Quiet; great cooling; competitively priced; no-maintenance closed-loop cooling.
Idle temps could be lower; install could be easier.
Corsair is best known for its memory and power supplies, but recently the company has taken to rebadging excellent OEM products for retail. First came a rebadged edition of Samsung’s blazing-fast 256GB MLC solid state drive. Now Corsair is continuing the trend by scooping up Asetek’s all-in-one liquid CPU cooler and rebranding it as the Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H50. It’s not just a straight-up rebadge. According to Corsair, it worked with Asetek to modify the latter’s OEM-only version, adopting a universal design and reportedly improving performance. We can’t verify how Corsair’s H50 compares to the OEM version, as the OEM version isn’t available for consumer purchase.
We were more interested to see how the H50 did against CoolIt’s similarly priced Domino (reviewed June 2009). Like the Domino, the Corsair H50 consists of a CPU heat exchanger/pump unit that fits atop the CPU and is connected to a radiator, which mounts in place of your case’s rear 12cm fan. The H50 includes its own 12cm fan, which sits between the radiator and the case wall and pulls air through the radiator fins. The pump uses a three-pin power lead, which needs to plug into the CPU fan power port on the motherboard, and the 12cm fan, confusingly, has a four-pin connector, which plugs into any other fan control port. We originally tried running the pump off a direct-power Molex and the fan off the CPU PWM port, but saw miserable performance. Only after reversing the two did we achieve the expected performance.
The heat exchanger mounts to the mother-board using a backplate/clamp mechanism, which is held on by spring screws. It’s not the easiest install we’ve ever undertaken, and the fact that the pump is permanently attached to the radiator means you’ll be dealing with that bit of inconvenience during the whole process, but it’s not terribly arduous, either.
Once installed, the H50 performed admirably. Unlike the CoolIt Domino, there’s no rpm monitor or adjustable-speed fans (unless you control yours from the motherboard), but the H50 performs extremely well (and quietly) on its single setting. The H50 lowered full-burn temperatures nearly 35 degrees from the stock cooler, and almost five degrees below the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme , our champion air cooler (reviewed July 2009). Idle temps were barely two degrees higher than with the Thermalright, but still nearly 15 degrees cooler than stock.
The Corsair H50 retails for $80—comparable to the CoolIt and most of our favorite air coolers. It’s quiet, classy, and works like a charm.
|Corsair H50 ||Thermalright U120-E ||Stock Cooler |
|Idle (C)||31.25 ||29.25||44.75 |
|100% Burn (C)||40||44.5||73.75|