By Gareth Ogden posted Aug 30th 2010
Judging by the title of this blog you might think that I’m about to discuss the Corsair Cooling™ Hydro Series H50 High Performance CPU cooler, since "big cooling in a small package" is a very accurate description of this mighty little cooler. And you’d almost be correct, because while this post does revolve around the Hydro Series H50, it more accurately concerns a very cool implementation of this product that will appeal to LAN gamers and lovers of miniature PCs in general. I’m talking about a quad-core, DirectX 10.1-powered Mini-ITX LAN gaming box, no larger than an average shoebox, liquid-cooled using the Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50.
The Mini-ITX form factor is aptly named because Mini-ITX motherboards measure only 6.7 x 6.7in, yet high-end boards from manufacturers such as Zotac support quad-core CPUs and high-end graphics cards. This makes it possible to build a powerful gaming PC that’s a mere fraction of the size of a typical gaming PC.
However, shrinking the dimensions of the PC also creates problems, because it concentrates the heat output of hot-running CPUs and GPUs into a much smaller space. Large, high-end chassis, such as Corsair’s Obsidian Series™ 800D, enclose a large volume of air, which maximises cooling since there is simply more air to soak up the heat. In a Mini-ITX chassis, such as the Silverstone SG05 (which we used for our project) the tiny size limits the volume of air available, making cooling a real challenge.
This is where the Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50 makes all the difference because not only is it the best CPU cooler in its class, but the Hydro Series H50’s radiator is also able to draw in cool air from outside the chassis, rather than working with hot air from inside the chassis, as is the case with conventional HSFs. By drawing in air from outside the chassis the temperature difference (what’s known as the Delta T) between the air and the radiator is maximised, which increases cooling efficiency according to Newton’s Law of Cooling. The Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50 is therefore the key to building a powerful gaming box in a Mini-ITX form factor—the perfect portable PC for taking to a LAN!
To demonstrate this we built a Mini-ITX LAN gaming box using a Silverstone SG05 chassis, Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 CPU, Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi motherboard and GeForce GT 220 graphics card, 4GB of Corsair Dominator RAM, a Corsair P256 solid-state drive and, of course, the Corsair H50 CPU cooler. The completed PC comfortably fits into a small rucksack yet packs in enough power to play “Batman Arkham Asylum” at Very High detail settings, and even Crysis Warhead!
You can read the complete guide to building this PC right here.
Full-tower chassis such as the Corsair Obsidian Series 800D are undoubtedly better for high-performance PCs, simply because they allow for more effective cooling, but by using the powerful and versatile Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50 High-Performance CPU cooler, we’ve shown that it’s possible to pack a lot of performance into a pint-sized package too!
The Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50-cooled Mini-ITX gaming PC
CPU Temperature Results
3D Performance Scores