Pros: Here are the positive aspects of the H90:
It’s quiet. The pump is silent to my ears. The fan is PWM and speeds can be regulated. When using a silent fan profile. I cannot hear the fan.
It’s simple. It mounts at two points. It’s powered from 2 wires.
It’s compatible. It offers compatibility with all the current AMD and Intel platforms. Sockets 1155/1156, 1366, 2011, AM3+ are all supported.
It’s clean. I replaced a Swiftech H2O-220 Edge that used black swivel compression fittings and white tubing. While the H90 is not as fancy in appearance, its smaller footprint and unobtrusiveness give a clean look with an open space feel.
It performs. With a fan profile that allows the fan to run at 100%, the H90 cooled better than my larger and more expensive cooler. At 140mm it competes directly with other 2x120mm radiators, and even bests Corsair’s own H100.
It has a 5 year warranty.
It has a 140mm PWM fan. This might not seem like much, but after looking online for another, I didn’t find much. They exist, but you don’t have too many options. And those that do are not giving specifications that rival those listed for this fan.
It’s maintenance free. Not that this sealed cooler carries this trait uniquely, but it’s worth noting the comparison when also considering a custom liquid cooling system.
Cons: I didn’t find a lot to complain about the H90. But there are a few points.
The first thing to note is that the 140mm radiator size makes for a great and effective cooling surface, it does pose a problem for a lot of people who simply don’t have a spot to mount a 140mm fan and radiator. 120mm fans have been the standard large case fan for quite some time now and their usage is found to be much more prevalent in a far larger amount of cases. So to even use this cooler, you’re going to need the right case with the right mountings.
Another aspect of this cooler is that it seems to be somewhat a reversion in terms of features. The H80 and H100 featured integrated fan controllers. The H80i and H100i seemed like refreshers to the previous products, but not without adding Corsair’s Link technology to further add to the features. Then the H90 and H110 arrive and one would most likely just assume that this too would have integrated fan control and Link. But neither are found on this cooler. Not everyone is going to think this is a fault of the product and in fact some will see the benefit in these being removed. But for those who did assume and found out otherwise, there might be some disappointment associated with the purchase.
I’d also like to mention the somewhat more complicated process of mounting the cooler. This was my first experience with using the ring type mounting bracket used in the Asetek style coolers. And while it wasn’t daunting in any way, I’ve definitely used simpler designs that seemed to work just as effectively. Assembling the brackets involved some fairly small parts that required some finer motor skills.
Lastly, I think the cooler is slightly overpriced. If it came in at $90 instead of $100 I’d recognize the value of this cooler a little bit better. I say this because at one point Corsair mostly stood alone with these coolers. But there are other reputable manufacturers that are now selling basically the same coolers. Corsair’s brand name speaks volumes, but I don’t feel it should be the only distinguishing factor that makes you select their cooler over the competition. A more competitive price would insure Corsair’s dominant position
That being said, I wanted there to be enough cons with cooler to bring it down to 4 stars. I don’t like overzealously representing anything too favorably. But the pros too greatly outweigh the cons here making for a great product which I cannot in good conscious take away any stars.
Overall Review: I used to use custom loops. And while performance was great, they came with their own pitfalls. I changed my hardware frequently, and I can’t say I appreciated the process of dealing with a custom loop. They also added maintenance and costs that didn’t present much value.
Then came the sealed liquid coolers from Corsair. I wasn’t impressed. They couldn’t match the performance of a custom loop. But the simplicity and ease of installation spoke to me. Eventually I started using a Swiftech H2O-220 Edge, where the pump, radiator and reservoir were all-in-one, but the loop remained custom. I found myself using it more like a sealed system though.
I first experienced a Corsair cooler was when I needed to do maintenance on my Swiftech. I use the H100 as a temporary cooler. After a while, I was asking myself why I had spent 2 ½ times the amount on the Swiftech when I could have just used the H100 for the same performance. I decided to reinstall the Swiftech because I had just spent a lot on new compression fittings and white tubing.
Fast forward to receiving the H90. I was convinced that its thin 140mm radiator and tiny tubing would be no match for my thick 120x2 radiator using ½ in. tubing. I was wrong. The H90 handedly beat the more expensive system. Not only that, it’s quieter. It’s simpler to install. It takes up less space in my case. The pump on my Swiftech would whine while the H90’s is silent.
I’ve decided to keep using the H90 and retire the Swiftech.
Having used the H100, the H90 does make some reductions. The H100 could regulate the fan speeds itself. For the H90, the fan needs to be attached to a PWM fan header. It lowers the production cost for Corsair. But they didn’t pass those savings on to the consumer. Another confusing point is the recently release H100i and H80i which provides added features over the H100 and H80 like Corsair’s Link. Yet Link is nowhere to be found on the H90 or H110. And while these changes or omissions might seem somewhat detrimental, I think its fine. Without Link or fan control, it’s so much simpler to install. There is one wire for the fan, and one wire for pump. That’s it. No added clutter.
