Corsair A50 Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, August 9th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Corsair_A50/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Corsair is a leading manufacturer of memory worldwide, with products ranging from the consumer market all the way to those designed for the high-end enthusiast. Over the last few years Corsair has started branching out into other segments of the PC market including power supplies, cases and even CPU coolers.

When it comes to their cooling products the H or Hydro series is the most successful to-date. This line of CPU coolers offers exceptional cooling capabilities paired with an innovative all-in-one water cooling solution. However, these coolers tend to be more expensive than standard air coolers. Corsair does have a more budget friendly cooling line though with the A (Air) series. This line of coolers consists of the A50 and A70. Each come with a similar style, but the A50 is the more entry level of the two.

The A50 that we are going to be looking at in this review uses a tower style design with three tick copper heatpipes connected to an aluminum finned array. It does come with a relatively smaller cooling area than the A70 and only one fan, so the A50 is more a replacement for a stock cooler than an all out overclocking machine. Still, the cooler uses a tried and true design to offer the best cooling possible for those on a budget.

 

Specifications:

Model
CAFCA50
Heatsink Dimensions
159.5mm x 124.6mm x 81.2mm  
Fan Dimensions
120mm x 25mm
Fan speed
Selectable 1,600 or 2,000 RPM
Air flow
50 - 61 CFM
Static pressure
1.8 - 2.3 mm H20
Noise level
26 - 31.5 dBA

The Corsair A50 comes packaged in a cardboard cube, with a large closeup of the finned array on the front. Under the picture of the array you will find the cooler's series, model number and a listing of the supported sockets.

The back panel of the packaging consists of a small explanation of the A50's benefits, but it is written in multiple languages so it spans across the whole panel. Also at the top there is a graphic showing the performance difference between the A50 and Stock Intel cooler when used with a Intel i7 965 processor.

The Corsair A50 is actually a relatively thin heatsink measuring just 159.5 x 124.6 x 81.2 mm.This makes the cooler quite a bit smaller than the behemoth coolers found in the enthusiast market, but it still has an efficient design with three copper U shape heatpipes traveling through an aluminum finned array.

The Corsair A50 uses three 8mm copper heatpipes that make direct contact with the processor. Using this method the A50 does not rely on a thick base to transfer the heat to the pipes, and instead absorbs it straight into the heatpipe where it more quickly travels up to the finned array.

The fan that comes with the heatsink is a 120mm Corsair fan that spins at 2000rpm and uses a 3-pin power connector. With the fan spinning at max it pushes 61.2 CFM with a dBA rating of 31.5. For those sensitive to noise, the A50 comes with an adapter that can lower the fan speed to 1600rpm, which will reduce the noise level. However, it will also decrease the airflow and cooling performance.

Placing the fan on the A50 was easy and took just a few seconds to do. This is thanks to the fan shroud, which secures the fan to the heatsink without the use of metal clips. Additionally the fan is mounted with anti-vibration rubber grommets, which will reduce vibration and sound levels.

The Corsair A50 is compatible with all current AMD and Intel socket types. This includes AMD's AM2, AM2 and AM3 sockets. For Intel the cooler will fit LGA 775, 1156 and 1366. One thing that is nice about this cooler is that even with multiple socket support it does not require a different bracket be used for each one.

Installation the A50 was very easy and consisted of only a few steps. First you place the long screws attached to the back plate though the motherboard's heatsink installation holes.

Next up you attach the metal bracket to the heatsink and secure it in place with the thumbscrews. After that you are done and ready to attach the fan.

With the fan in place the A50 does not take up an excessive amount of room and even left all six memory slots accessible. The image is a a slight angle so it appears to take up more space in the memory area than was actually the case.

To gauge the cooling performance of the Corsair A50, I will be using an Intel i7 965 at both stock and overclocked levels. For the idle temperatures all programs will be shut down, except the OS and the results will be recorded after 20 minutes, and for load temps I will be using Prime95. The program will run for 15 minutes before temperatures are gathered with RealTemp. To ensure proper performance between all models each cooler was tested within on a few hours of each other.

Testing Setup

In terms of performance the Corsair A50 was right were it should be. That is to say it did not match the performance of the high-end coolers, but it was a huge improvement over stock.

For a mainstream cooler the Corsair A50 did an exceptional job, and while it couldn’t quite match the cooling performance of the higher-end heatinks it does have a better price to performance ratio than that of the more expensive offerings. This is what it’s all about in the mainstream market, as users are looking for the best product to use with their gear that won’t break the bank. So, in that regards the A50 is ideal.

Also, the A50 heatsink comes with a very easy to use installation kit, which allowed the installation to be hassle free and ready in just a few short minutes. Installation can be a major problem for many otherwise great coolers, so the fact that the A50 does not have such an issue really improves the overall value of this product.

Really, there was little to dislike about the A50, as it offers great performance for its price range. Still, it would have been nice to see a PWM fan with the cooler. This would have allowed the fan to adjust its rotation automatically, reducing the noise level when maximum cooling was not need. Corsair did include an adapter that can lower the fan's RPM, but it would have been nice if the feature was built-in and not an add-on. But this is really just nit picking as many coolers under $50 do not even include a fan.

Online the Corsair A50 can be found for as low as $40 and as high as $50. Still, even at the highest online price this cooler is a good value, so the fact that it can be had for lower really makes it a great option for anyone not looking to spend too much, but wanting to get a lot in return.

»Neoseeker.com

Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc., 1999-2014.
All Rights Reserved.

Please do not redistribute or use this article in whole, or in part, for commercial purposes.