If you are wondering how the Corsair H50 water cooler stacks up to CoolerMasters V8 air cooler, here is my real world (ghetto) review. Now, I have been running CM’s V8 for some years now and have always wanted to get the H50 because I overclock and am always looking for that bit of extra headroom so I can raise the clock a wee bit more. When the H50 first hit the market I decided to wait to see how the thing stood up to its air cooling competitors, but could never find definitive reviews with both coolers going toe to toe, so lets just say that I never picked one up. But today I was browsing the local BestBuy and saw the H50 (years after its launch) on sale for 39.99, I could not resist. So I picked the thing up and headed gleefully headed home to test it out.
So a little history of my machine. It was my first build with a AMD 7750be, Msi k92sli platinum with the coolermaster V8. Yada yada, I overclocked it but could never really test to see how much the cooler could take because the cpu could not hold a clock high enough for me to max out the temps. Since then I have swapped parts though and I have been in need for a better cooling solution. This is what my machine looks like now.
-Intel i7-960 clocked at 4Ghz (stock or miniscule overvolt)
-Asus X58 Sabertooth mobo
-6gig of Patriot sector7 (3sticks running at 1600)
-CoolerMaster case (CM690)
-XFX 9800gtx+ (trusty lil dinosaur)
-Ultra 750watt power supply
-A bunch of hhd’s and fans etc.
I have the computer set up for a max clock or 4ghz turbo’ed with speed step enabled. Under normal usage (video games, browsing, HD movies, multitasking blah blah) the Cpu will sit right above 40c stable no problems. When I bench it or use a program that caps out all the cores (bitcoin lol) it can get pretty fricken toasty, where I have to essentially stop whatever im doing in fear of starting the thing on fire. Im talking watching the temps slowly rise up to 85c+ before I wuss out. The V8 just cant keep up after it starts to soak the heat, it seems to have a threshhold (mid 70′s) before the temps start rising at a fast rate. The cpu would probubly blow up if I dont intervene.
Now the V8 is a good cooler for a small overclock but from what i hear from bit-tech and the forums, the H50 hands down beats the V8, So if the thing can at least give keep a solid temp without spiraling out of control I would be happy with my $40 purchase. This is how it went.
Start up the machine after I put the thing in, temps look normal, about on par with the V8 while at a idle. Now from what I hear the stock grease does not need a burn in period so went straight to the benching. Prime95, fire it up and watch the temps raise to 65-70ish, im properly impressed after a few mins and optimistically watch the temps, just incase something goes wrong. Then it was the same story, right around 75c the H50 started to struggle just like the V8, temps started to rise at a faster and faster rate. A few BSOD’s later.. Not good but I was not about to give up on the thing yet. So I reseat a few, try all the different configurations with the radiator. Up, back, top, upside down etc. Single fan, dual fan, all while pulling in air from outside the case. Jiggle the tubing, rock the machine back and fourth to work the bubbles out, I tried it all and nothing. And in the end I sit dissapointed.
Hoping the H50 could at least hold a steady temp at 4ghz, and saving a few temps would have been a win, but no. Whats worse is that even though the H50 gave me the same issuse of soaking heat and spinning out of control around 75c, it actually preformed worse than the V8. While stressing it with prime, the temps would jump around by 5-6c, instead of a smooth rise in heat like the V8. I can only imagine that this spikes in temps are cause by air pockets. And maybe this behavior was what was causing the Bsod’s, maybe when the H50 got around low 80′s the temps spiked and crashed the PC, who knows.
So, Im no proper reviewer but this is what I think. If you are looking to purchase a cooler for a small to mild overclock and are torn between the H50 and V8, go buy the CoolerMaster V8. The reason I say this is that with a small overclock either will do fine, but you have the benifit of the V8 as its a air cooler and you dont have to worry about a water pump taking a crap. If the V8′s fan took a crap, you would probubly hear it on its way out before it was too late. And even if it failed, overheated and crashed, cpus now of days turn the machine off before they can destroy their selves from overheating. Go pick up a new fan instead of a new cooler all together. If your like me and like the biggest overclock you can get from your hardware, go pick up a proper watercooler. I sure would if I had the disposable income.
UPDATE: So 2 days after I tested the H50, it started making strange noises and I instantly /facepalm. I crack the case open and grab the nearest stethoscope (long screwdriver) and my fear was confirmed. This strange noise that sounded like a fan/pump on its way out was indeed coming from the pump. After about 5 mins the noise faded away but the pump did not die.
So this is just a testament to my reasoning that yes, pumps just like anything else will fail eventually. So looks like I am going to switch back to the air cooler sooner than expected. Maybe I will pick up and install a new cooler instead of throwing the v8 back in and do another review. Does any of my 0 readers have a suggestion? lol