When it comes to potent low profile air coolers, your options are quite limited since it’s very hard to beat the 37mm tall Noctua L9a. SilverStone is tackling this exact corner of the market with their new Hydrogon H90 low profile air cooler. It stands 48mm tall and even features ARGB.

SilverStone Technology Co., Ltd is a company based in Taiwan, founded in 2003 that makes computer cases, power supplies, and other peripheral for personal computers. Their goal was to provide products that create inspirations and customers a wide selection of choices.

With distribution centres in different areas of the globe, SilverStone products can be seen all over the world, not just for computer users but also for home entertainment use. Thus providing leisure with integration of advanced technologies that is functional and making them enjoyable to use.

 

Prices and Availability

 

It retails for around $60 which is only a few dollars more than the L9 where you don’t get the ARGB nor the support for both Intel & AMD at the same time.

 

Presentation and Specifications

 

* Courtesy of their website.

Horizontal CPU cooler with 4 heat-pipes and 92mm PWM ARGB fan

■ Total height of 48mm, flawless compatibility with the current market’s Mini-ITX motherboards and space constrained cases.
■ 11 bladed high performance 92mm PWM controlled fans, with outstanding balance of cooling and quietness
■ Spring screw mounting design included for a firm and straight forward installation for both Intel and AMD platforms
■ Four Ø6mm copper heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
■ Fan included 10 ARGB LEDS which can be controlled by ARGB controllers or capable motherboards
■ Anti-vibrational rubber pads included for additional noise dampening

 

Visual Inspection

 

The H90 comes as expected in a small box with excellent branding from SilverStone.

All of the most important specs are presented on the side and happy to report that the H90 is socket ready with Intel’s latest LGA1700 and AMD’s AM4 and consequently the upcoming AM5.

Protection is insured via these two transparent plastic trays.

As for the accessories, you get:

* Instruction booklet
* 2x AMD metal brackets
* Mini thermal paste syringe
* 2x Intel backplates
* 3x Zip lock bags that hold each 4 socket appropriate screws
* 1x plastic tab that houses 3 sets of 4 socket depended dividers

This is such a cool way to organize the spacers!

Also the Intel backplates have these double sided tapes.

The SilverStone H90 Hydrogon is a compact air cooler, which including the slim 92mm fan, stands just 48mm tall, by 95x95mm.

The 92mm slim fan is rated up to 2600 RPM which, thanks to its 11 blades, will push up to 45.73 CFM with a static pressure of 2.29mmH2O while no going over 34.6 dBA of sound output.

It takes power via a 4-pin unsleeved PWM port and since it possess 11 LEDs for the ARGB, it will require a free 5V ARGB port on your motherboard. Also the fan comes with a daisy-chained extra 5v plug so you can connect other devices if you only have one free port on your motherboard. The fan is built on hydraulic bearing and is rated up to 30.000 hours of continuous operation.

The fan’s frame features anti-vibration pads and it’s held into place to the heatsink via these two metal clips.

Now for the heatsink, that measures just 33mm tall, is built using 4 copper heat-pipes with aluminum fins.

The securing screws can be accessed even with the fan in place since the screwdriver can be used in between the blades.

Regarding the contact plate, this is also nickel plated without a mirror finish.

The overall construction is good, just the outer fins are a bit too thin and thus can be bent way too easily just by lifting the heatsink with your fingers.

 

Installation

 

Installation is quite simple because on the AM4 socket, you can reuse the stock motherboard’s backplate.

Slide in the AM4 plastic spacers.

Then attach the metal brackets which can go in one way and secure them down with the appropriate bolts.

Apply the thermal paste and then bolt down the heatsink.

Connect the fan’s power and ARGB plug and that’s it.

Checking the clearance, even with this tall VRM heatsink from the motherboard, there is no issue whatsoever.

The SilverStone H90 ARGB will fell right at home in a compatible SFF enclosure.

The light show is excellent since it is full RGB compatible with the lighting software on all of the main motherboard vendors.

