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Corsair Hydro Series H75 Liquid CPU Cooler Review

Cooler Comparison Testing

Cooler Testing Methods

To best gage the quality of the system coolers under review, system CPU temperature and cooling system audio measurements were taken with the CPU idle and under load. To replicate CPU idle conditions, the system was rebooted and allowed to sit idle for 10 minutes. To replicate a stress system load on the Z77-based system, a combination of LinX and FurMark were run over a 30 minute period with LinX running for 500 loops with Memory set to All and FurMark running at 1280x1024 resolution and 2x MSAA in stress test mode. For the Z87-based system testing, Aida64 System Stability Test was used in conjunction with FurMark for 30 minutes per run. After each run, the system was shut down and allowed to rest for 10 minutes to cool down. Then the CPU cooler was removed, cleaned, and remounted to the CPU with fresh thermal paste applied. This procedure was repeated a total of 12 times for each cooler - three times each for the stock speed and overclocking runs on the Z77 and Z87-based systems.

Temperature measurements were taken directly from the CPU thermistors using RealTemp (the newer Tech|Inferno edition). For the Z77-based systems, the highest recorded value for idle and load temperature were used for the run. Because of the volatile nature of the Haswell thermistor readings, the Z87-based system temperatures were measured in a different manner. For idle temperatures, the highest recorded value was used for the run. For load temperatures, a series of three values were notated: the average (high and low) across all cores, the average (high and low) across the single highest core, and the high temperature.

To adequately measure the Corsair Hydro Series™ H75 liquid cooler performance, performance testing was done for all scenarios under two operational conditions - dual fan at full speed and single fan at full speed. In full speed mode, the unit's stock fans were directly connected to the PSU and run at full speed.

Note that the temperature values are reported as deltas rather than absolute temperatures with the delta value reported calculated as CPU temperature - ambient temperature. For all tests, room ambient temperature was maintained between 23-27C. Sound measurements of the system cooler where taken with the sound meter placed 3 feet away from the system with all other devices in the room silenced. The Sound Meter Pro applet on a Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone was used to measure decibel level.

Intel Z77-based Ivy Bridge System Testing

CPU Stock Speed Testing

The CPU stock speed testing was conducted with the BIOS defaults set (including enabling of the CPU-integrated graphics processor) with Turbo Mode disabled, equating to a 3.4GHz CPU speed, 1600MHz memory speed, and 100MHz base clock. The Intel Speedstep functionality remained enabled for the duration of the testing to get realistic CPU idle performance conditions.

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The H75 cooler performed well against the other units when used in conjunction with a stock speed Ivy Bridge processor. There was little performance difference between single and dual-fan mode, indicating that the CPU heat load did not overly stress the unit.

CPU Overclocked Speed Testing

The CPU overclocked speed testing was conducted with known stable settings from a previous board review with Turbo Mode disabled, equating to a 4.4GHz CPU speed, 1960MHz memory speed, and 105MHz base clock. Also, the CPU-integrated graphics processor was disabled to reduce the processor heat generation. The Intel Speedstep functionality remained enabled for the duration of the testing to get realistic CPU idle performance conditions.

Board voltage settings were configured as follows:

  • CPU Core Voltage - 1.2750
  • CPU I/O Voltage - 1.150
  • DRAM Voltage - 1.6255
  • System Agent Voltage(SA) - 1.0850
  • CPU PLL Voltage - 1.7500
  • PCH 1.05 - 1.0995

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The Corsair H75 cooler again performed well against its competitors with the Ivy Bridge process overclocked in its dual-fan stock configuration. However, the processor's heat proved too much for the cooler with only a single fan. In single fan mode, the system crashed about 10 minutes into the stress test run.

Intel Z87-based Haswell System Testing

CPU Stock Speed Testing

The CPU stock speed testing was conducted with the BIOS defaults set for the CPU (including enabling of the CPU-integrated graphics processor) and Turbo Mode disabled, equating to a 3.4GHz CPU speed, 1600MHz memory speed, and 100MHz base clock. The Intel Speedstep functionality remained enabled for the duration of the testing to get realistic CPU idle performance conditions.

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The H75 again performs well with the Haswell CPU in stock speed mode with little difference between single and dual fan mode. The other liquid cooling systems outperform the H75 by a small margin because of their larger 240mm radiators.

CPU Overclocked Speed Testing

The CPU overclocked speed testing was conducted with known stable settings from a previous board review with Turbo Mode disabled, equating to a 4.68GHz CPU speed, 1780MHz memory speed, 4.0GHZ ring bus speed, and 167MHz base clock. Also, the CPU-integrated graphics processor was disabled to reduce the processor heat generation. The Intel Speedstep functionality remained enabled for the duration of the testing to get realistic CPU idle performance conditions.

Board voltage settings were configured as follows:

  • CPU Core Voltage - 1.25 + 0.005
  • VCCIN Voltage - 1.90
  • DRAM Voltage - 1.55
  • CPU Ring Voltage - 1.125 + 0.005
  • CPU SA Voltage Offset - +0.100
  • CPU IO Analogue Voltage Offset - +0.100
  • CPU IO Digital Voltage Offset - +0.100
  • PCH 1.05 Voltage - 1.120

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The Corsair H75 cooler faired better with the overclocked Haswell processor then it did with the Ivy bridge, maintaining system stability in both operating modes. The H75 does lag its competitors, but this is because of the H75's slower fans and small radiator. However, performance does scale as expected, with the unit running an average of 3 degrees hotter in single fan mode.

Sound Testing

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While not whisper quiet, the H75 was drowned out by the case and graphics cards fans with the unit fans running at full speed. The audible difference between single and dual-fan mode is minimal, making the stock dual-fan mode an easy choice.

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