Back to Article

  • bakedpatato - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Good article; I now know that it's probably not worth it to replace my Xigmatek Dark Knight pre sandy bridge model because there's not that much of a performance delta.
    On that note, why do the big honking air coolers consistently outperform the sealed water cooling units?
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    "On that note, why do the big honking air coolers consistently outperform the sealed water cooling units?"

    I'm guessing that the following limits hurt sealed H2O units, limiting their ability to compete.

    -Limited amount of liquid (as opposed to a system with a reservoir that would allow fluid to cool more easily during the cycle)
    -Limited volume of liquid that can be carried by sealed units tubing (both due to limited tubing diameter and the limited amount of liquid)

    Also, if you have that reservoir and larger diameter tubing, you can use a higher volume pump to deliver cool liquid faster. None of these are easy to do for a sealed kit, because it increases expense and reduces reliability. These limits prevent sealed systems from greatly exceeding the performance of quality air coolers.
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Unless your reservoir is in the region of several tens or hundreds of litres, the reservoir serves no cooling purpose. In sealed cooling solutions, you don't need it because of the sealed nature (at least if the manufacturer does its job of delivering an air-free system and handles loss of liquid due to dissipation from the tubes adequately). In open/standard water cooling you need it in order to fill and refill your cycle, to have a spot where the air can escape the system, to gauge if enough water is in the system or to get an estimate of the circulation (bubbling water can mean high circulation, flat surface can mean low etc.).

    Once a water cooling solution reaches a certain amount of water flow, increasing the amount will not help the cooling in any way, so the limited flow in these units does not negatively contribute to its lack of performance.

    You also make it seem as though these units use water to cool. That is false. They use air to cool, the water only transports the heat from the generator (CPU) to the radiator. Standard air cooling just cuts out the middleman (water).

    So your reasons are all false, I'm sorry to say.

    It boils down to simple thermodynamics. Look at the surface that these Corsair radiators provide for cool and then compare them to that Thermalright monster and you have your reason for why they don't do better.

    The reason DIY watercooling is so high end is because usually they have at least twice to three times the radiator surface compared to the H100. People with SLI/CF configurations usually go for a MoRa which has 9*120/140mm fans and the respective radiator surface to go along with it. But these tiny 120mm or 240mm radiators used by Corsair do not greatly increase the surface that is available for cooling.

    Also, geometry plays a role in cooling. In order to increase surface in the same dimensions, you can make the fins be more narrow, thus having more fins in the same space. This then influences the air flow through the fins. So narrow fins can be better at high air flow (provided by more powerful/louder fans) or less narrow fins can be used in order to obtain a passive or low-rpm cooling method, which is less powerful.

    (English is my 2nd language so I'm not sure I use all words 100% correctly. Hope I'm understandable.)
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    "People with SLI/CF configurations usually go for a MoRa which has 9*120/140mm fans and the respective radiator surface to go along with it."

    Seriously? I've seen plenty of water cooling solutions over the years, but I have never seen anyone with an apparently 360x360mm radiator and nine fans (let alone a 420x420mm radiator with nine 140mm fans). I'm sure that some extreme water-cooling types go for this sort of setup, but I'd wager far more are using 120x240mm radiators, if simply for the fact that most cases won't easily accommodate a larger radiator. If you go with an external radiator tower, sure, you can have a larger setup, but then you really never plan on moving your PC. Other than that, though, I'd agree: it's about surface area, and that Thermalright Silver Arrow is a monster.
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Look through the water cooling forums (one I frequently use is this:, look especially at the picture threads.

    People who only cool their CPU might go with a 240 setup, but that doesn't really work more quietly, more efficient, cheaper or easier than simple air cooling, as you have shown. So the people who invest the time and money to get water cooling going usually start with a 360 radiator or 420, depending on the case. They can be easily integrated in the usual water cooling cases that get recommended. People who go with SLI/CF will either get 2*360 (or similar), 420+280 (one in the bottom/top, one in the front) or make it easier and mount a 1080/1260 either externally on a side panel or use an external stand. The additional cost of more/bigger radiators is also easily offset, since the base components can remain (CPU heatsink, tubes and fittings/connectors, pump...).

    For my first water cooling I'm going with a 480 (2x2 120mm) radiator mounted on one side of the TJ08-E, which might get expanded to 2*480 once I start cooling my GPU (not going to buy a new card before the 28nm generation and my HD5770 is fine with air for now).

