Sunday, October 31, 2010

Windows Azure Aims To Speed Transition To Cloud

Transitioning to cloud computing could be eased by new functions in Microsoft's Windows Azure. Microsoft aims to offer a full range of platform capabilities in Windows Azure so developers can focus on apps, Microsoft's Bob Muglia said at the Professional Developers Conference. He said existing apps can be deployed as is in Windows Azure.

Microsoft Relevant Products/Services showcased new functions for its Windows Azure platform Thursday that promises to ease the burden of transitioning to cloud environments as well as the concerns of developers looking to build cloud-friendly apps with rich, immersive experiences. The software giant said its focus remains on delivering Windows Azure with a full range of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities.
"All of us who are familiar with writing applications know that there's a lot of infrastructure Relevant Products/Services we have to deal with," said Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's server Relevant Products/Services and tools business. "With PaaS, all of that infrastructure is handled for you."
The entire operating-system environment is maintained, improved and enhanced over time with new features and capabilities while remaining compatible, Muglia observed. "And so you can focus on what really matters to you and to your business, which is the app," Muglia said during his keynote speech at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Redmond, Wash.
Breadth of Services
Muglia said only Windows Azure delivers a general-purpose PaaS with the breadth of services to enable developers and IT Relevant Products/Services specialists to focus on applications rather than the underlying infrastructure. For example, Muglia noted it's now possible to bring a VM rollout onto Windows Azure.
"So you can take a Windows Server 2008 R2 image that you've built with Hyper-V in your environment, move that into the Windows Azure environment, and run it as is with no changes," Muglia said.
Windows Azure also now offers support for a wider range of standard Windows apps, with more in the works. What's more, the software giant has retooled existing App-V technology Relevant Products/Services on the Windows client for Windows Azure cloud environments. This will enable developers to "take an existing app, and then deploy that application without going through its installation process into a Windows Azure worker role," Muglia said.
Forthcoming Windows Azure features slated for introduction later this year include a virtual network capability, support for multiple administrators, smaller instances of Windows Azure, and a remote Relevant Products/Services desktop capability, Muglia observed. Also in the works is full IIS support for enabling "a broad set of new applications, smooth streaming applications as well as having any number of web sites on a single server, in a single role," he said.

Moving Fast
Microsoft seems to be moving fast into the cloud -- to some extent potentially faster than its customers are willing to go because use-case scenarios for cloud computing Relevant Products/Services are still being worked out in the industry, noted Al Hilwa, director of applications software development at IDC.
"For example, small and midsize businesses who have been the most interested in SaaS solutions Relevant Products/Services do not tend to want to build their own apps," Hilwa explained. "So getting Azure adopted is a matter of promoting it to ISVs who serve this market."
Larger companies are more interested in the private cloud, which is essentially a form of virtualization today, Hilwa observed. "What Microsoft seems to be doing is permeating Azure integration from all of its parts and departments," Hilwa said.
Hilwa said he was impressed with the many new capabilities that Microsoft announced at PDC 10, such as the VM role which will allow many applications to run unmodified in Azure. "These may be good first steps that some companies can take with their apps today, assuming the economics make sense," Hilwa added.

Microsoft Posts Record Q1 Revenue of $16.20 Bn.

While some people may think that Microsoft has no consumer mojo, investors should be fairly happy at whatever's going on there at Redmond, as the world's largest software maker today announced a record first-quarter revenue of $16.20 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, a 25 percent increase from the same period of the prior year.
Operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.12 billion, $5.41 billion and $0.62 per share, which represented increases of 59, 51 and 55 percent, respectively, when compared with the prior year period.
“This was an exceptional quarter, combining solid enterprise growth and continued strong consumer demand for Office 2010, Windows 7, and Xbox 360 consoles and games,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Our ability to grow revenue while continuing to control costs allowed us to deliver another quarter of year-over-year margin expansion.”
Microsoft made four points at what helped it achieve a new record:
·  Office 2010 is off to a fast start with revenue growing over 15% in its first full quarter in market.
·  Microsoft continues to see a healthy and sustaining business PC refresh cycle.
·  Xbox 360 consoles grew 38%, outselling every competing console in the U.S. for each of the past four months.
·  For yet another quarter, Bing continued to grow market share, while achieving major milestones in implementing Microsoft’s partnership with Yahoo.

