Corsair Hydro Series H110 Reviewccokeman - March 14, 2013
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Corsair Hydro Series H110 Closer Look:
Corsair's H110 is the latest version of the popular Hydro Series high performance liquid cooling solutions. A cursory glance tells you it is a self-contained pre-filled cooling solution equipped with a pump head connected to a dual fan radiator by rubber tubing. At a quick glance essentially it is what you have. When you dig into it a little closer you realize that something's not quite the same, and you would be correct. The Hydro Series H110 is equipped with a larger radiator designed for use with dual 140mm fans. That alone is significant but comes with some challenges. Measuring 140mm x 312mm x 29mm, the H110 provides an increase in surface area to promote improved cooling. Corsair uses a 20mm fan spacing on the H110 simply because the majority of components-style radiators used for custom liquid cooling loops use this spacing. Without a standardized dimension Corsair went with the majority.
Choosing a chassis to mount the H110 is paramount to using this solution. Corsair has some of its lineup that works but there are additional choices out on the market. The tubing used to connect to the pump head/cooling plate to the radiator is a new flexible design that is a huge improvement over the FEP tubing seen on the H100. In addition to the added flexibility it is also a low evaporation design to allow the cooling to stay inside long enough to reach the end of the warranty period. Metal clamps are used in place of the heat-shrunk plastic sleeves used with the FEP tubing and looks more secure, adding a degree of confidence in the design.
Corsair went back to its roots with the H110 by using an Asetek pump head and cold plate much like it did with the groundbreaking H50. This time around a more efficient Generation 4 Asetek pump assembly was used to pump the cooling fluid through the 280mm x 140mm radiator to discharge the thermal energy pulled from the CPU. Small and round, the pump head uses a 3-pin power connection instead of a 4-pin PWM connector to provide the pump with full power all of the time. The tubing connections to the pump head are by way of 90 degree fittings that swivel to remove tension off the pump assembly. Corsair pre-applies the thermal compound onto the cooling plate contact surface in the optimum thickness and circumference providing consistent coverage of the CPU heat shield. After testing I found the coverage to be consistent with what I would expect as far as a coverage pattern. Cleaning off the compound I found the surface of the pump head to be smooth with little in the way of significant machining marks.
Included with the Corsair H110 are a pair of 140mm x 24mm fans that are used to provide airflow through the 280mm radiator. These fans are rated at 94CFM of airflow, have a static pressure rating of 1.64mm-H2O, and run at up to 1500RPM at up to 35dBA. Total airflow volume from the fans is only 2CFM higher than the 120mm fans used on the H100. The main difference besides the size of the fan is the noise level associated with the airflow. Where the H100 sounds like a vacuum cleaner, the H110 is much quieter. The trade off is worth it in my opinion. Corsair chose to use a PWM-style 4-pin fan header instead of one using a 3-pin assembly as seen on the fans used on the CoolIT-based H100.
The installation of Corsair's Hydro Series H110 is fairly straight forward. The universal style brackets slip into place on the locating lugs, then are locked into place with a retaining ring. By using this method (which is much easier than earlier revisions), your hands are free to screw the mounting studs into the backplate pressing the Gen 4 pump head onto the CPU. Corsair recommends installing the fans in push mode blowing cool air from outside the chassis and ambient air through the radiator for the best possible temperatures. In this configuration you are able to maximize cooling potential but will have to manage the additional 188 CFM of intake airflow into and through the chassis to keep from increasing the thermals of the motherboard and internal components. The flexible rubber lines are more forgiving than the FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) tubing used on previous models allowing the larger diameter tubing the flexibility to run in a tighter radius if need be.
A larger radiator, new pump head cooling plate, and high CFM, low noise 140mm fans all conspire to deliver a product that has immense cooling potential.