Test Bed and Setup

To test the performance of Corsair Hydro X, we compared two setups which we replicated the best we could with the hardware available. The Corsair Hydro X series single 240 mm radiator loop was tested with our ASRock X570 Aqua motherboard, while we used the ID-Cooling Auraflow 240 mm AIO on the similar spec ASRock X570 Creator for comparison. We used the exact same hardware across both systems including the same OS build, and same firmware settings. As the ASRock X570 Aqua and ASRock X570 Creator are nearly identical.

The Corsair Hydro X installed on our Openbench Table for performance testing

For our stock settings, we ran with default settings with the XMP 2.0 on our Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3200 CL18 memory kit enabled. Our overclocking settings include XMP 2.0 enabled on our memory, with a CPU VCore of 1.35 V and an all-core frequency of 4.3 GHz.

Corsair Hydro X System Test Setup
Processor AMD Ryzen 3950X, 105W, $329 
16 Cores, 32 Threads, 3.5 GHz (4.7 GHz Turbo)
Motherboard ASRock X570 Aqua (BIOS 1.40 - ABBA) - Corsair Hydro X
ASRock X570 Creator (BIOS 1.70 - ABBA) - ID-Cooling Auraflow
Stock Settings AMD Ryzen 3950X, Default Settings, PBO Enabled
Overclock Settings AMD Ryzen 3950X, 4.3 GHz All-Core, 1.35 V CPU VCore
Cooling Corsair Hydro X Series:

Corsair XD5 Pump/Reservoir
Corsair XR7 240 mm radiator
Corsair Softline 10/13 mm fittings
Corsair Softline 10/13 mm tubing
Corsair XL5 clear coolant
Corsair LL120 RGB 120 mm fans
Corsair Commander Pro RGB hub

ID-Cooling Auraflow 240mm AIO (as base comparison)
Power Supply Corsair HX 850 850 Watt Platinum
Memory Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (4x8GB)
DDR4-3200 CL18-19-19-39 1T
Video Card ASRock RX 5700 XT Taichi X 8G OC+ (1810/2025 Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1TB
Case Corsair Cyrstal Series 680X
Operating System Windows 10 1909

Thermal Performance

The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is a 16-core 32-thread processor designed for the X570 desktop platform. With larger core counts typically comes more heat and as standard, the 3950X has a TDP of 105 W. While this is great, TDP doesn't play out as intended once motherboard vendors implement its tweaks to maximise performance. To keep the Ryzen 9 3950X cool, AMD recommends liquid cooling as standard from its marketing. 

For the temperature testing, we took delta temperatures at idle and maximum load. For our load results, we ran the Prime95 to stress our AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor and took the value after 30 minutes. Our ambient office temperature at idle was 21°C and at load, it was 22°C during testing.

Delta Temperature: Idle

At idle, the differences aren't that major at both default settings and overclocked at 4.3 GHz. The Corsair Hydro X has the benefit of running slightly cooler with 1.35 V applied on the CPU VCore. 

Delta Temperature: Load

Running an AMD Ryzen 3950X at full load with Prime95 for 30 minutes, and we start to see the gap open up between the Corsair Hydro X series custom loop and the ID-Cooling Auraflow 240 mm CLC. Although the gap at default settings between both solutions at stock is 3°C, and at load, just 5°C, the radiator size of both options is the same. Another variable to consider is that the Corsair Hydro X Series in our testing isn't just cooling the processor, but the power delivery and chipset of the ASRock X570 Aqua. This will naturally increase temperatures as more components are being cooled, but not by a drastic amount. 

Corsair Hydro X Build Experience CPU Performance, Short Form
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  • airdrifting - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    "The cooling performance was also astronomical (can't break 52 C under max load on GPU w/overclock)"?
    Shill detected. I have never been able to break 52 C under load with ANY custom liquid cooling on a flagship GPU, that includes all titans and flagships from 780 Ti to 2080 Ti, the highest I get is like 47C. Even with the EVGA Hybrid cards with AIO liquid cooling and 120mm radiator, you will never see 55C in most cases.
    The cooling performance in a custom liquid cooling loop is not just about the radiator, the fans, pump, block, the shape of the loop all matters. Using a mediocre load temperature to claim the radiator is good is absurd, and I have seen anyone talking about "screw/tube protectors" on a radiator, wtf is that? If you are talking about the little metal shield underneath the screw hole but above the fins, that is completely useless because you can simply have the screw holes spaced between the fins instead of the tiny tubes like every single radiator is doing nowadays. Even if the screws are too long they will just bend the fins which doesn't really matter as long as they don't pierce the tube.
  • brontes - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Wait, how is he a shill if you're the one getting better performance?

