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  #1  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:43 AM
purple_jeep purple_jeep is offline
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Default Mini Review, Q's and Comments (+1 Issue)

Hi All,

Well as I stated in the "When Will Link Launch" thread I received the Link Cooling Kit today and here are some basic thoughts about the system so far :)

Unboxing

I must say Corsair did a good job packaging the Link Cooling Kit! It came in a single box with one medium and two smaller boxes inside. See attached picture :)
The medium box contained:
-> The Link Commander
-> 2 short digital cables
-> 1 long digital cable
-> 4 standard HD mounting screws (silver not black which would have been better going with Corsairs standard case color)
-> Small notice saying where to get the software

The first small box contained:
-> Cooling node
-> 5 fan extension cables (4 pin)
-> 3 TC sensors
-> A piece of double sided foam tape to install the cooling node.

The second small box contained:
-> Nothing :p I assume this is where the lighting node would be if you get that kit

One thing you may notice is there is no manual and I cant find one on the website either? would be useful as there is a connector on the Link Controller I still have no idea what its for (case fan controller)

Appearance

The Link Commander sure is a nice looking piece of kit and is about the size of a standard hardrive which I assume is all to do with mounting it as the big shiny box is about 95% empty (no warantee void if opened stickers so I hope I am ok just having a look :-) ) The small (0.75" x ~3") circuit board inside appears to have a single microchip, a timing crystal and all the headers for the communication to the nodes and that's it!

The cooling node is a similar sized circuit board but housed in a simple black plastic box with labels for all the connectors and a cable for connecting the 12V power to the node. Would have been nice to have 2 ears on the box with holes for either screwing into place or cable ties as another installation option to the double sided tape.

Installation

Installing the Link Commander was simple and if you have ever installed a hard drive before its exactly the same it. I ended up using one of the quick install slots on my 700D and the only issue I had was I managed to break one of the caddies through my own stupid strength (will have to get another one one day). Only complaint I would have about the Link Commander is the length of the USB header cable. Corsair is know for some huge cases (700D/800D) and in these cases you are going to be very limited by where you can install it and reach the USB header. If you look closely at the attached pictures you will see I had to move it to the closest drive bay to just reach the USB header which is in the standard position at the bottom of an ATX motherboard.

Installing the Cooling node was almost as simple with the two lengths of digital cables giving almost unlimited location choices but in this case the TC cables are too short also. I can barely reach more than one important item at the same time due to the cable lengths on the TC's. Another thing I would have liked to see is some way of attaching the TC to different components, there is none included. Other cooling controllers i have used with TC's included a couple of pieces of I believe kapton tape for sticking the TC's to things. The fan extension cables coupled with the length of most fans attached cables makes them a non issue (side note here why is Corsair using 3 pin fans and not 4 pin?). Connecting it to power is fairly straight forward with a standard Molex power connector. Unfortunately the power connector and its cable are white!?!? why white?? black or even standard colors would have been more aesthetically pleasing in Corsairs mainly Black cases. Also though not an issue for me it might be nice to have the cable as a splitter rather than taking up a whole molex plug, the wire size is tiny so it cant be a current draw issue.

Use
This is the area I have not had alot of play time in but so far it looks great but a few things seem to function oddly. Once the software is installed from the website you will be presented with a picture of a case (you can right click and select the corsair case you have or choose a custom image) with the individual CPU core temperatures on the right. On the left you are shown different boxes for in my case average CPU temperature, GPU 1 and 2 temperature, TC temperatures from the Cooling Node and fan speeds from the cooling node. Each device can be dragged onto the image so you have a visual indication of temperature and fan speeds in various parts of your case.

With the TC sensors there is some sort of issue as mine is showing sensors 1, 2 and 4 while I actually have sensors 1, 3 and 4 connected (see picture). Going by the temperatures reported i believe they are listed backwards (1=4, 2=3, 3=2 and 4=1) Corsair??.

With the Fan speeds these have a multitude of different control options from MAX RPM (full fan spped) thru Fixed RPM (you set and forget) to various temperature controlled schemes. For the Temperture controlled schemes you select which TC you want to group it with (either from the cooling node or from one of the standard system TC (CPU or GPU) and it will vary the speed with temperture. There are a number of preset curves (Low noise, Balanced and High performance) or you can create your own with 5 points. One thing I noticed atleast with the fans that come with the 700D is that the response time is in the order of a minute+. So if I set the speed manually using Fixed RPM to 1000 and then change it to 800 it takes almost a minute or more to change? Sounds like their PID loop needs some tuning.

Summary:
Amazing product just needs a little polish on the following issues:
-> USB header cable is too short for large cases
-> Cooling node power cable, white?? really?? white??
-> TC cable length is very short compared to others I have used.
-> No way to attach TC's to things?
-> TC numbering on cooling node does not seem to match software numbering (its reversed)
-> Fan control is very slow, is this a fan issue or a cooling node issue?

Other than that I really like it and I cant wait to add some more fans to it when I water cool my system. (I think I will build a small board to make the MCP600 controllable by link cooling node as a fan :D

Cheers

Chris!
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:45 AM
purple_jeep purple_jeep is offline
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And a few more pictures :)

Cheers

Chris
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2012, 11:20 AM
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red454 red454 is offline
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Excellent write up! I am ready to get one. Curious as to how it interfaces with the H100.
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