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Corsair H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler Review

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AkG

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Right before CES 2011 rolled around we heard through the grapevine that two of the cooling industry biggest names –Corsair and CoolIT- would be partnering up. The partnership was structured in such a way that CoolIT would cease offering their liquid cooling products through the retail channel and instead provide them to Corsair who would brand them as their own. While there isn’t any real “winner” in this deal, both companies are able to now focus on what they do best; Corsair concentrates upon marketing, distribution and design fine tuning while CoolIT continues to work upon the engineering side of things.

The first product available from this new synergy between two old rivals is the Corsair H60. This is a moderately priced, single fan, all in one liquid cooler which includes all the hallmarks we have come to know and love from each company. By the naming scheme alone it should be quite obvious that the H60 will fall somewhere in between the dual thickness Corsair H70 and the venerable H50 in terms of overall performance.

Over the past few years we have seen a real boom in the CPU water cooling market niche. What was once the sole domain of enthusiasts and high end boutique builds has now become much more consumer friendly. This increased awareness of the typical computer user is due in part to companies like CoolIT and Corsair who have pushed the design envelope and created extremely user friendly, reasonably priced “all in one” sealed water cooling devices. You no longer need to be overly adept at “plumbing”, worry about leaks and bleeding nor spend a veritable fortune for a high end prebuilt custom water cooled PC.

On paper, the combination of Corsair’s enviable customer service reputation, with those wizards of water cooling over at CoolIT really does make for one exciting product. But how does it stack up against past products from both companies?

mfg.jpg

 
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AkG

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Specifications

Specifications


specs.jpg


specs2.jpg


specs3.jpg

 
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AkG

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First impressions of the H60

First impressions of the H60



As usual, Corsair’s box will be bound to get attention on a retailer’s shelves while being festooned with all the information a first-time user could possibly need.

Opening up the box and peaking inside, it is obvious the internal protection scheme is the same as the H70. Gone is the plastic clamshell container of the H50’s and in its stead is a sturdy cardboard protection scheme with a foam topper layer.

Corsair_H60_access_sm.jpg

When it comes to accessories, we get our first real glimpse of CoolIT’s influence over the H60’s design. The slightly archaic separate mounting rings of past Corsair H-series products are replaced with the more straightforward and easy to manage CoolIT mounting kit. All the components for mounting on AMD and Intel sockets motherboards are included and all are of a very high quality.

The only thing conspicuous by its absence is mounting equipment for a second fan but four generic long screws are inexpensive and readily available at any hardware or home building store. CoolIT’s iconic full color installation manual is also MIA but its replacement is more than adequate

Corsair_H60_full_sm.jpg
Corsair_H60_full3_sm.jpg

On a cursory glance, the H60 appears to be very similar to past Corsair H-series self contained water coolers. It still consists of four main parts: the radiator, the water block/pump combination for the CPU, the tubing which connects the two together and the included fan. However, when scrutinized carefully the H60 is unlike any other Corsair branded product we have seen in the past due to its engineering by CoolIT rather than Asetek.

Corsair_H60_comp3_sm.jpg
Corsair_H60_block_sm.jpg

(Picture above left: H60 Left, H50 right)

In the past Corsair’s sealed units were known for above average performance, but sadly were just as well known for their less than optimal installation procedure. This was thanks in no small part to the Asetek circular water block & pump with its integrated mounting latches. This design meant you had to twist and lock your new device into place which was a sometimes frustrating procedure. Corsair now uses CoolIT’s more sensible metal mounting arms so no more twisting and shaking is needed. This alone makes the Corsair H60 better than the H50 for consumers who have very little experience dealing with aftermarket CPU cooling accessories.

As you can see the H60’s waterblock / pump combination is a rectangular block which looks much like the one found on a CoolIT ECO albeit with a flat top.

Corsair_H60_rad_sm.jpg

Much like the block, the radiator itself looks to be a classic CoolIT single bay, single width design which sports a 12 channel and approximately 23 folds per inch design.
 
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AkG

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First impressions of the H60 Cont'd

First impressions of the H60 Cont'd


Corsair_H60_rad_tube_sm.jpg
Corsair_H60_rad_tube2_sm.jpg

The tubing is the same ¼” ID PVC or coated neoprene affair as used on previous Corsair (and CoolIT for that matter) water cooling units which has been heat-sealed onto the rad and water block barbs. This is par for the course as very few companies bother with pinch clamps as heat sealing is a cheaper, more secure and easier method.

