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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Today we are going to benchmark the Corsair A70, a CPU air cooler with a tower heatsink, four 8-mm heatpipes, and two 120 mm fans. Let’s check it out!

The A70 box is big, in cardpaper, as you can see in Figure 1. The box resembles the one used by its little brother, the Corsair A50.

Corsair A70Figure 1: Box

In Figure 2, you can see the A70 and the accessories that come with it: fans, manuals, installation hardware, power adapters, and a tube of thermal compound.

Corsair A70Figure 2: Accessories

In Figure 3, you can see the heatsink of the A70.

Corsair A70Figure 3: The Corsair A70 heatsink

In the next pages, you will see this cooler in detail.

[nextpage title=”The Corsair A70″]

In Figure 4, you see the front of the heatsink. The design is very conservative, simple, and very efficient, as we can tell by the coolers using this design we tested so far.

Corsair A70Figure 4: Front view

In Figure 5, you see the side of the heatsink, as well as the four copper heatpipes.

Corsair A70Figure 5: Side view

In Figure 6, you can check the top of the cooler, which has a black fin with the manufacturer logo.

Corsair A70Figure 6: Top view

[nextpage title=”The Corsair A70 (Cont’d)”]

In Figure 7, you can see the base of the cooler. The heatpipes make direct contact with the CPU, but the surface doesn’t have a mirror-like finishing.

Corsair A70Figure 7: Base

In Figure 9, you can see the twin fans. They come premounted on plastic frames, making their installation a breeze. Note that they have three-pin connectors, so they don’t support PWM automatic speed control.

Corsair A70Figure 8: Fans

In Figure 9, you can see the AMD clip, two spare rubber holders for the fans, a small tube of thermal compound, a Y adapter (which allows you to connect both fans to a single motherboard header) and two adapters to reduce the speedof the fans.

Corsair A70Figure 9: Accessories

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

Installing the Corsair A70 is as easy as it can be (considering, of couse, that your case has a hole in the motherboard tray, allowing you to access the solder side of the motherboard, otherwise you must remove the motherboard from the case). Before installing the cooler, you need to attach an H-shaped clip to its base. In Figure 10, you can check this clip in place and the backplate used with Intel CPUs.

Corsair A70Figure 10: Clip attached to the base

After installing the clips, put the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, put the cooler in place and fasten the four thumbnuts.

Corsair A70Figure 11: The heatsink installed

After that, just attach the fans to the heatsink and connect them to the motherboard.

Corsair A70Figure 12: The Corsair A70 installed in our case

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all threads, we ran Prime 95 25.11 (in this version, the software uses all available threads) with the "In-place Large FFTs" option.

We compared the tested cooler to the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and we retested some "old" coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings. During the tests, the left panel of the case was open.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn’t interfere with the results. This measurement
is only for comparison purposes because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at idle and at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.


Idle Processor

Processor at Full Load

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp.
Intel stock (socket LGA1156) 14 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 46 °C 54 dBA 2500 rpm 90 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G1 14 °C 47 dBA 2050 rpm 33 °C 56 dBA 2900 rpm 62 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 14 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 27 °C 53 dBA 1950 rpm 51 °C
Thermaltake Silent 1156 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 49 dBA 1750 rpm 69 °C
Noctua NH-D14 14 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 27 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 53 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Performa 14 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 28 °C 52 dBA 1950 rpm 54 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems 14 °C 40 dBA 750 rpm 27 °C 60 dBA 2550 rpm 50 °C
Thermaltake Frio 14 °C 46 dBA 1450 rpm 27 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 50 °C
Prolimatech Samuel 17 14 °C 40 dBA 750 rpm 40 °C 60 dBA 2550 rpm 63 °C
Zalman CNPS8000A 18 °C 43 dBA 1400 rpm 39 °C 54 dBA 2500 rpm 70 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse II 14 °C 55 dBA 2200 rpm 28 °C 55 dBA 2200 rpm 53 °C
Scythe Ninja3 17 °C 39 dBA 700 rpm 32 °C 55 dBA 1800 rpm 57 °C
Corsair A50 18 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 33 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 60 °C
Thermaltake Jing 18 °C 44 dBA 850/1150 rpm 34 °C 49 dBA 1300 rpm 60 °C
GlacialTech Alaska 18 °C 43 dBA 1150 rpm 36 °C 51 dBA 1600 rpm 60 °C
Deepcool Gamer Storm 18 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 35 °C 48 dBA 1600 rpm 62 °C
Corsair A70 26 °C 56 dBA 1900/2100 rpm 40 °C 56 dBA 1900/2100 rpm 65 °C

In the graph below, at full load you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Corsair A70

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main features of the Corsair A70 CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Socket LGA775, 1156, 1366, AM3, AM2+, and AM2 processors
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Aluminum, with heatpipes keeping direct contact to the CPU
  • Heat-pipes: Four 8-mm copper heat-pipes
  • Fan: Two, 120 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 2,000 rpm
  • Fan air flow: 61 cfm
  • Maximum power consumption: Not informed
  • Nominal noise level: 31.5 dBA
  • Weight: Not informed
  • More information: https://www.corsair.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 44.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review. [nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The main differences between the Corsair A70 and the A50 is the number of available heatpipes (while the A50 has three, the A70 has four 8-mm heatpipes) and the presence of a second fan on the A70. The good news is that the A70 has better performance, getting very close to the best coolers we’ve tested to date.

The installation is simple and reliable, like it happens with the A50.

The problem with the A70 is the same we found with the A50: the fans don’t have PWM automatic speed control, so they are always spinning at full speed (which means they are always making full noise). You can install the adapters that come with the cooler to reduce they speed, but then you will lose some performance. And, of course, there is no easy or practical way to install these adapters when you need silence and then remove them when you need performance, as this involves turning off the computer and opening it. But if you connect the fans to a fan controller, this problem can be easily solved.

If you want a good cooler, simple, effective and with a good cost/benefit ratio and high performance, you will be satisfied with the Corsair A70.