 

Testing methodology

 

  • The CPU cooler will be tested in 2 different scenarios as follows: the AMD Ryzen 5 5600x CPU at stock settings, then at 4.0 GHz for 1.075v (as the main baseline to remove any inconsistencies in stock form where the BIOS will pump extra voltage for shorter periods)
  • As the main torture test, we will employ a 2 minute run in AIDA64
  • Room temperature was recorded at ~25°C
  • For the noise testing, we used our Pyle PSPL01 placed 30 cm away from the setup – all other fans will will be off or set at minimum RPM and a lav mic was places at the same distance for the audio sample
  • Thermal paste used Noctua NH-H2
  • All of the side panels will be attached on the case and the H90’s fan will be left on auto % RPM to simulate real life usage
  • Any results over 90°C in any condition are considered a fail

Hardware used:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600x
Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX B550-i Gaming mITX @ BIOS 2803
Boot SSD: Samung 970 PRO 1TB M.2 Gen3x4 MLC PCIe NVMe 1.3
Video card: ASUS GTX 1080 STRIX A8G
PSU: Corsair SF750 SFX Platinum
Case: Phanteks Evolv Shift XT ARGB mITX

The other CPU air cooler used:

Noctua NH-L9a chromax.Black

Software:

OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 21H2
NVIDIA Drivers516.94
CPU-Z v1.95To verify the CPU’s and RAM’s statistics
Core Temp v1.17 – To see the temperatures in real time
AIDA64 Extreme v6.60Memory analysis and Benchmark suite
MSI Afterburner v4.62 – To record the FPS and load/temperatures
Cinebench R23Great overall CPU benchmark tool
3D/Game(s)Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with latest updated, set at 1080p, with everything at Ultra quality Settings, no V-Sync

 

Testing, Results and Analysis

 

The first series of tests come from Cinebench R23 which will put a serious load on the CPU while it renders a specific frame.

The 5600x despite its ‘official’ 65W TDP rating, we all know, since the release of 3000 Ryzen series from AMD, that it will not respect that when it boosts. Thus, this is a hot CPU even in stock form, yet alone in a hot summer’s day. We would have expected that on low profile air cooling, the tests would be over 90°C and thus fail. But the Silverstone H90 managed to overtake the L9a by a whisker thanks to its more powerful fan and taller heatsink.

The 2 minute long AIDA64 stress test should impose the maximum workload just for the CPU, therefore we should get the highest stress scenario and we sure did. Things got pretty toasty here but still under our safe threshold.

If a CPU cooler manages to survive the torture tests, then a benchmark run in a gaming scenario, should be a walk in the park. Games are not as stressful as a synthetic torture tests but are a great indicator of real life usage.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla averaged around 40-50% total CPU usage in all CPU scenarios and consequently the H90 provides decent results even in stock form.

The noise output test is an important challenge for any CPU cooler since if you can’t live with the noise, this negates any of the other advantages. The SilverStone H90 is silent up until 80% RPM which is a really good result even by Noctua terms!

 

Conclusion

 

Well then, SilverStone has created a worthy opponent to the gold standard that has been the L9 series from Noctua all of these years. Now you can posses ARGB while not sacrificing too much on noise output and of course footprint (under 50mm it is still tiny). Cooling wise, it did the job even in a hot summer’s day, in a case with no additional airflow and beating the L9a by a few degrees, while staying relative silent. This is basically what the Cryorig C7 should have been all along. Just be careful while you handle the H90’s heatsink since the outer fins are a bit too fragile.

The good:

+ Excellent cooling and noise output
+ Small footprint (48mm tall)
+ ARGB with a daisy-chained extra connector
+ Can be installed without removing the fan

The bad:

– The outer cooling fins prone to damage
– Low availability at the moment

Glob3trotters “Must Have SFF item!” Award – 4.5 out of 5

GG

Many thanks to SilverStone for supplying us with this sample!

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