Corsair Hydro H60 Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: January 6, 2013
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Introduction:
As processors become more power efficient, it seems that the cooling demands have escalated when it comes time to overclock the CPU and system. Corsair has been on the forefront of providing cooling solutions for the enthusiast with their Hydro series solutions such as the new Corsair H60 High performance Liquid cooling solution that started the wave of self-contained water cooling solutions from a variety of manufacturers.
Over this time Corsair have worked with Asetek and Coolit to deliver not only the first Hydro series self contained liquid cooling solutions, but to improve the designs when and where possible. Here at Overclockersclub we have looked at a good selection of the Corsair Hydro series product stack, including the Corsair Hydro Series H60, H80, and the Corsair Hydro Series H100, which has just seen an upgrade to the H100i. With each generational change the systems have offered improvements to the cooling performance delivered. Examples would be the switch from Asetek to Coolit after the H50 and H70 were delivered that brought along a new pump head/cooling plate design, with the ability to monitor the pump assembly with Corsair's own Link technology.
Able to be installed on just about every current socket type including AMD AM2, AMD AM3, AMD FM1, Intel LGA 1155, Intel LGA 1156, Intel LGA 1366 and Intel LGA 2011, Corsair has made this solution available for the widest audience. As a new design, yet again it will prove interesting to see just how well the engineers at Corsair have done their homework, from the new fan to the new pump head/cold plate assembly. Priced at roughly $82 this new revision carries a price premium over the original H60 of close to $20. The question is how will it perform and will it eliminate the noise concerns seen on the earlier revisions. Let's find out.
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Closer Look:
For this new series Corsair has updated the look of the packaging moving from a black background to a silver background. The front shows the name of the cooler, the sockets it will work with and a picture of the new H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler. The back side shows some performance metrics to illustrate the performance differential between Corsair's solution and Intel's own boxed cooler.
Inside the package we can see that Corsair puts a lot of thought into how the assembly is packed to eliminate damage during transit should the box see some rough handling. On top of the packaging materials are a users/installation guide, contact sheet if you have a problem and a product brochure. Diving deeper, the Corsair Hydro Series H60 is wrapped in a bag inside a form-fitted cardboard tray.
Included with the Corsair H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler is the mounting hardware and documentation. A user manual, troubleshooting sheet and product guide rounds out the documentation. Installation hardware is included for all current sockets with coverage for both AMD and Intel sockets. The back plate assembly is similar to previous designs, yet the hold-down brackets differ significantly due to the new design.
Past performance has shown that Corsair has delivered a product that can handle the heat. With a new design, pump-head and fan that pushes more airflow, we should see some significant improvements in cooling performance.
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Closer Look:
When pulled out of the box and laid out, the basic design elements are still similar to previous designs. A single depth aluminum radiator is attached to the pump head via low permeability tubing. Corsairs H60 cooling solution is designed to be used in any case that can accommodate a 120mm or larger fan on the back side or roof of the chassis.
The radiator used on this iteration of the H60 measures 120mm x 152mm x 27mm and is made from aluminum rather than copper. This brings up concerns about dissimilar metals with the copper cold plate, but past designs have lived well into the warranty period without failure or leakage due to the proprietary liquids used in the system. A new thicker wall tubing is used to attach the pump head/cold plate assembly to the radiator in place of the more rigid FEP tubing used on past iterations of the Hydro series. The larger tubing uses a compression style clamp to secure the connection and looks like it may be promoting higher flow rates. The tubing connects to the pump head by way of 90 degree barbed fittings coming from the side of the pump. While the tubing is more more forgiving, it is larger and creates some clearance concerns with all the DIMM slots filled.
The pump head is a radical departure from the past designs externally. The top is smaller and does not have the mounting brackets attached to the head. Rather, they slip over the head and lock into the top of the pump head. The liquid fittings continue to exit the side of the pump/cold plate assembly. Thermal paste is is pre-applied to the micro fin equipped copper base of the pump. Gone is the push button that sets the pump and fan speed by way of a three position switch. A single three-wire connection is used to power the pump assembly from either a four-pin Molex to three-pin adapter or directly off a motherboard header. The side opposite the tubing connections looks to be a fill port.
Corsair has included a new fan with this iteration of the H60 that offers improved airflow, lower noise and higher static pressure. Running at 12v, this fan runs at up to 2000RPM, pushes 54 CFM at 30.85 dBA. High static pressure is needed when using fans to push air through a radiator, rather than just pure volume that cannot make it through the radiator. In that respect, the fan has a static pressure rating of 2.36mm/H20.
Installing Corsairs new H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler has not changed much from the previous designs. My test system is Intel socket 1155, so the coverage is shown for this platform. Mounting to an AMD system is a few steps shorter.
