In the short time all-in-one water coolers have been on the market, it has been basically two styles to choose from. One with a large, round bulky head, and what I think is a weak mounting system, or the other variant which offers a much better mounting setup, similar results, but usually demands a higher price upon purchase. There wasn't, up until now, any way around this. You had to make that choice and live with your decision. Why can't we just get the best of both worlds?
Corsair says we can! They are now offering a reworked version of the all-in-one coolers we have already seen, the H50 and H70 from the Hydro series. Now imagine this. Take the low profile nature of the H70 head unit, redesign it a bit and make it very low-profile, and entirely redesign the mounting hardware. This newer version keeps the corrugated plastic covered rubber hoses of the previous two units. The radiator of choice for this newer reincarnation is the thinner model from the H50.
That brief explanation is what we are going to be covering in the next few pages. Today TweakTown is bringing you the Corsair Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler. If you don't have a full grasp on what this version is all about, get comfortable, as I am about to show you the ins and outs of this new unit. Let's see what a bit of the old technology mixed in with a new head unit and completely new hardware will offer those who are already undecided about which of these units to purchase. Hopefully at the end of all of this I can answer which all-in-one liquid cooler is the best bang for the buck in today's market.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As with most of these Asetek built units, the construction is very similar. A copper cold plate takes the direct abuse from the processor. Behind this plate things get a touch different. The pump that usually sits in a tall housing is moved right to the top of the cold plate. This is a two-fold benefit. For one the head unit is now super low-profile, and the second is it gives the pump direct access to the cold plate. This should be less restrictive, and with the new hardware that surrounds the new square head concept, it should offer a bit better performance than the H50. To transport the coolant, it leaves and enters the head unit through ninety degree, swivel fittings that accommodate the " black rubber tubing. The bulk of the 12" of line is covered with a corrugated plastic covering for added protection. This combination leaves the unit with a low-permeability.
Connected to the head unit via those two 12" tubes is, of course, the radiator. The H60 uses the thinner, 27mm thick radiator, just like the H50 used. While this radiator takes a 120mm fan, don't let that fool you too much. In order to house this unit comfortably you need 120mm of width and 155mm of height to install this unit. I know the specs say 152mm, but upon measuring my radiator it is a full 155mm tall. The fan that accompanies this radiator has its work cut out for it. This 74.4 CFM fan with 3.2mm H2O static pressure has to do battle against the same tight fin setup that we are used to seeing in these units.
As this review is going live, I quickly rechecked for stock, and I am pleasantly surprised to see a few e-tailers showing stock. Currently there are six places to find the H60 online, and I would assume these units to be hitting local Best Buy retail outlets as well as many others soon, but as I checked they still are not showing up there. While pricing varies as with anything you buy online, the H60 is commanding as much as $104 USD in some places, so shop wisely. As I look to my favorite place to shop, the $73.99 at Newegg.com is not only attractive in comparison to the high end, but is also the cheapest pricing I saw listed. Priced right along with the rest of this AIO water cooling segment, the H60 is reasonably priced, so let's see what it can do.
The H60 shares a similar black package as the H50 and H70 before it. Here the new head unit takes up most of the space with the large image above the compatibility list, naming, and much smaller image of the head unit and radiator together.
On the side there is the same image we found on the front along with the large H60 naming.
On the back of the package Corsair explains a bit about the H60. Starting with the micro-channel copper cold plate, an enhanced fan, and "fantastic performance" and covering things like the sound levels and the mounting mechanisms. To finish it off there is also a chart with the results of in house testing on a Core i7 930 at 4.0GHz.
The other side panel holds the dimensions of the radiator and fan along with the important specifications of said fan. For those not familiar with English, don't worry, Corsair added multiple languages to the panels to cover their market.
On the bottom of the box you can find a brief mission statement about Corsiar's 15 years of service to enthusiasts, features of their products, and ease to find support. In the blue band across the middle you will find a full list of package contents.
The last panel is used to visually show off the features of the H60. First is the new micro-channel copper cold plate, the low profile head unit, along with the sound and easy installation.
Upon opening the box you first get greeted by the paperwork, which I will show a little later, on top of a thin layer of high density foam. This helps to keep the parts in the tray below in place and protect it against damages in transit.
Along with the compartmented tray made from recycled cardboard it a lot of plastic. Everything inside is wrapped in plastic to ensure a good looking product.
The Corsair Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
The head unit and radiator are shipped in a large bag by themselves. On the bag is a warning in bold letters, so don't let your kids or younger siblings wear this as a space helmet.
Out of the bag you will find that the head unit does have a plastic cover for the base as did the older units. Wrapped around the head of the H60 is 30cm of the 3-pin wire and power connection. You can also see the new head design, which I will cover more as we go, and the 27mm thick radiator.
As with the H50 and H70, this H60 will allow for the included fan to install on either side with 120mm spaced holes on both sides of this radiator.
The claim for silence sort of plays against the radiator fin count. It has been my experience that in order to effectively cool a radiator with a high FPI, such as this has, the fans are usually loud that can do the job. We will have to wait and see how the noise level plays out in testing.
The tubing is still connected by stretching the " I.D. tubing over the fittings. To help against accidental punctures, and to help avoid kinks once installed, the black plastic sheathing gets installed over the inner rubber tubes.
The tubing that connects the radiator to the head unit are a full 12" long and will offer plenty of room to get the logo on the head unit oriented correctly in any system.
The Corsair Hydro Series H60 - Continued
Looking at the top of the head unit, there is most obviously the large Corsair and six sail logo painted on top of a flat cap made of textured black plastic. The head unit comes shipped with the Intel mounting system, but can easily be changed to the AMD mounting kit.