    Of course, my sampling of the water cooling community is limited and there might be a lot of people who don't frequent special forums. But I personally doubt it, since you do need kind of a lot of knowledge about the right tubes, fittings, sizes, water components etc. And the newbies who as in those forums and want to go with "just a little water cooling for the noise" usually get recommended (and convinced of) good air coolers like the Silver Arrow. :-)
  • sticks435 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I would look in the water cooling threads at instead. Most people recommend a 120x3 for an overclocked CPU and GPU, and a 120x4 for an extra GPU. Maybe if you were running Triple or Quad SLI/CF you might need something like what you mentioned, but that is definitely the exception instead of the norm. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Maybe if it is a high-end radiator or noise isn't that important. But like this review shows, a high end air cooler already competes with one 240mm radiator. And a CPU only uses between 100W and 150W depending on the overclock, whereas a GPU even at stock uses 200-250W. Using only one 360 radiator for a setup that can use 300-400W sounds very noisy and it looks as though air cooling could do a better job then, 2*140mm fans heatsink for CPU and triple 80mm fans for GPU for example are relatively easy to come by, fit in most cases more easily than a whole water cooling kit. :-) Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    But, to nip this discussion in the butt: unfortunately neither of us have any real data, so we can only go off our instinct and experience so far. Yours is different from mine, no sense arguing that. :D Reply
  • Etsp - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    to nip this discussion in the bud*
  • n13L5 - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    If I had a big case that could fit a silver arrow, I certainly wouldn't even be looking at these water things. Cause they are risky by comparison... a pipe could bust and flood the computer with whatever corrosive liquid is in there etc...

    But if you have a small case that has little room above the mainboard, these little systems don't need to beat the silver arrow at all... even the H60 will easily beat anything I could fit over the CPU in an SG05 or a PC-Q08 case. And, the heat goes straight out of the case, not spread around inside the case. I don't know if this test took into account that the mightly Silver Arrow just removes the heat from the CPU but not from the case.
  • n13L5 - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    ooops necro alert.... Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    <quote>(English is my 2nd language so I'm not sure I use all words 100% correctly. Hope I'm understandable.) </quote>


    Also, you seem to have a good understanding of how liquid cooling systems work, and for all practical purposes I agree with you statements.
    However, in regards to the function of reservoirs, there are a few technicalities that could dispute your statements in theory, but not in common practice.

    First, if the reservoir is made of a thermally conductive material and has good thermal contact with the chassis in which it is mounted, it can remove heat conductively. Commonly, reservoirs are made of plastic and thus provide no effective cooling. As you alluded to earlier, you would need a massive surface area of liquid to radiate an appreciable amount of heat. Further, as most of this heat is lost as liquid turns to vapor (Read: liquid loss), it would not be in your best interest to rely on such a system.

    Second, larger volumes of liquid would take longer to heat. If you were to take measurements of two similar systems with varying volumes of liquid, you would find that the system with less liquid would reach steady state temperatures more quickly. If you compared temperatures without making sure the second system reached steady state, then you might indeed conclude that the extra volume of liquid was beneficial to cooling. However, upon reaching steady state, both systems would perform more or less the same.

    Again, in practice the reservoir does little to add to the cooling capability of the system.
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Good addition to my post and of course, very true. :-) Reply
  • martyrant - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I just have a $30 enzotech cpu block, $5 casa depot homer bucket, $15 eco 264 pump (using 1/2" tubing), and let me tell you, compared to every other "pc built water cooling system" whether I pieced it together of expensive parts off frozencpu or bought a kit, this is by far the best cooling setup I've ever ran. No radiator. Just a 5 gallon bucket of distilled water. If you are worried about algae or other goodies, just run h2o2 (hydrogen peroxide) with it [don't use the medical stuff, grab the stuff that is like 30% h2o2]. Sometimes I can't believe how much I used to spend on this crap. Sure, it's not that portable [but who moves their water cooled computer anyway--you are supposed to drain/fill everytime you do with the other custom kits], and it either loses/gains wow factor depending on how you look at it (I love showing off my ghetto cooling setup that beats the pants off everything beyond going chilled water). The only upgrade would be a car radiator...hah. Reply
  • double0seven - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    It sounds like it is working for you this way, but have you ever wondered why your windows keep fogging up? And the underside of your desk is moldy? Reply
  • martyrant - Sunday, November 13, 2011 - link

    It's got a lid, I cut out holes, it's semi-sealed...and even if it wasn't, those wouldn't be an you know what you are talking about? Reply
  • jewie27 - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    they use a 240MM radiator because they are only meant to cool the CPU not the entire system with GPU's... Reply
  • Wakanabi - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I just overclocked a new FX4100 cpu from 3.6 to 4.6Ghz per core, quad core, in a NZXT M59 case and using a corsair H60 $60 liquid solution I ran prime95 overnight. Completely stable and better yet the cpu never eclipsed 38 degrees celcius. On top of that it has been idling at 8-15celcius. Compare that to stock or even aftermarket fans.

