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Corsair Hydro Series Cooler Comparison and Review - H60, H80i, H100i

Manufacturer: Corsair

Hydro Series Shared Components

Packaging

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The Hydro Series™ coolers are shipped in a form-fitted cardboard enclosure, similar to the material that egg cartons are made from but thicker stock. This keeps the cooler and its components in-place and protected during shipping and store handling. Further, each component in the box are individually wrapped so that all the parts and pieces remain separated and organized for quick unboxing and assembly.

Included Accessories

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Corsair includes a very detailed and straight-forward manual with each of its coolers, containing good explanations and illustrations throughout. Additionally, they include a warranty pamphlet as well as a warranty instruction card should you run into issues.

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Hardware-wise, Corsair includes all mounting pieces necessary to get the cooler up and running on an AMD or Intel LGA1155 or LGA2011 based system. The two eye-clips act as the AMD socket catches, while the screw stand-ups are used for Intel-based systems. The stand-ups with large screws on both ends are for use in an LGA1155 system with the other set of stand-ups used for an LGA2011 system. Also included are fan screws and washers for affixing the fans to the cooler radiator.  The screws included for the fans are 6 x 32 x 1 1/4" screws - #6 machine thread, 32 TPI (threads per inch), 1.25 inches in length. Notice that all hardware is colored black or black chromed to match the Hydro Series™ cooler coloring.

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Packaged in with the H100i and H80i coolers are Corsair Link™ USB and fan power and monitoring cables. The USB cable attaches from the cooler's micro-USB port to a USB header on the motherboard. The fan cables connect from one the cooler's fan ports to the radiator fans. Each fan port on the cooler supports up to two fans for power and monitoring. The H100i comes standard with two fan cables and the H80i comes with a single cable only.

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All three coolers come standard with Corsair labeled 120mm x 120mm x 25mm fans, rated at 12V and 0.36 amps. The fans are equipped with 3-pin fan connectors and all have 7 large fins to promote higher airflow with minimal air noise.   The differences in fan speed between the coolers stems from the fan amperage rating of 0.24 amps for the H60 cooler's fans.  Also, the H60's fan comes with a 4-pin connector rather than the 3-pin connector.

On-board Cooler Ports

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The H100i and H80i coolers have two Corsair Link™ ports on the side opposite the water intake and outlet ports. The micro-USB port is used to connect the internal Corsair Link™ BIOS to a motherboard USB header with the right side port used to connect to a different Corsair Link™ device altogether. The port at the lower right of the CPU block is a liquid drainage port for your convenience. With the USB cable connected to the cooler and the motherboard, the Corsair Link™ software will detect the cooling system and fans for Windows-based configuration purposes.

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On the side of the CPU block above the embedded Corsair logo are the two Corsair Link™ fan connectors. Each fan connector supports up to two fans, for a total of four fans per block. With fans connected to attached cables, you have the ability to manipulate fan operation for the attached fans via Windows through the Corsair Link™ software. Note that these ports are only integrated into the CPU blocks on the H100i and H80i coolers.

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The H60 cooler contains only a single port on the CPU block, a liquid drainage port. The Corsair Link™ ports are not available for that block because that functionality is only supported for the H100i and H80i coolers.

January 14, 2013 | 03:19 PM - Posted by TheBoss (not verified)

Okay let us just say this, we almost exclusively sell Corsair Coolers for two reasons. One, they are one of the rare companies who actually stand behind their products 100%. And two, these units are of VERY high quality. With that being said, we are gearing up to include all of these units in our Corsair Combo Kits because of those two main reasons.

We are very proud of Corsair for improving on the few area's that were of concern to us. We have been testing some of these for a while now, and man are we happy with them. We have yet to get a single unit that has an issue. Concerning the H80i and H100i. If you read the reviews on Newegg, and Amazon though I think people were on Drugs or just plain lying because out of the hundred plus units we have gone through I have to admit, there should be 100% satisfaction. This is why those who are into getting the real low-down should not trust "buyer" review sits like those, and only put their trust in Genuine Reviewers who obviously have integrity like PCPER.

