Corsair H60 AIO Review
If you're in the market for an AIO water cooler and have been shopping around you'll be aware there are quite a few to choose from, in fact, we suspect it won't be too long before the selection becomes as saturated and bewildering as that of the air cooler market. Of course like the Air cooler market there will be a great many run-of-the-mill units, those that are nothing special and are perhaps best avoided. But then there will also be those that stand apart from the crowd, those that stick their heads up just that little bit higher, in short, "The Guduns". Our job then is to help you, the consumer sort the wheat from the chaff, to help you spend your well earned dosh in the best possible place. Is the H60 one of those places?
Focussing first on build quality and aesthetics neither disappoint, far from it in fact, the high gloss black capping to the pump/cold plate assembly can't help but draw the lecherous eye towards it. OK so it doesn't have the bling of the H80i or H100i with the light up Corsair logo, but as the image at the top of this page shows, it is, none the less, elegant in it's simplicity. To continue the lecherous eye theme, if the H80i is the supermodel with all the jewels and glitz, the H60 is the pretty girl next door in the simple little black dress.
The quality of the work and the assembly is as high as we now come to expect from Corsair. There are no faults, marks or blemishes to be found anywhere on the cold plate, tubing, radiator or fan. The box and packaging, although simple and "Eco" in their nature appear to have done a good job of protecting their ward.
You'd think fitting an AIO water cooler into a PC would be a complex affair, and indeed in some cases it can be However, the job of fitting the H60 is one of the simplest we've ever come across. Having fitted Bob knows how many coolers over the years it's a joy to find a unit that is as simple as this, and that's for both Intel and AMD CPUs. Yes guys, a simple AMD fitting!!!! The Radiator and fan attach to the rear of the case by means of 4 bolts and washers with the cold plate simply bolting down to the motherboard via 4 double ended bolts inserted into the motherboard (for 2011) or through to a back plate (for everything else) and a cover plate dependant upon your CPU. The cover plate is held in place during fitting by small magnets housed in the corners of the cold plate/pump assembly. A genius little idea which ensures everything stays where it's meant to during the fitting process. As the cold plate assembly doesn't even begin to come close to the sort of dimensions you're going to encounter with a traditional tower cooler, you're not going to have to worry about RAM encroachment so you can feel free to pair it up with RAM of gargantuan proportions.
The fan that comes with the H60 is based on the popular SP120 series but without the interchangeable rings. When run at the full 12volts that we undertake all our testing on it has to be said at 2000RPM and 30dB(A) it's not exactly quiet. That said it's nothing unusual for the fans on single rad AIO water-cooling units to be nosier than their air cooling counterparts. Attaching the fan to a PWM header should see things kept nice and tranquil while you're bimbling about on the web, with the speed and the noise ramping up as you place greater demands on the system. Although we favor the fixed speed approach with a fan speed reducer just because we prefer to keep things quiet over letting the motherboard decide when it needs the fan running at max speed!
From a performance perspective the H60 deports itself well. sailing through the stock and 4.0GHz tests as you would expect. With the volts teased up to 1.35v for the 4.4GHz test the H60 is still able to keep the max well under the critical fail point of 80 degrees with an average max temp of just 70.5 degrees, bettering all but the NH-D14 air cooler and coming within striking distance of the H90. We were perhaps a little hopeful that it might make it through the extreme 4.6GHz test but our hopes were dashed when OCCT registered a fail 13 minutes into the run. The beady eyed amongst you might have noticed from the images back on page 2 that the H60 comes with pre applied TIM. Those of you that are beady eyed and are also paying attention might then be wondering whether we tested with this or our usual NT-H1 TIM. Rest assured that as with all our heat sink testing, the figs you see in the graphs were obtained with the NT-H1. Knowing that you're an inquisitive lot, and just in case you were to ask whether it makes much of a difference we did also test with the pre applied TIM and found the readings to be on average 2 degrees higher across the board.
So what of the competition? Well aside from the outgoing last generation H60 model which can still be had for £40, at just £60 the H60 represents one of the cheapest ways into AIO water cooling. There are a few other units out there in the same bracket however and choice is never a bad thing. Corsair's own H90, sporting a single 140mm fan can be had for £70, but as it's performance is only just a little better than the H60 and as not all cases can take a 140mm fan in the rear exhaust position can make things a little complicated. Also in the mix at this price bracket are more air coolers than it's comfortable to imagine. Some of them good, and most of them massive, that size will bring temps that will beat the H60 easily but will also fill your case and limit your ram choices. Now we're not saying buy this and not a traditional air cooler, that's not our place. What we are saying though is that if you have got £60 to spend on cooling, you're up for a bit of overclocking fun, you fancy a bit of a dip into water cooling and you like your case to look open clean and sexy, then you owe it to yourself to have a bit of a gander at the Corsair H60.