One thing worth noting is the length of tubing which connects the water block and the radiator together is noticeably longer than on the H70. The H70 had about 9 inches worth of tubing, whereas the H60 is a couple of inches longer at about 11 inches. This makes these tubes about the same length as the original H50 model and capable of reaching the CPU socket in any enclosure.

Corsair_H60_base_sm.jpg
Corsair_H60_base2_sm.jpg

As mentioned previously, the water block itself is rectangular and not circular like previous Corsair models. What is also different is the finishing quality on the copper base. Previous Corsair “H” models had what would best be called poorly finished bases, whereas this H60 sports higher quality finishing but it still isn’t polished to a shine.

Corsair_H60_tube_sm.jpg
Corsair_H60_tube2_sm.jpg

Much like the CoolIT Vantage and Corsair H70 we recently reviewed the H60 uses 90° connectors which can swivel to mate the tubing and the water block together. This is a great feature which will reduce the pressure on the connectors and should (if past history is any indication) make installation a heck of a lot easier.

Corsair_H60_fan_sm.jpg
Corsair_H60_fan2_sm.jpg

The fan Corsair has opted for is a 1700rpm, 120 x 25mm unit which is rated for 74.4 CFM. While it is labeled as CF12S25M12AP, there is not much information available about this fan and what bearing type it uses but it is easily swappable in case you wanted increased performance.

Corsair_H60_4pin_sm.jpg

As with the 3pin cable for the pump, the fan's cable has not been sheathed. Rather, all 4 wires are fused into a wide yet fairly thin cable which makes for a tidy appearance.
 
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AkG

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Installation

Installation


For anyone familiar with CoolIT products -especially their all-in-one water cooling units- the Corsair H60’s installation will be very familiar. For those of you who have never touched a CoolIT product, let’s just say that installing the H60 is extremely easy and the process is light years better than past Corsair water coolers.

backplate_sm.jpg
post_sm.jpg

As with all serious CPU cooling solutions the H60 includes a “4 in 1” backplate which is adaptable to Intel 775, 1155, 1156 and 1366 systems. Meanwhile, AMD installation uses the standard backplate that comes with all AMD motherboards.

The H60 comes with the Intel all in one retention arms pre-mounted to the water block. If AMD is your choice, you will first need to uninstall these arms and install the ones which came in the box. Unlike CoolIT products which have the retaining bolts pre-attached to these retention bolts, the H60 does not. This does complicate tend to complicate the installation slightly since these double ended bolts need to be screwed into the motherboard before installing the H60.

inst_sm.jpg

In order to actually install the water block onto the motherboard, the two tubes have to be aligned so they are facing towards the ram slots before the whole affair can be gently lowered into place. The next step is to simply tighten the retention bolts before moving on to the fan installation.

fan_inst_sm.jpg

As with all single bay units, the H60 requires a case be equipped with a 120mm rear exhaust port though a top port can be used in a pinch. If you have an older case which uses smaller fans, a plastic 80/92 to 120mm fan adapter can be bought for a few bucks. Naturally, in order to install the H60 we recommend uninstalling your case fan before beginning the installation process.

Corsair has made this part simple as well by allowing the H60 to be installed in exactly the same manner as a standard case fan. This is where the rotatable ports on the heat transfer block tend to come in handy.

inst2.jpg

With the Corsair H60 now securely in place, you have just successfully installed what is most likely your first water cooling setup. All in all, this is an extremely easy installation and you shouldn’t run into any motherboard compatibility issues. We just wish Corsair had opted for CoolIT as their OEM long ago, as this installation really makes a mockery of the “improved” installation process which our H70 review sample came with.
 
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AkG

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Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


To ensure that the results from one review to another are not only reproducible but actually pertinent to this review, the Testing Methodology will be the same throughout all reviews used. If something does change we will be sure to make a special note of it and explain why this change was done and more importantly why things had to be changed or altered.


Thermal Paste and Application Methods:

Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste was used for all coolers during these tests unless otherwise noted.

