The Corsair H100i GTX is a high-end liquid cooling system for CPUs. It has a 240 mm radiator with two 120 mm fans and a USB interface that allows you to monitor and control the system. Let’s see how it performs.
As with any sealed liquid cooling system, the H100i GTX comes with the coolant liquid pre-filled inside the loop (block, radiator, pump, and hoses).
Figure 1 shows the box of the Corsair H100i GTX.
Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the radiator-block set, two fans, manual, USB cable, and the installation hardware.
This water cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.
[nextpage title=”The Corsair H100i GTX”]
The sealed radiator-block system is shown in Figure 3. At the top is the radiator, which transfers heat from the circulating liquid to the air, and, at the bottom, is the block that transfers heat from the CPU to the coolant liquid.
The rubber hoses are thicker than the ones found on similar products, but the manufacturer does not inform their internal diameter.
Figures 4 and 5 reveal the radiator of the H100i GTX. It supports two 120 mm fan at each side and it is 1.18” (30 mm) thick.
[nextpage title=”The Corsair H100i GTX (Cont’d)”]
Figure 6 shows the top of the block, where the pump that makes the liquid to flow is integrated. It has a cable with a three-pin connector, which must be connected to the motherboard in order to power the system, and two four-pin connectors, where the fans are connected. The manufacturer logo lits when the system is turned on, and you can set the color of the light by software.
The base of the block, which is made of copper, is revealed in Figure 7. The thermal compound comes preapplied at the base. Notice the connector where the USB cable to be connected to the motherboard goes.
Figure 8 illustrates the 120 mm PWM fans that come with the H100i GTX (2,435 rpm, 3.36 W, 70.69 cfm, 37.7 dBA).
The installation of the H100i GTX is simple. The holder for Intel CPUs come preinstalled on the block; in order to install it on AMD processors, just replace the holder with the appropriate one. To install the cooler on LGA2011-v3 CPUs, just attach four separators, put the block over the CPU, and hold it with four thumbnuts.
The last step is to install the radiator and the fans at the top panel of your case. We installed the fans outside, blowing outwards.
Connecting the USB cable to the motherboard, you can install the Corsair Link program, which allows you to control and monitor the cooler. It is possible to measure pump and fan speeds, as well as control them, manually or automatically, setting an rpm versus temperature curve. It is also possible to set the color of the block light.
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
We tested the cooler with a Core i7-5960X CPU (eight-core, 3.0 GHz), which is a socket LGA21011-v3 processor with a 140 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get even higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.5 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x35 multiplier), with standard core voltage (Vcore).
We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)
We compared the tested cooler to two of the most powerful coolers we tested so far, the Water 2.0 Extreme, and the Water 3.0 Ultimate. We tested each cooler with the fans at maximum speed and at “silent” mode.
Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.
During the tests, the side panels of the computer case were closed.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.
- Processor: Core i7-5960X @ 3.5 GHz
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer
- Memory: 16 GiB DDR4-2400/PC4-19200, four G.Skill F4-2400C15Q-16GRR 4 GiB modules
- Boot drive: Kingston M.2 SM2280S3 de 120 GiB
- Video display: Samsung U28D590D
- Power Supply: Corsair CX750
- Case: NZXT Phantom 530
Operating System Configuration
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1
We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.
[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]
The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on each cooler listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. On the H100i GTX and on the Water 2.0 Extreme, the fan speed was set on the control software that comes with the cooler, while on the Water 3.0 Ultimate the fan speed was adjusted in the motherboard setup.
As we are comparing the temperature difference between the CPU and the air outside the computer (and not the actual CPU temperatures), there is no bias in taking measures under different room temperatures. Both heat transfer physics and our practical tests proved this.
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.||Temp. Diff.|
|Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme (maximum)||17 °C||55 dBA||1,950 rpm||58 °C||41 °C|
|Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme (minimum)||17 °C||44 dBA||1,250 rpm||60 °C||43 °C|
|Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate (maximum)||17 °C||56 dBA||1,900 rpm||41 °C||24 °C|
|Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate (minimum)||17 °C||43 dBA||1,050 rpm||48 °C||31 °C|
|Corsair H100i GTX (minimum)||9 °C||59 dBA||2,600 rpm||34C||25 °C|
|Corsair H100i GTX (minimum)||9 °C||41 dBA||1,000 rpm||53 °C||44 °C|
In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.
In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.
- Application: Sockets AM2(+), AM3(+), FM1, FM2(+), LGA 1150, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA2011-v3, and LGA2011
- Radiator dimensions: 10.9 x 4.9 x 1.2 inches (276 x 125 x 30 mm) (W x L x H)
- Block height: 1.2 inches (30 mm)
- Fins: Aluminum
- Base: Copper
- Heat-pipes: None
- Fans: Two, 120 mm
- Nominal fan speed: 2,435 rpm
- Fan air flow: 70.69 cfm
- Power consumption: 2 x 3.36 W
- Nominal noise level: 37.7 dBA
- More information: https://www.corsair.com
- MSRP in the U.S.: USD 150.00
The Corsair H100i GTX proved to be powerful and versatile. With its fans at maximum speed, it has the same performance level of the most powerful cooler we tested so far, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate. With its fans at minimum, the H100i GTX was very quiet. And, thanks to its control software, you can configure the ratio between performance and noise the way you want.
Besides that, the installation of the H100i GTX is quite simple, and its 240 mm radiator is compatible with most intermediate and high-end cases available today.
It you are looking for a high-end cooler, the Corsair H100i GTX is a great choice.