Corsair tries direct-contact heat pipes on for size
There was a time when your RAM (and maybe a thumb drive) was the only part of your rig likely to bear the Corsair mark. That time is long gone, and Corsair’s triple-mast logo can now be found on power supplies, cases, speaker sets, SSDs, and water-cooling loops—and now, perhaps inevitably, on CPU air-coolers. Corsair’s A50 and A70 air coolers adopt many of the most successful cooler conventions on the market—but how well do they cool?
Nearly all of the best air-coolers on the market today are skyscraper designs, in which four or more heat pipes rise from the heat exchanger into a stack of horizontal aluminum cooling fins. Corsair has evidently been taking notes on what works, because the A70 features direct-contact heat pipes like the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ and Thermaltake Contac, and dual fans like nearly every high-end cooler these days.
The Corsair A70’s two fans are a bit noisy, but they get the job done.
With both fans attached via their plastic mounting clips, the Corsair A70 is 6.25 inches tall, just over 5 inches deep, and 4.85 inches wide, and weighs in at a hair over 2 pounds. That’s nearly 10 ounces lighter than Thermaltake’s Frio, which otherwise has almost identical dimensions. The universal Intel mounting bracket consists of fewer parts than many similar coolers—just a backplate with attached mounting pins, four thumbscrews, and a plate that sits atop the heat exchanger and presses it against the CPU when tightened. The two fans have to be removed to mount the cooler, but their plastic clips are both sturdier and easy to attach and remove than the wire hooks on other coolers.
Despite having one fewer heat pipe than the Thermaltake Frio, the Corsair A70 performed nearly identically to that cooler—beating the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ by around 4 C at full burn but lagging about 4 C behind the Prolimatech Armageddon with two 14cm fans. Attaching the two included resistor cables (which lower the fan speed from 2,000rpm to 1,600rpm), lowered fan sound but raised burn temperatures by one degree Celsius to a still-respectable 63.5 C.
The Corsair A70’s MSRP of $60 matches that of the Thermaltake Frio, but on the street the A70 goes for around $46, while the Frio is still $58. Given the steep street discount, and slightly quieter performance, it’s hard not to give the Corsair A70 the edge here.
Corsair Cooling Air Series A70 CPU Cooler
Good performance for the money; easy-off fan clips; two fans; low street price.
Noisy without resistor cables; high MSRP.
Corsair A70 (2 Fans)
Prolimatech Armageddon (2 fans)
Cooler Master Hyper 212+
100% Burn (C)
Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour running Intel’s internal Lynnfield thermal testing utility at 100 percent load. Test system consists of Intel Core i5-750 overclocked to 3.2GHz on an Asus P7P55D Premium board in a Corsair 800D case with stock fans. Temperatures taken with HWMonitor.