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Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF AIO CPU Cooler Review

Final Thoughts


Price

The Corsair H5 SF is a bit of a niche product, but it delivers well on its promises. I was expecting it to have some crazy price tag, putting it alongside high-end AIO coolers with 240mm radiators, but it’s just £61.99 from Overclockers UK. That’s not bad for an AIO that can fit in pretty compact chassis designs, especially for those who want to overclock their CPU in such systems.

Overview

Corsair has really gone out of their way to create something different here, it really doesn’t look like anything else we’ve ever tested, but it’s still a fun idea regardless. While small form factors are growing in popularity, there’s a growing demand for high-performance low-profile CPU coolers. Sure, you can find a fair few air coolers with a low profile design, but when it comes to overclocking, you won’t be getting much mileage in terms of acoustics or temperatures. The H5 SF fixes this, giving you all the headroom you need for a good-sized overclocked, albeit falling way short of what you would want for extreme overclocking, that realm remains loyal to 240mm radiators and above.

It’s not without its flaws, I’ll give it that, as it’s a little louder at full load when overclocked. Of course, the simple solution there would be to not put 1.35v through the chip like we do. Ease up on the OC a little and you’ll still get great performance without the punishment of those extra decibels. Then there’s the installation process, it’s not easy getting the pump over the screws, thumb screws in place and the radiator bolted down to the motherboard. However, I also realise that some sacrifices are to be expected to cram a radiator into such a compact space.

If you’re rocking the Corsair Bulldog, 250D, 380T, or a whole bunch compact mini-ITX and HTPC type chassis, then the H5 SF is going to add a new dynamic to your build options. It’s not as powerful as many of the 120mm and above AIOs, but compared to high-end low-profile air coolers, this tiny radiator gives them a thrashing.

Pros

  • Super compact design (for an AIO cooler)
  • Reasonable OC potential
  • Sleek and professional looking design
  • Intel/AMD support
  • Unique installation bracket for mini-ITX helps lower the profile
  • Good price

Cons

  • Blower design louder than usual AIO coolers, but not overly loud compared to low-profile air coolers
  • Can be tricky to install, but this isn’t a standard cooler after all

“The latest AIO cooler from Corsair may not be out to replace their higher-end products, but the H5 SF literally fills a space for water cooling that was previously only the playground for air-cooling. If you need that extra kick to help keep your CPU running hard and fast in an SFF build, this is the perfect solution for the job.”

Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF AIO CPU Cooler Review

Thank you Corsair for providing us with this sample.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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