Temperature Results

Each Corsair Hydro Series cooler is mounted to blow air from outside the case over the radiator. We had to leave the top cover off of our 600T chassis during the H100 tests due to its restrictive design; otherwise the H100 results would have been horrendously skewed. The top cover didn't affect our other tests and was left on for those. Since the H60 has a PWM fan, we disabled any BIOS fan controls to ensure the fan was spinning at 100%. All three of the H80 and H100 speed settings are tested. We’ll start with our stock 3.5GHz test results and then move to the overclocked results.

CPU Delta Temperature - 3.5GHz (Stock)

The stock speed test doesn't provide much of a challenge for any of the Hydro Series coolers, leaving very little gap between them. Not surprisingly, all of the aftermarket coolers simply crush the stock Intel cooler; however, it’s also worth nothing that the Silver Arrow outperforms both the H60 and H80, and nips at the heels of the H100 set to Medium fan speed. Due to the relativity cool temperatures during this test, some of the speed profiles for the H80 and H100 never hit their maximum RPM. This keeps those coolers relatively quiet even when running on high or medium at stock speeds.

CPU Delta Temperature - 4.8GHz (OC)

Now that we're overclocked to 4.8GHz, these coolers are finally showing a temperature difference worthy of their price difference. Also note that the stock Intel cooler didn’t handle the 4.8GHz load reliably, so we don’t have results for it in this chart. The H100 is the runaway leader here, sporting a comfortable 3.3C lead over the H80. The H60 falls 5.1C shy of the H80—not terrible considering its slimmer radiator and single fan design. The cooling advantage of the H100 on the high setting does come at a penalty though; it's substantially louder as you'll see next in the noise test. The potential spoiler in the midst of these results is the Silver Arrow, once again coming very close to the H100 at a lower price. It’s not without compromises, which we’ll cover in the conclusion.

Test Setup and Procedures Noise Results
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  • 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.
    Reply
  • johnyfriend - Monday, November 7, 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 7, 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 7, 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.

    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm#INTELH...
    Reply
  • LancerVI - Monday, November 7, 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.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 7, 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 7, 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
    Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, November 7, 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.
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Monday, November 7, 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 7, 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

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