Water-cooling for Dummies: Corsair H70 Hydro Series kit review
Electricity and liquid don't mix - which is why water-cooling has always been the preserve of the gutsy (or foolhardy). But kits like this make water-cooling a cinch for everybody.
Intel's i5 CPU is a fantastic chip for overclocking, regularly hitting speeds in the 4GHz region after just a few minutes of tweaking. This increased frequency comes at the cost of higher temperatures, necessitating an upgrade of the standard Intel HSF. Corsair's H70 is the new improved version of its popular H50 kit and offers to do a dandy job.
There's no need to dust off your old Meccano building skills - the H70 is an off-the-shelf, pre-built water-cooling system. The radiator, which is twice the thickness of the H50 at 120mm, plugs directly into the copper cold plate/pump. The copper helps to suck away silicon destroying heat more efficiently, and the attached pump is smaller than before. Two 120mm fans clip to either side of the radiator, and at full speed make a noticeable buzz. Corsair has included resistor cables to lower their speed and noise, but an adjustable fan speed dial would have been preferred.
Meet the new undisputed king of coolers - and you don't even have to get your feet wet.
Installing the cold plate/pump unit requires access to the back of the motherboard to attach a backing plate. Once this is in place it's a matter of clipping the pump unit to the backing plate, with various mounts included for LGA 775/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/AM3 sockets. Mounting the radiator is a little bit trickier - it's quite a large box once the fans are attached and won't fit inside a crowded case.
To test we used Prime95, run in our air conditioned office for 45 minutes on an Intel i7 870 running on a Gigabyte P55A-UD6 motherboard. At the end of the run, with fans in high-speed mode, we recorded a temperature of 51 degrees C, 5 degrees cooler than our recent CoolIT ECO A.L.C. results.
This result sets a new benchmark for coolers, making this our undisputed king of coolers. Highly recommended if you need the ultimate in cooling but don't want to build your own H2O kit.Available from Corsair for $179.APC rating: 9/10