    Even the cheap H60 does an amazing job at cooling. Naysayers simply haven't tried them. The H100 in my HAF case is even more amazing with my core i7 cpu.
  • ashujmc - Monday, August 25, 2014 - link

    You make a water cooler with a Radiator surface area equivalent to that of those Huge air coolers, you will get better performance.. additionally, not to forget that Air coolers, However massive, release all their heat Inside the CPU cabinet itself.. so HEATING THE OTHER COMPONENTS.... so heat washout from the cabinet will depend on Air flow through cabinet.. and to make the matter worse, they Obstruct Air flow inside the cabinet due to their Huge size... but Water cooler radiators will release the heat outside the cabinet.. so less heat trapped inside.. and due to smaller nature of main unit, won't block the air flow much.. if at all... Reply
  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    surface area. that is why these sealed water cooling kits perform better with faster fan speeds. yet, they still make sense when you have a moderate target cooling capacity like cooling a Sandy Bridge. Reply
  • mach2plus - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    "why do the big honking air coolers consistently outperform the sealed water cooling units?"

    What testing are you referring to? I have read reviews of the H80 and H100 here and elsewhere, and your comment just doesn't seem to make any sense...

    please elaborate on your claim and cite facts, please.
  • johnyfriend - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Went with the Antec Kuhler than with Corsair as the Corsair one was not so quiet...Happy with Antec now... Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    What happened to all the other coolers? Like the thermalright ultra 120 x, this test is useless atm without better comparisons. Reply
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    The test data clearly shows no cooling advantage to the Corsair closed loop water-coolers and they are a poor value compared to quality HSFs. Open loop coolers costing >$185 have some merit if you like to tinker and want to do some more extreme OC'ing, but water-cooling for PCs in general is hardly worth the cost and trouble. It only takes one leak to fry your PC hardware. A quiet, single fan Xigmatek Aegir costing $70. will deliver as good of or better performance than the Corsair water coolers.
  • LancerVI - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Spoken like a true non-enthusiast. I have been water cooling for 10 years and haven't had one problem. While I'm no fan of closed loops like this, I can assure you that my open loops performance far exceeds this.

    Don't base your judgement of water cooling on this limited closed loop, your lack of knowledge and your fear.
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    As I said open loop cooling systems costing far more are OK if you want to do serious OC work but they are not a good value and one leak can cost you dearly. Just because you system has not leaked does not mean other's have not destroyed hundreds of dollars in PC hardware. My comments are far more objective than most folks who are in one camp or another. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Yes, current generation normal air coolers are pretty great. But they also cause trouble with their size. Some (14cm+ height) may not fit in certain cases. On some motherboards, their width can result in RAM with larger heatsinks not fitting, blocking the first PCIe slot or interfering with HDDs.
    For all these purposes, AIO water cooling is a great alternative if powerful cooling is still desired.

    I had a Noctua C12P in my Lian Li V-351B, because it was the biggest thing that could fit (height restricted by the PSU hovering over the CPU socket). It is okay, but not great (OC very much heat restricted and loud once I go for full load). A friend of mine has the H50 and has the radiator on one of the front intake fans. He can run it silently and much, much cooler as well.

    I personally just bought components for a full blown water cooling setup, mostly because I need something to tinker with (file server and new HTPC are done) and I want better OC/lower noise. Though it cost an arm and a leg. :D
  • JPForums - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    <quote>On some motherboards, their width can result in RAM with larger heatsinks not fitting ...</quote>

    I was thinking the exact same thing. While I certainly haven't used the majority of motherboards out there, I have worked with a pretty sizable cross-section (for one person). The above statement is true of every Core i-series and Athlon64 or newer board that I've worked with. This typically only applies to the first slot. Though in many cases, if you want to maintain optimal multichannel capabilities, you loose out on another (two for triple channel controllers).

