Corsair Hydro H60 & H55 Review

Author: AkG
Date: December 5, 2012
Product Name: Hydro H60 / Hydro H55
Part Number: CW-9060010-WW / CW-9060007-WW
Warranty: 5 Years
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The competition within the all in one water cooling market has reached a fever pitch and Corsair chose a perfect time to update two of their most popular products. Finding ways to improve upon some of the highest regarded all in one water coolers is a tall order but the new H60 and H55 represent a great step forward for this niche. Corsair has taken lessons learned over the past few years and melded them into two designs which successfully move beyond the previous generation’s offerings.

When looking at the results posted on the previous pages, it is important to remember that neither of these coolers is intended to satisfy the extreme overclocking crowd. They are good enough to pass muster when linked up with high clock speeds on lower TDP processors but when reaching for even more, expectations have to be managed accordingly. If you are trying to hit acceptable temperatures on the heavily overclocked i7 or Vishera CPUs of this world, be prepared to cough up additional money for something else. There’s only so much a single bay radiator design can accomplish and judging from these results, Corsair may have hit a plateau unless they decide to drastically increase fan speeds.

Thankfully, Corsair has once again proven why they dominate in the AIO arena and why someone should chose them over the competition: commitment to their customers. This is best summed up by a small slip of paper which ships with each unit which says: “…You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage….”. Alongside a massive 5 years of warranty coverage, we really couldn’t ask for more.

H60 Conclusion

The H60 “2.0” was everything we were hoping for from a refreshed Corsair product and then some. Everything from its noise levels to overall performance has been improved by leaps and bounds. Granted, the intergenerational performance jump isn’t extreme, but for $80 we’d be hard pressed to ignore it.

Much of the H60’s newfound strength comes from the custom Corsair SP120 running at its heart. Due to a high static pressure envelope this fan is able to push large amounts of air through the radiator without making an ungodly amount of noise. Coupled with larger tubing, an updated pump and a slightly revised radiator design, the SP120 brings Corsair’s H60 to the next level.

In our opinion, this revised water cooler is one of the most user friendly products currently available. While an in-depth installation procedure ensures the H60 remains just out of plug and play solution territory, we have yet to come across a more intuitive setup process. Both the Intel and AMD mounting kits are exceptionally well designed, which certainly bodes well for first time users who are taking their first plunge into the liquid cooled pool.

Corsair’s H60 may not be the best performing all in one unit currently available, but it does nearly everything right and represents a true step forward for single bay designs. From a price / performance standpoint, this is currently one of the best options available provided you remain mindful of its stock thermal limitations.

H55 Conclusion

In an effort to provide their customers with an adaptable entry level water cooling solution, Corsair made some minor adjustments to their successful H50 and ended up naming it the H55. The differences between past and present aren’t extreme from a visual perspective but they do lead to lower temperatures and an easier installation process.

This cooler is now able to (almost) compete against last year’s H60 and that’s a noteworthy accomplishment but there are several factors which lessen its appeal in our eyes. While installing it may be easier than the H50, the procedure is still far from straightforward and is bound to frustrate some first time users. In addition, Corsair hasn’t made any improvement to the H55’s fan which reflects negatively upon its acoustical profile in comparison against the H60.

The H55’s ultimate undoing doesn’t come from outside influences or a lack of performance. Rather, Corsair’s own product positioning seals its fate. Not only does the new H60 offer easier installation, better performance and a smaller acoustical footprint but it also costs a mere $10 more. We understand the goal of hitting every conceivable price point in an effort to face the competition’s solutions but we just have to question Corsair’s reasoning behind the H55’s off kilter price / performance stance. For the time being, or at least until the price is reduced, we’d recommend skipping over the H55 and focusing upon the more capable H60 “2.0”.

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