Corsair H60 Water Cooling Kit Reviewairman - April 27, 2011
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The H60 unit by itself is very compact and would take up much less room than the typical Noctua NH-D14 or other large CPU coolers that are in its price range. I can already tell that this will immediately clean up the inside of the case and allow for less surfaces for dust to accumulate (i.e. on the fins of a large heatsink), which I regularly have to clean. The top plate is black plastic with the Corsair logo screened onto it. The base is copper and is held in place with eight hex head screws, contains pre-applied thermal paste, and is protected by a plastic cover. The exposed copper plate is rather thin, (1.5-2mm) though it could be machined around the outside edges. I'm used to seeing water blocks having copper plates over 1/4" (6mm) thick, which allows for the channels on the inside. As I stated earlier, it is typical for prebuilt units such as the H60 to have the pump integrated into the block, which is the case with this unit. The pump is powered by a regular 3-pin connector, which simply plugs into one of the headers on the motherboard. The 90° fittings can swivel through an angle of nearly 180°, until the fitting itself hits one of the black "legs" on the block itself. I did find that the tubes are rather stiff, which could cause some difficulty during installation, but that does prevent any possibilities of the tubes kinking, which can cause failure of the pump and overheating of the processor — we wouldn't want that to happen!
The radiator itself is rather small — much smaller than the massive 3x120mm radiators I am accustomed to! This is a much more compact water cooling setup than I am accustomed to, so it's not easy to give this tiny 1x120mm radiator some credit! I will give it the benefit of the doubt, as I've seen some numbers for similar units already and they are quite impressive. The fittings going into the radiator are fixed, meaning that they do not swivel or rotate. Luckily, the fittings on the block itself are really the only ones that need to swivel. Aside from the hoses connecting to one side, the individual faces of the radiator are identical. On each side, there are four threaded holes for a 120mm fan to attach, allowing for a potential push-pull setup, which would probably work well with the dense fins packed into this radiator. Removing the outer plastic cover exposes the small circuit board on the back side of the pump. This circuit board is probably responsible for temperature-controlled variable pump speeds, most likely giving the pump a longer lifetime since it won't be operating at 100% throughput through its life cycle.
The fan looks like a typical 12V 120mm fan just like any other, labeled to draw 0.20A. It is powered by a 4-pin PWM header, which will allow for its speed to be controlled by the motherboard. This will prevent any unwanted noise at idle, since the fan will not need to operate at a high speed to keep the temperature of the processor at a reasonable temperature.
Installation is quite self-explanatory and only takes a few minutes. The hardware included that I will be using for Intel is a backplate, four male-to-male standoffs, four plastic washers, and four female thumb screws. Per the instructions, the backplate is set in place and is held there by the four standoffs. I mounted the radiator first with the fan pulling through the radiator, as that is the way it is intended by Corsair due to the hardware that is supplied. The single long screw holds one corner of the fan to the case and threads into the radiator itself. This was tricky to get all lined up and it would have helped to have a third hand, but nevertheless I was able to get it done. Once the radiator is in place (I mocked it up first to see which orientation would be easiest to install the water block), the water block is placed over the exposed ends of the standoffs and the thumbscrews are tightened down. I decided to use the pre-applied thermal paste, as that is how I test my units — as supplied from the factory. I was surprised to not see any spring mechanisms on the screws to apply even pressure, but I'm guessing there was enough "spring" in the arms on the water block. The AMD hardware actually has sprung screws, probably because it uses two screws instead of four.
I am pleasantly surprised at the amount of extra room there is and how much cleaner the inside of the case looks. With such large heatsinks, it's easy to block the view of over half the motherboard, causing a lack in the visual element of the components themselves that many custom PC builders work so hard for. Satisfied, it's now time for me to prepare for testing this water cooling unit.