All In One water cooling kits are starting to take center stage more and more these days. It seems that 75% of the new builds I see are incorporating them over air coolers, even if it means greater cost. I'm not sure if this is because it is the cool thing to do, or if the previous versions of AIO water coolers are just easier to use. I'm leaning on the fact, that up till now, it was the cool thing to do. From our testing, the numbers didn't justify the end result. Don't take this as hate towards them; I like them for certain instances. These are instances where room is too tight for a tower cooler to be used, or if you just want a cleaner look to the interior. Otherwise, without adding fans, or swapping for higher CFM fans all together, there are cheaper solutions to cooling already on the market, if they fit!
I have seen a lot of love on many forums about the performance capabilities of the H50 we tested not too long ago. What I have seen time and time again, is that users are at least opting for a second fan. I learned over the years that a push/pull setup, when configured correctly, can seriously benefit the efficiency of the cooler. Corsair has listened and read what everyone was saying and revamped the H50. Hopefully with the new ideas and implementations, Corsair's latest submission could top the charts in AIO cooling.
Not only does this new version come with two fans, there is also a new head unit design and a thicker 120mm radiator is used. That's right, TweakTown has gotten its hands on the new Hydro Series H70, and I am eager to see how much more efficient this sealed, AIO water cooling unit is. All of these units are maintenance free and don't require any re-filling or bleeding of the loop. They do require cleaning as does any cooler, but this one can go where full tower coolers cannot! With the new redesigned head unit, thicker radiator and twin fans, I'm a bit excited to see how well it can stand up to our testing.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The overall concept is very similar to the H50. The H70 still uses a copper plate under the pump, in the head unit. This time, though, the head unit is shorter and offers 90 fittings that swivel a fair amount. The H50 had rigid tubes emanating from the larger head unit; the H70 is a much better design so far. The coolant is then moved from the head unit to the radiator through " I.D. tubing with a plastic protective covering on the one foot lengths of tubing. The radiator is thicker in the H70. This time the radiator has a 48mm thickness, which should make this unit much more efficient than the H50 is.
Just making the radiator thicker wasn't enough for Corsair. They also decided to ship the H70 with two 120mm fans. Both fans are identical and boast speeds of up to 2000 RPM with 61 CFM of air flow. If noise is an issue and that 31 dBA rating is a bit loud for your tastes, don't worry, Corsair has you covered. They not only ship a "Y" adapter to power both fans off one header, they also added inline resistors so you can step down the noise of the fans. Of course, this will lower the performance as well.
Looking to buy the H70, I jumped on Google and did some shopping. What I found was there are about eleven shops that carry the H70 currently. Also what I saw was a wide range of pricing. The cheapest pricing I saw was $99.99 at Linke Computer, with shipping the total is $112.98. On the other end of the spectrum, I saw a couple of retailers at the $145 mark, and we haven't even touched on shipping from them yet! - Meanwhile, Newegg is boarding on the lower end of the deal, shifting the H70 at the time of writing for 109.99. This pricing is very comparable to the Vantage A.L.C. - These solutions are well into the "extremist levels" of cooler pricing, and one of the more expensive coolers I have tested.
Let's see how well the H70 can do after a few images of the new design.
The Hydro Series H70 comes shipped in an all-black box which Corsair has filled with all kinds of valuable information. On the front there is a close look at the new, smaller head unit installed next to some of their Dominator memory. At the bottom is a smaller image of the whole unit next to a socket compatibility list.
Taking the image from the front, Corsair re-used it to place on this side.
The bottom of the box contains a contents list, in house testing results, and a brief mission statement about the H70 in various languages.
In the same six languages, Corsair provides the specifications on this side panel.
The back contains three key features for the H70. These are the low profile pump, extra thick radiator, and dual 120mm fans.
When the top of the box is first opened you see the entire stack of included paperwork sitting on top of a layer of dense foam padding. Not only does it keep the paper work easy to grab, and separated from the cooler itself, but it provides damage protection to the open side of the inner packaging, too.
After removing all the paper work and the foam, I then pulled out the inner packaging. This is a form fitted set of compartments made from a thick, almost cardboard type of package. It keeps the hardware away from the H70 during shipping and allowed for a flawless delivery in my case.
The Corsair Hydro Series H70 CPU Cooler
Pulling the cooler out of the packaging, you can see the thicker radiator is very obvious. What isn't so much is that the head unit underwent a diet since we saw it on the H50.
From this angle you can tell what I mean about the diet. The unit is shorter than the H50, but I'm pleased to see new tubing connectivity on the head unit as well. The old style of them only going straight up limited some installations.
With use of 90 swivel fittings on the side this time, the H70 version allows for almost any angle to be achieved. This will lower the space needed to mount the unit, and look cleaner when it is installed.