Your Feedback On The Use of EVGA's GeForce GTX 460 FTW in Last Night's Review

Last night we published our Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 review. In it we made a decision to include a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 460 from EVGA (the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW). For those who aren't aware, NVIDIA has allowed a number of its partners to ship GTX 460s at higher than stock clock speeds. A practice that has been done in the past. The cards are available in retail with full warranties.
A number of you responded in the comments to the article very upset that we included the EVGA card. Even going as far to accuse us of caving to NVIDIA's pressure and demands. Ryan and I both felt it was necessary to address this front and center rather than keep the discussion in the comments.
Let's start with the obvious. NVIDIA is more aggressive than AMD with trying to get review sites to use certain games and even make certain GPU comparisons. When NVIDIA pushes, we push back. You don't ever see that here on AnandTech simply because I don't believe this is the place for it. Both sides (correction, all companies) have done nasty things in the past but you come here to read about products, not behind the scenes politics so we've mostly left it out of our reviews.
NVIDIA called asking for us to include overclocked GTX 460s in the 6800 series article. I responded by saying that our first priority is to get the standard clocked cards tested and that if NVIDIA wanted to change the specs of the GTX 460 and guarantee no lower clocked versions would be sold, we would gladly only test the factory overclocked parts. NVIDIA of course didn't change the 460's clocks and we ended the conversation at that. We gave NVIDIA no impression that we would include the card despite their insistence. The decision to include the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW was made on our own entirely.
We don't like including factory overclocked parts in our reviews for reasons we've already mentioned in the article itself. This wasn't a one off made for the purpose of reviewing only, it's available from online vendors and a valid option from a price comparison. Furthermore it presented us with an interesting circumstance where the overclock was large enough to make a significant impact - the 26% overclock pushed the card to a performance level that by all rights could have (and should have) been a new product entirely.
From my standpoint, having more information never hurts. This simply provides another data point for you to use. We put hefty disclaimers in the article when talking about the EVGA card, but I don't see not including a publicly available product in a review as a bad thing. It's not something we typically do, but in this case the race was close enough that we wanted to cover all of our bases. At the end of the day I believe our conclusion did just that:
At $179 buy the 6850. At $239 buy the 6870 for best performance/power. If you want the best overall performance, buy the GTX 470. However, as long as they are available the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW is a good alternative. You get the same warranty you would on a standard GTX 460, but you do sacrifice power consumption for the performance advantage over the 6870.
We were honestly afraid that if we didn't include at least a representative of the factory overclocked GTX 460s that we would get accused of being too favorable to AMD. As always, this is your site - you ultimately end up deciding how we do things around here. So I'm asking all of you to chime in with your thoughts - how would you like to handle these types of situations in the future? Do we never make exceptions even in the case of a great number of factory overclocked cards being available on the market? Do we keep the overclocked comparison to a single page in the review? Or does it not matter?
And if you're worried about this being tied to financial gain: I'll point out that we are one of the only sites to have a clear separation of advertising and editorial (AnandTech, Inc. doesn't employ a single ad sales person, and our 3rd party sales team has no stake in AT and vice versa). The one guarantee that I offer all of our writers here at AnandTech is you never have to worry about where your paycheck is coming from, just make sure you do the best job possible and that your conclusions are defensible.
If we've disappointed you in our decision to include the EVGA FTW in last night's review, I sincerely apologize. At the end of the day we have to maintain your trust and keep you all happy, no one else. We believed it was the right thing to do but if the overwhelming majority of you feel otherwise, please let us know. You have the ability to shape how we do things in the future so please let us know.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