    Anyway, Corsair rebadges hardwarelabs rads. They swap out to thicker screw channels to reduce the chance of puncture in case you for some reason have a three year old with power tools doing the installation sideways, and they include longer screws for push+pull in the box. And they put their logo on it. Other than that, it is a HWL product.
  • AshlayW - Thursday, February 6, 2020 - link

    How is he a shill if he's not putting the product in the best possible light? Shut up.
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    $500+ in order to run an overclock that may work on a cheaper cooler or even on air cooling that ultimately gains 5% in a couple of benchmarks. Yes, it looks cool. Yes, you can say you put together a custom cooling loop. That's a lot of effort, resources, and time for little reward over not overclocked parts running an inexpensive air cooler.
  • airdrifting - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Try 2%. With turbo boost and Intel falling behind in nm technology, there is very little OC headroom for processors like 9900K which is already pushed to the limit at 4.7GHz all core. AMD's PB does a better job than manual OC most of the time. Video cards are wattage capped so it's not like raising the voltage or core frequency does much, MSI AB doesn't work on most of the cards when it comes to raising TDP.
  • LedHed - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Many cards can have their power limit raised to 108% of the stock rating using Afterburner. However, like you said, there are cards that won't allow you to raise that limit at all. There are also cards that allow you to raise the limit up to 112%, so it goes both ways.

    I do agree that using dedicated H2O setups on current generation cards will be disappointed by their OC gains. This is due to how tight the power constraints were on the last 2 or 3 generations of NV cards. Well, unless you are willing to take a soldering iron to their GPU, then all bets are off! Voltage mods are a lot of fun, as long as you don't kill the card!
  • liquid_c - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    I can guarantee you that almost all of the 9900k on the market can reach an all-core 5ghz OC, even those from lots sold after the launch of the 9900ks. You do need a *solid* cpu cooler and if you live in a place with high ambient temps then you’re facing an uphill battle.
    My own personal recommendation would be to use at least a 280mm AIO for the CPU alone, in this use case (Kraken X62, H115i, etc.), with these beefy CPUs.
  • airdrifting - Thursday, February 6, 2020 - link

    Only when you use a 360mm or better liquid cooling. I have handled many 9900K, single 120mm rad is not enough to keep most under load without overclocking, you will see instant 90C+. 240mm rad is probably the minimal for 9900K unless you want to undervoltage. It's just not worth it to get a 0.3GHz OC for so much hassle. On the contrary, H60 can easily keep 3700X under 65C.
  • brontes - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Its not about OC these days, it about RGB/bling or silence. And I've discovered for a vast majority of the bling people, its not a "set it and forget it" deal, but much closer to a hobby. They're constantly tinkering and rearranging and replacing with the latest unicorn vomit fans and such. "Old" cooling parts build up and then its a challenge to watercool some old system with an "unfriendly" case they had sitting around that doesn't even actually get use. And so on. Hey, its their money and they're having fun, so whatever. And because they spend lots of money on tons of various parts, you can get good advice from from people with lots of first hand experience with different products very easily.

    I'm one of the uncommon ones that just wants it to work, without lights.

    Its honestly a little creepy at first. After 30 years of the computer responding to heavy loads (esp. on the gpu) with *some* sort of noise its just.. not there anymore.

    It is certainly a hell of a lot cheaper if noise doesn't bother you and you stick to air. But alas, the initial outlay is done. That aside, maintenance is easier/less frequent than I expected with some silly tricks as well as not using colored fluid. I'm looking at +$200 on each socket+gpu swap for blocks, which isn't terrible considering a good CPU HSF or AIO is $80-150, and there isn't even a comparable option for the GPU or chipset unless you get "creative."

    But yeah, "home overclocking" is pretty much dead and any extra additional headroom from watercooling is considered a tertiary fringe benefit.
  • FatBoyDiesel - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Not gonna lie, I went full RGB so I could set the color scheme to the colors of the Ryzen Halo logo. It worked best in a case like the Thermaltake Core V1, I replaced the stock 200mm fan for a faster 200mm Riing Plus RGB fan and got the effect to work nicely.

    Then I upgraded to the Nouvolo Steck. I got a 240mm H100i v2 for it and appreciated the extra RGB (RAM, motherboard, AIO). However, I didn't like the extra cost and didn't need the extra RGB per se. I went for a custom loop, with the fans being the first to be replaced with regular fans. My blocks are RGB, sure, with the XC7 requiring the Lighting Node Pro. That thing was what I wanted with 4 RGB strips with a tiny RGB controller to fit in a small space for such a compact build. I honestly thought about simply abandoning most RGB components in the future save RAM and my Lightning Node Pro. The cost of RGB on everything is so dumb to me. I also don't like unicorn vomit.

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