The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Just the other day, we got a firsthand look at what is likely one of the most innovative coolers to hit our labs in quite some time. In all reality, with just how compact the design was, and the fact the fan that cooled it offered less than 50 CFM, the odds were sort of stacked against it. However, even with restrictions, the H7 from Cryorig was more than capable of fitting where others may not, and was still able to keep our system from throttling. What more can you really ask for at $34.50? Although, we were left with one question: What if there was a cooler that followed the same type of design and implementation, but was also free of the shackles applied to the H7? Well, if that question had crossed your mind, we are about to see the answer that Cryorig is offering.
With the design we are looking at today, the idea was to take things a step further than the H7. While this newer design still offers the Hive Fin design, the cooler has changed. This time around, we get an extra-large surface area, and we also find the Zero Interference design is specifically for the RAM. The X-bar has also been set aside to provide this cooler with more compatibility options - hence the "Universal" bit in the product name. So, while the main idea is very similar to what we saw with the Cryorig H7, its bigger brother, the Cryorig H5 Universal CPU cooler is a no-holds-barred version that is sure to raise efficiency while still keeping the mounting as simple as can be.
If you missed our review of the Cryorig H7 CPU cooler, then you are in for an eyeful of worthwhile technology and efficient design. Cryorig was able to impress us with the smaller H7 CPU cooler, and as we now take a look at what the H5 Universal CPU cooler offers, we have no doubt that this design should be just as impressive, as it definitely shows some light at the end of the tunnel of CPU cooler stagnancy. Even if you are not in the market for a new CPU air cooler, it is well worth your time to have a look at the way Cryorig is rethinking the standard design of tower air coolers with the H5 Universal, and see where the future of these coolers may be taking us.
While the H7 only fits a few select sockets, the H5 Universal stands up to its name, and is compatible with the full lineup of currently supported sockets, and even some which are EOL at this point. H5 Universal socket compatibility covers LGA775 though LGA2011 and 2011V3, and the AMD sockets covered include AM2 through AM3+, as well as FM socket support. On the specifications chart, compatibility information is proceeded by drawings of the cooler and fan with their dimensions listed in them as well. The chart also shows the H5 Ultimate stays clear of the memory, allowing for any height of spreader or fan assembly.
On the bottom left, there is a breakdown of specifications for the body of the cooler. Here we see the cooler is only 93mm deep. In order to offer the "extra-large surface area," the cooler is 143mm in width and 160mm in height. Fully assembled out of the box, sans the back plate and screws, the cooler weighs in at 835 grams, including the fan and clips. This design also uses a solid copper base, but unlike the H7, the H5 features a fourth copper heat pipe; the base and heat pipes are all nickel plated. Also unlike the H7, the H5 Universal has only 38 aluminum fins in the stack, and while they are still 0.4mm thick, the fin spacing has increased from 2.2mm to 2.8mm.
The fan included with the cooler is an XT140. The XT140 is 140mm square, but it is also only 13mm in thickness. The fan will rotate as low as 700 RPM, and with full power, you can see speeds up to about 1300 RPM. The 24 dB(A) rating is less than the H5, and quieter cooling is always appreciated. However, this time the all-black fan with thirteen blades delivers 65 CFM of air flow. The static pressure rating of 1.49 mmH2O isn't the greatest, but for this fan, it is really good. It seems that Cryorig put a lot of thought into every aspect of the H5 to deliver on their promises.
Locating this cooler on the internet isn't exactly easy. When we Googled the name of the cooler, we found only one listing, and that was on Newegg.com. We did search for it at Amazon, but they are currently out of stock. Amazon's lack of stock led us back to the Newegg.com listing, where the H5 Universal is listed for $46.99. We already appreciated the work it took to design a cooler such as this, and with a price like that, it will be hard to pass up on the H5 Universal. We do still have to perform the testing before we can say specifically how we feel about the Cryorig H5 Universal CPU cooler, but feel free to read further, and see for yourself where this highly evolved design goes.
The front of the box offers a close-up image of the cooler as the backdrop, the company name at the top, and the logo and cooler naming in a splash of black and blue.
The background image from the front carried around to the right panel as well. This is where Cryorig opts to cover the Hive Fin and Jet Fin Acceleration, the Zero Interference RAM compatibility, and they note the cooler can be installed onto a motherboard in five minutes or less.
Around back, the backdrop is solid black, and the printing is white. This panel offers in-store customers the same level of specifications and compatibility shown to those who search for the specifications on the internet.
