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Review: Corsair Hydrocool 200 Watercooling

by Tarinder Sandhu on 6 August 2003, 00:00 4.0

Tags: Corsair

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External thoughts

We'll have a look at the external and internal elements of the Hydrocool 200 and then strap it on to a wattage-eating 3.2GHz P4 to see if it lives up to its claims of super cooling performance via an affordable design.

Isn't it pretty. The Corsair Hydrocool, as you can no doubt see, is a self-contained unit housing a reservoir, pump, radiator and fan. There's no messing about connecting the various parts together, or worrying if it will all work in unison. Corsair take the hard work out it with this stylish box. The handle is a decent addition to the package, and portability is certainly one aspect in which the Hydrocool excels in. The black acrylic cover is a tasty translucent. The innards are semi-revealed when the unit powers up.

Corsair, admittedly, wouldn't be the first name to cross our lips when talking about self-contained watercooling kits. The sticker on the top gives us an insight into how Corsair have managed it from scratch. Delphi isn't a name synonymous with PC hardware. Indeed, their core activities centre around automotive products. However, this massive automotive group, employing almost 200,000 people, has extensive experience with respect to various forms of cooling. It seems as if their know-how and Corsair's flair for marketing and design is a match full of synergy.

The Hydrocool is presented in a shiny, rugged case, much the same size as the popular Shuttle SFF units. The front is plain and informative. An LED display, once activated, shows one of a number of system characteristics. It's connected to the PC via a serial link, the other side of which connects to a controller card. More on this later. The red Turbo button cranks up the heat exchanging ability of the Hydrocool 200 by raising the internal fan's speed.

This side houses the radiator and a beefy 120mm fan directly behind it. The idea is simple. The water is cooled as it passes through the system en route to the CPU block. The cooler the water when it hits the CPU block, the better the potential for heat transfer from the CPU, obviously.

The other side has a similar blowhole for intake purposes. A filter would have been useful here. Access to the reservoir is via the large, coin-shaped screw-in plug / lid, on the left as we look at it. We'll discuss this on the following page.

The back contains the conduit between the Hydrocool and controller card. It's a standard serial port. The two hose fittings are self sealing, meaning that once the system is full of water and the hoses are removed, minimal water loss will be incurred. Put another way, you don't necessarily have to bleed the system each time you disengage the hoses. The hoses are self-sealing, too, so you could move the Hydrocool to another system without having to go through the bleeding and setting-up rigmarole. Attaching the hoses to the clamps is extremely straightforward. Simply push the locking mechanism to the left and insert the hoses' connectors. It all locks in automatically.