AMD’s Radeon HD 6870 & 6850: Renewing Competition in the Mid-Range Market

All things considered, the Radeon HD 5000 series has gone very well for AMD. When they launched it just over a year ago, they beat NVIDIA to the punch by nearly 6 months and enjoyed a solid term as the kings of the GPU world, with halo parts like the 5870 and 5970 giving them renewed exposure at the high-end of the market while mainstream products like the 5670 redefining the HTPC.  Ultimately all good things come to an end though, and as NVIDIA has launched the GeForce 400 series AMD has needed to give up the single-GPU halo and lower prices in order to remain competitive.
But if spring is a period of renewal for NVIDIA, then it’s fall that’s AMD’s chance for renewal. Long before Cypress and the 5000 series even launched, AMD’s engineers had been hard at work at what would follow Cypress. Now a year after Cypress we get to meet the first GPU of the next Radeon family: Barts. With it comes the Radeon HD 6800 series, the culmination of what AMD has learned since designing and launching the 5800 series. AMD may not have a new process to produce chips on this year, but as we’ll see they definitely haven’t run out of ideas or ways to improve their efficiency on the 40nm process.
  AMD Radeon HD 6870 AMD Radeon HD 6850 AMD Radeon HD 5870 AMD Radeon HD 5850 AMD Radeon HD 4870
Stream Processors 1120 960 1600 1440 800
Texture Units 56 48 80 72 40
ROPs 32 32 32 32 16
Core Clock 900MHz 775MHz 850MHz 725MHz 750MHz
Memory Clock 1.05GHz (4.2GHz effective) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz effective) GDDR5 1.2GHz (4.8GHz effective) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz effective) GDDR5 900MHz (3600MHz effective) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB
FP64 N/A N/A 1/5 1/5 N/A
Transistor Count 1.7B 1.7B 2.15B 2.15B 956M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $239 $179 ~$349 ~$229 N/A
Launching today are the first two members of AMD’s HD 6000 series. At the top end we have the Radeon HD 6870, a card utilizing a full-fledged version of AMD’s new Barts GPU. The core clock runs at 900MHz, which is driving 32 ROPs and 1120 SPs. Attached to that is 1GB of GDDR5 running at 4.2GHz effective. AMD puts the load TDP at 151W (the same as the Radeon HD 5850) and the idle TDP at 19W, lower than the last generation parts.

Below that is the Radeon HD 6850, which in the long history of 50-parts is utilizing a harvested version of the Barts GPU, which along with a lower load voltage make the card the low-power member of the 6800 family. The 6850 runs at 775MHz and is attached to 960SPs. Like 6870 it has 1GB of GDDR5, this time running at 4GHz effective. With its lower power consumption its load TDP is 127W, and its idle TDP is unchanged from 6870 at 19W.
The Barts GPU at the heart of these cards is the first GPU of AMD’s Northern Islands family. We’ll dive more in to its architecture later, but for now it’s easiest to call it a Cypress derivative. Contrary to the (many) early rumors, it’s still using the same VLIW5 design, cache hierarchy, and ROPs as Cypress. There are some very notable changes compared to Cypress, but except for tessellation these are more about quality and features than it is about performance.
Compared to Cypress, Barts is a notably smaller GPU. It’s still made on TSMC’s finally-mature 40nm process, but compared to Cypress AMD has shaved off 450 million transistors, bringing the die size down from 334mm2 to 255mm2. Much of this is achieved through a reduction in the SIMD count, but as we’ll see when we talk about architecture, it’s one of many tricks. As a result of AMD’s efforts, Barts at 255mm2 is right in the middle of what AMD considers their sweet spot. As you may recall from the 5870/Cypress launch, Cypress missed the sweet spot in the name of features and performance, which made it a powerful chip but also made it more expensive to produce (and harder to fabricate) than AMD would have liked. Barts is a return to the sweet spot, and more generally a return to the structure AMD operated on with the 4800 series.

