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Corsair H50 Water Cooling System

H50When it comes to water-cooling kits there are alternatives to piecing your own setup together. Companies are now producing one-piece systems that are easy to install and do not require the user to fill with liquids. These pre-built systems are call “closed loop”, since the unit comes already filled out of the box and is sealed up tight to prevent leaks from user error (we’re only human after all). One such kit is the H50 from Corsair, the maker of other such things like memory, cases and power supplies. This is a tried and true kit which has been on the market for awhile now, but it is still a very solid contender in the world of closed loops water cooling.

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H50

H50When it comes to water-cooling kits there are alternatives to piecing your own setup together. Companies are now producing one-piece systems that are easy to install and do not require the user to fill with liquids. These pre-built systems are call “closed loop”, since the unit comes already filled out of the box and is sealed up tight to prevent leaks from user error (we’re only human after all). One such kit is the H50 from Corsair, the maker of other such things like memory, cases and power supplies. This is a tried and true kit which has been on the market for awhile now, but it is still a very solid contender in the world of closed loops water cooling.

Introduction to the Corsair H50 Water Cooling System

If you call yourself a gamer, enthusiast, overclocker or just a hardware tester, then chances are you’ve played around with various forms of PC cooling. Though the chances of having dealt with air-cooling is only obvious as it is the simplest and most common way to cool down your CPU, video card and various other components inside a rig.

The most extreme form of cooling is phase change, with LN2 being the emerging favorite due to it’s abilities and price to obtain, but there is Dry Ice or Liquid Helium also. Each of these requires expensive equipment and a lot of time prepping the components to endure the very subzero temperatures . The major advantage here is the extreme level of cold applied to the system. The disadvantage would be the time, money and knowledge needed to achieve your final goal, while not ruining hardware in the process.

The happy medium would be water-cooling, which still scares a lot of people. Rightfully so, when you decide to piece together a kit from parts by various manufacturers there is always the chance of a leak. This way can also get expensive, and at the same time requires hours of assembly and testing to make sure things work right.

When it comes to water-cooling kits there are alternatives to piecing your own setup together. Companies are now producing one-piece systems that are easy to install and do not require the user to fill with liquids. These pre-built systems are call “closed loop”, since the unit comes already filled out of the box and is sealed up tight to prevent leaks from user error (we’re only human after all). One such kit is the H50 from Corsair, the maker of other fine products like memory, cases and power supplies. While the H50 has been on the market for awhile now, it is a tried and true kit which is still a very solid contender in the world of closed loops water cooling.

Corsair’s take on the H50

The Corsair Hydro Series™ H50 CPU Cooler gives you the power of liquid cooling in a compact, easy to install package. You get superior cooling for higher overclocking performance without the complexity of traditional liquid-cooling systems.

The Hydro Series H50 goes head-to-head with top of the line heat sinks, but maintains the near silence of liquid cooling for annoyance-free cooling performance. Due to its compact form factor, the H50 is the ideal solution for any case with a 120mm fan mount, even small form factor cases that prevent the installation of traditional heat pipe based air coolers. So whether you want world-class cooling, lower noise levels than your current CPU cooler, or something that fits in your small form factor case, the closed-loop Hydro Series H50 takes your CPU’s temperature to new lows and takes up less room doing it.

Specifications

Part Number: CWCH50-1
Warranty: Two years
Cold Plate Material: Copper
Included Fans: 1x 120mm
Fan Rating: 50CFM @ 1700RPM (motherboard controllable), 12v
Socket Supported: AM2, AMD AM3, Intel LGA 1155, Intel LGA 1156, Intel LGA 1366, Intel LGA 775
Typical Pump Speed: 1300-1400RPM
Radiator Material: Aluminum
Radiator Dimensions: 120mm W, 157mm H, 27mm D
Tubing: Low-permeability for near-zero evaporation

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Closer look

The H50 is a fully assembled, closed loop water-cooling kit, and was built to compete with the higher-end air-coolers on the market. Compatible with all the current sockets from AMD and Intel means the H50 can be used on nealry any platform. Thanks to the H50’s all-in-one design, it can be installed in a matter of minutes, and is what we will outline for you here in this article.

One of the most important parts of a water-cooling kit is the radiator, or “rad” for short. In the case of the H50, the rad used is a 120mm unit and can support dual 120mm fans on opposite sides for a push-pull configuration. The rad is not the biggest we have seen that comes with an all-in-one kit, but it is definitely big enough to handle the processor it will be connected to. The aluminum fins of the rad are just dense enough to allow a fair amount of airflow to pass through, and is paired with a high pressure fan for maximum cooling efficiency. This may sway from your typical heatsink thinking where a higher CFM counts, but the principal is the same between increased pressure and CFM; more air. The only difference is how they do this: high pressure works off air density, where as high CFM works off air speed.

