Corsair Hydro Series H60 Liquid CPU Cooler Review

Corsair's H60 liquid CPU cooler comes to us with different technology than we saw with its H50 and H70 as Corsair has switched up supply sources. Corsair is touting a micro-channel cold plates and a split-flow designed manifolds. But, will it blend?

Introduction

Corsair has been busy as of late designing and then improving its Hydro Series of CPU coolers. For those who haven’t heard, Corsair has made it a point to bring easy water cooling to the masses with the H50, H60, and H70 CPU coolers. We already covered in detail the H70 and the performance of the H50 which leaves us with the newest one of the lot, the Corsair Hydro Seriesآ™ H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler. The H60 is similar to the H50 but with "improved water channel design" and lower profile CPU block.

The previous Corsair Hydro Series coolers were built in conjunction with Asetek, but now Corsair has moved to CoolIT Systems for this new cooler. Worth mentioning is that Antec has now partnered with Asetek to build its new liquid CPU coolers. The first we saw was the 620 reviewed here.

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System Setup

The test bed consists of the GIGABYTE X58-Extreme motherboard, six gigabytes of Corsair DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7 920. We then stuff the system inside the NZXT Tempest EVO case for good measure.

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Test Methods

CPU

In keeping with the spirit of the [H] we are once again doing hardware testing of all heat sinks. This means milling a very small path into an expensive CPU to place our thermocouple into. This is by far the best way to test coolers and the only way here at the HardOCP.

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Temperatures for the CPU will continue to be measured using our Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer.

GPU

For this article the GPU will be kept at stock speed to keep any excess heat away from the CPU that could impact the results. In 2D mode the 9500 GT generates very little heat and to further isolate it from the rest of the system we will install it in the secondary PCIE slot.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the paste of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do their job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones. Our channel milled CPU also requires a compound that is more viscous so the mating compound will not seep into the channel and run off.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Since we are dealing with water cooling we will allow extra time for each test to give the water in the loop enough time to reach equilibrium.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-five minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-five minute period of 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using Prime95 v25.3 set to blend mode. In this way we can heat up the CPU as well as the memory controller which is now integrated into the die. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.