Corsair has been in just about every market related to PCs, and with a pretty good track record for both reviews from media outlets like ourselves, all the way down to the posts I see every day recommending one of their products based off of their own excellent experiences. We got to see their jump into water cooling with the Hydro series, and we just got to see the smaller counterpart of the Air Series coolers. The A50s entry to the market showed above average performance with a really good price point. Corsair offered up a cooling solution I could see myself telling others to buy.
To grasp what we are about to see, put an image of the A50 in your mind. Then take the cooler and widen the fin body, and slide in another 8mm diameter heat pipe. While you are widening the fins, you keep a similar outer shape, but since we are here, let's add like 100 dimples to each fin in an attractive pattern. Now that we got the body of the cooler ready to go, let's think cooling. Since this is a "high-performance" CPU cooler this time, why not throw in two fans on it for a push/pull configuration.
Basically, we are left with the concept of a much more efficient, much larger, big brother to the A50. This super-sized version takes on the naming just as did the Hydro series, and I am pleased to get to show you the Corsair Air Series High-Performance CPU cooler. As well as the A50 placed on the listings, I am intrigued to see what the A70 will produce in the way of noise and performance, for what should be a well priced, visually appealing cooler that covers all the basics. Let's get to it and see just what the A70 from Corsair is capable of!
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The body of the A70 is built from an assembly of forty-five, 0.4mm thick aluminum fins pressed onto the heatpipes. This time four 8mm diameter heatpipes travel through much wider, 70mm fins allowing the fins room to dissipate the heat more efficiently. Once the fans are in place, the total width will jump to 124mm with a 159.5mm height. On the business end of the A70, the 8mm pipes make a "u" shaped bend under an aluminum plate to keep them in line and structurally sound. Under the plate, the pipes are milled flat and make direct contact with the processor.
The fan choice is the same found with the A50 packaging, but this time there are two. These 12B25H12A fans are capable of speeds of 2000 RPM with 61 CFM of air flow. Each fan is already installed on the shroud. One fan is set to push air in, while the other is pre-set to pull air from the opposing side of the cooler. Once everything is out of the box, these fan assemblies simply snap on to the sides of the A70 and are well isolated with rubber pads under the shroud and the rubber mounts of the fan to the shroud. These dual bearing fans are rated do deliver an average noise level of 31.5 dBA.
With compatibility for all the latest sockets, Corsair offers a cooling solution for everyone. Availability currently is pretty good, and you should have no trouble locating one at most of your favorite box stores and e-tailers. Listing for $47.99 at Newegg.com with an additional $4 to ship, the A70 will set you back just over the $50 mark. At this point the price has my interest peeked. So let's carry on as usual and see what the images and testing offers up.
The A70 ships in very similar packaging to the A50 we just recently looked at, and this time the box is much bigger. Most notably the image of the cooler that fills the top half is different this time. With the A70, this time you are getting a High-Performance cooler versus the A50's Performance notation.
Corsair states that he A70 is "advanced technology for cooling the world's fastest CPUs". Under which in various languages, they give three features that back up that claim. At the bottom you get a good look at the base and the beefy, 8mm diameter heatpipes as they run through the base plate.
A bit of in house testing lead to the chart that tops the back of the box where Corsair shows well over 20°C improvement over the stock cooler. The rest of the panel is covered with a mission statement and a bit about why you should choose the Corsair brand. At the bottom in the white stripe you will find a basic listing of what is included under all the black and gold cardboard.
On the last panel Corsair displays specifications for both the cooler and the included fans.
Removing the cardboard box, I found a similar high density foam enclosure for the body of the cooler which works very well at protecting both samples. This time packed around the body of the A70, there are two white boxes with hardware. One of which holds all of the mounting hardware, the other holding a pair of fans with accompanying shrouds.
As we saw with the A50, the A70 arrived in perfect condition sealed tightly in the foam cocoon.
The Corsair Air Series A70 High-Performance CPU Cooler
The A70 keeps the same fin count of forty-five as the A50 had, but this time they are wider and have the four 8mm heatpipes versus the three. The bottom of the aluminium base plate is obviously different to accept the four heatpipes, but the top remains the same to allow use of the same mounting hardware we saw on the A50.
The A70 is a fair bit wider than the A50 from this angle. This wider fin allows for the four heatpipes to be able to be spaced a bit further apart so you don't have a solid clump of them in the middle. The addition of more surface area of the wider fins and the fact that there are now four well spaced pipes in the A70, it should show much better efficiency than the A50 did.
The top fin is black, keeping with the theme of the Air Series coolers. There is the large Corsair name and ship sails logo in the middle of each fin as the A50 had, but there are dimples put into the fins here.
Using all the same outer dimensions on the base plate allows for the use of the same hardware. AMD users will again have a latch bar to slide into the grooves, and Intel users get a bolt through mount. The difference in the bases can be found underneath. The space where the pipes travel has been widened 10mm to allow for the redesign.
As with most coolers that make direct contact, there are some deep channels that are going to be found between the copper pipes and the aluminium base plate. When I set a razor across the pipes, they as well as the aluminium spacers made level contact against its edge. The finish isn't perfect here, but there is much less milling marks than I see on most coolers like this.
