Corsair Air Series A50 CPU Cooler

Performance Test Platform

The hardware chosen was picked to reflect that of a relatively modern computer system that an enthusiast may own. The configuration of the system is as follows:

  • Intel Core i7 2700k
  • ASRock Z68 Extreme3 motherboard
  • Crucial 2x2GB DDR3-1600 memory kit
  • Asus Radeon 4870 512MB video card
  • OCZ Vertex 3 240GB solid state drive
  • Western Digital Black 640GB SATA hard drive
  • Liteon iHAS124B SATA DVD-writer

Testing Methodology

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal compound was used for all CPU cooler testing results.  In our last thermal compound roundup, we found it to be one of the best performing thermal compounds tested.  Application of the thermal compound was done as recommended by the installation guide provided by the cooler manufacturer.  If no method was recommended, then a pea sized amount was applied to the center of the CPU's heatspreader (with pressure from the installed cooler to spread it).

We employ an open test bed (not installed in a case).  This is to remove positive/negative factors that a case can apply to coolers depending on design.  Keep in mind that temperatures achieved in this article will be lower than what a user will achieve when the cooler is installed in a case.  The ambient environmental temperature is maintained at 24 degrees celcius (plus/minus 1 degree celcius).

CPU temperatures are recorded using OCCT.  Since the temperature of each core is recorded individually, the average of these measurements is used to represent the 'Average' measure in the results.  The highest temperature recorded during testing among the individual cores is used to represent the 'Maximum' measure in the results.  Stress testing measurements are conducted using OCCT's CPU Test with the Small Data Set.  This is left to run for 30 minutes.  Idle measurements are taken 30 minutes after the the stress test has been completed (same method as the 'Average' stress test results).

The following motherboard configuration was used:

  • Hyperthreading disabled
  • Speedstep disabled
  • Turbo disabled
  • C1E, C3 & C6 State Support disabled
  • CPU Thermal Throttling disabled
  • CPU Load Line Calibration set to maintain level voltage regardless of load
  • Stock mode: default voltage, CPU Ratio set to 35 = 3500MHz
  • Overclocked mode: 1.3v, CPU ratio set to 45 = 4500MHz

 

Temperature Testing Results

Compared to the stock Intel cooler supplied with the i7 2700k, Corsair's A50 performed well. While running at overclocked speeds and with increased voltage, the A50 was able to maintain temperatures lower than the Intel cooler was at stock processor speed.

Conclusion

Starting off, the Corsair A50 cooler was purchased for $25 (Canadian and US). This squarely puts in the in low-end of the price spectrum. Value wise, the A50 allowed a 1GHz overclock for $25. While we don't know how much a 4.5GHz i7 processor costs (as one doesn't exist), it would be a safe to assume it would be more than $25 over the cost of a 2700k.

Combining the performance value perspective and the quietness compared to Intel's boxed cooler, it's a no-brainer that buying Corsair's A50 CPU Cooler is more than worth it.

Comments

Why drop intel at last minute?

Why didn't the Intel cooler have a showing during the overclock section of the review? If their cooler was that bad then I think it would be helpful to display that information. Some newbs could be thinking they are going to try some overclocking with the stock cooler, since you didn't show them that its a bad idea they could end up with a brick system. Or the Intel cooler might actually work better with higher temps and performed better then expected but you didn't want to show that. I doubt it did but we shouldn't have to guess while reading a review. I just think if you are going to start the review showing Intel cooler you should finish the review with showing the same coolers. Over all good review. Thanks. Not a bad cooler for the lower end everyday pc.

The reason the stock Intel

The reason the stock Intel cooler wasn't included was because it didn't work (could not boot to Windows) at our overclocked settings.

Thanks for the info! That is

Thanks for the info! That is the kind of info Newbs need to see in a review. That it just plain wouldnt work. Keep up the good work.

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