5.25 drive bay resevoir
The reservoir is designed to fit into any standard 5 1/4″ drive bay (Corsair recommends the highest bay available in your system). Constructed from high-density polyethylene for long term durability, and specially designed to operate efficiently with high-pressure high-flow pumps, this reservoir is built strictly for performance. While not super glamorous it features a stepped down discharge compartment which prevents air from being drawn into the pump, a typical problem in most reservoirs on the market which greatly reduces the systems heat dissipating performance.
The Corsair resevoir also features a dual inlet compartment allows the return of two devices installed in parallel (Chipset & VGA water-blocks, for example), thus reducing the overall pressure drop in the cooling circuit.
This is actually one of the nicest reservoirs I have ever dealt with. Extremely strong, extremely easy to work with, customizable, and fits perfectly into any 5.25 drive bay. I really like the step down feature which cuts down on air bubbles in the system. I don’t think most people out there realize the impact even a small amount of air trapped in your water cooling system can have on its performance.
Fan and Radiator assembly
Moving right along with the high quality components, Corsair didn’t skimp here by using just any 120mm fan. Call me a “fan boy”, but I have always been a huge Panaflo supporter as their product combines superior performance with dead quiet operation. The Panaflo FBA12G12L moves an impressive 68.9 CFM of air at minimal noise level of 30dBA.
Panaflo FBA12G12L 120mm fan Specifications:
The radiator seems to be a typical 120mm design. Corsair uses the Rad Box design made famous by Swiftech, with one exception. Corsair chose to not use the same connector system for the tubing, instead keeping all connections outside of the case, reducing the chance for accident. The Rad Box itself is a very nice unit. Utilizing a few screws and washers the user can connect the radiator and fan assembly to the rear of their case, over the chassis exhaust hole. Another very nice feature is the ability to mount the Rad Box to any exhaust port, be it 80mm or 120mm. This eliminates a fairly common issue with internal water cooling kits…..where do you place the radiator assembly after installation?
Tubing and accessories
Corsair included plenty of tubing in the kit, almost 10 feet of high quality 3/8 tubing. While not Targon, this tubing is plenty adequate for a system of any size. Again, I was disappointed that Corsair didn’t include the quick connects made famous by Swiftech.
I was very happy to see that Corsair included Swiftech’s “Coolsleeves”. This unique system wraps around the tubing in your system to keep it from crimping and degrading system performance. With smaller cases and less working room, crimped tubing is a serious issue, not only does it negate a lot of the performance benefits of water, it also puts extra stress on the water cooling components by increasing pressure. Corsair included 4 ft of the cool sleeves, more than enough for any system using the corsair Cool.
Corsair also included a small bottle of a proprietary coolant additive, which looks, smells, and feels a lot like a typical glycol anti-freeze mix. Though I was unable to get any specifics on this mix, there doesn’t seem to be any top secret ingredient here……just don’t drink it, splash it in your eyes, or cook Ramen with it.
One issue I did have with this kit was the instruction CD and manual. First, the manual included with the kit does absolutely nothing to help with the installation of the water cooling kit. Second, as nice as the installation CD is, how much sense does it make to put the instructions on a CD? I mean, unless you have a photographic memory or a second computer, how are you supposed use the CD? Luckily I do in fact have a second system, and the CD is very well done, has great pictures, and is extremely easy to follow. Note to Corsair, skip the CD and quick start manual and simply print a thorough installation manual.
After complaining about this issue to Corsair, I got the response posted below. I totally understand their conundrum here….kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t….but that?s what you get when your products are so popular.
“We translated the QuickStart guide into 5 languages and include a printed copy of it. But the whole manual is too long to translate. If we ship the printed english manual with every unit our european customers will gripe about it not being in French and German (half our sales are in non english speaking countries). and it’s a lot harder to keep a printed book up to date than it is a pdf book.”