    I ran into this problem with the Thermaltake Frio, several Thermalright coolers, Prolimatech Megahalems, and several Noctua coolers including their 90mm NH-U9F. In fact, some of these coolers with less vertical clearance block the usage of RAM regardless of height.
  • beginner99 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Yeah I agree with Jared. I have a NH-D14 and it is sometimes annyoing because it blocks so much space I often have to remove it just for some minor change in my setup. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    On the other hand the NH-D14 offers significantly better delta to noise ratios. In my experience mine has certainly been worth the extra hassle of dealing with a large fin assembly every time I open the case because of how well it performs when the case is sealed. Reply
  • ypsylon - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    What advantages bring Closed Liquid Cooling solution. Yes big air coolers like Noctua DH-14 or Thermalright/Cogage Silver Arrow (using one of those) easily outperform CLC. But nobody is thinking about how much problems such big radiators bring to your life. Not everybody own case with horizontal motherboard (I do). In standard vertical mounting bolting 2kg to motherboard is a risky business. It can easily bent, brake and destroy brand new and spangling board you just bought. Need some work to reduce stress on the motherboard. From my own experience, I had that problem when I went from vertical to horizontal. There was certainly microscopic bent on CPU socket because short time after switching when board warmed up everything crashed to hell. Screwing everything even tighter helped for a week, but then whole circus started again. After replacing the board problem was gone, but that is the possible problem with humongous radiators. On the other hand CLC are small, weight very much nothing, performance is very good, often on par with extreme air coolers. Of course standard open LC is better option but it cost much more. If you don't do extreme OC and all what you need is excellent cooling for affordable price with minimum clutter around CPU socket then CLC is simply UNBEATABLE! Simples.

    What I don't like about these Corsairs is that stupid LED display on top of them and that you need to replace fans for something really useful (well all CLC have this problem).

    As for why big air coolers still outperform CLC answer is fairly simple: Radiator thickness. 27mm is very thin for an radiator in liquid cooling setup. If they put 50+mm one day then air coolers will be dead. And I mean D.E.A.D.
  • Tetracycloide - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    If you don't do extreme OC and all you need is excellent cooling for an affordable price expensive CLCs or expensive big air coolers are easily bested by fairly simple parts. If there's no extreme OCs any of the price points offered by corsair for CLCs are more than you should spend really and price/performance wise the CLCs are actually pretty poor performers relative to standard air coolers. The only thing CLCs really offer are space savings, they trade space around the CPU for space around an exhaust fan which is some chassis is a very good thing. Reply
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Those were my points. The CLC's are a poor value, inefficient and over-rated. One leak can cost you hundreds of dollars is damaged PC hardware. Reply
  • Mediarocker - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Inefficient? Hardly. They perform as well as most air coolers, with the exception of the giant Noctunas and ETC. but when it comes down to it, and you need space savings these are perfect for the job.

    So no they aren't of a Poor Value, and aren't inefficient and over-rated. They just don't belong in YOUR market segment.

    Just because you don't have any use for it doesn't mean that they don't have a place to belong.

    Nevertheless these CLC's won't leak as easily due to there being less user error. The CLC's are sealed shut. So leaking is highly improbable without there being some abuse involved, E.G. taking a screwdriver to the rad accidentally.

    Take your fears elsewhere. It's been established that you are afraid of liquid cooling and prefer air cooling. That is entirely alright, but don't dismiss the merits of CLC cooling just because it has no use for you.
  • jed22281 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    All-in-one's from Swiftech (latest rev H20-220 etc) & similar specialist vendors are far better performers than the H100.
    And they're more flexible when it comes to adding your own tweaks/improvements etc.
  • jed22281 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Pop over to xtremesystems where everyone talks about nothing but water-cooling.
    And they'll recommended it any day over the sealed loops from Corsair.
  • Fastidious - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Why not include some good cheap air heat sinks as well for comparison as well? I really don't see how this is recommended by Anandtech, very expensive with no major advantages along with added complexity and danger of leaks. It also seems impossible to refill these if they are losing liquid? They do have nice 5 year warranties but I suspect most air heat sinks will last much longer. Reply
  • Iketh - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    heat pipes would need refilling if they leaked too... your point is moot Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Part of the whole point of closed-loop (these) vs. open-loop water-cooling is that they are much less complex (from the article, it seems that they're actually easier to mount than many traditional air HSFs), and, since they're sealed, there should be no danger of leaks (unless the unit is defective, in which case I'd assume the warranty should cover replacement of any damaged components). And of course it's impossible to refill them... again, they're sealed. You shouldn't have to worry about loss of liquid for the same reason.

    Personally, I love the idea of the CLCs (water-cooling performance without the expense, trouble, and risk of an open loop water-cooling setup), but unfortunately it's just not there yet. While it does provide a good alternative to mounting bulky, heavy air-coolers, you still have to pay a premium to get merely competitive performance with cheaper airs.

    Hopefully, soon they'll be able to get these to outperform air-coolers as a water-cooler should.
  • mrjoltcola - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Maybe I missed it, but I see no mention of fan direction / configuration. For the H60 in particular it is important to mount the fan to push into the case/radiator.

