first dove into water cooling in 2003 with the introduction of their Hydrocool unit ([M] review)
. It was a self-contained unit and seemed to have all the proper ingredients for a successful design, yet just two years later it's been phased out of Corsair's product line-up. Although it was fairly popular, perhaps Corsair engineers simply didn't like the idea of a stand-alone unit, which of recent, has been contraindicated in today's "smaller, better, faster...
" ergonomic world. Today PC-users want sleek integrated designs with a minimum of fuss and maximum performance. This is not an easy order to fill. Corsair, not easily deterred by such technological challenges, may have found just the alternative. Based on my reading almost every Hydrocool review published and the data we'll be presenting today, I believe COOL may be a superior product. In the Box – First Impressions
COOL arrived in perfect condition as do most Corsair products. I found the box to be hefty but was pleasantly surprised to find Corsair neatly packed everything into a single box.
After removing the box I placed the unit in front of the intended "target." The venerable yet crazy-making DFI LAN party nF4 Ultra motherboard was installed in Thermaltake's SHARK
aluminum full-tower case. This case is specifically made to house water-cooling systems. Clear water on the Corsair box reminded me of my childhood when we got our first above-ground pool.
Opening the COOL box reveals two layers of foam with pre-formed compartments, each compartment securely holding a specific component. Placed side by side in the photo below, you can see all the included parts in their individual foam compartments. The packaging should withstand just about any shipping "incident" thrown at it. From the art-work on the box, to the installation manual and included CD, it becomes evident Corsair put their collective hearts into this project.
In the photo below we take a closer look at the included mounting hardware and other accoutrements which we'll cover later.
Next we move onto the "primary heat exchanger
" a.k.a. water-block. COOL features nicely finished mounting brackets suitable for Pentium 4 Socket 775/Athlon XP or Socket 478/Athlon 64. For our purposes we'll be using the Socket-939 compatible hardware. The other accessories in the photo below are sitting in the radiator/fan cage assembly which will be discussed later.
In the photo below we see a close-up of the CPU-cooler with its pre-affixed (clamped) hose sections.
On the next page, we'll delve into a description of each piece of included hardware ->