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CORSAIR Hydro X Custom Watercooling Parts Up at Swiss Retailer + Visual Impressions

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When we first had a glance of the CORSAIR Hydro X custom watercooling loop parts in action, we suspected they might have a CES debut. CES has come and gone since, with no word of the company's entry into this field. Their direct competitors, including Phanteks and Thermaltake, have since added to their respective product portfolios comprising fans, water blocks, coolants and radiators. Perhaps CORSAIR wanted the launch to not be overshadowed by the other product launches at the recent trade show, and perhaps the listings of the Hydro X products on Digitech.ch is a sign of things to come sooner than later. Read past the break for a more in-depth discussion on the various parts listed, based on our experience with this industry as a whole.




CPU water blocks appear to be available in two designs, one with a polished acrylic top (XC7) and another with a sandblasted aluminium trim in addition (XC9). These seem to be designed in a similar manner to their new Hydro Platinum series of closed loop liquid coolers, to allow for a unifying look across their cooling ecosystem. The XC9 product page mentions the use of 70 microfins on the cooling engine, which is on par with most flagship blocks today, but has no mention of the fin height or thickness, which also contributes to the cooling efficiency of the water block. The cold plate is made of nickel-plated copper, as expected, and the flow chamber made of acrylic allows a visual look at the coolant passing through for both aesthetics and functionality (to notice any trapped air bubbles, and to confirm coolant flow as well). There are 16 addressable RGB LEDs, which will be controllable via iCUE, and the design allows for the lighting to be transmitted in a circle around the cooling engine itself. Presumably these LEDs will be powered and controlled via a header that connects to a CORSAIR Commander PRO or Lightning Node PRO, which would likely be optional accessories. There are two G1/4" threaded ports on top, and CPU socket compatibility appears to be LGA 1156 and AM4 for the XC7, and LGA 2011, LGA 2066, AMD sTR4 for the XC9.


At first glance, the two GPU water blocks seen above might appear identical. Both use an aluminium casing (no contact with coolant), an acrylic top, a CNC-milled nickel-plated copper cold plate, and two G1/4" threaded ports on an I/O terminal which looks very similar to the older CORSAIR Dominator Platinum memory sticks. A closer look reveals a different cooling engine and coolant flow path (linear, as opposed to split central-inlet flow), and this is how we know the first block is for a smaller PCB. Indeed, on the left is the Hydro X Series XG7 block for the NVIDIA RTX 2080 reference PCB (Founders Edition and other compatible aftermarket cards), and the one on the right is for the equivalent NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti. The product page for the RTX 2080 Ti Fe block says, and these details are otherwise identical for both, the cold plate uses more than 50 microfins and has integrated RGB lighting similar to the CPU blocks above. The block is full length and full cover, adopting a shroud + transparent center design that has gained popularity recently. Interestingly, both blocks seemingly come with pre-applied thermal paste, which I think is going to be a polarizing move among the end users.


There appears to be only one reservoir and pump option at this time, both appearing together as a combo unit. This is similar to what was used in the demo system late last year, and perhaps CORSAIR might offer more options later down the line. As it stands, the XD5 RGB pump/reservoir combo uses a Xylem D5 PWM pump, although we do not yet know whether this is one of the newer designs that is more in line with Intel PWM spec 1.3 for better PWM control over the pump speed. The reservoir uses a rectangular cuboid shape, and appears to be made of acrylic with acetal end caps and pump body. The end cap is designed similar to the CPU block, and has two G1/4" threaded ports, with two more ports at the bottom. There is return line adapter allowing coolant from the top to enter past the coolant level in the reservoir to minimize turbulence, and the port configuration allows for a fill port + in/out ports as usual. Judging by the image, the reservoir appears to be about 100 mm in height on top of the pump itself. The product page mentions ten integrated RGB LEDs, and the inclusion of 120 and 140 mm fan mounting brackets for easy installation in cases or on radiators.


