Corsair H90

Corsair's Hydro H90 is sort of a bigger brother to the H75. It is the only AIO cooler from Corsair in this roundup that comes in silver packaging, as for some reason the company did not use its usual black-based color theme; most likely because of the all-black color of the cooler itself. Although the bundle is limited to the basics, a manual with installation instructions and the installation-related hardware that is, it is interesting to note that everything, down to the last screw, is black. The included 140mm fan is black as well and is a model with narrow blades and relatively low operating speeds, ranging from 600 to 1500 RPM.

Black, black and more black; these words can easily describe the H90. The radiator is a wider version of the same radiator used by the H75, built for 140mm fans instead of 120mm. Nevertheless, that's over 25% more heat dissipation surface, giving the H90 a significant advantage. The radiator appears well made, yet fin deformations can be easily spotted, therefore it is far from perfect. Smooth, rubber and kink-resistant tubing is used; Corsair does not appear fond of corrugated tubing.

The pump-block assembly is round and very simple. Corsair's logo has been printed on the top of the assembly and there is no lighting or anything else worthy of discussion about this block. It apparently is the simplest design that the OEM (Asetek) offers. Thermal compound is again pre-applied on the copper base of the cooler.

Corsair H110

The Hydro H110 is the largest AIO liquid cooler that Corsair currently offers. It comes supplied inside a black cardboard box with a red theme, marking it as one of Corsair's "extreme performance" products. The H110 shares the same bundle as the H90. Inside the box there is a manual with installation instructions, all-black mounting hardware that is supplied categorized inside separate nylon bags, plus two black 140mm fans, also identical to the fan supplied with the H90.

On first sight, it becomes apparent that the H110 is little more than an oversized version of the H90. The radiator has the same thickness but twice the length, allowing for the installation of two 140mm fans on each side, so up to four 140mm fans total in a push-pull configuration. Despite the relatively thin 29mm thickness, the 140mm × 280mm radiator is hefty and will not fit inside many cases, which is the most significant disadvantage of the H110. The rubber tubing is only about 30cm long, which is enough if the radiator is to be installed at the top of a case but not long enough to reach virtually any other viable position. In short, this is a cooler that will need to be matched to a limited case selection.

The same simple round pump-block assembly as that of the H75 is used on the H110 as well. Aesthetics aside, as there is nothing really left to discuss about that, we found it strange that such a small ceramic pump can create a pressure significant enough to cope with the flow resistance of such a large radiator. It is highly likely that the performance of the whole setup will be limited by the low power of the pump. Thermal compound has once again been pre-applied on the copper base of the cooler.

Corsair H100i

Although it is not the most powerful AIO cooler that Corsair currently offers, the H100i is their pride and joy, therefore it could not be missing from this review. As every other AIO cooler rated as an "extreme performance" product, Corsair supplies the H100i in a black cardboard box with a red color theme. The bundle of the H100i might appeare a little richer than most, but it's not. Aside from the manual with the installation instructions and the mounting hardware, there are the cables required for the use of the cooler and a small advertising leaflet with Corsair's latest products; nothing of particular note. Two 120mm fans with wide grey blades are included, the same fans supplied with the H105 to be exact, which have a speed range of 800 to 2700 RPM.

Out of all Corsair's AIO cooling solutions in this review, the H100i is the one that really stands out. Unlike any of the previous Hydro models discussed in this review, the H100i is not made by Asetek; CoolIT is the OEM behind it. The 120mm x 240mm radiator is similar to that of the H105 but considerably thinner, at only 27mm deep. It is of almost identical design, with wavy aluminum fins soldered on the liquid pass-through channels; however, although it might only be a coincidence, we should note that the number of deformations/imperfections of the fins is notably lower.

The block-pump assembly is rectangular, with a shiny, highly reflective black top cover. The company logo lights up once the pump is powered on. On the side of the assembly, there are connectors for the fans and the USB interface of the system; this model is compatible with Corsair's Link software, allowing almost complete control via software. We should note that the power connector of the pump is not the usual 3-pin fan header connector but a SATA connector instead, as the assembly needs to power up to four fans, the pump, and all of the electronics of the interface as well. Thermal compound has been pre-applied to the copper base of the assembly, which is very smooth and polished down to a mirror finish (the grainy appearance of the block in the picture is actually due to reflections from the environment).

