Our Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: Corsair's Nautilus 500 easily outperformed an aftermarket, all-copper air cooler. At stock and overclocked speeds, whether running at idle or with a full load, the Nautilus 500 kept the processor in our test system significantly cooler than the all-copper heatsink. The Nautilus 500 also remained very quiet throughout all of our testing whether its integrated fan was running in low or high speed modes.
Corsair has put together a very competent water cooling kit in the new Nautilus 500. It is very easy to assemble and install, it performed well, it's quiet, and with a $159 MSRP the Nautilus 500 is relatively inexpensive. Overall, we really liked the Corsair Nautilus 500, but we do have a few reservations and recommendations. Over time, most water blocks tend to get somewhat dirty, or clogged, or even in some cases corrode. Because the Nautilus' water block is completely sealed and doesn't have a see-through cover, you won't be able to detect any internal issues like these. This shouldn't be a problem if you follow the instructions and only use distilled water with the required additives, but it is something to keep in mind. We also would like to see the stand-offs necessary to install the kit in an LGA775 based system updated so that it's not necessary to remove the motherboard in order to uninstall the stand offs. As it stands now, you've got to squeeze the clips with a plier to fit them back through he mounting holes. We're also not too keen on the piece of foam that's used to transfer pressure from the retention brackets to the water block. We would have preferred some sort of metal spring or more durable piece of hardware, but the system did work perfectly in our testing. We can't comment on its long-term effectiveness, and whether or not the foam will lose its elasticity over time, but representatives from Corsair claim it should be fine. And in its current form, the Nautilus 500 worked perfectly.
In the end, the Nautilus 500 is exactly what Corsair says it should be. A high-performing, easy to install, affordable, water cooling kit. In the short time that we've had the Nautilus 500, we've found it to be easy to work with, and the silence it brought to our test system was a very welcome side effect. We really liked the Nautilus 500 and are giving it an 8 on the Heat Meter.
•_Adjustable Fan Speeds
•_Near Universal Compatibility
•_Relatively Rigid Tubing
•_No View into the water block