First you mount the back plate using the supplied stand-offs that screw into each leg of the back plate. Installing the fan/radiator is next, with four screws through the back or top 120mm fan attachment point. Face the fan so that it blows air in for optimum cooling, blowing air from inside the chassis, is going to offer similar performance if your chassis airflow is good enough to keep the internal air temperatures close to that of the outside air.
Follow up by slipping on the mounting bracket for the pump assembly, putting the one for your specific socket over the pump head and securing the four legs to the stand-off used to hold the back plate on. Caution here, as I found the fit incredibly tight between the tubing on the 90 degree fittings on the side of the pump and the memory modules closest to the CPU socket. If you are running with less than 4 DIMMs, then there is nothing to worry about.
A new easier to install design with an improved micro channel equipped pump and cold plate topped off with a better fan. Will this drive performance higher, or keep it static?
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Specifications:
Cold Plate Material
Copper Micro Fin
AMD AM2, AMD AM3, AMD FM1, Intel LGA 1155,
Intel LGA 1156, Intel LGA 1366, Intel LGA 2011
Low Evaporation Rubber
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Features:
- Self-contained cooling system: Serious liquid cooling for high-performance CPUs no longer means dealing with complex plumbing. Hydro Series H60 comes pre-filled, and never needs refilling or priming.
- Tool-free magnetic multiplatform mounting bracket kit: The modular design makes installation simpler, and it's compatible with Intel and AMD processors.
- Large-diameter, low permeability tubing: Minimal coolant evaporation helps ensure long life, and the flexible design gives you better leak protection and makes installation easier in tight spaces.
- Copper cold plate with pre-applied thermal compound: Copper has better thermal conductivity for more efficient heat transfer to the manifold. Pre-applied thermal compound lets you save a potentially messy installation step.
All information courtesy of Corsair @ http://www.corsair.com/us/cpu-cooling-kits/hydro-series-water-cooling-cpu-cooler/hydro-series-h60-high-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler.html
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Testing:
Testing of Corsair Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU cooler will be accomplished by installing the cooler into the test system, mounted into a case, not a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a (relatively) sealed chassis, so this method will be used to generate the load and idle results to give a real world view as to what kind of cooling performance one can expect.
Of course, your results may vary due to case design and ambient air temperature by several degrees. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.7 for a period of two hours with a cool down period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures over this time period, with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 2600K test CPU.
Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 degrees Celcius throughout the testing to minimize the impact of a variable temperature. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer-supplied thermal compound as delivered. Many of us have our own TIM favorites, but for the end-user without a half-dozen tubes of thermal paste laying around, the supplied TIM will have to do and is how these coolers will be tested.
- Processors: Core i7 2600K @ 4.3 GHz 100 x 43 1.30v
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H60
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68AP-D3
- Memory: Mushkin 993997 9-11-10-28 1866Mhz
- Video Card: XFX HD 7970 Black Edition
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB
- Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Temperature: 24 degrees Celcius
Whatever Corsair has done to the insides of the pump/cold plate assembly, it just works. With a thinner radiator and single fan it is able to keep up with the Corsair H80 on high. Compared to the standard air-cooled heatsinks, the new H60 is a degree cooler than the Phanteks offering at stock speeds and a degree warmer when overclocked. A pretty solid effort, I would say.
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Conclusion:
I have to say that I was shocked by how well this new version of the H60 performed when put to the test. The performance was easily as good as one of the best air coolers on the market, the Phanteks PH-TC14PE.
At stock speeds it out-performed this large cooling solution by a degree under load. Pushing more heat through the CPU when overclocked resulted in a flip of the results with the PH-TC14PE ahead by a degree. What's even more impressive is that the newest Corsair Hydro series H60 was able to deliver results better than the previous top-of-the-line single 120mm radiator equipped Hydro Series H80. The changes made to the pump assembly and cold plate with its micro channel design, coupled with the larger diameter tubing, must help increase both flow and efficiency to have such a significant impact on cooling performance.
The cooling improvement is noteworthy, but so is that noise component of the assembly. Previous iterations had fans that would be considered loud when run at full speed. The new fan used on this version of the H60 is actually quiet by comparison. Running at 2000RPM, the fan noise signature is not noticeable above the rest of the noise from the video card and case fans, yet pushes enough airflow to make a difference in cooling.
The overall installation of the H60 is as easy, or easier, than previous Hydro Series Liquid coolers. The new mounting system for the pump is a change for the better, but the larger tubing can create space concerns when populating all of the DIMM slots on the motherboard.
Priced currently at $81, it is comparable in price or a few bucks less expensive than the best performing air cooler in the comparison suite of cooling solutions. I have to say that if this kind of improvement extends to the rest of the lineup, then using one of Corsair's latest Hydro Series High Performance Liquid CPU coolers is going to be the way to cooling nirvana, for the user not ready to step-up to a full-on liquid cooling solution.
- Cooling performance
- New design
- Easier installation
- Low noise
- Larger tube fitting