Corsair Enermax
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  • E.Fyll - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    That would be new to me; I am practically unmoved by anything, let alone someone who is trying to debate with me online.

    Unfortunately, you did state your point but you cannot possibly "defend it". Your point is based on your personal preferences and assumptions. I explained to you thoroughly why your assumptions are wrong and how they would lead to erroneous results. Anything based on assumptions has no basis, there is no argument that can defend it and is practically wrong. Still, you chose to cling upon your opinion. That is your choice; it does not mean that I have to endorse it.

    As for the "what differentiates an AnandTech reviewer and the typical Newegg/Amazon user reviewer" comment, my case. If that is all you can see in such an article, there is absolutely nothing that I would like to say to you.
  • The PC Apologist - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Fyll: "I am practically unmoved by anything, let alone someone who is trying to debate with me online."

    PCA: Being unmoved is not necessarily a good thing, it merely means you're not open-minded enough to allow for room for improvement. Also, is debating online somehow a lower standard or an inferior forum for argument? This is 2014 for Christ's sake, what would you have preferred, debating over the phone or in person? Coming from an online writer no less...

    Fyll: "Unfortunately, you did state your point but you cannot possibly "defend it". Your point is based on your personal preferences and assumptions. I explained to you thoroughly why your assumptions are wrong and how they would lead to erroneous results. Anything based on assumptions has no basis, there is no argument that can defend it and is practically wrong."

    PCA: What, what, and what? So one cannot possibly defend a stance that is based on personal preferences and assumptions huh? Interesting. I wonder what Michael Sandel of Harvard would say to that. And trust me, throughout this dialogue I've been way more objective and scientific than you. All you're clinging onto is a failed and lobotomized version of Logical Positivism. As for assumptions, ever heard of thought experiments and hypothetical scenarios? Jesus Christ... And don't blame me for your lack of imagination and creativity. The answers to all of your previous questions, concerning what fans to use and how to discern a good cooler from a bad one, are obvious to any true computer enthusiasts with even a minimal scientific background. Needless to say, you are not one of them.

    And for the AnandTech vs. Newegg user reviewer point (in the correct context please), how can you rest your case when you've never presented it? What is your case? You can't just end it without having started it because then, we won't know where exactly you are wrong.

    Listen man, I've tried to be nice and courteous, but you are really pushing it. And I hate to throw the book at you, but it's obvious you haven't read it (or any other for that matter). The following is posted under "Review Philosophies" of the AnandTech About page:

    " We employ the scientific method in all of our endeavors. Ensuring reliability by repeating tests multiple times, checking results against control groups and implementing sound testing methodologies. We create the vast majority of our own test suites using both in-house and industry standard benchmarks. We also put a lot of effort into ensuring that the results published in our reviews track with the real world user experience of the products we review. In many cases the majority of the test results we generate never make their way onto the site, they're simply used by our reviewers to better understand the product being evaluated to provide you with better overall content.

    Our reviews incorporate a mixture of objective and subjective based analysis, the balance varying where appropriate. We are not a site that exclusively relies on data based comparisons but also deliver honest user experience evaluations as well. Some reviews lend themselves to data driven analysis more than others (e.g. CPU review vs. smartphone review), but we always attempt to provide both in our coverage. I fundamentally believe that you need both to accurately portray any product. Numbers are great for comparative analysis, but without context they can be meaningless. Similarly, personal opinions are great to help explain what owning a product may be like, but without data to back up some claims the review lacks authority (e.g. average vs. good battery life begs to be quantified).

    We are a very small team for a publication of our size. We are human. We make mistakes. We gladly welcome criticism from our readers and vendors alike. Seeking perfection doesn't mean being perfect from the start, it means being able and willing to improve when faced with evidence that you're not perfect. I feel strongly about this - negative feedback is tough to hear, but as far as I'm concerned it's free education. If there's validity in a complaint about something we've done, we will take it to heart and act upon it. We rarely ban commenters in our articles (99.9999% of banned commenters are spammers). While I would appreciate it if you are respectful to our writers when commenting, you won't be banned for expressing your feelings about something we've written - as nice or as harsh as you may be. Naturally, given the name of the site, I reserve the right to change this policy and totally ban you if you look at me funny in public."

