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The Corsair Hydro Series H80i High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler Deconstructed

H80i Cooler Components

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The H80i's top cap is a plastic assembly with two magnets embedded in opposite corners and two screws fixing the cap to the body of the CPU block assembly. This cap acts as a protection mechanism for the pump and Corsair Link™ electronics plate. The embedded magnets keep the CPU hold down mechanism fixed in place while mounting the cooler to the CPU. Note that the Corsair logo embedded in the top cap is transparent, allowing the underneath LED to illuminate the logo.

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Underneath the plastic top cap lays the H80i's electronic control mechanism. The PCB contains the LED for the top cap logo (large white rectangle on PCB), the Corsair Link™ BIOS and ports, the fans controller ports, and the pump controller. The system pump sits directly underneath this electronic controller plate.

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The CPU cold plate is attached to the plastic pump assembly via eight steel screws. The screws are counter-sunk into the bottom of the cold plate so that the CPU contact surface remains flat. In the picture shown, the rubber impingement plate from the pump assembly lays on top of the plate due to heat interaction between the cold plate and the impingement plate. The impingement plate normally sits in the water chamber in between the pump and the CPU cold plate.

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Underneath the pump and above the CPU cold plate is the pump water exchange chamber. The pump intake shoots water onto the cold plate through a rubber impingement plate with water exiting the chamber through holes in the lower right and lower left corners of the chamber leading to the radiator. The rubber impingement plate forms a malleable barrier between the intake and outlet valves to force water flow through the CPU cold plate in a controlled manner.

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The rubber tubing interconnecting the CPU block assembly and the radiator is held to the barbs by watertight rubber caps. The smaller opening of the cap sits snugly over the water barb with the larger end sitting over the tubing. The cap holds the tubing on the barb using compression. While this method is not as effective as using worm gear-based or plastic clamps, the caps are effective in this system because of the pump's low flow and pressure dynamics.

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The rubber tubing used for the H80i cooler is composed of three layers, leading to Corsair's claim of very low permeability and evaporation. The tubing is composed of an inner rubber tube layer, surrounded by a white mesh layer for added strength and durability, with an outside rubber tube layer. This tri-layer approach gives the tubing both rigidity and flexibility at the same time. The tube can be flexed in a 180 degree arc without kinking but can hold its shape and orientation.

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The H80i's radiator is an aluminum based model with a black-powder coat. The barbs are welded directly into the radiator but are not powder coated. This prevents the powder coating from flaking off and entering the system's water supply.

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Notice the green tinge in the coolant's coloration. This is caused by the propylene glycol added to the water mixture for corrosion prevention and biological control. A propylene glycol mix is commonly used in automotive radiators for the same reason with the ratio used in an automotive-based cooler being much higher than that traditionally used in a computer water cooler. Using additives in a computer water cooler tends to lessen the coolers effectiveness, but is necessary in this system because of the copper and aluminum metal used in the cooler's components.

January 22, 2013 | 10:13 AM - Posted by David (not verified)

A cool article.

I've owned an original H80 since not long after they came out. The original design had a lot of problems with the integrated fan controller not working properly out of the box. Corsair was very good about RMAing and I'm reasonably happy with it. I don't think I'll ever do another closed loop cooler again, though.

The new cold plate design on the i variant looks like a pain to install compared to the old design.

January 22, 2013 | 03:21 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

I didn't find it too bad to install actually.  And the integrated magnets holding the top plate in place helps immensely.  It is simliar in nature to Swiftech's block mounting mechanism...

January 22, 2013 | 05:31 PM - Posted by nabokovfan87

It was a heck of a lot more elegant on amd compared to my h50, no backplate to swap, easier to install than a stock amd cooler, 2 screws instead of a latch. The multitude of cords is bad though.

January 22, 2013 | 02:16 PM - Posted by leobiendurana

Awesome article. I wish to read more like this.

January 24, 2013 | 05:07 PM - Posted by razor512

Is it possible to get one that has been used in a system for like 1-2 years and then take it apart and check how the internals held up.

Also if possible, on an analytical balance, measure the weight to find out how much fluid was lost.

Also if possible as a final bit of destruction test is a hole can be made in the tank for the installation of a small cap where a small syringe (the kind used for filling ink cartridges) can be used to top the tank off after a few years and then sealed with a screw with a o-ring at the end or something)

December 15, 2013 | 11:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I hate people like you.

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