Introduction and First Impressions

Corsair HydroCool 200 Review

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Corsair is a well-known manufacturer of high performance memory modules. They have recently entered the growing market of PC water-cooling systems with their own HydroCool 200 External Liquid Cooling System. So what does a memory maker know about liquid cooling? Well enough to enlist the help from a recognized world leader in automotive thermal management – Delphi Thermal Systems. These guys have been designing and building automotive water-cooling systems (along with a lot of other things) for many years.

More and more people are discovering that water-cooling offers several advantages over the more common and traditional air-cooled systems. Water is much better at transporting heat than is air and incorporating a radiator into the system allows for much larger surface areas than are possible with most air-cooled heatsink fans (HSF). The two primary advantages of water-cooled PCs are more efficient cooling with less noise. Of course there are also a few disadvantages like increased complexity and cost along with more regular maintenance.

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The HydroCool 200 liquid cooling system comes complete with everything you will need to water cool your AMD Athlon or Intel P4 based PC. The system consists of the three main components shown above.

  • HydroCool 200 external cooling unit
  • HydroCool 200 waterblock
  • Interface card (PCI slot)
In addition to these key components, all the necessary cables, tubing, fittings, coolant additive and a printed User Manual are included with the kit.

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The Corsair HydroCool 200 system addresses two problems commonly faced by many PC water-cooling enthusiasts. First, all of the components have been sized and selected to work together efficiently. And second, by mounting the pump, reservoir, radiator and fan in an external enclosure the problem of trying to fit these pieces inside the computer case is eliminated.

First Impressions

Many people with previous PC water-cooling experience may immediately begin questioning why the Delphi engineers did some of the things the way they did. Many of us (myself included) have become biased over the years and have certain preconceived notions of what is acceptable practice and what is not. I admit my first impressions of the HydroCool 200 system immediately through up some red flags in my mind. I kept finding myself asking the same question over and over; “why did they do that?” Things like…

  • 1/4” ID tubing
  • Quick-disconnect fittings (with integral check valves)
  • Rotary Flow-indicator
  • 90º Elbow fittings
  • Incorporating an aluminum radiator and reservoir with a copper water block
  • And that tiny water-block…
What were you guys thinking?!?

Well that’s what the rest of this review is about. We are going to take an in-depth look at the Corsair HydroCool 200 and try to figure out why this system performs as well as it does.

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