With a focus on the sweet spot, it should come as no surprise that AMD is also focusing on costs and pricing. Realistically the 6800 series composes a lower tier of cards than the 5800 series – the performance is a bit lower, and so is the pricing. With a smaller GPU, cheaper GDDR5, and cheaper/fewer components, AMD is able to practically drive some members of the 6800 series down below $200, something that wasn’t possible with Cypress.
For today’s launch AMD is pricing the Radeon HD 6870 at $239, and the Radeon HD 6850 at $179. This is a hard launch, and boards should be available by the time you’re reading this article (or shortly thereafter). The launch quantities are, as AMD puts it, in the “tens of thousands” for the entire 6800 series. Unfortunately they are not providing a breakdown based on card, so we don’t have a solid idea of how much of each card will be available. We do know that all the initial 6870 cards are going to be relabeled reference cards, while the 6850 is launching with a number of custom designs – and in fact a reference 6850 may be hard to come by. We believe this is a sign that most of the card supply will be 6850s with far fewer 6870s being on the market, but this isn’t something we can back up with numbers. Tens of thousands of units may also mean that all the cards are in short supply, as cheaper cards have a tendency to fly off the shelves even faster than expensive cards – and the 5800 series certainly set a record there.
The rest of AMD’s products remain unchanged. The 5700 continues as-is, while the 5800 will be entering its twilight weeks. We’re seeing prices on the cards come down a bit, particularly on the 5850 which is caught between the 6800 cards in performance, but officially AMD isn’t changing the 5800 series pricing. Even with that, AMD expects the remaining card supply to only last through the end of the year.
Countering AMD’s launch, NVIDIA has repriced their own cards. The GTX 460 768MB stays at $169, while the GTX 460 1GB will be coming down to $199, and the GTX 470 is coming down to a mind-boggling $259 (GF100 is not a cheap chip to make, folks!). NVIDIA is also banking on factory overclocked GTX 460 1GB cards, which we’ll get to in a bit. Seeing as how AMD delivered a rude surprise for NVIDIA when they dropped the price of the 5770 series ahead of the GTS 450 launch last month, NVIDIA is a least trying to return the favor.
Ultimately this means we’re looking at staggered pricing. NVIDIA and AMD do not have any products that are directly competing at the same price points: at every $20 you’re looking at switching between AMD and NVIDIA.
October 2010 Video Card MSRPs
$240 Radeon HD 6870
$180 Radeon HD 6850
$130 Radeon HD 5770
$80 Radeon HD 5670/5570


Security Debate Rages Over Internet Voting

As e-voting comes of age, cybersecurity fears are mounting. The debate over Internet voting focuses on members of the military and Americans living overseas who have had difficulty getting and returning ballots by Election Day. Security experts say Internet voting systems open up elections to cyberattacks, hackers and online fraud.

State efforts to let military and overseas voters cast ballots using the Internet have set off warnings from computer security experts that elections could be subject to cyberattacks.
The debate intensified after the District of Columbia tested an Internet voting system for possible use next month and invited computer scientists to try hacking into it. They did, without much trouble.
Arizona and West Virginia will allow military and overseas voters to use the Internet on Nov. 2 with systems the states claim are safe. More than 20 other states let those voters use e-mail, which some election security experts say is just as vulnerable. Congress has asked the Pentagon and the states to conduct pilot projects.
Computerized options for the nation's 4 million to 5 million military and overseas voters have spread almost as fast as the use of touch-screen machines in the United States a decade ago. Although no fraud has been detected, the computer lines are fraught with danger.
"The nature of the Internet can be so insecure," says Rokey Suleman, the D.C. director of elections who ordered up the test. "Right now, maybe it can't be done. But we have to do projects to get us there."
The debate over Internet voting focuses on members of the military and Americans living overseas who have had difficulty getting and returning ballots by Election Day. In 2008, only two-thirds of them returned their ballots on time, compared with 91 percent of absentee voters.
A law passed by Congress last year mandates that states send out absentee ballots to military voters and Americans abroad at least 45 days before an election and make electronic delivery of those ballots an option. It recommends pilot programs for returning voted ballots via the Internet, which is considered riskier.
'We Have To Move Cautiously'
So far, two states and the District of Columbia have made tentative moves in that direction:
*Arizona pioneered the process in 2008 and is continuing it this year. Voters can scan and upload paper ballots to an online system with a user name and password, and they must include a signed affidavit. In 2008, 135 of 9,171 military and overseas voters used the system. So far this year, 57 voters have used it in three elections.
"It's something that we have to move cautiously on," Secretary of State Ken Bennett says. "If people can go to ATM machines and move tens of thousands of dollars around, I'd like to believe that someday we'll be able to make voting similarly convenient."

