Corsair Hydro Series H100 Reviewccokeman - September 15, 2011
Category: CPU Cooling
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Corsair's Hydro Series self-contained liquid cooling solutions have hit the mark and filled a void in the market. While the Corsair Hydro Series was not the first to market, it has easily gained the most traction with consumers due to the marketing and the Corsair brand identity. CooliT and Asetek have been there and have actually partnered with Corsair on the Hydro Series build-ups — Asetek on the H50 and H70, with CooliT on the H60, H80 and now H100. The Hydro Series H50 and H70 were the first of the series, offering the consumer significant improvements over the stock cooling solutions from both AMD and Intel. Even though fully capable of handling mild overclocks, the popularity of the Hydro series needed to address the user looking for a bit more. Not everyone has the ability to handle the financial commitment or confidence to build a custom liquid cooling system, but just about anyone can handle the lower financials of the Hydro series and can install a pre-built, pre-filled liquid cooling solution. The popularity of this kind of solution proves this, as enthusiasts are always looking for a better mousetrap when it comes to cooling performance and overclocking. Coming in at around $120, the H100 is not by any stretch of the imagination low buck, but with a 240mm radiator the costs will be there. Each generation and iteration of the Hydro Series seems to improve cooling performance, so let's see if the H100 will follow this trend and deliver best-in-class performance.
The illustrations on the front panel of the packaging show a close-up view of the CooliT-designed pump assembly mounted into position on a motherboard to give you a representation of how it will look installed in a system. The H100 logo is prominently displayed on the bottom right-hand section, so there is no mistaking which of Corsair's Hydro Series cooling solutions is in the package. CPU socket compatibility is listed, including all current sockets for AMD and Intel up to Socket 2011. A picture of the Corsair Hydro Series H100 is at the bottom left side of the front panel with a reference to Corsair Link Digital technology. The back panel explains the benefits of the H100 over air coolers and shows a graph illustrating the relative cooling performance on the Hydro series H60, H80, H100, and a stock cooling solution run on an Intel Core i7 920 at 3.8GHz. The red coloring, as one might assume, indicates a failure with the stock cooling solution.
Inside the package, the Hydro Series H100 cooling system and all the included hardware are kept secured in a foam-covered, formed cardboard tray. Once pulled out of the box, the H100 and accessories look to present a substantial package.
The bundled accessories that come with the Hydro Series H100 include an install guide/user's manual, a note not to take the H100 back to the point of purchase, the AMD and Intel mounting hardware, and the common parts used in all applications, such as the thumb screws, fan and radiator mounting screws and washers, and last but not least, the 3-pin cable extension. The AMD-specific hardware allows the Hydro Series H100 to mount to motherboards with AM2/AM3 sockets. The Intel hardware supports sockets 775,155,1156,1366, and the upcoming socket 2011, allowing an upgrade path if you have older supported hardware.
As has been the case in the past with the Hydro Series cooling systems, Corsair has put together an all inclusive package. The key here is what are the challenges to installation and just how will it perform compared to past products?