Assuming it costs less to make, I do feel like this item might be slightly overpriced at $100. Plus with some serious competition arriving in the form of the new H220, cost saving incentives from Corsair need to be more evident.
I benchmark tested this cooler against my prior Swiftech cooler using a 3770K @ 4.5GHz. These are the results:
H90 (with Silent Fan Profile)
H90 (with Normal Fan Profile)
Pros: I have a large tower heatsink that has two 120mm fans in a push-pull configuration cooling my i7-2700k CPU. It uses five direct touch heatpipes. I’ve always considered it to be a quality heatsink. Currently, it is listed as #5 on the top 10 list of a popular website that reviews heatsinks.
That being said, I’ve never been able to hit that magical 5GHz barrier with my CPU. Sure, I can boot into the OS, but it’s never been stable under stress testing. So naturally, I did a side-by-side comparison of my current tower heatsink and the Corsair Hydro H90 with the goal of reaching a stable 5GHz. I was surprised to not only hit 5GHz with the H90, but also how big the delta was from my current tower heat sink. At higher clocks, I was seeing temperatures 15 degrees below my tower air cooler. See below for more details.
I did not experience any leaks in the closed loop system and found the installation was easy enough, but it did require reading the instructions carefully. The pump of the H90 is completely inaudible unless I put my ear about 4 inches away. Even then it was barely noticeable. And finally, the 140mm fan is very quiet, though still audible, and is PWM capable to allow automatic motherboard control.
Cons: Removal of the H90 is as straightforward as the installation, however removal of the thumb screws from the bracket is a bit troublesome because they lock onto the bracket when you push them through for installation. In order to remove them, you need to gently bend back three plastic clamps to pop it back out. It would be VERY easy to break these clamps if you give a little bit too much leverage. It seems like Corsair doesn’t think anyone will reuse this heatsink on a different socket after the initial installation with this minor shortcoming.
Overall Review: Here are my stress test results comparing my current tower heatsink and the H90. Below I’ve listed the maximum temperature of the hottest core as reported by RealTemp while running Linpack in Intel Burn Test to torture my i7-2700k. I used Arctic Cooling MX-4 as the thermal paste for both original tower HSF and the Corsair Hydro H90 to keep things equal. PWM was enabled and set to the “Silent” fan profile in the motherboard UEFI.
Overclock|Original Tower HSF|Corsair H90
3.9GHz @ Stock|64°C|56°C
4.5GHz @ +0.020V|72°C|62°C
4.6GHz @ +0.100V|81°C|68°C
4.7GHz @ +0.100V|83°C|71°C
4.8GHz @ +0.150V|91°C|76°C
4.9GHz @ +0.250V|N/A|80°C
5.0GHz @ +0.225V|N/A|88°C
Pros: Cools my FX8350 like no other. Installed in a DeepCool Steam Castle case running an ASUS M5A88-M motherboard with 16GB ram and Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials. Ran AIDA64 stability test and maintained a max of 42c. After a lot of gurgling for a few minutes the pump quieted down with no noise that I could hear. I did not use the included 140mm fan and installed a 140mm Cougar PWM fan.
Overall Review: The server runs 24/7 so we'll see how the cooler holds up to continuous operation. So far very happy and much better than I expected. Now for the rebate...
Pros: I found this to be a very quiet unit that has proven to be very effective in getting extra performance from my machines.
It gave me some peace of mind when I ran it on my Phenom II 965 @ 4.0Ghz. Previously I had a Corsair A50 on it(itself a very nice Traditional Air Cooler) and the max I could eek out was 3.8Ghz, before the screen would corrupt and the system restart. However, with the H90 I got another 200Mhz out of this old chip and actually stay at about a max of 48c, which is much better than 3.8Ghz with a max temp of 55c. Tested it on other chips(email@example.comGhz, firstname.lastname@example.orgGhz) and this cooler performed exceptionally. I have no bad things to say about the cooling performance of the H90.
On my Q6600 I have an old Corsair H50, and remember having some issues with setting it up. This H90, while you still have to "assemble" it, is much easier to install(the CPU block that is) as the backplate is easy to put in place especially with the stickies Corsair provides.
It also looks pretty awesome in the case, in it's own subdued "quiet power" way.
Cons: It would be great if Corsair provided two of every small item. It would make it less terrifying if you lose a part.
Also you have to keep in mind, this is a 140mm radiator that comes with a 140mm fan, so from the top it eat about 2" into the case. So make sure that not only your case, but also that your motherboard is compatible with it. Some of my boards had heatsinks on the MOFSETS which wouldn't allow this coolers installation. I had to do some finagling to get it to fit in one of my cases.
