Introduction

Corsair was founded in 1994. The company started as a high-performance DRAM manufacturer. Now they are the provider of enthusiast-grade PC components and peripherals. The company launched its Corsair Gaming brand in 2014 and targets the eSports professionals and gamers alike with the high-end products like keyboards, mice, headsets and mouse mats. Corsair is now a leading manufacturer of PC Enthusiast products like Chassis, Power Supply Units, DRAM, Solid State Drives, Cooling solutions for CPU and Graphics Cards, sleeved cables for their PSU units, and various gaming peripherals using cutting edge technology. Today, Corsair is enjoying the position of a premium brand in the market with leading performance packed products backed by their effective customer support service.

For quite some time in my experience and personal use, I have used the CORSAIR H100i series AIO with V2 being the most used one. Everyone has a personal preference and I am no exception to that. For AIOs, I prefer a software free cooling solution though this is the area where CORSAIR has other thoughts. For long CORSAIR has used Aetek as their OEM for their Hydro cooling solution but effective from their RGB PLATINUM series coolers, they have partnered with CoolIT. CORSAIR has done a good job here by still putting out almost the same block design as is on the previous generation. I admit it, even I did not pick it up until I got to see the mounting hardware which immediately rang the bell in my mind that it is not Asetek.

CORSAIR has gone all out with the design and cooling performance of RGB PLATINUM series coolers as they have bundled two RGB ML series fans. ML is short for Magnetic Levitation or MagLev. They were released in two versions ML and ML Pro. ML Pro are among my personal favorite fans though at full speed they are loud. The block itself has 16 digital RGB LEDs for some vivid and stunning lighting effects. Each fan has 4 digital RGB LEDs. The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler has 240mm size aluminum radiator. The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM out of the box is compatible with the Intel LGA 115X/LGA20XX and AMD’s AM4 and TR4 sockets. Yes, TR4 mounting brackets are provided in the box. The base of the cooler has roughly 55x55mm and CORSAIR is taking advantage of this large size base to provide support for TR4. Take a note please that the base will not fully cover the TR4 CPUs. As has been the case with the CORSAIR coolers, the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM needs software to control the lighting and thermal aspects. The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM is compatible with iCUE for this purpose. Let’s start.

  • Item:                     H100i RGB PLATINUM
  • Manufacturer:       CORSAIR
  • Category:              CPU Liquid Cooler
  • Price:                    PKR 19,800/- [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped inside a cardboard box having a CORSAIR’s typical packing theme of black and yellow colors.

There is a picture of the cooler in the multiple colors printed in the main section. CORSAIR brand name and logo are printed on the top left. Salient features are highlighted across the board like multi-zone backlit including the pump, 5 years warranty, etc.

The backside of the packing box has focused on key features like ML RGB fans, Zero RPM mode, Optimized pump and copper cold plate for high performance and quiet cooling. The specifications are printed on the right side. There are symbolic pictures of the radiator showing the dimensions.

The left and right sides of the packing box are identical. CORSAIR brand name and logo are printed on the top followed by the features of the cooler and the picture.

The features of the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM are printed in multi-lingual here. There is a sticker pasted at the bottom right with part no and serial no of the unit.

The iCUE compatibility and features are printed in 6 different languages here.

Opening the box will show the white color Styrofoam covering the contents. The user guide and warranty information booklet are placed on the top.

Removing them will show the contents.

Contents

There are a plethora of the accessories included in the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler box:

  • 1x Radiator
  • 2x Fans
  • 1x Intel Backplate
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets AM4
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets TR4
  • 2x AMD Mounting Clips
  • 4x Thumb Screws
  • 4x Intel LGA115X Standoffs
  • 4x Intel LGA20XX Standoffs
  • 4x AMD TR4 Standoffs
  • 8x Radiator Screws
  • 8x Washers
  • 16x Fan Screws
  • 1x micro USB Cable
  • User Manual and Warranty Guide

Closer Look

The Hydro series CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler features two ML RGB series fans as well as a new optimized pump design for optimal flow. The block has a total of 16 digital RGB LEDs in multiple zones for vivid lighting action and each ML RGB fan has 4 such LEDs in the central hub. Copper cold plate has a larger surface area at the base which has allowed the CORSAIR to provide support for the TR4 socket. Let’s start taking a closer look at the unit.

Radiator

The dimension of the radiator is 277x120x27mm where 27mm is the thickness or height of the radiator. It is a slim radiator. With 25mm fans, the total height would be 52.2mm and keep in mind the thicker heads of the metal screws, expect 54-55mm of the total height (approximately). The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. FPI count is 20 on this radiator and fans with high airflow and air pressure will make a stronger case here. There are 13 channels in the radiator. The edges of the radiator are straight design to our liking, unlike some other designs where the edges are rounded. The total length of the radiator is 277mm including the head chambers. There is a 105mm spacing between the mounting holes with 15mm spacing between the two closer mounting holes in the middle of the radiator. The depth of the radiator is 120mm. There is no protective plating under the mounting holes on this radiator so take care while installing the fans on it as long screws could easily damage the fins that would least impact the performance or worst leakage from the radiator.

