Corsair Hydro Series H50 CPU Water-Cooling Kit Review

Cooling/Water Cooling by leeghoofd @ 2009-08-02

*Updated with AMD Phenom Temp Results* Corsair gets their feet wet again, after close to 3 years they have introduced another water cooling product, the previous one being the Nautilus 500 back in 2006. This time around they’ve also opted for an all-in-one kit, but build inside the case, fitted onto the exhaust fan, a case with 120mm exhaust is a requirement, a large wallet is not! The Corsair H50 will be introduced at price of ~€/$70 which is pretty much on par with high end air cooled heatsinks out there! So can an all-in-one kit impress us? Let´s find out!

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Intel CPU Performance Results

Performance Results

How did I test this little unit ? First I wanted to test it out of the box. No extra fans or such added, this to simulate the average end user experience. Not everybody has the luxury to have front, top and side panel coolers. The 2nd test more airflow was generated via a top fan sucking air out of the case. Thirdly to improve the unit performance I added a second fan for a push and pull configuration. Note that I still use the original fan together with an Antec Tricool fan at medium setting (1600RPM). The 2nd Push and pull configuration comprises of 2 Antec fans, both running at full blast (2000RPM). Final test with MX2 instead of the stock TIM and the Antec fans mounted on the radiator.

Testing program is good old prime95. I select custom test, with 20K fixed. The rigs are allowed to run idle for about 15 minutes before being primed to death during an hour. With the previous Core i7 water block roundup we took a 2 hour prime test, but hottest temps were easily reached within the first hour. So one hour of prime is more than sufficient to get a good idea how the H50 will perform. Many forum members asked me why not to use LinX. I'm well aware that LinX or IBT stresses the CPU more than any other program out there, so it generates more heat then Prime95, at the same time Prime95 will resemble real application load temperatures.

Competition for the H50 will be in form of the Thermalright TRUE equipped with a 1600rpm 120mm fan and the stock Intel cooling.

First up, the E7400 running at 4ghz ( 10 x 400FSB ) 1.35Vcore

Madshrimps (c)

Out of the box the H50 unit is on par or just beating the Thermalright eXtreme cooler. The boxed cooler is trailing here by almost 20°C. Installing the top 120mm fan in the case didn't help much. I suspect the OCZ power supply does already a good job of getting hot air out of the Antec P160 case. Once I installed a 2nd fan on the radiator (1600rpm setting) I gained another 1°C. Boosting the fans speed to 2000rpm didn't help at all. The idle temps got a degree or 2 lower, load temps stayed the same. Overall Corsair did a good job of selecting a 1600rpm fan , combining enough airflow with acceptably silent operation. Finally replacing the TIM with MX2 gave me another small gain. I reseated the latter 3 times to ensure proper contact.

I7 up next, 3.8Ghz running on 8 cores at 1.15Vcore

Madshrimps (c)

A good cooler does miracles on an I7 CPU. These are monsters, wattage to heat converters we call them. The stock cooler is almost making the 950 throttle and the test was abandoned after 10 minutes. It just couldn't handle the heat. The TRUE and the stock H50 unit perform at least 25°C better under full load. When trying to improve the H50's performance we see the same results as with the S775 setup. Adding a second fan is the best and easiest thing you can do.

Here's a screenshot with the H50 handling the Core i7 950@4.4Ghz quite well during some Single and SLI 9800GT runs...

Madshrimps (c)
(click to zoom)
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Comment from Jaco @ 2009/07/28
What type of cooling fluid is used ?
I know the waterblock is copper , but the radiator is aluminium.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2009/07/28
I think the fluid mixture itself is top secret... I tried to refill the unit and it didn't even take 70cc to fill her up, it's pretty impossible to get it done properly, unit still mixed loads of air and is in fact wasted... will let her run ( without no cpu to see what happens with the fluid )
Comment from 2Cb @ 2010/04/24
Hey Leeghoofd,

Which is the best push pull setup for this cooler in your experience? Having the push fan blowing air into the case or out of the case (assuming the case airflow is adapted correctly)?

Comment from jmke @ 2010/04/24
Having the push fan blowing air into the case or out of the case
if your case is located in a "hot" area at the rear, closed environment or inside a PC furniture, you might get better results by placing a good in-take fan at the front and having the push/pull setup blow air outside the case.
if however you can get fresh air at the rear of the case, having the fans pull in cool air will give you the advantage
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2010/04/25
Indeed much depends on the way the rig is setup, case ventilation etc...

I never got the acclaimed 10 °C difference with the TRUE, I even tried theunit outside of the case, temps stayed +/- the same.

For max performance : sucking air in via the rear hole as advised by Corsair, but for max ventilation it would require to add a top fan to get rid of the trapped hot air in the case

There's a cool thread on, there are zillions of mods that make the unit even better :

Official Corsair H50 hydro series owners