Regards,

TB

January 17, 2013 | 10:43 AM - Posted by WillRock (not verified)

"these units are of VERY high quality."

Which is why a number of Corsair AIO's (especially the H50 and the H80) have either had their pumps fail or leak in months time... very high quality my ass. I haven't had a single issue with either my H100 nor my H80 I've been using on my secondary machine for 1.5 years, they've been pretty nice so far.

Though, the Swiffy H220 IS going to blow and kick the dog shit out of these coolers out of the water... it has a pump similar to the MCP35x, which pushes A TON of more head pressure and GPM than the weak arse 50-75 GPM pumps of the Corsair AIO's. Not to mention that it's going to be priced head-to-head with the H100i. Corsair has some serious worries about it already.

Personally, I'm done with ANY AIO. Building your own is the way to go period. Why? Because once you buy an AIO, a better one comes in and you replace the entire kit to buy a new one again. For the price of TWO AIO's, you can build a great loop. AIO's are non-expandable, somewhat unreliable/cheaply made (especially the little plastic hoses used on the H50/70/80/100 etc.) and poor bang for the buck when compared to high-end air, and also have worse noise profiles than huge air coolers. The only thing good about AIO is that it makes for a clean setup and is easy to setup as there's nothing you need to maintain...

July 2, 2014 | 10:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you. Needed to replace my h100i. Got a new one from company sold it to someone else and just got a high end air cooling. Same temps less problems.

January 14, 2013 | 03:44 PM - Posted by Bill (not verified)

I wish PCPer had included results from Corsair's previous line of water coolers such as my H100. I'm curious to know just how much of an improvement in real life their new line is. I'm still 100% happy with my H100 a year down the road btw. It's been perfect.:)

January 14, 2013 | 03:50 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

The performance difference between the old and new versions is probably not drastic (like ~5%) but that's just a best guess-timate.  The biggest differnce is the change in manufacturer from the old version to new version - old was made by Asetek, new one is from Cool IT.

As I had elaborated in the review, there is bigger performance difference between the H80 and H100 because of the radiator thickness.  That is what got the H80i the reward and kept my thoughts on the H100i only so so...

January 14, 2013 | 03:51 PM - Posted by clonzelda

my h80i keeps my i5 2500k(stock) at min 22c max 42c, at 4.5GHz min 26 max 53c, this are just gaming temps.

January 14, 2013 | 06:08 PM - Posted by NIGHTSCOUT (not verified)

Guys, I have to agree that short-term, Corsair coolers are great. But long term, I had a H60, and H80 both leak on me after extended use. Corsair was aware of this, and maybe that is why they switched from Asetek to Cool IT.

January 15, 2013 | 08:11 AM - Posted by Computer Ed (not verified)

Not sure that I would classify this as an Asetek issue. I have used the Antec cooler for quite a while with zero issues. I also have an Intel cooler, again Asetek design that has zero issues as well as the AMD cooler.

January 15, 2013 | 08:11 AM - Posted by Computer Ed (not verified)

Not sure that I would classify this as an Asetek issue. I have used the Antec cooler for quite a while with zero issues. I also have an Intel cooler, again Asetek design that has zero issues as well as the AMD cooler.

January 15, 2013 | 09:32 AM - Posted by Skidmarks (not verified)

They seem to be pretty effective coolers but I'm still slightly nervous of the dissimilar metals. I've used an Asetek based system for nigh on 2 years now with no problems but the worry still lingers.

January 15, 2013 | 03:21 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure with a failed system is to break it open or if it starts leaking.  However, if you have not had any noticeable performance degradation in the cooling capability of the unit, its a good bet that the galvanic corrosion is under control (ie, the internal fluid has not broken down completely)...

January 17, 2013 | 02:34 AM - Posted by ShadowLeaper

Galvanic corrosion is easily avoided with a cheap bottle of corrosion blocker chemical. Obviously, Asetek and Cool IT and other companies have been doing this for a while and know exactly what needs to be done to avoid the problem.