    - The PC Apologist
  • Sushisamurai - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    Bingo. As a professional working away from home, with a limited, local selection of parts, I really have to thank Anandtech's thorough review of stock, out of box configurations. Really helped in terms of eliminating what I don't want - some people just don't have the time in their life browsing complicated reviews factoring modifications. I don't mind spending $150 for a AIO cooler that I can set up, and that it works better than some, as opposed to buying something for $100 and buying other fans etc to make it perform similarly to a $150 product out of box. That extra time and hassle isn't worth it to me (and some people).

    That being said, rock on for the review! I only wish there was a more clear answer for corsair vs NZXT for the bigger radiators (x60 vs 110/100i). I wonder how they would perform with max fans (4 fans push and pull from the manufacturer) for noise and thermal performance at certain loads; as their thermal resistance is different, I wonder if would more fans compensate for lower noise (over all lower RPM) at certain energy loads. But I suppose that's for a more detailed review another time :)
  • The PC Apologist - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    All I hear is compromise after compromise.

    After having cut so many corners, what differentiates an AnandTech reviewer and the typical Newegg/Amazon user reviewer?
  • P.Ashton - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    I do not usually post comments but boy, what a load of rubbish!

    The PC Apologist, if I may ask, what are your qualifications? I mean, aside from typing long, beautiful and full of useless information texts. Are you an engineer or products specialist in any given way? It lacks any sense to tell you how misconceived you are, others did before me and you discarded them basing your "reason" on childish arguments. But alongside "obnoxious" and "elitist", I would definitely add "arrogant" to the list. Someone who is overqualified for this kind of job is wasting his time trying to educate you and you compare him to a "Newegg reviewer"? Good lord.

    I myself am an enthusiast, I spend several thousands of pounds every year on hardware and I would never buy a cooler with the purpose of replacing the fan. If a cooler cannot do the job out of the box, that tells me a lot about whoever designed and markets it.

    Regarding your future application as a reviewer, please, save us the trouble. I would very much rather read a short and cold technical text than a long essay full of bollocks. I can decide for myself if I like a cooler or not after it has been presented to me and I am here to read proper reviews, not sales ads.

    Keep up the good job E.Fyll. I will be buying none of these and I look forward to your air cooler reviews. One short recommendation, if I may. You should add the C/W bar graphs after every temperature graph, not just the average C/W graph. I can calculate the C/W for the wattage that interests me but I do not believe that is true for many people.
  • The PC Apologist - Thursday, February 13, 2014 - link

    It matters not what my qualifications are. It wouldn't matter if I'm a 12 year old school boy or a Ph.D. with published papers and years of experience working in the field; if you are basing my truth claims solely on my qualifications, you are committing the genetic fallacy.

    As for the Newegg reviewer comment, recall the context: "All I hear is compromise after compromise. After having cut so many corners, what differentiates an AnandTech reviewer and the typical Newegg/Amazon user reviewer?" So first, learn to read. Second, learn to read between the lines. It is a rhetorical question, intended to incite a point. If you disagree, argue your stance, don't nerd rage.

    E.Fyll is "overqualified" for this job? All I see is a grunt, willing to put in work without proper thought. We all know that he's done a lot of testing and data compiling, but without an adequate understanding of the scientific process and an acceptable command of language, all his hard labor is just that, hard labor.

    Spending a lot of money on hardware isn't want makes one an computer enthusiast. Sigh...

    The rest of your comment is just you telling us about yourself. Nice to meet you Bob. Was it Bob?
  • apoe - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    Just keep writing essays and ignore how everyone disagrees with you. LOL.
  • landerf - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    This is great, except that many people replace the fans on these coolers and would be most interested in a test using the same 120/140mm fans on all the coolers. To know which one truly is the most effective. Unfortunately this very consumer relevant test is not one I've ever seen done with CLCs. If were to do this, I'd suggest using a common radiator replacement fan like a GT and whatever the community at large considers the 140mm equivalent.
  • Duncan Macdonald - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    Non-AIO water coolers can give far better noise performance.
    (I use a pair of Zalman Reserator 1 V2 for silent cooling of a 4770K and a R9 290X. Not cheap or portable but VERY QUIET.)
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - link

    And better thermal performance, if I may add. Cost and complexity however are on a whole different level. :)

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