The Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB 360mm AIO Cooler Review: Colorful Connectionsby E. Fylladitakis on January 2, 2024 9:00 AM EST
When it comes to all-in-one liquid coolers for CPUs, there are a handful of companies whose brands have become synonymous with the titanic coolers. And of those brands, it's Corsair who is inevitably at the top of any list. One of the key manufacturers responsible for popularizing AIO coolers with the enthusiast PC community, the company has built a very successful and well-renowned business segment out of providing maintenance-free AIO cooler designs – a history that at this point spans over 20 years.
With such a long history, we've seen Corsair update their cooler designs several times now, continually iterating on their designs to improve performance, increase reliability, or even just add RGB lighting to match modern styles. Most recently, Corsair introduced their iCUE LINK family of coolers, which incorporate the titular iCUE LINK system that allows for multiple Corsair peripherals to be connected together and controlled via a central hub. Besides simplifying the process of using multiple Corsair devices together, the iCUE LINK system is also designed to cut down on cable clutter by reducing the overall number of cables down to just one: the iCUE LINK cable going to the next-nearest Corsair device.
To that end, today we're taking a look at the latest generation of Corsair's popular H150i cooler, the iCUE LINK H150i RGB. Succeeding the well-received Elite Capellix models, the newest iCUE LINK H150i RGB stands out with its integration into the iCUE ecosystem, while building and improving upon the already solid foundation of the basic H150i cooler design. While the H150i is not technically Corsair's flagship cooler – that honor goes to the massive 420mm H170i series – most cases cannot accommodate coolers larger than the 360mm H150i, making it the most visible of Corsair's increasingly colorful coolers.
|Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB 360mm AIO CPU Cooler Specifications
|All-in-One Liquid Cooler
|397 x 120 x 52 (radiator with fan)
56 x 56 (coldplate)
|3 x 120 mm QX120 Magnetic Bearing Fans
2400 RPM (max)
|Intel: LGA1700 / LGA1200 / LGA115x
AMD: AM5 / AM4
Packaging & Bundle
We received the new iCUE LINK H150i RGB in a sizable cardboard package, indicative of the cooler's dimensions. Consistent with Corsair's branding, the packaging features their signature black and yellow theme. The box is adorned with a vivid image of the iCUE LINK H150i RGB, giving a hint of the product’s aesthetic appeal. Upon opening, we discovered the cooler and its components securely nestled within custom-designed cardboard inserts, ensuring their protection during transit.
As anticipated, Corsair provides all the essential mounting hardware in the box for the iCUE LINK H150i RGB. The hardware for AMD and Intel processors is supplied in separate pouches. In addition to these components, the bundle also features the iCUE Link Hub, a pivotal element in the iCUE ecosystem. The cooler requires the hub to function and cannot be used without it.
A closer look at the provided cables reveals that the iCUE Link hub requires a 6-pin PCI Express connector for power. Corsair probably wanted to save users from the trouble of using a Molex cable just for powering the hub and, truth be told, it is very likely that most users who will be purchasing a iCUE LINK H150i RGB will also be using a powerful PSU with PCI Express connectors to spare – especially now with 12VHPWR/12V-6x6 connectors powering the latest NVIDIA graphics cards. However, there may be cases where the user owns a PSU with just enough PCI Express connectors for the graphics cards, leaving them no choice other than upgrading the PSU or resorting to Molex-to-PCIe adapters. As the iCUE Link hub does not have high power needs, an included adapter or alternative would have been nice.
The Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB AIO Liquid Cooler
Upon initial inspection, the Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB AIO cooler resembles many other 360 mm AIO coolers available in the market. However, a closer look reveals a distinct feature: the absence of loose cables, which enhances the overall neatness of the design. This cooler follows the standard AIO layout comprising a single radiator, two hoses, and a block that merges a copper CPU contact plate with a mini liquid pump. In contrast to common corrugated tubing, Corsair has chosen to use black sleeved low-permeation rubber tubing for the iCUE LINK H150i RGB. This choice not only provides improved flexibility but also offers a more refined aesthetic appeal.
The iCUE LINK H150i RGB AIO cooler's substantial radiator, at 397 mm in length, necessitates a case that can accommodate three 120 mm fans in a row, as well as provide sufficient space for the radiator's additional bulk. With a thickness of 27 mm, the radiator requires a total clearance of 55 mm when combined with fans for proper installation in a system. In terms of design, the radiator adheres to the standard dual pass cross-flow configuration, featuring tiny fins soldered onto thin oblong tubes, a common design trait shared by the majority of AIO cooler radiators. The relatively low airflow resistance of this radiator, attributable to its thickness, indicates that it is optimized for performance even under conditions of minimal air pressure.
Corsair has the three fans pre-installed on the radiator and there is not a single wire in sight. The QX120 RGB fans are special designs with connectors on the sides of their frames, allowing them to connect directly to each other. Only one short wire is required to connect the first fan to the distribution hub on the radiator itself. Their special frames have LEDs installed behind diffusers on all sides, as well as the inside rim of the fan. We can also spot a small sensor on one of the engine’s supports. These fans feature magnetic levitation engines, which are rare due to their extremely high cost, but are extremely reliable and generate very little noise.
The second port of the distribution hub is required to connect the AIO cooler to the supplied iCUE Link Hub – that is the only cable required to power and control the entire block/radiator assembly. The iCUE Link Hub requires three cable connections: one is the cable that goes to the radiator’s distribution hub, one is the 6-pin PCI Express power cable, and one is a fan header that is used to receive the motherboard’s PWM signal and respectively control the speed of the cooler’s fans.
The main block assembly of the iCUE LINK H150i RGB AIO cooler is relatively large and may initially seem simple, but its square structure conceals intricate design elements. It features an opaque top half with numerous LEDs beneath it, capable of generating immersive lighting effects. Notably, the top plate of the block is detachable, offering users, particularly those with access to 3D printers or CNC machines, considerable aesthetic customization options. In line with its sleek design, the block is free of any external connectors or wires. Instead, all necessary wiring is discreetly routed to the radiator, running internally alongside the liquid tubes' sleeving, contributing to the cooler's clean and uncluttered appearance.
The iCUE LINK H150i RGB AIO cooler is equipped with a square copper contact plate, attached to the block's base using eight screws. The surface of this plate, while not polished to a mirror finish, is meticulously smooth and perfectly flat, ensuring excellent thermal performance. To further enhance its heat transfer efficiency, the cooler comes with Corsair’s own XTM70 thermal paste pre-applied to the contact plate. According to Corsair, this high-quality thermal paste offers superior thermal conductivity, contributing significantly to the cooler's overall cooling effectiveness.
Once all connections are made and powered on, the iCUE LINK H150i RGB AIO cooler transforms into a vibrant display of colors. The LED control is managed through the iCUE LINK interface, with lighting effects customizable via Corsair's iCUE software. Combined with the advanced capabilities of the iCUE software, the range of programming options becomes vast. Users can opt for simple, aesthetic lighting effects or choose practical, indicative ones, such as temperature-dependent colors, alarms, and more. Furthermore, the iCUE LINK module, in tandem with the iCUE software, facilitates complete integration among all compatible Corsair devices. This synergy allows for innovative inter-device manipulation and commands. For instance, users could configure the function row of a compatible keyboard to act as a lighting bar, reflecting the RPM percentage of the cooler's fans, or alter the cooler's lighting hues based on the active mouse profile.