Five counties in West Virginia let military and overseas voters cast ballots on a Web site that uses proprietary software. Just 77 voters used it in the May primary. For next month's general election, which includes a U.S. Senate race that could tip the balance of power Relevant Products/Services between Democrats and Republicans, eight counties are offering it.
"This is still just an option for our military and overseas voters," Secretary of State Natalie Tennant says. "But I feel like we have our bases covered."
*The District of Columbia was preparing to offer Internet voting to its military and overseas voters Nov. 2, but the test proved its vulnerabilities.
University of Michigan assistant professor J. Alex Halderman and two graduate students hacked in, saw who was "voting," changed votes and left the school's fight song as their calling card. While controlling the server Relevant Products/Services, he says, they also saw cyberattack efforts that appeared to come from China and Iran.
"It's a learning experience for everyone," he says. "Election officials should be asking whether the technology Relevant Products/Services is safe, not presuming that it someday will be."
Halderman's success came as little surprise to the non-profit Open Source Digital Voting Foundation, which provided the technology for the D.C. test. Its officials don't believe Internet voting is ready for prime time.
"How America votes is just as important as who they vote for," says Gregory Miller, the foundation's co-executive director. "You are running far too much risk."
How Much Risk To Accept
Internet elections have been held elsewhere in the past. In 2000, Arizona Democrats held their presidential primary mostly on the Internet. In 2007, Honolulu offered Internet voting for its 33 neighborhood advisory boards. Last year, it eliminated in-person voting for those boards to save money and went entirely to the Internet and phone, but participation dropped from 24 percent to 6 percent.
Organizations directly involved in serving military and overseas voters say the Internet isn't ready to host elections. The Defense Department's Federal Voting Assistance Program, which helps military and overseas voters, has been working with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in hopes of holding a test in 2012.
"This is ultimately a policy decision as to how much risk you're willing to accept," says Bob Carey, the program's director. "We need to make sure that we've crossed our T's and dotted our I's."

Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, executive director of the Overseas Vote Foundation, which helps U.S. voters in foreign countries, says Internet and e-mail voting puts at risk what they fought for years to obtain by demanding earlier and easier delivery of ballots.
"We're pushing the envelope too early with what I call precious cargo," she says.
Security watchdogs agree.
"Nobody knows how to conduct an election that is immune to the kinds of attacks we in the security community know how to do," says David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who chairs, an election security group. "We can't have our election systems exposed to cyberattacks."

Ballmer: PC Is Our Primary Focus

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the PC is the #1 smart device on the planet today.
ZoomJust days after retiring Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie said that the industry needs to envision a post-PC world, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer jumped on stage at the Professional Developers Conference and yelled that he was "pumped up" in regards to smart devices. In fact, he seemed rather excited over the progression of Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7.
"In the last 12 months the world has bought 350 million new personal computers and we've sold 240 million new Windows 7 licenses in just the last year," Ballmer said. "Phones are going to be very important. TVs are going to be very important."
But fear not. Despite Ozzie's prediction of the PC's ultimate demise, it's still the number one smart device on the planet today according to Microsoft. That's not surprising given that--as Ballmer stated in his presentation--Windows PCs are Microsoft's most popular smart devices.
According to numbers provided by IDC, 409 million PCs will ship in 2011. 88-percent of businesses are already upgrading their company PCs to Windows 7, finally ditching old-school favorite Windows XP and the less popular Vista.
Still, Microsoft has no choice but to roll with the industry as consumers focus more attention on mobile devices. This means offering additional form factors outside the customary desktop and laptop sporting Microsoft’s flagship OS.
"There's lots of innovation going on," he said. "You'll see a range of new form factors for this holiday season, after this holiday season, and throughout next year in the Windows personal computers. Netbooks, tablets--you'll see people push. They'll build on the ink and touch support which is built into every copy of Windows 7."
Ballmer is also "pumped up" about Windows Phone 7, however he acknowledged the battle ahead in gaining ground in a crowded market not dominated by Microsoft. "We're entering a market in which there is a lot of activity," he said.
Will the PC eventually become extinct? Various companies envision a smartphone with the processing power of a desktop but allowing users to pull the device out of their pocket and connect external LCD screens and USB peripherals. Still, notebooks and tablets and smartphones are great, but there's nothing like pulling off a desktop's shell and shoving in a new Nvidia or ATI card. The desire for self-customizing will keep the desktop PC alive and ultimately pour big bucks into Ballmer's wallet.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Corsair H70: Next-Gen Self-Contained Liquid Cooling

Liquid cooling still has the image of being expensive and complicated. Corsair, in cooperation with the cooling specialists at Asetek, now offers the H70 that aims to simplify the step up from air cooling. Can it beat less expensive premium heatsinks?
Liquid Cooling: Pros And Cons
Anyone familiar with the subject of liquid cooling knows that it can be quite a challenging topic with which to deal. What components do you need to buy? Should you buy individual parts or go for a pre-assembled system? Which manufacturer can you trust as you contemplate adding water inside your PC?