    The H100 + 600T is really not the best test for that cooler. I reported this to Corsair tech support after I bought the combo, and they wouldn't even admit there was a problem. The grille between the top slot and the radiator causes major turbulence if you mount the fans to push into the case the fans vibrate like crazy. I had to do the same thing Jared did, leave the top grille off. Unacceptable for the money spent, considering Corsair claims compatibility. They were no help, though.

    I opted to buy a 650D to move my rig into, but Corsair messed up with the 600T. Most of their other cases are perfect for the H100, though.

    I'd like to see AT test the H100 without that inefficient 600T grille, in a case that actually sets up for it like the 650D.
  • prime2515103 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    "Each Corsair Hydro Series cooler is mounted to blow air from outside the case over the radiator." Reply
  • compudaze - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    You can always mod your grill like this: -- but you're right, it sucks and you shouldn't have to do that. Reply
  • mschira - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Then this would solve the compatibility issues right from the start...
  • Earthmonger - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Kind of disappointed you didn't open the coolers up. I'd like to know just what kind of build quality one can expect; whether it is deep-fried korean junk, or pristine japanese craftsmanship. It does a lot to ease the mind. Reply
  • Mjello - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Why isn't anyone making a "ready to use" closed circuit cooler for gpu's ?
    My gpu needs watercooling more than my cpu.
  • ggathagan - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    It's a matter of market scale.
    You can accomodate any CPU from the last 5 years with a single design and two styles of mounting mechanism.
    For GPU's, there are too many variations of design that would have to be considered to make it anywhere near as profitable.
  • cjs150 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I rather like these kits. They are a lot worse than a custom loop but for someone just starting on water cooling they are a good introduction.

    Water cooling CPU only is not particularly sensible because air coolers are just as good (although big). A custom loop would cool both CPU and GPU at very least.

    Nice review
  • Hauk - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I bought the H80 last month and was less than impressed with the quality of the mounting hardware. Perhaps I've been spoiled with the superb quality found with Thermalright mounting hardware. In any case, the hardware Corsair provides is cheap garbage in comparison. Yes it works, but it's poor quality, soft metal. Hold this mounting hardware in one hand, and typical Thermalright hard metal (and chromed) hardware in the other. It's easy to see which was designed for multiple mounting and unmountings.

    The installation instructions are poorly written as well. I learned more from this article about how the push button affects fan speed than I did from anything Corsair provided. And no words Corsair? Just pictures? You'd think there'd be something written, if anything, a paragraph explaining the push button, or how to properly torque the fittings.

    Other than that, meh, so I got water in my case now.
  • Mjello - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I have had the h100 for a year or two now. Could have done with the H60. I don't care about 3-4 degrees difference or overclocks.

    I want absolute silence and water does that. Just need something for my gpu as well. It gets a bit noisy when gaming.

    Big cpu coolers are also silent. However the heat tends to build up in the case and then you need extra fans to move the air out of the case. With water you can place the radiator outside the case with a 900 rpm fan on.

    When my gpu isn't working hard, all i hear is my harddrive. So please, someone make a gpu version of this.
  • kg4icg - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I don't seehow you had the H100 for over a year, when it just came out this year. It's less than 6 month's old. Try that again? Reply
  • Mjello - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Mine is the old version with the bulky cooler/pump unit. May even be other make. I dont remember and don't care to open the computer to check. However its a dual 120mm fan radiator in a closed loop ready to use. Just as this one. And I don't think there is much diff. if any at all ;). I actually thought mine was the h100. Reply
  • Gonemad - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I am a bit concerned about systems that consider the placement of the Fan on top of the CPU to cool everything else around it, like the ram, and so forth. This radiator installation inside the case seems to help this unease feeling. Reply
  • Mjello - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I found that the power supply fan alone is creating sufficient airflow in the kabinet for cooling the motherboard components when there is no cpu fan. But I dont overclock in the extreme. And motherboards are not all the same. Reply
  • Oberst - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    could you please also post the dimensions of the cooling unit (cooler, pump unit, fan controller)?
    That would be quite interesting for people mounting the radiator externally and putting the cooling unit through a fan hole ore something similar into the case onto the mainboard.
    As the price difference in Europe between the H80 and H100 is quite low (only about 9 Euros), i'm interested in upgrading my quite old case with a external mounted H100.
    k.r. Oberst.
  • haplo602 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I have a dual CPU system with 92mm coolers (no space for larger ones). However the case has holes on top for 2x140mm fans. Would to H60 radiators fit there next to each other ?

