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Corsair Hydro Series H90 Review

ccokeman    -   February 28, 2013
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Corsair Hydro Series H90 Conclusion:

Put to the test, the Hydro series H90 delivers excellent cooling performance when compared to both previous generation products and some of the upper tier air cooling solutions on the market. At a $99 purchase point, the price is going to come with a little bit of sticker shock when you step up to a self-contained liquid cooling solution. If you are running a CPU at stock speeds using the included factory cooling solution, the temperature gain on my test system is close to 30 degrees. That alone makes it attractive to the individual looking to enhance the life span of a pricy processor. Running the CPU overclocked showed an even more impressive improvement of over 40 degrees when the Intel box cooling solution reached over 100 °C.

Comparing to a stock box cooling solution may seem less than ideal, but Corsair's H90 does well against more capable cooling solutions. When overclocked it delivered a three degree improvement over one of the best air cooling solution out right now from Phanteks. Any which way you look at it, the performance speaks for itself. Chassis compatibility runs the gamut, but suffice to say the H90 is going to require a chassis that accommodates a 140mm fan in either the exhaust or intake fan locations. If you are adventurous you can even mod your chassis to fit one in.

Normally, ramping up cooling performance comes with an increased noise penalty; something we saw with the H80 and H100 where the fan speeds created an environment that was not unpleasant but definitely noisy. The fan specification on the H90 shows 35dBA as the noise level generated by the fan. This should be quite noticeable when running the cooler, but during operation it was quite quiet throughout the testing. A pleasant surprise after testing the H80 again for this review. Comparing the tubing used for the Hydro series to the earlier FET tubing is like comparing night and day. Slightly larger yet more flexible, the rubber, low permeability tubing makes installation all that much more comfortable to a point. The tubing's larger size can present some challenges when all of the memory DIMM slots are filled. Careful tweaking of the mounting hardware fixes this problem.

Corsair's Hydro series cooling solutions come with a five-year warranty that should alleviate any concerns with galvanic corrosion over the course of the H90's life span. Using an aluminum and copper cooling plate is not the best solution but is needed to meet the price point to go to market. If it has a five-year warranty and the average upgrade cycle is three years, then it should last until at least the next upgrade cycle. All in all I have to say I am pleased with the cooling and noise level performance delivered by the Hydro Series H90. It's quiet, offers top notch cooling, and is an easy gateway into the world of full-on liquid cooling.

 

Pros:

  • Low noise
  • Excellent cooling
  • Ease of installation
  • Five-year warranty
  • Flexible tubing

 

Cons:

  • Chassis compatibility


 

OCC Gold



  1. Corsair Hydro Series H90 Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Corsair Hydro Series H90 Closer Look: Continued
  3. Corsair Hydro Series H90 Specifications & Features
  4. Corsair Hydro Series H90 Testing: Setup & Results
  5. Corsair Hydro Series H90 Conclusion
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