Corsair Hydro H50 CPU Water Cooler

Cooling
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COOLING RESULTS

Corsair H50 w/ stock 120 mm fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
Fan Only*
Fan & Pump**
12V
24 dBA
28~29 dBA
63°C
41
10V
18 dBA
24 dBA
66°C
44
9V
14 dBA
21~22 dBA
68°C
47
8V
<11 dBA
77°C
55
Corsair H50 w/ ref. 120 mm fan
12V
16 dBA
23 dBA
65°C
43
9V
13 dBA
21~22 dBA
68°C
46
7V
12 dBA
72°C
50
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (22°C) at load.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
*mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the intake side of the fan.
**mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the halfway point between the pump and fan.

The thermal rise for the H50 and stock fan was between 41°C and 47°C at 12V~9V, an okay result if you only take into account the fan noise. The pump generated a clearly audible and annoying buzz that pushed the overall noise level above 20 dBA. We could also hear the water "gurgling" on occasion. Our reference fan did slightly better at equivalent noise levels, but again, the pump was so much louder it didn't really matter.

Note that in our open testbed, the performance was the same whether the fan was mounted as an intake or an exhaust.

At The pump at full speed makes the overall noise level at least 21~22 dBA@1m, regardless of the fan speed.

Comparison Chart

°C rise Comparison
Heatsink
Nexus 120mm fan voltage /
SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
Rank
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
Prolimatech Megahalems
38
41
44
#1
Noctua NH-D14
38
42
45
#2
Noctua NH-U12P
39
42
44
#2
Scythe Mugen-2
39
42
45
#4
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
40
42
45
#4
Prolimatech Armageddon
40
42
46
#6
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
43
46
#6
Thermalright U120 eXtreme
40
43
48
#8
Thermalright U120
42
45
49
#9
Corsair Hydro H50
43
46
50
N/A
23 dBA
21~22 dBA
Noctua NH-C12P
43
47
51
#10
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
43
47
53
#11
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
#12
Coolermaster V8
46
50
54
#12
Scythe Kabuto
51
53
60
#14

With two noise sources, the fan and the pump, the H50 is outclassed by most of the larger modern air coolers. The pump raises the noise level of the system above 20 dBA, and the performance level is good, but not great. You could undervolt the pump to bring the noise level down, but this isn't recommended by Corsair and it would of course result in an increase in temperature.

We concede that a water cooling system like the H50 may perform better in a hotter environment, i.e. inside a case, but even if the H50 performed as well as the Megahalems, the extra noise from the pump would still make it difficult to recommend.



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