I have an EK-KIT H3O Supreme HF 360 water cooling system that's been running for over two years now with no maintenance whatsoever. Like the Corsair closed-loop systems, it has a copper water block and an aluminum radiator (note that 99% of water cooling systems are like this). I filled it with distilled water, added Feser Base Corrosion Blocker and a silver coil for bio-cide, and that's it. No cleaning has been done, and I haven't added any water to the loop. The system runs 16-18 hours per day, every day. There has been no loss in cooling efficiency, and temps have been stable the entire time. The water level in the reservoir has dropped about an inch or so since I first filled it, but that kind of evaporation is to be expected when using the standard thin-wall clear tubing that came with the kit.

Note that the EK system isn't designed to be no-maintenance. They recommend draining, cleaning, and re-filling the system once a year. I've just been using this as a test bed since I first became curious about water cooling a couple of years ago. I've been an overclocker for many years, but I had always used monster air coolers before I got the EK system.

Put the thought of galvanic corrosion out of your mind. Pump failure and leaks are more likely to be the source of problems for closed-loop systems like the Corsair H series. Even those are low-percentage problems, so the vast majority of users won't ever experience them.

January 17, 2013 | 09:00 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

You've gotten lucky my friend.  The reason why they recommend once a year clean-out and refill is because the chemicals do and will break-down over time, losing their effectiveness.  I've been water-cooling rigs for many, many years - some are problematic and some are not.  Unforturnately, there are too many factors at play to reliably say that it will or will not happen (corrosion that is).  The old motto still stands - an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure...

January 15, 2013 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Cr1ms0ngh0st

I got the H100i for X-mas, now I just need a new CPU and MoBo for it.

January 16, 2013 | 04:42 AM - Posted by Sublym3 (not verified)

Will we see a comparison with other closed loop systems?

Antec kuhler 620 & 920
NZXT Kraken X40 & X60
Thermaltake Water series

Or get your hands on the Swiftech H220 :)

January 17, 2013 | 10:46 AM - Posted by WillRock (not verified)

These coolers blow the other AIO's away. The fans push more pressure, the pumps are stronger so are the hoses which are all elastic and bigger.

The Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme used to be THE best AIO out there, though, it got outdone by the H100i so no point in buying any of the other AIO's, or best yet, any of these AIO's at all.

The Swiffy H220 is more of a something in between AIO and a real loop and is going to beat all these things by a significant margin anyway.

January 17, 2013 | 11:58 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Oddly enough, the middle tier one (the H80i) performed best overall most likely due to the radiator thickness.  The H100i would be killer with a dual fan and radiator as thick at the H80i...

January 18, 2013 | 09:56 AM - Posted by nabokovfan87

that's what the thermaltake water 2.0 extreme is, the asetek 2011c.

January 18, 2013 | 09:44 PM - Posted by Sublym3 (not verified)

Morry would you be able to re-test the H80i and H100i in a closed case?

Linus tested the H100i and H80i in a closed case and as far as I can tell is the only one to show a good difference between the two (the H100i comes out on top)

January 23, 2013 | 02:52 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Unfortunately, the H100i had its BIOS bricked while testing (as mentioned in the conclusion) and the H80i was disassembled (and broke as a result) for the deconstruction follow-up article.

However, I would be surprised if the performance difference between the two was more than 1-2C even in a closed case situation.  The increased thickness of the H80i more than makes up for its lack of length/fans in comparison to the H100i.

In-case performance of the coolers would also be affected by the amount of incoming and ongoing fans that exist in the case besides those of the cooler because of pressure dynamics -> negative case pressure will cause the cooler's fan to push less air out while positive internal pressure would force more air through the cooler.

January 25, 2013 | 01:28 PM - Posted by AnonymousDude (not verified)

Linus' results are bogus in the "best cpu cooler final answer" video.
He clearly says that he will use the nf-a15's when testing the silver arrow and ends up using the nf-f12's (silver arrow is a 140mm cooler).
Most results i've seen show only a 2-3 celsius difference between the h100i and the h80i. Linus showed a 14 celsius difference... 14!!!! Lol anyone?

That video was clearly made to sell h100i's.
I am a Linus fan too... but don't be fooled, he is a straight up salesman.
He will say whatever they tell him to say.

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