In The Box
Once you get the box open, you're greeted with a very neat layout for components. The external unit is protected by plastic and the other main components are safely tucked away under the cardboard flap. So lets get everything out of the box and see what we have to play with.
A quick inventory shows that we should have everything we need to get set up except for distilled water. Besides the external unit, you get a bag full of mounting hardware to cover anything except Socket A and Socket 370 systems. Also included is the cabling necessary to power the system, a PCI bracket, the water block with factory attached 3/8" tubing and a bottle of Corsair brand additive. There is even a small tube of Thermal Interface Material, but I will go ahead and resort to my standard of Arctic Silver 5 for testing.
Before we get into the testing, lets take a little closer look at some of the major subsystems.
Beginning with the external unit, we see a component that actually has a bit of style. While there is nothing extravagant in the design, we do see an effort in giving it some flowing curves. Since it is going to be sitting outside the case, its good to see that somebody has finally figured out that ugly just doesn't cut it.
Inside the black plastic shell is the radiator, reservoir, cooling fan and pump. While I was not able to get the housing assembly apart, I did manage to gather some information about the internals to give us at least some idea as to what we can expect as far as cooling potential.
The reservoir is a plastic type and has a visible slit on the front of the external unit. This allows you to verify water level at a glance so you can make sure that the unit doesn't start pumping air. This is never a good thing when it comes to liquid cooling of any variety.
The fan sits under the metal mesh you see above. It is pretty standard and has two speed settings (adjustable on the back of the unit) to allow you to adjust the speed and volume levels. With regards to the volume levels, even the high setting was not too loud. The fan spins at only 1800 RPM so the noise levels stay relatively low as a rule. During our testing phase, I'll make sure to check on results from both fan settings to give us as complete a picture as possible with regards to the difference the speed makes.
The pump used in this cooling solution is a low-pressure model suited to the other components used in the system. It works on a 12v rail and pushes 350 LPH (1.54 GPM) with a head pressure of 13.05 feet. The lower pressure should be more compatible with the 3/8" tubing used throughout the system.
Turning the external unit around shows us the business end of it. From left to right you will note the fan speed selector, and port for the power cable, and the two quick-connect couplings for the tubing.
A nice feature of the Corsair Nautilus 500 is its ability to handle any supported socket design right out of the box. You won't have to figure out which processor you want to support when buying it because they're all available in the standard offering.
Besides the mounting hardware shown above, you will also see the two quick-connect tips, quick-snap fasteners for those tips, and a small tube of what looks to be a silicone based thermal interface material.
The waterblock included is factory attached to the tubing of the unit. It is a pretty typical 3/8" food grade tubing material. The block itself is a very low-profile model that is 100% copper and uses what Corsair refers to as "Delphi Micro-Channel Technology". I was not able to discover much about this exact feature, but it works out to having a slim block with channels throughout to keep water flowing in as smooth a manner as possible.
A closer look at the base of the block shows a very fine finish. Even the carpet fibers are reflected back with good clarity, showing an effort to make sure that the base is as flat as possible. This smoother surface will aid in the dissipation of heat into the copper material of the block.