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Corsair Hydro H80 Review



To gauge the performance of the Corsair Hydro Series H80, 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:







Under load, the Corsair Hydro Series H80 is the best self-contained liquid cooling system I have worked with to date. Only marginally better than the H70, Corsair has moved to improve the performance and efficiency using a new pump and coldplate design that does pay dividends here. A test I have started to unofficially run is to bump the vcore up to 1.4 and the clock speed of the 920 up to a 210 bclock for a nice 4.2GHz clock speed. This test puts an even greater load on the cooling subsystem and Prime 95 will error out if the temperatures reach higher than the mid 70s degrees Celsius on this CPU. Much like the H70, the H80 delivered temperatures in the middle 70s degrees Celsius with the voltage and clock speed bumped up allowing a 3-hour pass of Prime 95 at 4.2GHz running in "Performance" mode. This load is what it took to get the most out of the fans and pump. I say this because at the lower overclock of 3.3GHz, the maximum airflow I could get measured with my Kestral 4100 was a 64 CFM average out of the assembly. When run at a higher vcore and clock speed, the CPU put out enough thermal load to cause the pump assembly to finally ramp up the fan speeds to the 2600rpm range, delivering an 88 CFM average, close to the 92 CFM rating on the fans.

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