The H50 is based on Asetek's LCLC but has been significantly updated to improve performance
There must be quite a few advantages to being a memory company when it comes to trade shows such as Computex – it’s much easier to breeze into two with a few sticks of DDR than lugging in 20 new cases, for instance. Sadly for the backs of its employees (but happily for us hardware enthusiasts), at Computex this year Corsair made it clear it’s looking to expand into new product categories.
Rich had an early look at Corsair’s upcoming Obsidian case at CeBIT
, and in its suite in the Grand Hyatt hotel we got to see an slightly updated version of the design. It’s still absolutely massive, and still boasts reserved, industrial styling which aims, Corsair says, to exude power, confidence and reliability. The design touches that impressed us previously were still present and correct – rubber-edged cable routing holes, hot-swappable hard disk bays, plenty of fans – and it’s a product we’re certainly looking forward to getting into the lab.
In addition to the Obsidian, Corsair had a new CPU cooler on show. Nothing chills our blood quite like the phrase ‘budget water-cooling system’ but we actually came away from the H50 feeling positive. Its been designed by Corsair in association with Asetek, but while it’s based on the rubbish LCLC, Corsair told us almost the only aspect that has stayed the same is the reliability of the tubing seals and the fact that it’s a pre-filled, sealed system with a single 120mm fan. The H50 has a new radiator, a new pump and a new coldplate and has been through “six or seven major revisions”
before being its performance was deemed satisfactory.
Corsair felt confident enough in the H50 that it had two Core i7-975 demo systems, each clocked to 3.9GHz with 1.25v vCore and identical hardware aside from the CPU cooling. The air-cooled machine was fitted with Thermalright’s excellent Ultra 120 eXtreme
, and under 100% load from Prime95 the CPU was hitting 80 degrees Celsius, compared to 66 degrees Celsius when cooled by the H50.
Corsair’s representatives told us that their aim was to be better than the best air cooler, and to sell the product on its merits as a CPU cooler, rather than as a liquid cooler. We were told the H50 would be retailing for $79, compared to around $50 for the Thermalright - although that's without a fan, so the two products are comparable if not identical when it comes to price. As ever, we'll let you know what we think once we get a H50 in the labs to test.
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Left: The air-cooled machine Corsair pitted against its H50 rig; Right: The innards of the Obsidian.