This time, rather than using just a white backdrop on the final panel as they did on the H7 packaging, there is also a rendering of the cooler in grey to add some flavor under the large H5 placed here.
When you open the top of the box, the pair of bright blue inner flaps is sure to stop you in your tracks. Cryorig wants to be sure you know to register this cooler to get the benefits listed on the right flap.
Inside of the outer box, we find the cooler with the fan installed on it, wrapped up in a plastic bag, and inside of this tightly conforming inner box. There is no way for this cooler to be damaged from movement during shipping, as it is locked solidly into place, and they even fit the hardware into this design as well.
As you open the end of the box, you can easily slide the cooler out of the larger middle section of the box. The thick sides of the box offer little pockets that have AMD hardware in one side, and Intel gear in the other.
Cryorig H5 Universal CPU Cooler
Once it is freed from its packaging, we see the H5 Ultimate and the preinstalled 140mm fan staring us back in the face. The fan does a great job of covering the fin area and offering a fair bit of airflow under the cooler to keep the motherboard components cool as well.
Without the fan blocking the view, we can easily see the Hive Fin design of the leading edge. This is also where the Jet Fin Acceleration takes place, as the fins taper in toward each other further in the body of the cooler.
The fan easily clips onto the very thin rail at the front of the cooler. The side offers two openings, and the majority of it has been closed off. Of course, with this cooler, there is a section near the back to accept a second fan.
The rear of the cooler takes on an aggressive shape, just like we saw in the H5. Tabs extend at angles to support a fan flush to the cooler, but a lot if the fin has been removed to allow for better efficiency for the optional second fan.
Since this is identical from side to side, at this time, we would like to point out the top and bottom of the stack because there are thick plastic caps placed on them to increase the cooler's aesthetic appeal in a unique way.
Now we can really see the cap applied to the top of the H5 Universal. We can see a thick black top fin similar to the one we saw with the H7, but this time it is also covered with this white plastic cap with a pair of mounting holes and the Cryorig logo on it.
Due to them having to slide the fins onto the heat pipes prior to adding the lower cap, it is cut away at the other end so everything slides easily into place before the plastic push pins are set through the fins to lock it in. We can also see that the mounting hardware for the MultiSeg design is already on the base of the cooler.
After removing the protective film from the base, and setting a couple of screws upon it, we see that the base is left with a rough finish. The visible milling marks aren't as prominent as in most bases, but this slightly convex base is not shined to a mirror polish either.
Accessories and Documentation
After opening the AMD side of the box and extracting the hardware, we found there was more than just AMD gear in there. There is the universal top plate that allows the cooler to install in any direction, no matter the socket orientation, and a back plate to go with it. There is also the CP9 tube, the wire fan clips, both AMD/Intel standoffs, a set for LGA2011/V3, a set of thumbscrews, and a set of locks for screws.
On the Intel side of the box, we found two top brackets and a back plate universal to most Intel spacing. They also included a LGA775 preload spacer to make sure you get the correct pressure for that specific socket. Additionally, they have included a black angled screwdriver to send down the holes in the top, and mount the cooler to the motherboard hardware.
The manual comes in two sheets, and a total of four languages are covered in them. The renderings and the text offered do a great job of walking you though the entire installation process, so you can see if you can beat that five minute installation time they set on the box.
Installation and Finished Product
This back plate offers the same thing at every side, so it does not matter which direction goes where when installing it behind the socket. At each end, the screws are pre-installed in the plate, and all you need to do is move them to A, B, or C, depending on the socket.
With the back plate slid in through the back, simply take the standoffs that have white nylon washers on them, and secure them to the top of the back plate screws. This should be tight to the motherboard once the standoffs start to run out of threads.
For Intel sockets, you need to install the cross bars that will accept the pair of screws already attached to the bar on the base of the H5 Universal. There are stickers on the other side of these brackets to help you install them properly, then lock them down with the thumbscrews at each corner.
After applying paste to the CPU, it is time to mount the cooler. Thinking back to the pair of holes in the top of the cooler, we slid the screwdriver down to find it aligns perfectly with the screws. To screw this down properly, alternate between each side, turning the screws a few times each time until there are no more threads to spin into the brackets.
Once installed, we can see it is slightly wider than the memory, and while access to the screws was easy enough, this cooler may touch a card in the first PCI-e slot if it has a back plate or taller solder points.