These are probably the most frequently asked questions when an enthusiast first contemplates entering the world of liquid cooling. However, things have changed in recent years. Last year, we looked at one of the first self-contained liquid cooling solutions, Corsair's H50, and found it to be comparable to some of the air coolers out there. That's not particularly ideal when you're trying to preach the benefits of liquid cooling. However, the device did successfully fit in environments where larger air coolers simply couldn't.
We now have the company's follow-on to the H50, called the H70, which again demonstrates that liquid cooling doesn't have to involve a complex setup procedure. But does it improve on the H50's performance?
H70: Prefab Liquid Cooling From Corsair
This is where the Corsair H70 liquid cooling system comes into play. It is designed to achieve high cooling performance, low noise levels, and simplify installation by as much as possible. Just like the previous model, the Corsair H50, the Corsair H70 is a complete closed loop cooling system consisting of a radiator, hoses, CPU water block, fan, and coolant, fully assembled from the factory. In addition to making the installation easier, this also saves you the trouble of gathering the necessary components yourself.
The Corsair H50 cooling system was the first result of cooperation between Corsair and the manufacturer Asetek, the company behind the CPU freezer Vapochill that let you operate your CPU at -20°C back in 2003. The challenge, here, of course, is trying to exceed the capabilities of today's greatest air coolers from a liquid-cooled circuit. This isn't something the H50 was really able to do, but our expectations of the improved H70 are naturally much higher.

The Corsair H70 prefab liquid cooling system comes in a sturdy cardboard box. In addition to the already-filled, closed loop cooling system consisting of radiator, hoses, and water block with built-in pump, we find detailed installation instructions and mounting hardware for different computer platforms in the package. The Corsair H70 supports Intel's LGA 775, 1366, 1156 interfaces, along with AMD's AM2 and AM3 sockets.
Additionally, the Corsair H70 cooling system includes two fans that operate at 2000 RPM. The included adapter cables with embedded resistors (~30 ohms) can be used to bring the fans down to 1600 RPM for quieter operation. There is no thermal compound included, which most coolers usually do bundle.
Compact Water Block
Instead, Corsair opts to cover the CPU water block base with a layer of thermal compound straight from the factory. This thermal compound is protected by a solid and easily removable plastic cap that is attached to the underside of the water block, protecting it from damage during transport.
Hardcore cooling enthusiasts would likely remove the compound and replace it with a thin layer of something more expensive, but obviously this is not mandatory.
With a height of just two inches, the water block is very compact. The low profile is even more notable when you consider that the pump is integrated with the water block, driving the coolant through the closed loop system. A cable connects the pump and the motherboard, supplying the pump with 12 V power. The pump is extremely quiet; only in a completely silent environment were we able to hear a faint hum.
Rigid Tubing
The coolant travels through the cooling system via two small and relatively rigid tubes. They have an outer diameter of about 8 mm and a length of about 24 cm. The tubes are attached to the pipes in such a secure way that they can only be replaced with great effort. Except for the water block, the loop also includes the radiator. Due to the short length of the cables, you might not be able to install the radiator exactly wherever you want to if you are using a large computer case.