Along with what I would guesstimate at 30% more fin surface area, Corsair also utilizes dimples in every fin. I lost count twice as I tried to count them, but both times it was right on about 100 dimples per fin. Dimples, increased surface area, two fans, and the leading and trailing edge designs should make the A70 a contender for the top.
The A70 uses the same CF12B25H12A fan, shroud, and rubber mounting combination we saw in the A50. This time there are two of these clip-on shrouds to maximize air flow over all that surface area we get in the A70.
The fans will simply clip into the "v" shaped cuts on the short sides of the fins. I have had some time with these since testing both. While it only takes a little pressure to release them from even a fingernail grabbing under it, they are very solid when locked on, and are well isolated against any vibrations.
Getting the A70 ready to take on the TECC, I added the fans and got a look into the mouth of the beast. The fans are a good choice, and while they don't cover all of the fins, there is very little percentage of that total not being delivered 60 CFM from this end.
The A70 sits 42mm off the processor, and for those with tall heat spreaders, once the fan shrouds are added that number increases a bit, you may run into clearance issues. I say we get a look at the hardware and get the A70 strapped up and running.
Accessories and Documentation
The longer of the two boxes contains your pre-assembled set of CF12B25H12A fan and shroud components of the A70. Both fans come with 3-pin connectors that can go directly to the motherboard headers, or in combination with some other hardware you are about to see.
To use the A70 with an Intel processor you need to use this back plate. It has everything already connected to the plate that needs to go in from the back. If you want 775, slide the bolts in and the springy latch on the side will allow you to slide it then click into place in a notch on the side. Don't forget the plastic spacer; this will keep any mishaps from happening behind the motherboard.
A couple of extra rubber fan mounting "screws" come along with a "y" power adapter and two inline speed reducing adapters come for cooling compatibility. A set of four thumbscrews and the set of plastic washers will be used on the Intel mounting. Don't forget the thermal paste. Corsair ships a syringe capable of two to three applications.
If you have an AMD rig, you will be using the latch system on the left. If you are running on an Intel, the right piece gets mounted to the aluminum base with the provided screws. With use of the back plate, thumbscrews and black spacers, you are ready to cool your processor.
The instructions have been completely redone with the A70. New images and in depth instruction will get you through any sticky situation. As we see with all the Corsair coolers, there is a handy, bold red slip of paper that gives you all the information needed if there is an issue with your product when it arrives.
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.
Corsairs A70 jumps right in to the fight and at idle settings, the A70 jumped into a 6th place finish at 49.7°C.
Here is where Corsair impressed me with the A70. If the A50 offered "performance", what was a "high-performance" version capable of? - A 3rd place finish! Sneaking in just behind a TEC assisted cooler and another with almost double the CFM. Quite an outstanding performance! Considering the fans can be changed later to higher pressure fans with more CFM, the A70 may even keep up with the Ninja 3.
With two fans cooling the A70, the noise levels are just a touch higher than the A50. At idle the fan can be heard, but with the panel on and other fans going in the case, it's hard to hear the A70.
With the testing going full steam ahead, the A70 again plays in the averages for the sound levels while delivering some really terrific performance.
Where the A50 was nice to look at and cooled our test rig with better than average results, I am really impressed by its bigger brother. The A70 is a beefier feeling, larger bodied, two fan having, "High-Performance" cooler. As long as memory modules don't come into play, and something I would have thought Corsair would address a little more due to their own memory modules, the A70 will deliver all the performance you could want, with less noise than the Ninja 3 and a lot less money than the V10. Placing the A70 on my DFI boards, I had no issues with the chipset cooler or the regular sized memory I use for case reviews. If I wasn't already water cooling, the A70 would be in my work PC cooling my i7 860 right now. It not only goes really well in the 800D, but the ease of mounting would make me use it over the larger Ninja 3. Plus I can always swap out the fans and get similar levels of performance and keep the branding scheme going throughout my entire computer.
Out of the box, cooling is adequate. I mean, if it wasn't we wouldn't be discussing a top three finisher here would we. The combination of 61 CFM of flow and our tested 66 dB of noise, the A70 will be a welcomed hum in any system. These aren't ear splitting levels by any means, but in the middle of the game you may hear the fans in order to deliver those great temperatures. For those looking for the ultimate in cooling and can handle the levels of say a Delta fan or two, this is a serious candidate to keep up and even possibly surpass the two listed above it on the charts.
I have to say this; I am sold on the A70! It offers subtle yet attractive looks, some of the best performance on the market, and it isn't going to stab you in the wallet like most other "premium" coolers. Corsair delivers top dollar performance at what I think is rock bottom pricing. Let's consider this. The Ninja 3 is $42, plus I have to add an extra 100+ CFM fan to get the best numbers on the chart. Once there I am really out of room to improve. The A70 is competing with 61 CFM per fan, and they are both included. Plus, for the $47.99 at Newegg.com, the pricing is too similar, and the A70 still has some room to improve. Corsair has really made a name for themselves in air cooling now, too; keeping that tradition of successful products across the boards, making the A70 a great performing cooler, especially at this price.
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