Corsair Hydro H80 Reviewccokeman - July 31, 2011
Category: CPU Cooling
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Cooling down that multi-core CPU can be accomplished with the stock heat sink delivered by the CPU manufacturer, be it Intel or AMD. However, it just does not do a very good job of it. Even at stock clock speeds, the delivered temperatures are "high" for an enthusiast's tastes. This stock cooling solution is meant to keep the silicon within the thermal boundaries set by the manufacturer and must do so in all the chips running in cramped, poorly ventilated cases that are the hallmark of the mass builder. When you think of it, how many die prematurely from running to hot? Cooling and chassis technology have come a long way, with products out now that allow us, enthusiasts and gamers, to step away from that poorly ventilated case and CPU running at stock speeds.
Massive heat sinks and fans can be used to effectively cool down the CPU. Case fans have stretched all the way up to 300mm in chassis that blow air well enough to keep the inside air the same as the outside ambient temperature. Liquid cooling systems can be had from mild (small, self-contained, modestly priced) to wild (full-on systems with separate radiators, pumps, and blocks for the CPU and GPU). Any which way you want to cut it, there is a solution for everyone, but the item that holds our interest for this brief moment is the self-contained liquid cooling solution. Asetek and Coolit were the early primary players in this field and offered up innovative solutions for cooling your processor and more. Both were not that well known to the average enthusiast.
Corsair, on the other hand, had the name recognition and struck gold with the Hydro Series H50 and H70. These first two offerings were put together in partnership with Asetek, while with the Hydro H60, the H80, and the upcoming H100, Corsair has moved to CoolIt for its expertise in putting together and building a high performance all-in-one liquid cooling system. While the 38mm thick radiator looks like a holdout from the H70, the H80 gets the upgrades from the H60, which include a cooling plate with a new micro-channel design, a split-flow manifold, and a push-button control for the fan speed of the dual fans. If the Hydro Series H80 is as capable as the older H70, then Corsair should have another winner on its hands. Let's dig a little deeper into what Corsair is offering in this latest liquid cooling solution.
Much like most retail boxes, the packaging of the Corsair Hydro Series H80 is chock full of information. On the front panel there is a close-up of the pump/cooling plate and a full view of the system in the bottom left, with the socket compatibility just under the main image. All current sockets from AMD and Intel are supported, including Intel's upcoming Socket 2011 Sandybridge-E processors. The back side shows that the H80 supports Corsair Link Digital technology, shows the benefits of a double thick radiator and dual fans, and talks about the push-button control for the radiator fans. The top shows several more images of what the Hydro Series H80 looks like, as well as again pointing out that the H80 supports Corsair Link Digital in six languages.
Inside the package is a formed cardboard shell that holds the Corsair Hydro Series H80 and all the parts associated with it, including the fans, pump assembly, mounting hardware, radiator assembly, and documentation. The formed cardboard shell does a good job of keeping the hardware in one spot to prevent damage.
Included in the package are the bundled accessories that enable the Corsair Hydro Series H80 to be mounted on a variety of platforms. Documentation includes the instructions, product guide, and a warning not to take this product back to the point of purchase if something is not right. The accessory package includes the Intel and AMD adapters, as well as the common parts kit that includes screws, washers, mounting plates, and all the associated hardware needed to mount the Hydro Series H80 on the latest and upcoming platforms from Intel and AMD.
Now that we know what the package holds, it's time to see how it goes together and how well it works.