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 Performance results & Noise

AMD Phenom Performance Results

So here are the points of the Belgian jury.

Note that due to the TRUE's position and the installation of the GFX card in the top PCIe slot in the original setup, its thermal performance was a bit worse then in the chart below. With the video card in the middle PCIe slot, performance was improved by 3°C. So please keep that in mind, your results could vary when using the TRUE in your AMD rig and a hot running video card just below it.

Madshrimps (c)

The boxed cooler had big problems keeping the CPU stable at 3.4Ghz. It was just stable enough to run prime custom 20K FFT. Trying to boot at 3.5Ghz resulted in lockups, BSOD's or straight errors when starting prime. When the testing was over I immediately removed the motherboard from the PC. Imagine it takes a few minutes to do so, then I started to remove the stock cooler, I can assure you it was still very hot. Its fan also spun flat out all the time during the test and was very audible.

With the TRUE doing the cooling, the rig behaved far better. Squeezing 22°C off the boxed cooler is already very nice. Even testing at 3.5Ghz was no issue. More however, was limited by this particular CPU we tested.

The Corsair H50 continued to impress me, by gaining 2°C over the TRUE setup. There was no thermal performance gain on our test bed setup by enabling the top 120mm fans. Installing the 2nd fan for push and pull operations, let us idle at 4°C lower than with the TRUE and gaining one more degree under load. Taking into consideration that you have now 2 fans spinning at 1600 rpm, it might not be worth the extra noise, to gain one or in the Intel CPU's best case scenario 2 degrees. But that's up to you to decide. Even in the stock configuration the H50 is already up to the task. Testing the PNP fan setup at 2000 rpm (not very enjoyable for anybody in the living room) didn't improve the thermal performance. The radiator is the limiting factor here.

There's no extra MX2 TIM test here as it was applied from the start.

Noise measurements :

Many people wondered how much noise the unit would make compared to a normal air-cooled rig. Time to get the Smart Sensor AR824 out of the box. I chose 3 measurements : the Pc off (to measure the ambient noise) , air cooled and H50 cooled pc running prime.

The PC was loaded, as the fan ( when hooked up like Corsair suggests) will spin up quickly to +1600rpm as it's PWM controlled (FYI on idle the fan spins at 1000rpm here). The Smart Sensor was set at 30-80dBa range and placed on a box 30cm away from the open pc (one side panel removed)

Madshrimps (c)

The air cooled rig, as mentioned before, has got 4 X 120mm fans spinning at 1000rpm, one CPU fan at 1600rpm (don't care about noise ) and of course the fan of the Gfx card spinning (idle mode). The H50 is the same setup minus one 1000rpm fan. Depending on the accuracy of our digital Sound Level Meter the above should give you an idea of the comparative outcome from switching to the H50. It gets a tiny bit less noisy with the H50 kit installed.
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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