For all non HDT coolers, application of thermal paste was in accordance with the TIM manufacturer’s instructions; and while not necessary, the TIM was allowed to cure for 24 hours under moderate to high loads (with periods of low loads) prior to testing.

For all 3 pipe HDT coolers two lines of TIM is applied to the two centre metal posts and for all 4 pipe HDTS three (smaller) lines of TIM are applied to the metal posts. This method has been found to provide significantly better coverage than the more typical methods.


Fans Used

120mm:
For all CPU Cooling Solutions which do not come with their own fan, a Noctua NF-P12-1300 and a Scythe S-Flex “G” 1900RPM fan will be used if it accepts 120mm fans. With these two fans we are able to simulate different fan speed conditions as indicated below.


Low Speed:

900RPM with a Noctua NF-P12-1300 with ULNA adapter. To be more precise our specific fan runs at 930RPMs. Any stock fan which comes with the ability of being controlled by means other than the motherboard (e.g. remote fan speed controller, potentiometer, rheostat, etc) will be set to this speed during the low speed test and BOTH sets of performance results will be included.


Moderate Speed:

1300RPM Noctua NF-P12-1300 with NO adapters used. To be more precise our specific fan runs at 1326RPMs. Any stock fan which comes with the ability of being controlled by means other than the motherboard (e.g. remote fan speed controller, potentiometer, rheostat, etc) will be set to this speed during the moderate speed test and BOTH sets of performance results will be included.


High Speed:

1900RPM Scythe S-Flex “G”. To be more precise our specific fan runs at 1860RPMs. Any stock fan which comes with the ability of being controlled by means other than the motherboard (e.g. remote fan speed controller, potentiometer, rheostat, etc) will be set to this speed during the High speed test and BOTH sets of performance results will be included.


Dual Fans*:

Dual NF-P12-1300s

*Dual fans only used if the cooler comes with the necessary mounting hardware.


92mm Fan:

If the cooler being tested only accepts 92mm fans, a Noctua NF-B9-1600 will be used.

If the given CPU cooling solution comes with a stock fan we will also include its numbers in the closest of the main tests BUT we will also include our standard fan results in that particular tests.


Fan Notes:

- If a heatsink cannot mount an aftermarket fan, we will be only including the stock fan results. However, if the stock fan speed can be precisely controlled by means other than the motherboard BIOS (an included remote fan speed controller, potentiometer, rheostat, etc), the cooler will be tested at different fan speeds.

- For dual fan results ALL coolers capable of mounting two fans (and come with the necessary hardware) will be tested with two NF-P12s and the Dual Fan graph will contain data for other such dual capable fan coolers.


We feel that the combination of multiple speeds and multiple fans will allow us to give you our readers clear and precise idea of the capabilities of a given unit, in an accurate comparison. It will also help eliminate the occasional “zinger” such as when a manufacturer includes an extremely high-speed fan in order to possibly offset poor heat sink thermal performance.


Environment:

All comparison testing was done on an open bench with a constant ambient temperature of 24°C. If at any time the room temperature increased or decreased by more than 1°C, testing was halted until the temperature constant was re-established.


Testbed:

tech_station_sm.jpg


Unlike our previous methodology which used an open bench setup with a horizontally orientated motherboard, our new open bench is a modified Tech Station with a twist.

It has been modified so that the motherboard is in a more typical vertical orientation as it would be when installed in a case.

This has been done by the simple expedient of drilling out the bumper pads and threading long bolts (typically used for mounting fans to water cooling radiators) up through the top base of the tech station. Then by simply threading the bolts up through the motherboard we can then secure said motherboard to the tech station. Rubber mounts followed by a nut ensures that nothing moves. When the motherboard has been secured we simply tip the tech station on its side and using weights on the lower “legs” to keep it from tipping over we end up with a vertical orientated motherboard which is safe and secure yet still an open, controlled benching environment.


Mounting Orientation:

Only the typical East / West (aka forward / back) orientation will be used.


Temperature Recording:

Recorded temps were as reported via the Real Temp plug-in for the RivaTuner monitor program.

Max and Average load temps are based on 15 minutes of running Prime95 “small fft” and are taken directly from RivaTuner’s built in capabilities.

