky :P
I have a Cx, I took the reviews with a pinch of salt, complaints are obviously easier to find than praise. Within a month the noise started, corsair gave me the "fix" still does it now and again but it'll be fine, bad bearing in the fan I guess.
What was the "fix"? If its out of warranty why not swap the fan, I have not done that to mine but should be pretty easy.
They told me to take off the fan grill, push down firmly in the middle of the fan, then put it back in the case upside down.
I didn't send it back because in all honesty I just couldn't be bothered undoing all the cable management, it's not modular so it's a bit of a drag. It's a mini itx so it was fiddly enough. I heard they send you a replacement unit so you're not without, I didn't see the point if another would potentially do the same. Doesn't effect performance, and since its been upside down it's hugely better.
I have the corsair 250d, and there's a dust filter under where the psu sits, which is now pointless as my fan is now directly below the motherboard.