Corsair H50 Review
Test Setup and Results
Both setups had identical component except, naturally, for the motherboard and processor.
ASUS HD5850 Top
Cougar 1000CM PSU
AM3 : MSI 890GX and AMD X4 620
i7 : Biostar Tpower X58 and i7-920 C stepping
For our tests we built the systems exactly the same. Temperatures were taking using CoreTemp. The Idle temperatures were taken after half an hour of sitting at the Windows 7 desktop. Load temperatures were taken right at the end of a 30 minute Prime95 run.
The stock results on both systems were taken with, unsurprisingly, everything at stock. For our overclocked test the i7 was running at 3.6GHz @ 1.35v and the AMD was at 3.2GHz @ 1.40v. During all of our tests the pump was connected directly to a 12v supply and we made sure we tested with the room around the 20°C mark.
Most importantly because of the price point of the H50 we wont be comparing it to bespoke water cooling systems as they cost at least four times as much. So we're going to be just treating it like a very high-end air cooler when analysing the results.
And what high end coolers would they be I hear you ask. Well as this is a pricey bit of kit we are testing against a Prolima Megahalems which is one of the more popular coolers around. To make sure we don't skew the results by sticking a Delta or something similar on we will be using a Xilence Red Wing which is a very reasonably priced average fan. Of course no high-end test would be complete without putting it up against the absolute daddy of coolers, our reigning champion, the Noctua NH-D14. It's a couple of quid more than the H50 but we already know what a monster it is and so should provide a stern test for the H50. After all if Corsair are serious about this being the end to all your cooling needs, it has to be the best doesn't it.
As you'll recall Corsair want what is naturally the exhaust port on a PC to be the intake for the cool air to keep the water temperatures down. We have therefore tested in this way, but have also tested in a more natural exhaust position. Thanks to our large and well-ventilated ATCS 840 we wanted to see if it would really make a difference or if Corsair are just being prima donnas and demanding we rearrange all our airflow to accommodate the H50.
Let's start at the top, balls to the wall. No fannying about, how much cooling potential does the H50 have? We put everything as fast as it would go, donned our ear protectors and began running the tests.
As you can see there isn't much difference whether the cool air is dragged in or pumped out. Although the idle temperatures are higher than we'd like to see, especially for the noise level of the fan, it actually handed the loaded overclock test a lot better than its svelte size would have you think. It beat out the Megahalems but gets roundly spanked by the Noctua NH-D14. Even more surprisingly the Noctua with it's two fans was still quieter than the Corsair H50.
While we're deafening ourselves we'll have a look at the AMD results. These aren't the main focus of todays test because AMD processors run nice and cool in comparison to the mighty house-warming gift that is the i7 920, but nonetheless we know that often our AMD fans get overlooked because of the relatively little heat the Phenom series put out.
The results bear this out with absolutely no need to run an exhaust test because with the fan drawing air in as Corsair demand the X4 640 doesn't begin to break out in a sweat.
It's OC3D Sensible Hour
Having mopped the blood up from our ears it is time to go back to the way we test all our coolers. Naturally the water still needs to be pumped and so the pump is left attached to our 12v source. This is our "how you'd do it" test. After all, it's pointless us testing endlessly in arctic conditions to give a good result if as soon as you get it home and install it in a default state it's nowhere near. With the room still at the same temperature but a much less intrusive fan speed our idle and Prime95 load testing gave these temperatures.
Admittedly much higher than we saw with the 100% test, but considering the noise levels a little temperature is alright. You can see that our overclock, and the 0.2v increase in the core it entails, starts to reach the limits of how much you can cool with such a small radiator. But if I tell you more I wont have anything left for the conclusion. So read on Macduff...