Looking at the actual water block, you will notice that it is much larger than any of the aftermarket blocks, such as the ones offered by Enzotech, Swiftech and others. This is because the block also consists of the actual pump that circulates the liquid inside throughout the kit. Yes, the block is bulky but given it’s size compare to say a TRUE120, there should not be an issue when mounting the unit to any motherboard on the market.

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The H50’s cold plate is made from a solid copper base, and come with pre-applied thermal compound. Look closely you see there is quite the number of screws that attaches the plate to the pump housing. This maybe a pain if you ever had to disassembly it, but it is designed so you won’t ever need to, and as such is required to keep a tight seal during it’s operating life.

There are plenty of components packed with the cooler to make for a complete assembly. There is a set of plates for of AMD’s AM2, AM2+ and Am3 sockets. As well as another set for Intel based motherboards including 775, 1155/1156 and 1366. 

The last of equipment packed with the cooler is the fan which is a 120mm model. Corsair doesn’t provide much in the way of fan specifications, but it has a maximum speed of 1700RPM at 12V (4pin PWM), with a maximum 50CFM, and the warranty will not be voided should you decide to upgrade it. The pump comes with an RPM readout as well, which connects to any standard motherboard fan header, and will typically read between 1300-1400RPM.

Installation

The installation of the H50 is rather simple, but may require a little reading in order to set the brackets up correctly. The process begins with selecting the appropriate brackets for your motherboard’s socket, the Intel set in this case as we will be fitting the H50 to a Socket 1155

The first order of business is to find the proper mounting holes that will be used on the back plate, which is labeled by CPU socket type. Since the new socket 1155 mountings are the same as the socket 1156 it replaced, they will be what you use in this instance. Once that has been figured out you will need to install the metal inserts into the proper holes in the bottom plate. The proper holes are determined by the socket of the motherboard. In order case we will be using the 1156 holes which are the same for 1155. Next, we install plastic inserts into the top hold down brackets.

Here we have the pieces installed onto our motherboard. One thing to remember is to only tighten the screw a few turns, otherwise you will not be able to insert the pump assembly.

Here we have the radiator and fan installed at the rear of the case. Corsair suggests mounting the fan in such a way that air blows cool outside air across the fins of the rad, which goes against instinct by dumping the hot air inside. So instead we installed the fan to pull heat away from the fins, acting as an exhaust fan. But for forward testing we mounted it the suggested way as well, then adding a second fan for a push-pull test.

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Here we have the CPU block attached to the motherboard and CPU. This is where the screws not being tightened comes in to play. What you must do is align the pump and bracket groves, sliding the pump down and then twisting it till the notches on the bracket and pump are lined up, locking the pump down. You then tighten down the screws, plug the fan and pump into two open motherboard fan headers, and that’s it. 

Stress Testing

Test Hardware:
Motherboard:  Gigabyte P67-UD4
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K
Ram: Patriot Sector 5 1333 4GB Dual Channel (9-9-9-24)
Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 5870
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: Corsair 600T
Cooling: Corsair H50
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

The testing was done using LinX to put a strong load on the test system, which was allowed it to run for a total of twenty minutes. To measure temperature we relied on Real Temp. As for the H50 we first attached the radiator to the rear mounted Corsair fan in our 600T and operated in an exhaust fan configuration. We then took a second Corsair fan and attached it to the opposite side of the radiator for a better performing push-pull configuration.

Results

 
Idle Temps


Load Temps

Conclusion

The Corsair H50 is ideal for those that want to get into water-cooling for the first time, and Corsair made the transition from air to water as painless as can be for this sort of individual. For starters everything is pre-assembly/pre-filled, meaning you do not have to spend hours and days piecing together all the necessary parts to build a custom water-cooling kit.Then with it assembled for you out of the box means that the chances of leaking it a lot less.

The H50 is not going to compete with a custom water-cooling kit and Corsair knows this. Their goal with this kit was to compete against top air coolers on the market like Noctua, Thermalright and Cooler Master.

The performance surrendered by the H50 is right in the range of high performance air coolers. We saw in our test how it fared against one of Scythe’s newest coolers the Yasya, which is no slouch. With that being said the price of the H50 can be had from $55 on sale to $79 retail. At this price it is right in line with the higher end coolers when you factor their price, plus a couple of decent fans as some don’t even give you even one.

If the H50 hasn’t convinced you to go the dark water-cooling side, Corsair also offers the H70 and their newly released H60.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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