The maximum temperatures will be the highest recorded temp displayed for any of the cores during the 15 minute test. While RivaTuner will display each core's average temperature it does not easily show the average of ALL the cores. To this end we will be simply taking the average of all the cores adding them together and then dividing by the number of cores.

If during any test temperatures of 90°C or more are displayed in RivaTuner (for any core) for more than 10 consecutive seconds the testing will be halted and that test run will be considered a "fail".

Idle temperatures are the lowest recorded temperature during idle period as recorded by the RealTemp Rivatuner monitoring program.

All CPU throttling technology was disabled in the BIOS; as was all CPU fan speed control. In addition, Turbo Mode was disabled and Hyperthreading was enabled.

All tests are run a minimum of three times and only the best results are represented.

Maximum voltage used is 1.35 volts.


Charts & Graphs:

Due to clutter and confusion we now will only be including the best of the best. We understand that “best” does mean different things to different people, to this end we will only be including what we feel are the best representatives of the main price ranges. These main prices ranges approximately are Intel OEM (free), $30, $40, $50, $60, and unlimited. Please keep in mind that prices are variable and while we have done our best to pick what we feel best represents a given price range there can and will be some overlap as these price ranges are not set in stone (with the exception being the Intel OEM cooler). To further help clarify a given cooler’s performance we will also be including a seventh CPU cooling solution, a cooling solution which irregardless of price best exemplifies what a good “all round” dual fan capable cooler should be. For the time being this last will be the TRUE Black. After each published cooler review we will re-evaluate the coolers being included in the charts and based on the value or performance may swap out a cooler for a cooler that was just reviewed.

This way you will not only know how it compares to the Intel stock unit and the best Damn Good Value coolers but also the best of the best Damn Good coolers out there. In grand total there will only be 8 coolers represented in a graph. However, if the review is a “round up” review this limitation will be extended to include all coolers in that review plus the above 7 cooling solutions. We will endeavour to keep the number as low as possible while still giving an accurate picture of the performance of all coolers being reviewed.

Each chart will include the Maximum or “peak” temperature we recorded, the average temperature and the idle temperature.

No passive results will be shown UNLESS manufacturer claims the ability to passively cool a processor. If a manufacturer claims passive capabilities we will include the performance numbers in the charts. The only exception to this is if the review is a “review roundup” and to keep the charts from becoming confusing we may not do so.


Sound Pressure Testing:

To give a more accurate and less of a personal opinion on the noise level of the stock fan which accompanies the heatsink, we have included a new section for sound pressure testing. These tests are done in our open case setup outlined above with the meter positioned 30 inches away from the cooler and mounted on a tripod. To ensure the background noise does not skew the results all tests will start by recording the ambient noise of the room. Only when it meets our standards will the testing commence.

To ensure that no external noise unduly skews the results, the GPU used will be a passively cooled unit and the only active fan will be the one on the cooler while the PSU and HDD are isolated away from the immediate area.

These tests are run late at night when no other people or animals are awake and thus unable to influence the results.

All fans are run at their maximum speed with no voltage or PWM control being used during the sound pressure tests.

The sound pressure meter used is a DT-805 which has been professionally calibrated and NIST certified. We will record the highest levels obtained with said meter and record it as our result. The test will be 15 minutes long and will be run while the fan is running full speed via a Molex connector and the CPU cores are under a full load via Prime 95 Small FFT.

Please note: The Scythe S-Flex G and Noctua NF-P12-1300 (at 1300 and 900rpms) numbers are taken when mounted to a Cooler Master Hyper 212+. We feel that it would be extremely unfair and unrealistic to include noise rating for these after market fans if they were NOT mounted onto a cooler. They are included to help give some sense of proportion to the charts and allow you to more easily compare a stock fan against a known quantity.


Complete Test System:


Processor: Intel i7 920

Motherboard: Gigabyte X58-UD3R

Memory: 6GB Aneon Xtune DDR3-1600

Graphics card: EVGA 7300GT passive

Hard Drive: 1x WD 320GB single platter

Power Supply: Topower Powerbird 900W


Special thanks to Direct Canada for their support and supplying the i7 920 CPU.

Special thanks to Gigabyte for their support and supplying the i7 motherboard.
 
