Corsair H70 CPU Cooler - First Install

We showed you the new Corsair H70 CPU cooler a couple of days ago and finally today we had the opportunity to place it inside our Quiet Fermi Build replacing the Corsair H50 we had in the system. Come along to see our install and what our preliminary temperatures look like.


Two days ago we showed you our unboxing of the new Corsair H70 CPU cooler. Today we took the time to install the H70 into one of our test systems here in the HardOCP offices. We are going to share that install with you and what our first temperatures are with the H70 system compared to the H50 system that was previously installed. Please understand that is NOT our H70 review. We have taken no steps here today to keep our results or comparisons "scientific" in any way, shape, or form. This article simply outlines our initial experiences with the H70 and the first temperatures we are seeing.

Our System

We are using a Silverstone Raven RV02 chassis that has become the heart and soul of our latest Fermi build, but we will get to more on that later next week. We had previously installed a Corsair H50 for our CPU cooler. We are running an Intel Core i7 980X processor at 4GHz with a vCore of about 1.32v. Here is what our system looked like with the Corsair H50 installed.

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The H50 install shown above is totally stock hardware with one little twist. We have not installed the system as per Corsair's guidelines, but rather the way we saw best. In this particular build we are looking to quiet the Galaxy GTX 480 SLI video cards installed. So it does not behoove us to dump the CPUs hot air back into the chassis. Surely pulling cooler ambient air across the radiator will give you better CPU cooling, but we are looking to get as much fresh air to our Galaxy cards as possible. So that is one reason you might consider our results here "non-typical," but we are sure you can appreciate our direction with the install. In our H70 review we will be installing the system as instructed.

A Hose is a Hose, but a Swivel is Cool

I have been watching the thread on the H70 unboxing and saw a lot of complaining about the length of the H70 hoses. The H70 hoses are the same length as the H50 from what I can tell with one big difference. The H70 hoses swivel at the water block.

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This of course is going to make a lot of installations easier without a doubt. So far the H70 is getting the thumbs up from us.

The H70 Install

The H70 has a push/pull fan setup that stock. So unlike our H50 system, we have another fan to mount to the opposite side of the radiator. We decided to do that a bit different as well.

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With both fans and the radiator mounted inside the chassis, one of the fans down dropped into the frame of the side window on our system and it just looked like ass. So yes, in the name of vanity we jumped through a couple of hoops to install the "pull" fan outside of our case. I was worried for a second that the radiator would actually fit in the space, but it did so just fine. Obviously you can see from the picture that there was not a lot of room to spare. I doubt radiator space will be a big issue with folks, but I would suggest that Corsair might publish a list of H70 certified cases soon to help its buyers feel better about their purchase.

As for the H70 water block/pump install, it was as simple as the H50. Actually it was simpler since it uses the exact same mounting system. I did not even have to unscrew the retention bracket fully. I just loosened it up and switched in the H70 after thoroughly cleaning the processor mating surface.

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With the fan mounted outside of the chassis we had to fashion an extended lead so that we could reach a fan header on the Gigabyte X58A-UD7, which is quite sparse when it comes to fan headers. All the ugly black electrical tape is covering up the hideously colored wire I used. Had the fan been mounted inside we would have been OK, so I cannot fault Corsair on this one. Corsair does include a Y splitter for the fan header so you can plug both the fans into the single header as we did.

Before you go looking for the switch to toggle the fan speeds between Hi and Low, you will want to take a look inside the accessories bag. Inside it you will find a couple of 3-pin fan header adapters that are male on end and female the other. These two small 2" leads have had a resistor soldered in that will be used to reduce you fan speed to "Low." So to get Low fan speed all you need to do is put the resistor leads in line with your fans.

Corsair H70 Performance

Since our temperatures here are not "official" I am not going to graph these results, but I am going to share our findings with you. We used CoreTemp to collect our results. Our processor specs can be seen below. We allowed the system to run for about 20 minutes, until we saw our temperatures level off. The Raven case moves lot of air through it so the heat load does not build up much especially when the video cards are idle. Our office ambient temperature has stayed about 83F/28C all day due to loaded Fermi tests running. Those will heat up the place, not to mention it was 105F in North Texas today.

Idle Temperatures

H50 - Stk : 45/41/40/48/45/38

H70 - Hi : 41/36/37/45/42/34

H70 - Lo : 43/37/36/48/43/36

For our load temperatures we used Prime95 to load all six cores to 100%. There are some other programs out there that will load the cores and produce higher temperatures, but we have found those to be a bit "over the top" when trying to equate a real world loads and Prime95 seems to fit the bill. If you are looking for something to really heat up your processor go check out LinX; it is Linpack with a GUI frontend.

Loaded Temperatures

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H50 - Stk : 77/75/74/75/77/73

H70 - Hi : 74/69/66/69/75/68

H70 - Lo : 81/79/76/77/81/77

Parting Thoughts

Keep in mind that we have not used the proper install instructions for either the H50 or H70, but this is how we are going to use these coolers. The biggest thing to me in world of "water cooling" is the fact that I can use the radiator to exhaust 130+ watts of heat OUTSIDE of my chassis. Our 980X processor at stock voltage and 3.3GHz is 130w TDP. I am not sure exactly where it is at 4GHz with a bit of extra wattage, but I know I don't want that dumped in my case for the Galaxy GeForce GTX 480 cards to suck up. This why we have set up or system in the manner we have here today. Again, a proper review is on the way that will follow the Corsair instructions.

A word on fan noise. With the Corsair fans at Hi speed, these have a specific sound profile. They don't whine exactly, but these fans are a bit high pitched and noticeable. At the Low setting, they are not audible over other system components.

I like the H70 and the H50 units. I think the H70s are going to be able to handle some bigger heat loads than the H5, but with our current setup I don't think we are pushing the units very hard. The H50 does a great job in our box and does it with almost no sound profile at all. If we want to up the ante and bring out 980X GHz up few more notches, we are surely going to need a system to handle a bigger heat load. That all said, I am not going to push our system beyond 4GHz. The H70 has found a home though. I don't see it coming out any time soon.


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