Compact Radiator With Lots of Fine Fins
At a height of about 15 cm and a width of about 12 cm, you can easily install the radiator inside large-enough cases by attaching it to a 120 mm fan ventilation hole. The depth of the radiator is 5 cm--twice as thick as on the Corsair H50 model. If you use both of the included fans by sandwiching the radiator in a push/pull configuration, you get a total thickness of 10 cm, which could become a problem in more compact cases.
The radiator's fins are quite dense, spaced just 1 mm apart. On the one hand, this provides for a high number of fins, creating a large surface area for heat transfer. On the other hand, this also restricts air flow, so you should definitely use both fans in order for the radiator to work at maximum effectiveness.
As mentioned before, these fans rotate at 2000 RPM, but can be slowed down to 1600 RPM with the included resistor cables. This is necessary if you are aiming for a relatively low-noise kind of setup. The fans have rather short cables, at just 21 cm each. Depending on where in your computer case you install the radiator and where on your motherboard the fan connectors are placed, this might pose a problem.
Installing this liquid cooling system is fairly easy, although you might need to think things through when fastening the water block to the motherboard. You need to use the appropriate mounting hardware that fits your motherboard. Installation instructions are included to help you choose the right one. For our LGA 775 system, we first had to attach four risers on the water block back plate that goes on the rear side of the motherboard, which the screws are fit into later.
You also need to fasten a plastic mounting bracket on the front of the motherboard, and you should take a close look at the instructions so you do not choose the wrong one, as the included mounting bracket fastening parts are confusingly similar.
When the preparations are complete, everything goes quickly. Attach the back plate to the motherboard, then the mounting bracket, and finally put the water block on top of the CPU. With a twist to the right, the water block is securely fastened to the mounting bracket. The final step is to tighten the screws, preferably in a diagonal order so that you do not put too much stress on just one side of the CPU and socket.
Fan Configuration
The radiator can be installed pretty much wherever you want it--within the boundaries set by the length of the tubes, of course. A good choice seems to be in the back of the computer case.
The two fans included provide for a couple of different configuration options. Corsair recommends attaching them both to the radiator in order to achieve maximum cooling performance, but you also have to decide whether you want to have them suck in cool air from outside the case through the radiator, or blow out hot air from inside the case through the radiator. Here you have to take into account maximum CPU cooling versus the risk of heat accumulating inside the case and making the rest of your components warmer. You probably need to play around a bit with this to see what fits your case and fan setup the best.
Also, remember to balance the number of fans sucking air in and fans blowing air out, as axial fans of the kind used in computer cases are less effective when working against large differences in air pressure.

Test System
To ensure test score compatibility with the air cooling products already tested, we reviewed the Corsair H70 liquid cooling system using the same old, proven test system. At its heart, we find an Intel Pentium D840 Extreme Edition CPU with a Smithfield core, manufactured using 90 nm technology and employing a factory clock speed 3.2 GHz. The TDP (Thermal Design Power) is 130 W (the same as an Intel Core i7 CPU based on the Bloomfield core).
The Intel Pentium D840 Extreme Edition CPU is far more inefficient than the current Intel Core i7, of course. But then again, we are measuring temperatures here, not performance. To quite literally turn the heat up some more the CPU is overclocked to 3.6 GHz. Also, we use the thermal compound applied to the water block at the factory.
The ambient temperature was 21° C. Further test system details can be found in the table below.
System Hardware
Intel Platform (LGA 775)Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R, Intel G33, BIOS: F5 (09/07/07)
CPUIntel Pentium D 840 Extreme Edition (90 nm SmithField core) @ 3.60 GHz
RAM4 x 512MB Samsung M3 78T6553CZ3-CE6 DDR2-667
System Hard DriveHitachi Deskstar 7K250, 160 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 1.5Gb/s, 8 MB Cache
DVD-ROMSamsung SH-D163B, SATA 1.5Gb/s
Graphics CardIntel GMA 3100 Onboard
Network CardRealtek RTL8168/8111 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Sound CardIntegrated
PSUSilverStone SST-ST50EF, 500 Watt
System Software
OSWindows Vista Enterprise SP1
DirectX 10DirectX 10 (Vista Standard)
DirectX 9Version: April 2007
Graphic DriversVersion 6.0.6000.16386 (Vista Standard)
Network Drivers9.0.32.3 (Vista Standard)
Intel Chipset DriversVersion (05/02/2007)
JMicron Chipset DriversVersion (24/03/2007)

Fan Configuration and Speed Control

As mentioned, the Corsair H70 comes with two fans. For our tests, we fit the radiator with only one, and then both fans. The fans only have 3-pin connectors, and therefore cannot be controlled via the pulse width modulation (PWM) features offered by many newer motherboards. However, the motherboard we used for the test had a BIOS setting for automatically controlling the voltage supplied to the fans. We used this setting both with one and two fans, and in the graphs on the following pages this is referred to as “Auto”.
The BIOS did not have a way of manually setting the fans to high or low, however, so we turned off the feature for those tests. Instead we used the included resistor cables to operate the fans at Low speed. For the High speed tests we simply ran the fans with neither resistor cables nor BIOS settings--au naturelle.