The radiator lineup appears to be fairly extensive, with both 120 mm and 140 mm size offerings ranging from single to quad (at least for the 120 mm size). In addition, the 120 mm sizes also get two variations- the XR5 at 30 mm thick and the XR7 at 54 mm thick- compared to the 140 mm radiators with only the XR5 version. The radiators look eerily similar to Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis GTS and GTX respectively for the two thickness values, given they also match up well. Perhaps these are OEM versions (Nemesis LS and LX) customized to CORSAIR specifications. Adding fuel to this fire is the 25 µm fin thickness, another Hardware Labs technology used in their current product lineup. If true, this is fantastic news as these radiators are excellent at heat dissipation while being optimized for low fan speed and noise. The product pages, and there are way too many to list, also mention the use of screw guides and shields to aid in installation, and the radiators have a matte black finish to go well with just about any color scheme you might have. Two G1/4" ports are seen here, and thus there are no dedicated drain or fill ports here- another aspect of the Black Ice Nemesis radiator lineup, and now I am >95% certain of it too.


There are no images available for the listed tubing and special tubing connectors, and only one for the coolant, but they all have their own product pages with more information. CORSAIR seems to have hardline tubing (plexiglass, PMMA) in 1 meter lengths and two size options (10/14 mm or 10/12 mm), as well as soft tubing (PVC) in 3 meter lengths and one size option (10/13 mm). Three different tube sizes and two different tube types means a lot of fittings to stock as well, and we will get to that below. The XL5 Performance Coolant appears to be only available in a 1000 mL pre-mix format, with clear, pink, red, blue, and green colors to choose from. These are translucent coolants, not UV active, and include anti-corrosion and anti-bacterial inhibitors. The tubing connectors, called XT Hardline Multicard Kit, are used to help connect GPU water blocks in a multi-GPU configuration without worrying about cutting tubing to length. Indeed, the kit (coming in 12 mm OD only as per the website listing) contains two each tube sections long enough to fit one, two or three slot graphics card spacing.


Last, and certainly not the least, comes the XF lineup of fittings. These include compression fittings for all three tube options (hardline and soft tubing alike) in four color options- gold, glossy white, chrome, black- and in packs for some additional savings. These colors are reflected also in angled adapters and angled compression fittings, and there are also some more specialized fittings including a fill port and shut-off ball valve which come in chrome and black colors only. This is a good collection of fittings to begin with, but time will tell if all retailers choose to stock every single tubing and fitting option available.

There is really no point in discussing pricing at this stage, so we will get to that when the products are actually announced. This is, for all intents and purposes, an inadvertent leak by the retailer. All products list a 24-month warranty period, which may also be region-specific. Feel free to discuss more about these products, which no doubt are close to release, in the comments section below.

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The age of affordable custom loops (for almost anyone) is upon us.
Once Corsair gets seriously into this, everyone and their dog will want to make their own CL parts.

I remember when first AIOs appeared, they were SO expensive compared to the best air towers. But now... they are found in any PC at any price point.
 
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The age of affordable custom loops (for almost anyone) is upon us.
Once Corsair gets seriously into this, everyone and their dog will want to make their own CL parts.

I remember when first AIOs appeared, they were SO expensive compared to the best air towers. But now... they are found in any PC at any price point.
Im still super anxious/scared to do my own water loop. It is literally the final frontier of PC building for me. :x
 
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Im still super anxious/scared to do my own water loop. It is literally the final frontier of PC building for me. :x
I feel you bro.
But with these major players offering standardized components that you KNOW FOR SURE that they fit properly and work, the risk is minimal.
 
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The pricing on those fittings are shameful! Do yourself a favor and investigate Barrow. If you order from FormulaMod you can get the same fittings for 20% of the cost.
 
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The age of affordable custom loops (for almost anyone) is upon us.
Once Corsair gets seriously into this, everyone and their dog will want to make their own CL parts.

I remember when first AIOs appeared, they were SO expensive compared to the best air towers. But now... they are found in any PC at any price point.
the problem is temps - my nocuta NH-D14 with 3x 140mm fans in push pull on it with a strong fan curve still comes within 4 celsius of the best Corsair AIO 360mm model. on a oc'd cpu in prime95.

