In the process of testing the Corsair H50 some of the standard ways of doing things were challenged, and mainly the direction of the fans. To me this made no sense. In making the rear fan the intake and not the exhaust it requires the complete reversal of airflow through a case that was designed to flow front to back, and pull heat away from the CPU and surrounding components. Why have the heat from the radiator coming into the case blowing straight at the CPU/pump/water block? It just makes no sense to us at all.
Aside from the funky fan direction requirement the rest of the install was fairly easy. Those with very small cases may find it difficult to hold the pump/water block flat to the CPU to get the retention ring snugged up, but after a little fight with things it is possible. We have encountered much worse mounting systems on air coolers, that is for sure.
In our test system the Corsair H50 liquid cooler, setup per Corsairs instructions, performed on par with the beloved Thermalright Ultra120 eXtreme-1366 RT, or TRUE 1366 as some like to call it. When we paired the H50 with two Noctua NF-P12 fans for a push/pull arrangement and exhausting air from the case the normal way, we found that the Corsair H50 did very well.
The Corsair H50 was quiet even with the stock fan from Corsair, and even more so with the Noctua NF-P12 fans. Now, when it comes to the cost of the Corsair H50, it doesn’t currently show up in our shopping link. With a quick search on Google Shopping we found the price to be as little as $79.99 plus shipping. At that price point the Corsair H50 is on par with the entry level water and high end air coolers. If you want more cooling performance you can buy a pair of Noctua NF-P12 fans for $15.68 each and you’ll end up having a have a great water cooling solution that beats out more than a dozen performance air coolers as you saw in our testing.
Since the H50 is a sealed system I’m more inclined to compare it to high-end air rather than entry level water systems like the Swiftech H20-120 Compact, which is not a sealed close loop kit, and also is twice the price of the H50. That puts the H50 up against coolers like the Noctua Nh-U12P and the Thermalright Ultra 120. Add in the cost of a pair of high pressure, high CFM fans and that price nudges more towards the $100 mark and that gets you into Cooler Master V10 territory.
The Corsair H50 liquid CPU cooler comes backed with a 24 month warranty even though the Corsair Warranty page says that all liquid coolers come with a one year warranty. With a solid two year warranty and great performance with room for improvement, the Corsair H50 is a great solution for mainstream users and enthusiasts alike.
Legit Bottom Line: The Corsair Hydro Series H50 water cooler is competitive with higher-end air coolers right out of the box, and with some new cooling fans the H50 is a top notch cooler that does great on Intel Core i7 platforms.