Once the coolant is heated, the pump pushes it through " tubing into the 48mm thick radiator. It then goes through the radiator and with the dual fan configuration, gets rid of the heat here.
At first glance I wasn't so sure that the tubing was installed correctly. Even though it doesn't cover all of the exposed metal, I pulled on it with all I could give it, and they stayed right where they started. So there are no worries of leaks if yours arrives like this as well.
Removing the plastic safety cap on the head unit allows us to see that Corsair applies a liberal amount of TIM to the base plate. There is plenty of area covering this base to more than cover even the largest IHS.
Since we use the same TIM on all the coolers we test, I had to remove the pre-applied TIM. This gives us a great chance to look at the surface of the base plate. Against a razor, the majority of the base is level, but at the edges it does tend to round off a bit. Aside from that, the overall finish could use a bit of love, but I have seen worse.
Corsair sends these black fans to be installed on the H70. They are both 3-pin powered and can attain 61 CFM at 2000 RPM. Now, with the head unit going in the CPU header, it's nice that Corsair includes the "Y" adapter so you can easily power both fans off one other header on the motherboard.
Here we have the H70 with one fan installed. Mind you, I have the fan oriented better for our testing. In a case install this fan should be facing the other way, or pulling air in.
Here is what the 98mm deep sandwich looks like with both fans on the radiator. Again, I want to say that these fans should orient the other way so they draw outside air into the radiator, not blow it outside the case as I have it.
Accessories and Documentation
This half of the paper work contains a quick start guide, but these instructions are not socket specific. Then there is the bright red, "do not return to the store" insert for those who buy at the box stores. Lastly, there is a little fold out pamphlet for other Corsair Products.
Also included are the socket specific instructions sheets. For each type of socket there are specific instructions to follow. Once you get everything prepped for an install, refer to the correct one of these to finish of the installation.
Corsair is kind enough to include not only the "Y" adapter to power both fans from one connecting point; they also throw in a couple of jumpers with a resistor in line. If you want to step down the noise and aren't worried about the slight change in performance, add these in line to accomplish that.
In the hardware you will find both a mounting ring and back plate for Intel on the left, and AMD on the right. In a couple of bags you will find the plastic inserts for the top ring, a pair of foam spacers for the base plate, and the mounting screws to keep the cooler mounted to the motherboard. In the larger bag you will find eight screws and washers for fan mounting.
Test System &Testing Results
Test System & Test Results
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
At idle, the H70 sits just behind the Vantage ALC, but the ALC was much louder during this test. Also, I am really splitting hairs over 0.2. Let's get these fans spooled up and see what she is capable of!
Once we let the H70 do its thing, it really begins to shine. The H70 breaks into a top 5 finish, and proves itself to be the more efficient AIO water cooler built so far.
At idle with both fans spinning, the audible noise is less than two-thirds of the others I have tested.
As expected, with the push/pull configuration, there is barely an audible change, but the meter shows a 2dB increase to 62 dB with the H70.
I realize that you are looking at these numbers and thinking, why does Corsair show such a drastic change in temperatures, and I don't show near as much change? - Well, our test is about efficiency over temperatures. Allowing the ambient to creep up to 40, it ends up showing which coolers do best under extreme conditions. In our testing we proved that the H70 is the most efficient, sealed, water cooling system that I have tested. In reality, the H70 is only 1.6 off of a TEC assisted air cooler. Where the magic starts to happen with the H70 is when it is installed in a case. Not just in the case, but as instructed and making sure the fans pull in cooler ambient air.
I see the mounting hasn't changed, and does require a bit of thought to put together. This being my second time at it, the installation did go a bit easier this time, but I still appreciate the thumbscrew and back plate idea better. That being my only issue, let's jump right on over to the plusses I have. First, it ships with dual fans! - Second, the H70 has a much thicker radiator allowing for more heat to escape. The lower profile head unit and new fittings will allow the H70 to not only fit in tighter spaces, in the larger ones the tubing can almost be routed for a cleaner appearance. Oh! I almost forgot. The H70 is so far the coolest of the all in one, water cooling solutions on the market!
Since getting one isn't a big issue, it comes down to pricing. The Vantage and the H70 list at about the same price. While the H70 is more efficient, the Vantage ALC offers more features and an easier installation. What the Vantage lacks is performance, the H70 steps right in and takes that hands down. Roughly $115-120 is what it's going to set you back to get the premier, sealed, maintenance free, water cooling system. No matter how I look at it, and as much as I like the Vantage, Corsair has the winner and there is no denying that. If you are looking for an all in one water cooling solution, look no further; Corsair has just what you need right here.
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