I mean why risk a leak if I don't have to? now if this custom loop adds even 3 celsius to that 4... so 7 celsius difference, THEN i might consider going water if its affordable, last i checked though a custom loop would cost me close to 300-400, plus the annoying part of cleaning it every couple years. where it only takes 5 mins to clean my noctua fans
 
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Cold additives have added anti-corrosion and anti-bacterial inhibitors in addition to color and a real and very good addition is a super-fluxing additive !!!!! that has appeared in some Zalman products mainly due to narrow tubes. Here is an area where there are no products available, for motor oils this add-on is obtained and there is a real market niche! Super-streaming additives would improve the preforms of all liquid-cooled systems, but these types of accessories do not appear to be sucripted to all providers, except in some rare cases. If you are selling these add-ons of color-cheeky jewelry, then you should add the latest good technologies to them! I'm a little surprised at the choice because I was expecting EK products but the added offer is moustly good except the CPU element, I would say it was more for the decoration. Good luck and I hope that this comment will be read by the right people and will be offered in the future super-fluxing additive in the mix .:D:p
 
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The pricing on those fittings are shameful! Do yourself a favor and investigate Barrow. If you order from FormulaMod you can get the same fittings for 20% of the cost.
If I'm correct in saying, they are Bitspower fittings without the logo... That's all the difference is and I use them myself :)
 
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well damnit , I knew these were on the way for a while...but i already have all the parts for my loop.would have been a nice compliment to my 1070 seahawks (that are corsair branded) , and dominator platinum

side note , why are there no colors that match the silver/grey you see on other corsair branded products ?
 
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Are they using Barrow as the OEM? Those fittings looks suspiciously like some Barrow parts I have here... :D
 

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Im still super anxious/scared to do my own water loop. It is literally the final frontier of PC building for me. :x
Final frontier? Ha. Once you do full water, what's stopping you from using a TEC plate instead of a waterblock? Or, worse yet, phase change? This is cold shit, as cold as it gets without literally using liquid nitrogen... and it's a permanent solution, not temporary super cooling for suicide runs at 8GHz.

Realistically, though, the best reasonable solution is to use full water with a water chiller... @Knoxx29
 
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Final frontier? Ha. Once you do full water, what's stopping you from using a TEC plate instead of a waterblock? Or, worse yet, phase change? This is cold shit, as cold as it gets without literally using liquid nitrogen... and it's a permanent solution, not temporary super cooling for suicide runs at 8GHz.

Realistically, though, the best reasonable solution is to use full water with a water chiller... @Knoxx29
Okay on shopping list for next year:
  • 3990WX
  • Waterchiller
48 core 5 Ghz 24/7???
 

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Hrm... that thing is already a 250w chip (probably more with full speed turbo active at full load). Once you start overclocking... if it can even hit 5GHz (regardless of cooling), your power consumption is going straight to the moon. That's a LOT of heat to dissipate. It's also not very efficient.
 
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the problem is temps - my nocuta NH-D14 with 3x 140mm fans in push pull on it with a strong fan curve still comes within 4 celsius of the best Corsair AIO 360mm model. on a oc'd cpu in prime95.

I mean why risk a leak if I don't have to? now if this custom loop adds even 3 celsius to that 4... so 7 celsius difference, THEN i might consider going water if its affordable, last i checked though a custom loop would cost me close to 300-400, plus the annoying part of cleaning it every couple years. where it only takes 5 mins to clean my noctua fans
The primary reason for using water cooling, be it AIO or custom loop, is not for performance. It's for accessibility, weight distribution and aesthetics.

I used to be a fan of tower air coolers (pun absolutely intended), but they are a PITA to work around when installed, especially the largest (and most efficient) ones that overhang memory slots and almost always interfere with the 8-pin EPS connector and any nearby fan connectors. There is also the concern around weight, again more prominent with the larger designs - I have never felt comfortable hanging a huge chunk of metal, off a plastic motherboard, at right angles. Water cooling has none of these issues, although it definitely does have its own (especially around cleaning a custom loop, which is why I prefer AIO solutions).

As for aesthetics: AIO coolers just make a system look cleaner, IMO. With tower coolers, anyone looking at your rig has their attention immediately drawn to the big hunk of metal sitting on the CPU, whereas AIOs "blend in" and allow focus to be drawn by other components. Custom loops, OTOH, are generally designed entirely to draw attention to the loop, which is then used to draw attention to the other components by following the path of the loop.
 
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I have been using customs loops for almost 7 years now.
It is not only about cooling the CPU. I usually have both CPU and GPU in the loop.
GPU like Vega 64 benifts a lot with water cooling. You can get a nice extra performace with undervolting and bumping frequency while still keeping the beast around 42°C.

I had until now never had any spill issues. With proper fitting it is not a problem.
Beside good coolants nowdays are non-conductive.
For cleaning so far was also not an issue for me.
I replace coolant once in a year and never experinced any kind of problems where I would need to take waterblock appart to clean them from inside.
 
