It was not too long ago that when one mentioned liquid cooling for the CPU, it was an arcane field that only the really hardcore enthusiasts dabbled in. While the theory was hardly unknown (think of it as similar to what's found inside an automobile), only a few PC vendors offered it in their systems. Third-party options were practically unheard of then. This situation meant that daring enthusiasts experimented and crafted their own liquid cooling solutions from whatever they could adapt, from laboratory to automotive components. They had to do everything themselves, like shaping the 'water-block' to fit the CPU or GPU.
Since then, vendors have entered the market to provide liquid or water cooling kits that can be purchased off the shelves. These can be huge, bulky sets that include the basic radiator, pump and water-block. While things have been made more convenient, they were still rather daunting for the less experienced. After all, water and electronics don't mix and besides the risks involved during installation, the upkeep of maintaining the necessary level of coolant made it worse.
Enter Asetek, which pioneered its Low Cost Liquid Cooling (LCLC) kit that reduced the footprint of the typical liquid cooling kit dramatically, by integrating the pump, reservoir, the cold plate and the associated electronics all into one modest unit. This cooling kit debuted a couple of years ago and has gradually made its way into OEM products, with Acer, Dell, HP and Sapphire among the more notable OEMs.
Having made inroads with OEMs, Asetek has now finally turned its attention to the consumer market. While the original Asetek LCLC kit was never available to consumers, the company has recently partnered Corsair to bring this liquid cooling kit to retail channels. The end product is what we have here today, the Corsair Hydro series H50 high-performance CPU cooler.
Like the Asetek LCLC liquid cooling kit, the Corsair H50 maintains the same closed system where the coolant is pre-filled. There's no way of refilling this liquid cooling kit, though Corsair claims that coolant loss will be minimal. A two-year warranty at least gives enthusiasts some assurance about the minimum lifespan for this cooler.