Corsair H80 CPU Cooler
We have been a fan of Corsair's liquid coolers for some time now, both the CoolIT and Asetek based models and the H80 continues the trend of high quality components from the Hydro series. In terms of build quality the cooler scores well, offering a well put together radiator, copper plate, rugged tubing and a solid feeling CPU block. We also liked the use of strong items for the installation on our board.
Design wise there is a lot to like, such as the ability to plug our fans directly into the main block and then control the cooler via the upcoming Corsair Link product. The installation was also easier on this cooler than the competing product, other than a slightly fiddly backplate and the inclusion of a button to change fan profiles manually is appreciated.
We did however note that the manual could do with an update as it doesn't clearly identify which screws should be used on the Intel install and completely neglects to say the Molex plug is a requirement. Of course we are also waiting on Corsair to release the Link tool to see how that works.
In terms of current performance the H80 scores well, outperforming a high quality air cooler in every test and also beating the Antec 920 by a degree or two throughout. On the whole it also tends to run a touch quieter at idle and full load.
Value wise, again good for Corsair as the unit matches the Antec model in the US and sells for a little cheaper in the UK. It also includes a 5-year warranty.
Antec Kühler 920
The Asetek based design is clearly evident in the Kühler 920 and as a result of the involvement of two experienced manufacturers we have a product which feels well built. The CPU block for example, with its copper plate, feels very solid as does the radiator. Our favourite aspect was the tubes though which feel strong but are extremely flexible which makes installations easy. The only minor blip as far as component quality goes was the plastic clips which insert into the retention ring, they don't all match exactly and some felt looser than others.
The compact design of the CPU block is great and the excellent design continues with the decision to include USB functionality. Through the bundled software we can monitor our system and control the cooler, balancing the performance to our needs. We would however like some more exact control over the fans, maybe a slider from 0-100% to enable fine tuning past what is already offered.
For performance the Kühler 920 is a very quiet product, left to run at auto it is near silent at all times though it does generate a lot of noise (and airflow) at maximum RPM. Temperatures were good, a clear improvement over high end air cooling and remained competitive with the Corsair model.
On the value front, the software offering from Asetek/Antec clearly adds to this aspect though the 3-year warranty is less than Corsair offer.
Corsair offer the easiest install of the two coolers in this test and just edge it on performance. Antec's tubing is great though and their software suite works well, offering a unique selling point that will appeal to consumers. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=w...