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Corsair Hydro Series H100 Review

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To gauge the performance of Corsair's top-of-the-food-chain Hydro Series H100, I will be making a comparison of the temperatures at idle and under load. Both will be made while the CPU is at the stock voltages and clock speeds, as well as when the CPU is overclocked and 'over-volted'. This will help to show what kind of cooling performance that this all-in-one liquid cooling system has to offer when compared to other Socket 1366-compatible high-performance cooling solutions. These heat sinks and liquid cooled solutions will be tested head-to-head as they are delivered from the manufacturer. I could throw in a bunch of testing variables, but it is not what the products are capable of "as delivered". To test the idle temperatures, I will allow the computer to stay idle for 30 minutes and take the idle temperature at this point. For the load testing, I will use Prime95 version 26.5 and choose the blend testing and allow the processor and memory controller to heat up to the maximum temperatures. The time frame is a four-hour run, to allow the temperature to peak — usually in the 14K test. I will use Real Temp 3.6 to take the high and low temperatures and average the temperatures generated over the four cores as my reported temperatures.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Heat sinks:







Much like the Hydro Series H80, the H100 steps further up the performance ladder than its predecessors and offers the best cooling of any self-contained liquid cooling solution I have tested to date. Under load at stock speeds, the Corsair Hydro Series H100 was the equal of the NH-D14 when run on high. Temperatures rose slightly as the airflow through the radiator was reduced, as expected. The larger surface area of the radiator increases load capacity enough to drop the temperatures under load without really impacting the idle numbers, as the fans are cycled down by the controller in the pump as the thermal load is reduced. Additional load testing was done to see if the H100 could deliver a Prime 95 stable 4.2GHz using 1.4v. This test puts a decidedly harsher load on the Hydro Series H100 and the system with the immense thermal load dumped into the chassis. My test CPU is good for 4.2GHz stability at less than 77 degrees Celsius under load. The H100 kept the CPU just below this threshold during the extended testing and is really the kind of load needed to get the most from the controller and fans on the H100. This same experience was noted in the Corsair Hydro Series H80 testing. How the fan speeds are controlled is really a function of the three controller presets and how the load is interpreted, leading me to believe a 100% fan speed at all times would lead to lower temperatures across the board.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Results
  5. Conclusion
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