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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AMD AM3 Phenom Testing

AMD AM3 Platform Test

I got the AMD Phenom X3 720 BE from Massman to play with. Sadly this CPU is not one of our stronger candidates. We tried unlocking the 4th core on several motherboard’s (hence why I bricked the MSI GD70 by updating the bios to a beta version), but this CPU was very reluctant to do so. Secondly it wasn't one of the better overclockers either, topping at 3.4-3.6 depending on cooling used. Luckily for you, I got the second [M] motherboard, but had to promise not to do any flashing on it. The DFI DK 790FXB-M3G5 would serve as motherboard. More info on the guinea pigs here in Massman's review : AM3 motherboard shootout: DFI DK 790FXB-M3H5 vs MSI 790FX-GD70

Madshrimps (c)
System ready for the tests with Push and pull fan installed

All hardware was installed in the same case as the Intel socket 775 setup, the Antec P160. Note that this case was premodded before to install a dual rad in the top. Since this case serves no longer as a watercooled equiped system the two 120mms fans provide extra flow of air in the case.

To clarify what we got for normal air ; 4 X 120mm case fans installed. This is 1 x front fan, sucking fresh air into the case, 1 x rear fan, blowing hot air out. And 2 x 120mm fans doing the same via the top of the case. All the 4 fans are 120mm 1000rpm case fans. When we install the Corsair H50 unit the rear fan is replaced by the 1600rpm Corsair fan, sucking in fresh air straight over the rad. The rest of the fans remain operative, only for the first test with the stock H50 test, we disabled both top fans. Then we are counting on the integrated fan on my OCZ power supply to act as exhaust. Second test was with the two fans enabled again.

Testing is done in the same manner as with the Intel CPU's. At first max CPU overclock is detected by exploring the limitations of the boxed cooler. Eg the I7 topped at 3.8Gz with the boxed cooler, even though the H50 could handle it at 4-4.2Ghz, 3.8 will be the maximum speed I'll test it on. This AMD CPU really had a hard time at 3.4Ghz with the boxed AMD cooler. 3400Mhz at 1.4Vcore it will be then, as booting into windows at 3.5 was barely doable, but temps were going nuts and stability was far fetched. 3.6 didn't even get me into windows, BSOD galore...

Before we move onto the results I still need to tell you that I couldn't mount the Thermalright eXtreme in the appropriate direction of airflow. I had only one choice and that was to mount it horizontally.

Madshrimps (c)
Thermalright TRUE installed, sadly only one way to mount the fan. For the ones that spotted it, the case backplates were all reinstalled before the testing began.I just had moved the videocard to the next PCI-E slot

Secondly the DFI motherboard seemed to have issues with my GTX 285 when the card was in the first PCIe slot . Sometimes it would loose signal to the monitor and only a hard reset made me have an image again. Moving the video card down to the lower PCIe slot, solved that issue. Also this helped the TRUE's performance to be better as it created more space between the fan and the video card.

Performance results up next ->

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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