I'm unsure if this cools better than my H50( in push/pull config) on my Q6600, but it appears to, and considering that the H50(and other 120mm AiO Corsair Watercoolers) provides similar cooling in a much more universally compatible size, and cheaper I'd likely recommend those prior to this, unless you have a case that you KNOW you won't have a problem installing this in.
Overall Review: While I really like this watercooler, I was really dismayed by the size of it. I own a variety of cases and found only one that would mount it. I've searched for better compatible cases, but most would have you mound the radiator on the top of the case as opposed to the rear, which is my preferred location for it.
That said, with a fully compatible case and motherboard I could see this be an excellent cooler. It's quiet, performs exceptionally well, and once I got it in a case, it looked pretty epic.
Pros: I ran prime95 for 7 hours 100% CPU over 8 cores and got cool temps of 36 Celsius. The fan runs nice and quite and the small form factor is pleasing to my case since I like to keep it clean. Everything you need in a box to get a higher clock and stay cool. CPU is over clocked from 3.5 ghz to 4.2 ghz idle temps 28 Celsius and max temp 36 Celsius.
Cons: The directions are a nightmare and very vague and it takes a few tries to get it right. To me this is huge. If you cant design good directions how can I trust your products?
Overall Review: This replaced my Corsair H60 that had died once then I was able to remove it bang it around and it started working again, then recently it just died all together. RMA would be a nightmare because not having a cooler and waiting while your desktop is down is not an option.
Pros: - Keeps my i-7 6700k comfortably cool at under 70c in stress tests even with almost 20% OC
- CPU idles under 30c most of time
- Extremely quiet in normal operation
Cons: - I am pretty good at interpreting directions, but the ones for the H90 need some work. Specifically, its difficult to tell from the diagram which length pins are for which socket type and how some of the components need to be oriented for each socket type.
- Plastic back plate leaves something to be desired (though I'm sure it helps to prevent over-tightening)
- Fan can be very loud at full load (was able to resolve in most normal use cases by adjusting the fan curve to ramp up a bit later)
Overall Review: I would likely buy this product again, though I would make sure to install the cooler prior to mounting my MB in the case to ease installation and ensure that the pseudo-guess and check process for figuring out how to get everything aligned is done correctly.
Pros: A very effective cooler
PWM fan is reasonably quiet at low speeds
No Pump noise.
CPU mount is very sturdy.
Cons: May not fit in all cases
Fan is Very loud at full speed.
Overall Review: The H90 is a great liquid cooler. The Single 140mm Radiator performs as good as a 240mm AIO setup. (I have personally tested it against a H100i, Tt Water 2.0 Extreme & Noctua NH-D14).
The CPU mount is very easy to mount and is very sturdy. I like it much better than the H110i mount.
If your case has mounts for dual 140mm fans then the H90 will most likely fit with the Fan on the top of the Radiator and you will still be able to use another 140mm fan next the H90's fan.
You cannot mount the radiator directly to the case without interfering with the adjacent fan mount.
The fan and pump wiring on the H90 is very basic (which i like). There is no USB connection or proprietary software to use. They connect to and are controlled by the motherboard controls.
The pump uses a 3 pin fan header and reports its speed (1520rpm) via the 3rd wire. The fan header should be set at 100%.
The FAN is a 4 pin PWM and is reasonably quiet at typical speeds but is loud at full rpm. Fortunately the fan/radiator combo is very effective and doesn't need to be running at full speed to keep the temps down even at full load.
Mounting the fan in "Pull" sucking air through the radiator and exhausting out the case is quieter due to less wind rush noise at the expense of about 1c degrees in temp.
The pump on the H90 is dead silent.
Overall i would recommend the H90.
Pros: Owned for 4 months now. I use an ASUS Z170-AR, Intel 4GHz 6700K overclocked to 4.5GHz, removed the stock fan and use two Corsair ML 140mm fans in push/pull config.
I've done a 15 minute stress test and overclocked CPU, never gets over 46 degrees Celsius. Wow. Based on online reviews the performance was supposed to be mediocre, and I suppose with just the single fan it comes with that might be true.
It's very small for almost any case, very light weight, the water pump is whisper quiet and coupled with the Corsair MagLev 140mm the fans are also super quiet. Fan's speed never exceeds 45%.
Cons: Only expected to last 5 years. Which is actually very good, but you can't keep recycling this into new builds.
Overall Review: This is really suited for people looking for a cooling option that's dramatically smaller than large heat pipes because of system aesthetics. I also use LED RAM and heat pipes would get in the way or totally block most of the stuff I would be able to see through the the windowed. side panel.