Corsair – the company who has brought us seemingly endless options of AIO liquid cooler models for the masses, has recently introduced their first large air cooling option, the A500. The dual-fan, monolithic heatpipe cooler is also devoid of another Corsair staple: RGB/aRGB lighting, meaning the new Corsair A500 is either a welcome change or a deal breaker, depending on which camp you defend.
|Height||6.625" / 162.3mm|
|Width||5.75" / 146.1mm|
|Depth||4.125" / 104.8mm (6.88" / 174.8mm w/fans)|
|Base Height||1.625" / 41.3mm|
|Assy. Offset||0.0" (centered)|
|Cooling Fans||(2) 120 x 25mm|
|Connectors||(2) 4-pin PWM|
|Weight||52.8 oz / 1497g|
|Intel Sockets||115x, 1366, 2011x, 2066|
|AMD Sockets||AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1|
Corsair ships the A500 with a quality set of mounting hardware, including nicely plated mounting studs and securing nuts as well as a very robust, laser-cut steel backplate. Cable ties are a welcome addition, as is the 2-way PWM splitter and Phillips screwdriver included in the box.
And while the A500 does ship with pre-applied thermal paste, an additional syringe of XTM50 thermal compound is provided for future re-installs of the cooler. Corsair covers the A500 with a 5-year warranty.
The most interesting feature of the A500 is its pair of non-RGB ML120 fans nested within a set of molded frames which ride on friction rails on either side of the cooler tower. Fans are pre-installed out of the box in a standard push+pull configuration, eliminating any confusion around fan and airflow direction.
The A500 features a quartet of plated heatpipes to dissipate thermal load from the base of the cooler throughout the thermal tower. The mounting plate comes permanently affixed to the base and utilizes a pair of tension-screws to secure to the cooler’s included cross-bar frames.
Access to the tension screws is gained by removing the attractive, brushed-aluminum top plate bearing the Corsair logo by popping it free of cooler tower. The center of the tower fin stack has a central cutaway to allow the Phillips screwdriver direct access through this channel to the tension screws of the base.
Corsair ships the A500 with a pre-applied patch of thermal compound in grid layout. The four direct-contact heatpipes of the cooler are integrated into the plated mounting base. The central cutaway is also visible here, showing how the tension screws are accessed via this channel.
We clean every cooler base of pre-installed thermal compound using alcohol wipes and cloth and later use Arctic MX-4 for all of our tests. During this process, we noticed a small irregularity of the direct-contact heatpipes along the base of the A500. One of the heatpipes (second from the left) is slightly raised when compared with the others in our sample, which is easily seen with a steel straightedge and some backlighting.
The thermal compound contact patch shows the representation of this impact when the cooler is installed, leaving one of the direct contact heatpipes elevated just slightly to isolate it from CPU IHS contact. This also means that this single heatpipe can only ‘work’ by absorbing heat from remainder of the cooler base and the adjacent (raised) heatpipe, instead of directly removing it from the processor.
Making use of the removable top plate, installing the A500 is quite a simple task and one which does not require the cooler’s fans to be removed, which is typically a requirement with other large air coolers. Larger memory DIMMs can be accounted for with a bit of vertical adjustment of the fans, although this may only be required with the tallest of memory sticks.