    I know I can do a better and cheaper open loop with one radiator and the CPU waterblocks in series, but I like the idea of cooling both CPUs as they needed and not as the more loaded one needs.
  • geniekid - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    This is definitely a niche product, even for enthusiasts. One of the biggest selling points of water cooling is to reduce fan noise, but it looks like the fans on these things aren't much quieter than the stock fan for low load usage (i.e. normal HTPC use). For gaming machines, the biggest noise offenders (in my anecdotal, personal experience) are usually the GPU and the power supply fans.

    Maybe if your goal is to overclock as much as possible with a cooling solution around $100, then this is for you, but I would have to see many more comparisons to air coolers and alternative water coolers before I'd be convinced of that.
  • kg4icg - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Have no problems what so ever mounting the H100 inside a Corsair Carbide 400R case. 500 and 600 Carbides are the same way.

  • WT - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I bought an H80 for my new build to cut down on the noise that my current air cooler (Nirvana NV120) created, and to that end it is an amazing difference, so I consider it a worthwhile purchase for what I wanted.

    As far as the directions, I agree that they are pitiful, and I even had to do a google search (Corsair tech support hours = Mon-Fri) to find out where the 4 included washers were to be mounted.

    I did end up replacing the 2 stock Corsair fans with Gentle Typhoon AP-15's, and I mounted them so that they blow out of the case rather than pulling air from outside as Corsair recommends.
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    There are plenty of quiet HSFs that perform as well or better than the Corsair CLCs and cost less. Having to spend more moeny for quiet fans makes a Corsair CLC an even worse value. The biggest liability with H2O cooling however is the damaged from leaks that can destroy hundreds of dollars in PC hardware and for what when there is no advantage to a Corsair CLC.

    Buy what makes you happy but don't buy the Corsair or other brands of CLCs for thermal efficiency, quietness, value or reliability because they suffer in these areas compared to a decent HSF.
  • pcfxer - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    And yet liquid cooling is still FAR too loud for any SPCR reader, that's for sure! Reply
  • dagamer34 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Seems that even the lowly H60 is good enough that I should replace the stock fan in my HTPC. Reply
  • **USA** - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    See: "Corsair H100 Install in 600T case" for effective cooling with push/pull fan configuration. Reply
  • KingstonU - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Great review! Been looking for a review to cover these exact topics on comparing pros/cons of high end air-coolers to mainstream water coolers. Thanks!

    I can see now that the only downside of the high-end air cooling solution compared to these is the weight off the motherboard, but has any motherboard actually failed under the load of one of these heavy air coolers? I supposed you could also just your case on it's side and problem solved.
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    The HSF back plate is there to distribute the load, so the mobo isn't over-stressed. Reply
  • ajtyeh - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    any users that have done this? it looks like there may be room for 4 screws to attach an equivlant fan Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Yes, you can use an H60 with 2 fans, but since the radiator is still much more narrow you don't get the same results @ same fan rpm. :-) Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I know this must exist, is there a such thing as a case that is covered with fins with liquid channels? We could hook up our videocards and cpu to the loop.

    Then we'd only hear the noise of the pump; or am I mistaken? Seems like a no brainer but perhaps cost prohibitive.

    I've always been scared to do a water cooling system, because of leaks, but I don't see the advantage of this closed loop system quite yet. How reliable are current open loop systems and how much plumbing knowledge do i have to have to get it working safely? I'd love to use it on a dual cpu dual vdeocard setup (four blocks)
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    You can always build extreme H2O units but why bother when refrigeration systems are far superior and easy. Reply
  • Mjello - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    I don't remember if it was zalaman who launched a commercial product a few years ago. But that was a tower exactly as you describe. Where the sides was cooling. And heatpipes attached to the sides from the cpu.

    Anyways. You can do that with h100 and a PII X4 3 Ghz stock speed. If you mount the radiator outside like I did. The temp goes up when you turn off my 900 rpm fan but the system isn't overheating. I'll just check the temps for you for fun ;). Give me half an hour
  • ggathagan - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Yeah, Zalman produced two fanless cases (TNN-500 and TNN-300) that used heatpipes to conduct the heat from internal components to the case.

    That was different from what noeldillabough is talking about; where you are, in essence, making a case out of radiators.
    That would be too cost prohibitive and too complex, especially if you factor in the delicacy of such a case.
    Radiator fins and water channels have to be thin to be efficient, and that spells disaster without some sort of protection.
    Adding that protection to the outside of a case would add even more complexity and create a nightmare as far as being able to ship it without fear of damage.
    There's also the issue of weight to consider and we haven't even started on what customer support would be like.

    Zalman still makes the Reserator, which is an external cooling system along the lines of what you mentioned.
  • Mjello - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    If you don't mind temps howering in the 70C-75C range the h100 can do it passive mounted externally in a horisontal position in a 25C room.

