Corsair Hydro H80 Reviewccokeman - July 31, 2011
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The question is what do you get for your money when you pony up for the Corsair Hydro Series H80? Well you get top tier configurable performance that will allow you to run from mild to reasonably wild with a self-contained liquid cooling solution. You get a 35%+/- cooling performance boost under load right out of the box when running in the "Balanced" and "Performance" modes, while still gaining a 28% cooling bonus over the stock Intel cooling solution in "Quiet" mode. That is a significant impact to cooling performance over the stock cooling solution. This performance does come with a couple of issues though. When run in the default fan orientation of pushing air into the chassis, the Hydro Series H80 pushed all the thermal load into the chassis, driving up component temperatures significantly — even in my well-ventilated CM HAF 932 and the Corsair 600T. This cooling benefit for the CPU can't be overstated, but by changing the fan orientation to blow air out of the chassis, I saw only a one degree cooling penalty that is worth the reversal of the fans to a push-out orientation, in my opinion — lower VRM circuit and video card temperatures are worth the 1 ºC penalty. The other downside is that the 39dBA may be underrated, as in the two higher modes the fans were indeed loud. Again, I found that by switching the fan orientation to push the air out of the chassis, the noise levels dropped markedly along with the internal case temperatures.
As a step up from the H70, you get improved performance with newer technology and the ability to configure the performance level of the Hydro Series H80 cooling solution instead of having a single level of performance. The H80 supports Corsair's Link Commander controller for real-time control and monitoring of your cooling and lighting systems for more precise control of the H80 and upcoming H100. Installing the H80 is no more difficult than any of the current crop of self-contained liquid cooling solutions in many aspects. The mounting of the radiator is the same, but where the H80 is different and improved over the last generation Hydro Series is the mounting mechanism. The entire assembly can be tightened without using tools, if need be. The mounting mechanisms are included for both current and next generation sockets from both AMD and Intel, so the H80 can move on to the next build, offering extended value and performance. With a five year warranty, the H80 should easily have the lifespan to make this transition with the typical three year hardware upgrade cycle. When it comes down to it, you have to decide whether the price tag is worth the performance gained. The Corsair H80 does, however, have a lot of up side for the price point.
- Excellent cooling
- Multiple fan speed settings
- Corsair Link-capable
- Dual Fans
- Configurable performance
- Easy installation
- 5-year warranty
- Default fan orientation loud on high
- Massive thermal load into the chassis with default fan orientation