Not only did the H5 Universal not play up with our memory as we expected, but for those populating all four slots, there is plenty of room left over. So, even if you are still using a RAM cooler, there will be no conflicts with this cooler design.
With the armor that this motherboard uses, a second fan would increase the overall height of the cooler since we cannot go as low at the back as we can near the memory. However, on most systems, there will be very little issue for users opting for that second fan.
From this angle, you can sort of tell that the wider design may lead to PCI-e issues. We also really like looking at the flat white top cover with the simple logo in the middle of what is otherwise an all-black system. Additionally, this cooler did not install out of alignment; the H5 Universal is spot on, and straight as an arrow.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results
Test System Setup
To see our testing methodology, and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
While the fan does offer decent specifications, we did not expect the 50.75 degree average we found in our stock testing. Considering this result is less than five degrees out of the top, and accomplished with a 13mm thick fan, Cryorig certainly proves the merits of their design.
Once we applied the overclock, we found that the H5 universal can handle its business. One degree more, and you will find the H5 in a mix of expensive air coolers and equally priced AIOs. Considering all things about this cooler, we find that Cryorig and their out-of-the-box ideas are worthy of our attention, and could be a whole new way of looking at tower coolers.
Noise Level Results
With voltage limited, we found the 140mm fan delivered only 29 dB of noise at a foot from the cooler. With 7.5V applied through the controller, we were seeing speeds of 1125 RPM. With PWM in control of this cooler, idle time will produce much less noise than our charts show.
While the specs show this fan should top out at 1300 RPM, ours topped out at 1437 RPM, which is at the top of the plus or minus range, but still within specifications. At this point, we got the meter back out and found the fan producing 53 dB with 12V supplied to them.
When it comes to air cooling a CPU, most coolers available are pretty much the same old tricks used in some arrangement, all with individual flavor of course, but maybe big flat fins, big fans, and dual-towers are not the answer. When it comes to standout coolers, there are really only three or four coolers that opened the books in air cooling and turned the market on its ear. Although it is not the most silent, or the best in thermal performance, the Cryorig H5 Universal proves that with a fair bit of thought, and an innovative spirit, they can keep up with the mix, and even outperform more expensive solutions. To make things even better, it does it all that at roughly half the cost, and isn't some plain Jane POS looking cooler either.
The H5 Universal stands up to every claim they put on their website and on the box. The Hive Fin and Jet Fin Acceleration technologies are definitely getting every last drop of performance out of the fan by channeling the air and increasing its pressure as it exits the front bit of the cooler. Also, closing off the sides of the cooler is a smart move, as there is no advantage to wasting air flow out of the side of the cooler. The mounting hardware is top notch, and the MultiSeg mounting system really does allow you to get this cooler on a motherboard in less than five minutes. Whether you use AMD or Intel, the fit is the same with all solid components under the cooler, and a bracket pre-mounted to the base of the cooler keeps everything square and in line so everything can be mounted with just two screws.
While the cooler is really solid, it also looks really good in contrast to all that darkness in a common system, and for the cost, you really cannot ask for much more out of this cooler. However, if there is anything to be aware of with this cooler choice, it is the possibility of encroaching upon the first PCI-e slot. Make sure that if you have to populate the first PCI-e slot, the card does not have a back plate, otherwise they will be rubbing, vibrating, and potentially making noise as they touch each other. Outside of that, there is nothing to complain about since access to the motherboard screws is attained, and the Zero Interference RAM feature keeps the fan further back from the memory than any other 140mm fan cooled tower we have seen to date.
Of course, availability of this cooler is not widespread, but it isn't like Newegg.com is some unknown company. With Newegg.com, your money is safe, and even when opting for free delivery, you will get it in a timely fashion. What this pricing does reflect on though, is our mindset in pricing. As trends changed and many air coolers ramped up in price, and with AIOs starting at $79.99, we sort of just accepted that coolers with decent performance were going to cost you a bit more these days.
Fortunately, the H5 Universal is only $46.99 right now, and look at all you get in design and performance for that money. If we had a bang for the buck chart, this cooler would have to be at the top, because not only is it affordable for the everyman to use, but it also offers a completely new take on how to cool a tower.
|Quality including Design and Build||98%|
|Bundle and Packaging||98%|
|Value for Money||100%|
The Bottom Line: Cryorig may be outside the box with this cooler design, but they have proven many technologies to work together in harmony with sleek looks and strong yet simple to use mounting hardware. The H5 Universal is a must have cooler that you just have to try for yourself.
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