the 20th March 2003 we saw Corsair publicly announce
a new product called the Hydrocool200, an external
high efficiency water-cooling unit capable of dissipating
200W of heat.
This is a significant step into the cooling sector
for Corsair who has been leading the way in "Ultra
Performance" DDR RAM for some time, with their
well established XMS series of high end DDR RAM and
more recently with the TWINX variant which is specifically
matched for Dual Channel use. This is their first
step into cooling products and they've chosen to team
up with Delphi Thermal Systems.
HydroCool200 uses patented cooling technologies from
Delphi Thermal Systems, the world's largest manufacturer
of liquid-based cooling systems. Corsair, using Delphi's
unsurpassed expertise in thermal physics, has engineered
a feature-packed product that sets new standards in
water cooling integration and performance."
bold statement of what the unit is and what it claims
it will do. I don't think this will really be breaking
new ground in water cooling integration as the Koolance
EXOS is overall a similar external unit which really
shows the same level of integration. If it will perform
well is yet to be seen, but it's looking promising.
also clear that with this and several of the similar
units we're starting to see some of the bigger players
working on making water-cooling as easy as possible
to try to entice more and more people to try it. It
seems the growth of water-cooling is at a high right
now. It's no longer a back room geek trip for slightly
eccentric people with too much time and cash, and
kits like these are making it very quick and easy
to install for even less experienced dabblers. Not
to mention the growing levels of heat in a computer
case. Hard drives, graphics cards, faster CD ROM's,
larger amounts of ram, soundcards and also bigger
and more powerful power supplies all attribute to
heat levels, not just the CPU. But removing the heat
from the CPU makes the rest that much easier to cool,
and quietly too.
what do we get? First off we have the Hydrocool200
unit itself, obviously.
shipping box has the Hydrocool200 unit safely packaged,
with a second box containing all the extra's which
are all in bubble wrap, a very safe package which
Cool block with 2 lengths of 5ft tubing pre-attached
to each barb on the
Cool Block and pre-mounted temperature probe.
brackets for both AMD Socket A and Intel Socket
bottle of water additive + fill funnel, non toxic
and is enough for two fills of the system.
pin D-sub control cable
connect right angled self sealing connectors
pole power control cable with fly lead
start and full manual
in all everything you could need for you installation,
and enough coolant to provide for a second filling
should you ever need too.
can it do?
give a quick rundown of how the unit works first.
The CPU Cool block is attached to the CPU; the tubes
from this are passed through a provided PCI bracket
with control card which requires only an expansion
slot as it doesn't utilise an actual PCI slot. The
tubing is then attached to the quick fit, non leak
fittings that are plugged into the rear of the Hydrocool200
unit. You then fill the main unit's reservoir to just
below the top. You will also need to attach the wires
from the block to the PCI card for temperature measuring,
and the PCI card to the power header on the motherboard
to make sure the pump turns on with the computer.
next step is to turn the computer on which will start
the pumping of water around the system. This will
push all the air out of the tubing and Cool block
and eventually push the air out of the system so you
have only water flowing around the tubes. Within 20
seconds or so of the first turn on you will hear the
fill alarm of the unit, as a lot of the water is now
in the tubing, Cool block and radiator the level in
the reservoir drops dramatically, but is still safe.
You fill up the reservoir with the system on, and
alarm still running, then screw on the lid very tightly.
The alarm will stop once the minimum level needed
is reached. That's about it really, very easy, very
quick and just about anyone could do it.
what else can it do? (other than, pumps water, cools
CPU and looks cool). The features are all aimed at
keeping your CPU and computer safe.
alarms, one for water level, and two programmable
ones that you can set at levels you feel comfortable
with, those are for temp alarm and shutdown temp
thermal probe embedded into the Cool block, that
reads the temps of the block itself, Corsair advise
that CPU temperature will often be around 15C higher
than this Cool block temperature.
speed running fan, 66% at below 38.5C, 100% above
40C, if the temps rise above 40C the fan will automatically
kick in at 100% and won't go back to 66% until the
temps drop below 38.5C. Turbo light on the front
will light up if in turbo mode
Turbo mode, for those times when you either want
to feel extra safe, or need that extra temperature
drop when trying to drag out that final few MHz
from your core, just pressing the button on the
front will switch it between turbo and whisper mode.
for larger images
you can see, the block has a nice reflective, chrome
like look to it. Another very obvious thing is its
size, it's very small, so small that it doesn't even
require a stepped edge to fit over the high part of
an AMD socket. I've never seen a water block or heat
sink this small. The raised "void" area
of the block, where the water actually flows is only
40mmx40mm in size, in comparison the Dangerden Maze
3.1 I used to use is roughly 70mmx50mm at it's longest
and widest point's, but being an oval shape means
it does not have a 70mmx50mm base area. It is however
deeper, and I'd imagine has a much larger surface
area with a raised spiral pattern inside the main
chamber. The inner design of the Corsair Cool block
is unknown, though I'd imagine flow would be too limited
with anything much more than an open chamber design,
maybe with some kind of micro fin type area above
the center of the core. I had my doubts when I saw
it, but wasn't put off. You'll also note the base
is very flat with slight marks but nothing that can
be felt so nothing big at all. I'm surprised we're
not yet seeing the widespread use of water blocks
that also feature fins to increase their external
surface area. Just because they have water flowing
through them doesn't mean a little passive heat radiation
from the block itself can't be encouraged.
tubing is also very small compared to what we are
used to seeing. With most self build setups opting
for 4/8"(1/2") ID (internal diameter) and
close to 6/8"(3/4") OD (outer diameter)
tubing the 2/8" (1/4")ID and 3/8" OD
tubing used with the Corsair appears to be very small
too. This doesn't have to mean anything was compromised,
the tubing has to be this small to fit safely through
the PCI slots, but it is definitely a different design
to what people currently tend to regard as the best
way to set up water-cooling.
picture show's how the PCI card helps to make the
Hydrocool200 so easy to install. You pass the two
tubes from the Cool block out through the PCI bracket
holes. That's all it takes to hook it up.
You would normally have installed this PCI card in
the case already, like the pictures below show, but
I've done this outside the case so you can more easily
see the wires connected. You see the molex power plug
which you would attach to the internal PSU. The lead
on the right plugs into the motherboard power header
and the case power switch. The lead you see connected
to the PCI card attaches to the Cool block and sends
the temperature of the block to the front of the Hydrocool200
unit via the d-sub connector. This D-sub connector
also transfers the power needed for the pump and fan
to the Hydrocool200.
Closer Look Cont.