    Just did an hour of LoL. It wont do prime95 for more than 10 min. however. So heavy loads is a nogo passive. And a silent fan doesn't make any noice so i'll switch mine back on. Was a fun experiment though.
  • double0seven - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    "We could hook up our video cards and CPU to the loop."

    This part doesn't make logical sense. If you "hooked up" multiple heat generators to a coolant loop, only the first one would get cooled.
  • ggathagan - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Page 3, last sentence of the 1st paragraph: I didn't have any filament problems....
    I'm guessing fitment is the word you intended.

    Hey, someone has to pick at this stuff...
  • fixxxer0 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    what was the ambient temp of the room on average? just curious to see what your actual temps were... Reply
  • compudaze - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Ambient temps were 22.2C - 24.8C with an average of 23.8C. Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    It's been a while, that most power hungry part of the system is a graphic card.
    What a pity they don't make water cooling solution for them.

    I don't quite get why on earth I would install this thing, if I still have to care what to do with graphic card heat.
  • kg4icg - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Cool IT does make a sealed solution for video cards.
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    It's good to see these coolers get to the point where they are really good, even if the cost is a bit high still. I think pretty soon, liquid coolers will be the thing to use in all but inexpensive systems.

    I'm not sure the H100's price is too high; it depends on what a serious overclocker wants, and whether it allows more room than something like the Silver Arrow. Adding another 2 fans will make even more difference (and add to the cost), which will give more of a performance edge to it. Theoretically, anyway, air flow through the radiator may not be the limiting factor in the system.

    I use the CoolIT Eco on one of my rigs (similar to the H60). It's a decent cooler, but the main reason I used it was because I needed a lower profile solution with my Antec Skeleton "case", and these type coolers really work great for that. Of course, you are just moving the space issue to a different location, since there's the radiator to deal with, but that's not an issue with the Skeleton since I just made a bracket to hang it off a side.

  • Googer - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    Shame corsair didn't show off the "Corsair Link" kit and demonstrate its abilities. I guess they don't want to sell too many of those $100-129 (USD) kits. Sounds like the Bob's Rug Syndrome (GTE)
  • Drekkyk - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    I tried the H60, but at 4.5 Ghz the temp was 8 degrees C hotter than my Cooler Master Hyper 212+. under load and at idle. What I really noticed was how much slower the temp reduced when going from full load to none. I really wanted to like it, I even tried remounting, ensuring thermal compound was applied correctly, etc. I used the same compound for both coolers. My case is a Haf-X with plenty of airflow. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    I thought I'd chime in on some research I've done.

    The pump on the H50 is rated at 220lph
    The pump on the H60 is rated at 180lph
    The pump on the H80/H100 is rated at 220lph

    So anybody in the market for the 'economy' water cooling solution is far better off with the older H50, which also has a thicker radiator (same radiator as the H80)

    Liter-per-hour ratings can be found as Asetek's site. They are the OEM for these kits.
  • james.jwb - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Most air coolers do a very fine job these days, what I'd like to see is a water cooler for GPUs because the stock or third party models at the moment are poor. If you want low noise, none of them do a good job.

    Make a decent closed water cooler for GPUs!
  • alown - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Would have been nice if they could have compared it to the H70 I own. Reply
  • DJShadow - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    I'm surprised there isn't a review of the Antec Kuhler models. Reply
  • westh2o - Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - link

    I wish someone would have told me how friggen loud this thing was. OMG I couldn’t stand it anymore. I just finished replacing the Stock Corsair fans with 2 Noctua NF-P12's. What a HUGE difference!!! My system is super quiet now..... After spending over $100 and now I need to spend another $20 buck is not cool in my book! Reply
  • davele - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Thanks was a useful article. But would be much better if it considered the newer x79 systems.
    1. The newer i7-3960, 3930 chips have a thermal output of 130W. This is way higher than many SB OC systems. And only gets worse if you OC it. So it would be useful to see what Coolers can handle that kind of thermal load.
    2. The LGA2011 die size is larger, so handy to know which coolers can fit over its surface efficiently.
    3. It would be useful to know which coolers actually have sufficient clearance to function without compromising the use of your system. ie You can still populate all 8 RAM slots & actually use the 1st PCI slot.
    Eg: Can Corsair style 52mm high RAM fit? Do you need to drop to 40mm G.Skill sized RAM or are you unable to use the 1st RAM slot at all. Similarly the 1st PCI slot is often designed to run fastest. With the other slots share the bandwidth if you populate with more cards.
    While I suspect most of the popular Air Coolers (ie: ThermalRight, Noctua) will not fit correctly, which may force you to choose a Water Cooled system.
    It would be really useful to know the facts.
  • Rag1ngR1ce - Saturday, January 21, 2012 - link