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AkG

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Stock Fan Performance Results

Stock Fan Performance Results


<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/stock_266.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/stock_342.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/stock_38.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

While the Corsair H60 is no match for the dual thickness, dual stock fan wielding H70 it still does post some pretty impressive numbers. When compared against other single thickness solutions such as the H50 and CoolIT Eco, the Corsair H60 really does shine.

It appears that Corsair and CoolIT took the best of several designs and created an all new water cooler which is simply more efficient than other similarly priced units. It may not be enough for Corsair H50 owners to rush out and replace their model with this much improved one, but by the same token there is now very little reason to purchase either a CoolIT Eco or Corsair H50.
 
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AkG

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High Speed Fan Performance Results

High Speed Fan Performance Results


<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/high_266.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/high_342.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/high_38.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

Once again we are seeing a marked improvement over past models and to us these numbers really drive home exactly how big an improvement the H60 is over its Asetek built predecessors. The improvement is so great that when both a H70 and H60 are equipped with only one fan, the H70 is barely able to beat it. Some of this is due in part to the fact that the H70 really needs two fans to shine, but the H60 is better than any previous single bay.
 
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AkG

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Dual Fan Performance Results / Sound Level Testing

Dual Fan Performance Results


dual.jpg


As with the Scythe G results, the Corsair H60 once again shows exactly how great a cooler it is. It not only easily beats all comparably priced self contained liquid coolers we have looked at, it also easily beats the Corsair H70 when both are equipped with the same dual fans. The reason for this is that its design does not need high static pressure, high speed fans to keep its coolant at an optimal temperature. It is just as happy with a pair of low speed, low noise fans as it is with a single high speed one. While we are sure you can coax more performance out of the H70, the H60 really is a winner for most people’s needs.


Sound Level Testing


While everyone "hears" noise differently there is one easy way to remove all subjectivness and easily compare different fans: use a sound level meter. This way you can easily compare the various fans noise envelopes without us colouring the results and see what fans fit within your personal comfort level. Of course, we will endeavor to try and explain the various results (which are taken at a 30 inch distance) to help you our readers get an even better understanding of how loud a cooler's stock fan is, but even if you discount our personal opinions, the fact remains numbers don't lie. All fans are tested with both voltage regulation / PWM turned off.

noise.jpg


It seems that while the Corsair H60 is much improved, the fan which it ships with is merely above average in terms of noise output. On the flip side, it still is better than previous “H” model Corsair fans which makes it a decent solution for many people’s needs.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


There is no getting around the fact that we walked away extremely impressed with the Corsair H60. Everything from the installation process, to the stock fan to the oh so critical cooling performance has been improved over past Corsair and CoolIT units. There are no ifs, no buts and no waffling about it: this is the best designed Corsair all in one CPU cooling solution we have come across.

What this shows is that Corsair was walking down the right path by making their strongest competitor their greatest ally. The H60 has “CoolIT” engineering prowess stamped all over it along with Corsair’s sense of overall refinement.

While performance with the stock fan setup effectively bridged the gap between the H50 and H70, the H60 was able to really come into its own when a high performance aftermarket fan was installed. Once that was done, it effectively showed that its simple, inexpensive design was able to keep pace with some of the best solutions on the market.

The closed loop water cooling market niche caters to users who don’t want to go through all the hassle of a custom loop. Yet somehow Corsair’s previous models were always featured a less than user friendly installation process. Now we have the H60 which is literally a quantum leap forward in this category since its installation takes less than 10 minutes and doesn’t display any of the past generation’s headaches

Since Corsair has taken the necessary steps to not only rectify their installation procedure, but have also taken the time to make the H60 a much more efficient design we have absolutely no qualms in awarding it our Dam Good award. We also are going to take the unusual step and say that if you are in the market for a single bay, self contained liquid cooler, this is the one you want. Great performance, easy installation, zero compatibility issues all backed by a great warranty from a company known for their customer service, make the Corsair H60 the hands down best model for first time users and even budget minded enthusiasts.


Pros:

- Extremely efficient design
- Great installation procedure
- Great performance across a variety of heat loads and fan profiles
- FIVE year warranty


Cons:

- Still room for further improvement in installation procedure
- While decent, the fan could be improved in the noise department



<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/water_cooling/H60/dam_good.jpg" border="0" alt="" />


http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...-liquid-cpu-cooler-review-comment-thread.html
 
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