This side of the block has the fill port that has been sealed with this round plug. To the left is a two pin connection under the 3-pin fan wire. This is either for some sort of programming for the PWM curve of the head unit, or it may work with software or some sort of temperature monitoring later on, I'm not real sure at this point.
On this side you can see where the tubing gets stretched over the ninety degree fittings on the side of the head unit. These will swivel to allow the tubes to either be run out of sight or to make it fit your specific needs.
The rectangular cold plate is made from copper and gets milled to the same level of the round bases. As with the other units, the H60 also comes with a pre-applied square of thermal paste.
It is a bit tough to see but there are two things I want to show here. First off I am pleased to see that there is a much thinner layer of thermal paste applied to this plate. The second bit I want to cover is that with this unit and the Antec unit I just reviewed, there are a few chunks of debris already in the thermal paste. This isn't a big deal for me as I strip the paste for my testing, but if two of mine came from Asetek like this, maybe there is an issue that needs addressed.
With the paste removed I can do a bit of preliminary testing. I ran the razor blade over the cold plate, and I will say most of this plate is flat across the middle. There is a cavity in my unit to the right side, but it isn't over the CPU so it won't cause any issues with the contact on the processor. The edges and area next to the screws does show "roundness" and gaps, but again it should affect contact in any way.
Accessories and Documentation
Gone is the ring of the H50 and H70! This time there is a whole new set of hardware. Starting in the back row there are a pair of springs on either side of the four thumbscrews. The springs aren't shown in the instructions so I am to guess they are for the AMD installation. The pair of washers on both sides of the middle row is to be used to install the fan. The two threaded latches are to be used with a stock AMD CPU bracket for installation. The bottom row consists of four risers for the Intel mount and the four long screws to be used with the washers above to install the fan to the radiator.
Corsair now ships the unit with an Intel support bracket to be used for all the 775, 1155, 1156, and 1366 sockets. The "U" shaped brackets are to be installed for those with AMD sockets. You can see these bars have a notch at the end, so they only install one way. To swap the hardware, you need to locate the four small Phillips head screws. Two can be found very near the ninety degree fittings on the head unit, while the other pair is found on the opposing side.
The fan accompanying the H60 is a CF12S25M12AP. This fan delivers almost 75 CFM, good static pressure, and a low 30 dBA noise rating. This fan receives power through a 4-pin connection so you can not only control the speed via PWM, but you can also get the RPM reading in BIOS or something like Speedfan.
While I was messing around, switching out the hardware, I accidentally knocked the cap off the head unit. I thought it would be good to go ahead and show the low profile pump and what's visible inside the unit without having to "open" the loop to gain that view.
The paperwork that we found way back when we first opened the box is what we see here. There is the fold-out instruction sheet. One side has images and instructions for Intel, while the other side shows off the AMD instructions. Neither side ever mentions those springs. There is the bright red, do not return to point of purchase, paper. If you are to discover an issue with your unit, Corsair will take that claim directly and offer you the warranty directly for two years. The Corsair Solution Guide is a clever way of product placement. There is a full list of products inside from Corsair that will solve your needs for new components to purchase next.
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.
The idle testing shows great results with all things considered. Against all of the other all-in-one coolers the H60 just squeezed out ahead of the H70, and I mean just. I contribute this mostly to the much more secure mounting this time around.
Here I sit slightly confused. I had to re-run this test a few times to actually believe what I was seeing. I know the mounting pressure of the head unit can greatly affect the efficiency of the cooler. The H60 is a shocker as it takes top honors amongst all of the all-in-one water coolers. I know it just barely pulls ahead of the H70, but that either means I got a not-so great H70 or I got an exceptional H60. Either way, I am impressed with these results, and that's what we are here to discuss.
I found the performance of the 120mm fan average at best. The claims of this being quieter are true against the H50, but the fans on the H70 I received were a touch less noisy.
When I let the fan spin with twelve volts coursing through it, the noise levels went right up to 64 db. In this instance our sample was louder than both of the predecessors.
Corsair delivers a winner in the all-in-one liquid cooling segment with the release of the H60. This is supposed to be the "middle child" of the trio of coolers. Both the pricing and the naming pretty much set that in our minds right out of the gate. I am really taken by surprise to see the fantastic results of what a few changes to the series can do for this cooler. The new head design with a more direct injection of coolant to the cold plate along with a superior mounting system really rear up and show what they can do in this instance. So what's not to like, right?
There are a couple of issues that need to be covered. Keep in mind that the sample I received is one of the first built and even in the week or so that I have had the H60, changes are being made. I had an issue installing this unit with the AMD hardware. I've since come to find out this issue has already been seen, and I was assured in the email that this issue will be resolved in all the units that will make it to the shelves. The second issue is against its claim for a more silent operation. It could be a fluke that I got an overzealous fan, but by the RPM it was spinning with being in spec; I don't think that was the issue. Lastly, is the mystical pair of springs. While I assumed they are for the AMD installation, the springs don't offer enough "spring" for that application. So I am left confused as to their true use.
The small issues I had won't reflect too harshly in the score as I can overlook a bit of noise, and to be honest, I am an Intel fan right now, so for my daily use the H60 fits the bill just fine as it sits, however the availability will hurt the overall number. With Corsair already on the major issue on the AMD mounting hardware, I really have nothing to "complain" about. While it might be louder than both the H50 and H70, it does a better job. With the pricing being where it is at Newegg.com for $73.99, I have to say the H60 pulls its weight and then some. $30 less than the H70 and similarly priced to Antec's new unit, I really don't see a choice anymore. As soon as these units hit the shelf, I advise if you are in the market for this type of cooler, the H60 is where my vote goes to anyone on this quest!
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