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Watercooling is a fun adventure, and it looks awesome, I must admit for something I would move around I like to stick to air cooling.
 
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The age of affordable custom loops (for almost anyone) is upon us.
Once Corsair gets seriously into this, everyone and their dog will want to make their own CL parts.
nonetheless "shit prices" ... well it's Swiss side ... what to expect ... don't worry for you who are outside here, it probably will be quite less :rolleyes:
compared to EKWB, Alphacool or Phobya it's still too much.
 

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The primary reason for using water cooling, be it AIO or custom loop, is not for performance. It's for accessibility, weight distribution and aesthetics.

I used to be a fan of tower air coolers (pun absolutely intended), but they are a PITA to work around when installed, especially the largest (and most efficient) ones that overhang memory slots and almost always interfere with the 8-pin EPS connector and any nearby fan connectors. There is also the concern around weight, again more prominent with the larger designs - I have never felt comfortable hanging a huge chunk of metal, off a plastic motherboard, at right angles. Water cooling has none of these issues, although it definitely does have its own (especially around cleaning a custom loop, which is why I prefer AIO solutions).

As for aesthetics: AIO coolers just make a system look cleaner, IMO. With tower coolers, anyone looking at your rig has their attention immediately drawn to the big hunk of metal sitting on the CPU, whereas AIOs "blend in" and allow focus to be drawn by other components. Custom loops, OTOH, are generally designed entirely to draw attention to the loop, which is then used to draw attention to the other components by following the path of the loop.
While you make a few good points... I think it's silly to say the primary reason is not for performance. It would certainly be one of my top concerns...
 
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I feel you bro.
But with these major players offering standardized components that you KNOW FOR SURE that they fit properly and work, the risk is minimal.
One failed o-ring that passed QC by mistake and can cause havoc inside the pc, is enough to make this argument not so valid.
 

Knoxx29

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Im still super anxious/scared to do my own water loop. It is literally the final frontier of PC building for me. :x
First time i built a Water loop ( many years ago) i felt like i had done it before i wasn't scared or anxious i just went for it and after i saw the results i said/promised to myself that i would be building Water loops till i retire, of course that there is the leak or pump failure risk but if it happens to me i could live with it, one thing that almost everyone does after they build a Water loop is the leak test and if i have to be honest i have never done it:D

last i checked though a custom loop would cost me close to 300-400, plus the annoying part of cleaning it every couple years.
That's really cheap considering that my actual Watercooling/Waterchiller setup price should be around 1000€+, the part of cleaning it i do it every 2 years and it's just fun.

I think it's silly to say the primary reason is not for performance.
Indeed.

But better not to touch this argument because as your know while some people will agree some others wont.;)
 
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hat

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Indeed.

But better not to touch this argument because as your know while some people will agree some others wont.;)
Naturally... but that's just my opinion. Sure, there are other benefits besides performance... benefits that may be more important to someone else than that performance. And I see them as benefits as well, but performance is a huge part of it for me. But that's just my opinion and we're all welcome to our own... :toast:
 
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well I am not risking a leak on my expensive build when noctua cools it within 5 celsius of same temps with strong fan curve /shrug
 
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Performance is undoubtedly a factor... a well executed custom loop is always going to outperform air, but the cost must be taken into consideration. What WILL be significantly improved however is noise levels under load, particularly when it comes to the GPU. Quite honestly, a CPU under water vs a top end air cooler, while you are going to see a difference in terms of both temps and noise, it will only be in single figure percentages. With a GPU though, the difference is FAR greater. Crank up a GPU to 70-80 fan speed and have a listen... you won't get anywhere near that kind of noise on a custom loop (done right) and the temps could be near halved.

A full CPU+GPU loop is really the way to go... custom looping only a CPU is largely a waste of time (and money).
 

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well I am not risking a leak on my expensive build
Your actual Build?

Sure, there are other benefits besides performance... benefits that may be more important to someone else than that performance. And I see them as benefits as well, but performance is a huge part of it for me
I totally agree with you.
 
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Your actual Build?



I totally agree with you.
I have a NH-D14, case, psu, fans, etc. just waiting for 3700x... currently using little intel hd graphics laptop. once 3700x comes out, that will be my cpu and nh-d14 with 3 fans push pull on the NH-D14 and a strong fan curve... and prob a rtx 2060 and 144hz 1080p IPS or VA screen.
 
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