In case you jumped over the test specification, the H50 was tested the same as all of our air coolers–on an open air bench. Testing on an open bench comes with a set of assumptions, but more on that later. Included for testing is push and pull along with dual fans, since the H50 radiator mounts to the 120mm fan hole on the back of your case we wanted to find the best fan configuration so you can choose how to mount up the H50 in your case. Below we have shots of the mount system that stayed on the board throughout testing, just loosen the screws holding the mount ring on, twist the pump/block and there, the H50 is separated from the board. Also, the TIM print from a random mount during testing where you can see just how un-even the IHS is on our 920 but also where the H50 makes contact. Obviously, that pic is several mounts in, as you can see the IHS outline on the block surface.
From orientation testing, we found temps to be slightly better with the pump inlet and outlet perpendicular to the socket arm. We did complete a single run with the stock thermal grease, but after that initial mount, we used Arctic Cooling MX-3 for all tests. Those of you who have worked with MX-3 before know firsthand of the consistency, which I can only describe as an oily, clay like combination. When I first opened a tube and started using MX-3, I thought maybe I got a bad batch… but no, each tube had the same consistency. For more info on Arctic Cooling MX-3, check out our TIM Round-Up V2.
Rather than make you scroll past each individual data table and chart, we have compiled all mounts onto a single chart, with links to the individual results. Soak in the chart now…
To no surprise, the H50 with 2x Gentle Typhoon 1850’s in push/pull net us the lowest Core Average temperatures, and the Gentle Typhoon certainly outperforms the stock fan. Pull configuration is definitely the clear leader, for both Stock fan and our trusty Gentle Typhoon. Mount variation held quite consistent throughout testing, with only two tests close to or over 1C swing.
Looking at purely Core Average results (averaged from all 3 mounts and adjusted to 21C Air In temperatures); the Gentle Typhoons in push/pull score only a 2C lower average than the stock fan in pull. Therefore, there are some gains to be had, with a 20FPI radiator those of you willing to strap a 38mm fan or two on the H50 will see even lower temps but your ears may hate you.
With the entire test run data disclosed, we can stand the Corsair H50 up to our chosen Air Cooler for comparison, the Noctua NH-U12P. To reiterate from the Test Methodology, the Noctua was chosen as our lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it) comparison cooler since the Noctua comes with stock fans and supports dual fans which gives us the best cross comparison capabilities amongst the air coolers we test.
The Noctua with equal fan power edges out the H50 sporting dual Gentle Typhoons by roughly 0.5C for both fan speeds. Our best performing fan orientation is clearly Pull for both stock and GT fan use. Definitely go with Pull in single fan operation and be sure you also have the H50 setup to use fresh intake air.