The idle temperatures were measured about 30 minutes after booting up Windows Vista. In these 30 minutes the CPU was just idling, and all services that might put a load on the CPU were turned off. The load tests were conducted using Prime95, measuring the maximum temperature after that time frame.
Fan Speeds
Noise Levels
Not surprisingly, the temperature using two fans without any speed limits was the lowest one. The temperature reported was 21° C, the same as the room temperature. The drawback, of course, is that the fans spin at just under 2000 RPM, resulting in a loud background noise measured at 57.3 dB(A). The fan speeds and noise level are the same under full load as well, keeping the CPU at a relatively low 38° C.
The weakest cooling performance is realized (not surprisingly) when using only one fan with the help of the motherboard BIOS fan controller. Here a temperature of 25° C is reached in idle mode, which increased to 47° C under full load. The noise levels in this configuration are 41.2 dB(A) in idle mode and an audible 47.9 dB(A) under full load.
The most balanced mix between cooling performance and noise levels is achieved when using two fans that are regulated by the automatic fan controller on the motherboard. This results in a very low 22° C temperature in idle mode with a moderate noise level of 37.9 dB(A). We also find the temperature of 41° C at full load acceptable, as is the noise level of 45.6 dB(A).

Note: Heat sinks that ship without any included fans were equipped with a standard fan from the 3RSystem Iceage Prima Boss. It has performs similar to a NoiseBlocker Multiframe M12PS.
The Corsair H70 liquid cooling system scores a low 38° C with the fans set to high, about the same temperature as the air CPU coolers Prolimatech Megahalems (Rev. B), or the Zalman CNPS 10X Extreme, and is thus placed pretty high up on the chart.
In our preferred configuration with two fans and automatic motherboard fan control, the Corsair H70 is at about the same level as a Noctua NH-D14--at least in terms of cooling performance. In this chart, the all-in-one liquid cooling system is definitely up there at the top. However, looking at the noise level chart at the next page, things get a bit complicated.

Even in idle mode, the Corsair H70 liquid cooling system is not among the quietest CPU coolers. The most acceptable values are reached with two fans and automatic fan control, and the other configurations show that using this system will not exactly make your computer system a very quiet one.

Under full load the picture changes a little, but even here Corsair H70 is nowhere near the top of the chart.

With the H70, Corsair brings a liquid cooling system to market that strives to address the challenges of liquid cooling while still exemplifying its benefits.
It relieves the user of the hassle of having to assemble individual components, which should appeal to those without much experience in liquid cooling. With a street price of around $110, it is reasonably priced compared to other liquid cooling systems. By pre-filling the closed loop system at the factory, it is ready for use immediately after unpacking, and does not have to be much more complicated to install than some air CPU coolers.
In addition, Corsair offers a two-year warranty, and the producer Asetek indicates that the average lifespan of the liquid cooling system is about 50 000 hours. Installing the liquid cooling system is easy, and the detailed installation instructions for the different supported processor interfaces should simplify the process for less experienced users.

There are a few weak points, however. We would have liked the tubing between the water block and the radiator to be a bit longer than 24 cm. The same goes for the fan cables, which are a bit short at just 21 cm. The fans included created mixed impressions. On the one hand, the radiator with its very dense fin structure requires a certain air throughput--something the fans handle just fine. But on the other hand, these fans are not exactly the most acoustically-friendly. Quieter fans with variable speeds would be something to hope for here. You could look around for alternatives, but then you'd only be adding to the cost of this unit, which already exceeds the upper range of the highest-end air coolers.
However, if you can live with the slightly elevated background noise level that comes with the Corsair H70 liquid cooling system, you get cooling performance in the good to very good range in the upper segment of CPU coolers.
In the light of air cooling alternatives like Zalman’s CNPS 10X Extreme, which costs roughly $69, Corsair’s new H70 remains a premium-priced product. It's perhaps best suited to environments where space around the processor is tight, and you don't have room for a cheaper, comparable-performing high-end air cooler.