Corsair A50 and A70 Reviewairman - August 26, 2010
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There are a few differences between the A50 and the A70. The A70 is physically larger, utilizes one more heatpipe, and is packaged with an extra fan. The mounting hardware seems to be the same, as do the rest of the accessories. The size difference between the two coolers is immediately noticeable with the fans attached. The A70 looks to be almost twice the width of the A50, as its body is wider and it is uses one extra 120mm fan. Comparing the sizes, the A50 is a great option for a user in need of a smaller foot print, as it should offer very similar performance to the A70.
Removing the fans/shroud assembly will display how the coolers look like by themselves. The fan assemblies are clipped onto the heatsinks and are removed by pulling back the clips on either side, releasing them. With the A70 having one extra heatpipe, it is physically wider than the A50. The length and height of the coolers are the same, and the construction and layout are otherwise identical.
Taking a look at the tops and bottoms of these two coolers also provides another visual of the size difference. The base is uses a direct contact method where the heatpipes themselves are in physical contact with the processor. This allows for one less interface for the heat to pass through when compared to other heatsinks that have a solid base that surrounds the heatpipes. The lack of the extra interface should allow for quick heat transfer and low idle temperatures. There is a protective film over both bases that prevent the base from getting scratched from handling, but warns the user to remove this film before installing the heatsink. The top fin of the A50 and A70 is painted black and has the Corsair logo stamped into it as well as a dimple pattern that only appears on the A70.
The heatpipe/fin interface is pressure fit by having the fins pressed on. The way the fins are stamped out allows a contact to be made through the entire length of the heatpipes. The more surface area of the fins in contact with the heatpipes will help out the heat transfer. This is common on all heatsinks that use heatpipes because of this property.
The only thing that I've found that could be better about the A50 and A70 coolers are the finish on their bases. The machining marks are extremely evident and there is no reflectivity. This may just be the way that direct contact coolers are, because I haven't seen one where the base has a high quality finish. In the world of heatsinks, having a very flat base with a high quality finish usually sets them apart from low to high end. However, you cannot judge performance just by looking at the base, so testing the coolers will show whether or not this hinders their cooling capabilities.
The fans used with the A50 and A70 are identical. They are rated at 12V, 0.18A. The fans operate between 1600-2000RPM at 21-32dBA and move 50-61CFM. The fans are removable from their shrouds, which gives the user a choice of any other fans they would like to use with these coolers. There is already a set of rubber dampening pads on the inside of the shroud, which helps reduce noise from the fans.
Installing the coolers is relatively simple. The screws are already attached to the backplate, which go through the mounting holes on the motherboard, and the mounting bracket is secured over the base with the four provided thumbscrews. I tightened them down until I ran out of threads on the screws from the backplate.