Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing
Testbed and Methods
All tests of Corsair H70 system and its competitors were performed inside a closed system case with the following configuration:
- Mainboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58 Express), LGA 1366, BIOS 2101 with a 50 mm fan installed on top of the chipset heatsink;
- Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, 3.33 GHz, 1.225 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3 (Gulftown, B1);
- Thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-2;
- Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB GDDR5 128 bit (850/4800 MHz) with Deep Cool V4000 VGA cooler;
- Memory: DDR3 3 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (Spec: 1600MHz / 7-7-7-24 / 1.65 V);
- Sound card: Auzen X-Fi Home Theater HD;
- System drive: OCZ Agility EX SSD (SATA-II, 60 GB, SLC, Indillinx, firmware v1.31);
- HDD for games and programs: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300 GB storage capacity, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” silencer and cooler chassis;
- Backup HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS (SATA-II, 1000 GB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
- System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S1 fans at 900 RPM; back panel: two Thermalright X-Silent 120 fans at 900 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
- Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
- Power supply: Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000 W (with a default 140 mm fan).
We managed to overclock our six-core processor with the default (non-lapped) heat-spreader surface using 24x multiplier and enabled “Load-Line Calibration” to 4.39 GHz. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.43125 V in the mainboard BIOS:
We disabled Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies during our tests to ensure that the CPU gets warmed up better. The memory voltage was at 1.64 V and its frequency was around 1.46 GHz (7-7-7-14_1T timings). All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and connected with CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged.
All tests were performed under Windows 7 Ultimate x64 operating system. We used the following software during our test session:
- Linpack 64-bit with LinX shell version 0.6.4 – to create maximum CPU load (5 Linpack runs in each cycle with 4750 MB RAM capacity involved);
- CPU-Z 1.55 x64 – to monitor processor core voltage and frequency;
- Real Temp GT 3.59 Beta – to monitor the processor cores temperature;
- CPU-Tweaker 1.5 – to visually monitor temperatures and frequencies of the Intel CPU using graphics.
So, the complete screenshot during the test session looks as follows:
We increased the amount of system RAM a little more compared with the previous tests in order to load the CPU even heavier. Since we are testing liquid-cooling systems, we were also going to increase the number of Linpack runs from 5 to 10 or even 15, but our preliminary tests showed that with that much memory the CPU under Corsair H70 reaches its peak temperature on the 3rd run already (because there is very little coolant in the contour). So it didn’t make sense to increase the number of runs dramatically.
The CPU was loaded with two consecutive Linpack test runs with the settings as indicated above. The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was about 8-10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core for the results charts. Moreover, we will also provide a table with the temperature readings for all cores including their average values. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1 °C precision that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. The room temperature during our test session varied between 20.6-20.9 °C.
The noise level of each cooling system was measured between 1:00 and 3:00 AM in a closed room about 20 m2 big using CENTER-321 electronic noise meter. The noise level for each cooler was tested outside the system case when the only noise sources in the lab were the cooler and its fan. The noise meter was installed on a tripod and was always at a 150 mm distance from the cooler fan rotor. The tested cooling systems were placed at the edge of the desk on a sheet of polyurethane foam. The lowest noise reading our noise meter device can register is 29.8 dBA and the subjectively comfortable noise level in these testing conditions was around 36 dBA (do not mix it up with low noise level). The fan(s) rotation speed was adjusted in the entire supported range using our in-house controller by changing the voltage with 0.5 V increment.
Unfortunately, at the time of tests we no longer had Corsair H50 liquid-cooling system at our disposal, so we decided to compare the cooling efficiency and acoustic performance of the H70 system against those of the best air cooler out there, Thermalright Silver Arrow, equipped with two default Thermalright TY-140 140 mm fans:
Silver Arrow was tested in two different fan modes: in very quiet mode at 800 RPM and at maximum fan rotation speed of 1270 RPM. I would like to remind our readers that the recommended retail price of Thermaltake Silver Arrow cooler is $79.95, which is $10 less than the price of Corsair H70 system.
We tested Corsair H70 with its default fans in the entire rotation speed range from 800 to 2000 RPM with 200 RPM increments (±10~20 RPM), which we adjusted using our in-house controller. Besides that, we also tested this system with two Thermalright TR-FDB fans that boast high static pressure. In this case we didn’t test the Corsair system in the entire rotation speed range of the Thermalright fans, but checked out only three speed modes: 800, 1200 and 2000 RPM.