Corsair H105 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler Review
Introduction, Specifications, and Contents
Corsair has added another double-width liquid cooler to their growing lineup of all-in-one solutions with the H105, joining the existing H100i and larger H110 in this category.
Image courtesy of Corsair
Initially, the H105 might leave you scratching your head. It's listed on Corsair’s site with the same $119.99 MSRP as the H100i, and both are 240mm designs featuring the same high performance fans. The similarities end there, however, as the design of the H105 is more akin to Corsair's new 120mm H75 (which we recently reviewed) than to the existing 240mm H100/H100i. With the H75 already a solid price/performance pick in Corsair’s lineup - and the various other options still available - it's reasonable to wonder exactly where H105 fits in.
While this new cooler is using the same pair of excellent SP120L PWM fans as the earlier H100i (and H80i), it's the radiator they will be connected to that should separate the H105 from prior efforts. Corsair has implemented a much thicker 240mm rad with the H105 at 35mm (vs. only 27mm on earlier products), and this added thickness should have an noticeable impact on cooling performance, and possibly fan noise as well.
The AIO Revolution
OK, revolution might be too strong a word. Still, all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers have matured from what was once a niche product with merely acceptable levels of performance just a few years ago, to a growing (and highly competitive) market featuring many of the highest performing solutions available outside of custom water loops. Corsair has been at the forefront of this shift over the last few years, and in 2011 their introduction of the original H100 in particular helped give credibility to AIO’s not only as legitimate alternatives to high-performance air coolers, but as serious tools for enthusiasts and even overclockers as well.
With many cases today supporting 240mm radiators via dual 120mm fan mounts, the option of selecting these larger cooling systems creates another tempting opportunity to gain some cooler temps - or at least spend some extra money! The H105's $119 price tag means this is certainly more than an impulse buy, and it's currently more expensive than Corsair's premium H100i at e-tail. Here’s a look at Amazon as this was written:
Beyond relative cost among 240mm coolers, it must be considered that these designs still command a significant premium over the more common 120mm solutions. A perfect example is Corsair's H75, which sells for $79. So the real question becomes that of price/performance, a direction so many discussions of PC components seemingly must go. So is there enough additional performance to justify the price? Between the H75 and H105 there is a $40 bump in cost, so it would be reasonable to expect that performance would be higher with the larger and more expensive cooler. However, beyond cooling power alone it could also be that a larger radiator surface area might allow for lower fan speeds - and subsequently, lower noise.
As we look at the H105 we will compare its performance against some other members of Corsair’s popular liquid cooler family along with a couple of other examples, and see how it stacks up.
Our thanks to Corsair for supplying the H105 Extreme Performance Liquid Cooler for this review!
Radiator dimensions: 272.5mm x 120mm x 38mm
Fan dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Fan speed: 800 RPM - 2700 RPM (+/- 10%)
Airflow: 73 CFM
Noise Level: 37.7 dBA
Static pressure: 3.9 mm/H20
Power Draw: 0.34A
Intel™ LGA 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, and 2011
AMD™ sockets FM1, FM2, AM2, and AM3
Packaging and Contents
Corsair uses slick packaging for their coolers, and in this case the red trim color signifies the “extreme” performance level. There is some basic information and processor compatibility listed on the outside.
There is a sheet of dense foam protecting the top of the box contents, and once inside we see the standard molded paper packing, which neatly and safely holds all components.
With the contents removed we see the closed-loop system, along with the pair of SP120L fans and the packet of mounting hardware. There is also an instruction booklet included in the box which does a good job of walking a first-time user through the installation process.
The included mounting hardware supports recent AMD and Intel processors, but there is no bottom bracket for AMD motherboards provided. If the retention bracket on your AMD motherboard is secured with clips (like my ASRock board), you will need to obtain your own bottom bracket to use this cooler.