    i got my h60 for 30$ on boxing day after MIR, what a steal. How ever, my first one leaked and I
    had to return for a new one. I dont think any 30$ heatsink is better than the h60
  • mach2plus - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    Hi folks. Just last week I attempted to mount a new Corsair H100 in a new Rosewill Blackhawk Mid-Tower, and no matter how I tried to manipulate things, I just couldn't get them to mate... And while my configuration is just that, mine, I believe the generalities that I am about to write about may help others understand more about the H100, and case/motherboard compatibility issues that you may need to consider.

    So, for accessibility, I first removed the top of the Blackhawk case, and then removed its preinstalled 140mm fan. (BTW, I had premeasured everything beforehand, and I knew that there was probably going to be a problem, but tried fitting it in anyways...) I then mounted the H100 radiator inside the case, without its two fans, on the very top of the case, where the 140mm fan use to be. Using the hardware provided by Corsair, I loosely screwed in the 8 screws. DING, FIRST PROBLEM: Fortunately, I had seen that the Corsair screws appeared too long, and that if I were to have torqued them down securely, all 8 screws would have definitely damaged the H100 radiator fins (though not the actual piping with the coolant, as best as I could tell, but why chance it?), so be forewarned about this.

    I then loosely mounted my new, unpopulated, Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA1155 onto the provided stand-offs, and DING, SECOND PROBLEM: The hardware provided by Rosewill to mount the Mobo to the standoffs is the type that have raised ribs on the underside of the screwhead, used to "dig into" the solder on your Mobo, and the copper tracing! A Newegg reviewer had pointed this out, so I was aware of the issue, but if you torqued these screws down securely onto your Mobo, you will damage the copper tracing, so go out and get yourself some better quality hardware, without ribs, if you want to save your Mobo. You'll get the same connectivity, without damaging the mobo.

    So, now the real fun began, as I tried to ever so carefully attach each of the H100 fans to the underside of the H100 radiator. I was just barely able to physically mount the first fan, the rearmost, to the underside of the radiator (Corsair provides the hardware for doing this), but DING, THIRD PROBLEM: the fan (not the radiator) physically blocked my Gigabyte Mobo's SYS Fan1 connector. While this in itself can obviously be worked around, DING, PROBLEM FOUR: I couldn't even physically mount the forward H100 fan to the H100 radiator because all four of the upper DDR3 1-4 memory socket retaining clips were in the way, in a big way! In addition, even if I was able to mount the H100 fan, it would have completely blocked my Mobo CPU FAN connector, much like the rear fan had blocked the SYS Fan1 connector.

    Now, remember, my Mobo was unpopulated at the time, and the memory sockets were empty, so even if your particular case/mobo combo could provide sufficient space for the H100 fan, you still have to remember to consider that your memory may have cooling fins attached to it, which may prevent you from attaching the forward fan. Just a consideration.

    Other thoughts. My new Blackhawk Case was damaged on arrival, so it was RMA'd and I'm awaiting its replacement. I reaally liked the Blawkhawk case, so I am now considering using a Corsair H80 cooling system, versus the H100, and mounting the H80 where the Blackhawks rear 120mm fan comes pre-installed. That, or I'm considering mounting just the H100 radiator inside of the Blawkhawk case, at the very top (per the above install that I had problems with), and then mounting the two H100 fans on the outside top of the Blawkhawk case, directly above the H100 radiator, and on top of the Blawkhawks upper case mesh. My concerns with this arrangement obviously are how this setup might alter the H100's cooling potential.

    I hope some of this info helps those of you who are considering getting a non-stock cooling system, be it water or air.

    Best regards -- Bob

  • qwopqwop - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    in this case picture the inner radiator fan is mounted in the wrong direction, it is blowing the heat from the radiator into the case, you need to switch the fan direction around (and possibly do the review over again).
  • erroll1906 - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    Hi everyone bought my H100 today and if you want to do a push pull configuration,you need more screws.The screws come as a english thread 6/32 unc x 1 1/4 Long.Which ain't easy to get hold of.There are quite a few complaints that the screws are too long crushing the fins on the radiator.I have a solution for you.I worked for a fastening company so I know this works.I used M3x30mm Steel Button Head Screws with washers as the thread pitch are nearly the same as each other.Excellent fit as the screws are 2mm shorter than the others. Reply
  • Stan11003 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Newegg has the H60 refurbished for $35, not a bad a deal. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now