Today I'm taking a look at Corsair's latest water cooling effort; the Nautilus 500.
Above is a photo of the front of the Nautilus box.
The Nautilus 500 typically costs around $150 and consists of a CPU water block and an external pump/reservoir/radiator assembly.
The pump/reservoir/radiator assembly sitting atop the case is a little different than what we would typically see in an enthusiast's water cooled PC because, in most cases, the pump, reservoir and radiator are three separate pieces. For example, prior to this review, I ran a water cooling system that consisted of a 5.25" bay reservoir, a 120MM square radiator mounted with a 120MM fan to the rear fan mount of my case and a 12VDC pump sitting at the bottom of my case.
The most obvious advantage of having everything in one unit is that the assembly has a very "clean" look. Furthermore, it makes assembly easier and the margin of error that could result in a leak is reduced because there are less hose connections to make than your traditional "home brew" water cooling ensemble.
The rear of the rather large box shows the rear of the Nautilus unit and how it should enter the case. Hoses and power are fed through a PCI slot bracket. The photos along the right side of the box show us that this kit also includes a CPU water block and a bottle of "coolant."
Above is some of the contents of our rather large box. The Nautilus 500 has a filler cap, a clear line where we should be able to see the water level without opening the unit up and a 120MM fan. In the upper left, we can see the very simple CPU water block with hoses pre-attached from the factory.
In the upper right, our bottle of coolant.
Above is a close up of the front of the Nautilus unit.
At the rear of the unit we find a fan speed switch (high/low), the power input and the fluid in and fluid out ports for the water.
Here is a close up of the rear of the unit.
The top of the unit has a 120MM fan that sucks air into the housing, from the bottom, and across a small radiator that the water flows through.
This is what the bottom of the unit looks like. Here we can see the radiator. Cool air is sucked in from the bottom as hot air is blown out from the top.
It always warms my heart to know that my CPU water block passed Quality Control.
The Corsair Nautilus comes with some coolant. Just add this bottle with enough distilled water to fill up the whole system (about one quart) and you should be good to go.
Ok... Let's start by installing the CPU water block to the CPU on the motherboard...
Believe it or not, this is all of the hardware required to install the CPU water block on virtually any kind of socket. Just make sure you have the STOCK bracket that came with your motherboard.
I will be installing the Nautilus on a Socket 939 Athlon64 4000+ installed into an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe.
Corsair provides a syringe of thermal compound. Now.. it looks like a lot, but it's not. The syringe of TIM that comes with the Nautilus has a tiny pin hole in it, so it wasn't coming out too fast. When I spread it out, it barely made it to the edges of the heat spreader.
No does anyone still wonder why I use the Zalman ZM-STG1 with the brush?
Apply the water block to the top of the CPU....
And then apply the foam spacer and a metal plate to the top of the water block.
Now the fun part! For Socket 939, the kit comes with an unusual little two piece metal bracket that uses the plastic tabs on the motherboard bracket to secure the water block. This was particularly frustrating because the bracket is a very tight fit. When the small part of the two-part bracket wasn't popping off of the plastic tab, the water block was sliding across the top of the CPU. Could it be all of the thermal compound? LOL!
And now here we are with the CPU block installed. The hoses are pre-attached to the CPU block and can not be easily removed as metal bands are used to crimp the ends of the hoses to the block.
The two wires (one green and one white) are used to monitor the RPM of the fan that cools the radiator and the RPM of the pump. The four-pin Molex you see in the lower left is what will power the pump. These wires are run through a bracket that fits into a PCI slot that the hoses will run through.
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