The hoses are clamped to the radiator using the barbs. There is a sticker pasted on this side of the chamber. CORSAIR brand name and logo are printed on the top left. Part no of the unit is also printed. This sticker is another variation from what we have seen on the Asetek based stickers.

Both sides of the radiator housing have metallic shiny CORSAIR brand logo and name pasted on them.

The far chamber is a slim design.

The tubing on the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM is braided and meshed for nice and clean looks. The length of the tube is 350mm approximately and they are quite flexible to my liking.

Block/Pump

Let’s take a look at the main ingredient aka water block. CORSAIR was able to retain the footprint of the block design to an extent as well which may be hidden from the naked eye. Only a closer look or the mounting hardware will give it away.

The pump housing is made of plastic. The top side has an aluminum finish on the sides which blends in well with the blackish top lid. The top lid has a CORSAIR brand logo and name on it and they light up when powered on. There are 4 digital RGB LEDs under the top whereas there are a total of 12 such LEDs on the sides with three on each side. The Intel mounting brackets come pre-mounted as has been the case with their previous generations.

The sides of the pump housing are in a matte black finish and rounded on the edges to make them sit in harmony with the overall design.

The front side of the pump housing has a micro-USB port on the top. There is what seems to be a refill port on the bottom right side but I am not sure about it.

Looking at the block from the backside, the hoses are installed in 90. The hoses can be rotated in either direction and they are quite flexible.

The above picture is showing the diffuser sitting between the top cover and the rest of the pump housing. This diffuser is not covered to create some vivid lighting effects. Also, there are 3x cables coming out from this angle:

  • SATA Power Cable [Length 196mm approximately]
  • 3-pin Power Cable coming off the SATA Cable [Length 305mm approximately]
  • Digital RGB LED Connectors Cable [Length 300+78mm approximately]
  • 2-way 4-pin PWM Fan Connectors Cable [Length 296mm approximately]

The above picture shows the cables coming out of the pump housing. The digital RGB LED connectors are proprietary and the user can’t use or connect them directly to the digital lighting header of the motherboard.

Also, take note of number 1 printed on the RGB connector. The same number is printed on one of the 4-pin PWM connectors as well. There are certain dynamic lighting modes that start from one RGB device and moves to the next RGB device and so on in that order. This numbering will help the user to define the order or sequence.

The above picture shows the inner components of the pump.

Let’s take a look at the base. The base plate is made of the copper and has a dimension of 55x55mmx2mm where 2mm is the exposed height of the copper base plate. It is secured with the main housing using 8 screws. The unit comes with the thermal paste pre-applied.

Overall the CORSAIR was able to retain the same footprint as is on their previous generation hydro series coolers despite changing the OEM. Kudos to their design team as this is not an easier task by any mean!

The bundled USB cable has a right-angled implementation of the micro-USB connector which makes the installation convenient. The length of the cable is 622mm which is long enough to do a neat cable management and reach to the bottom side of the motherboard where the 9-pin USB 2.0 headers are located. Oh! You will need a free USB 2.0 header on your motherboard! This cable is a must to control the lighting and the thermal of the pump. Keep that in mind, please.

Let’s take a look at the fans now. The CORSAIR has provided two ML 120 RGB fans with this cooler. Each fan measures 120x120x25mm. The rated speed is up to 24RPM with an airflow of 75 CFM having an air pressure rating of 4.2mmH₂O. The noise level is rated at 37 dBA. The fans have 4-pin PWM connectors. The fans are rated at 12VDC with 0.225A current rating.

The fan has a matte black color frame with 7 white frosted blades. The mounting corners have black and gray color combination on them. The good part of the design is that these corners are swappable allowing the users to customize the look of their fans. The center portion has a large diameter. It has a black color sticker pasted on the top with the CORSAIR brand logo printed on it. There are 4 digital RGB LEDs in the central hub.

One of the sides of the frame has two arrows symbols etched on it. These are for visual help to the user indicating the spin direction of blades and airflow. The frame is made of PBT material.

There are two flat cables coming out of the fans. One is the 4-pin PWM power connector having a length of 592mm approximately and the other is an ARGB LED cable having a length of 600mm approximately.

A sticker is pasted on one of the sides of the frame.

Looking at the backside of the fan, we can see a 4-arms assembly in a cross-format holding the fan motor and blades to the frame. All arms have the same width with one having latches to capture/hold the cables coming out of the motor housing. There is a sticker pasted in the center with a CORSAIR brand logo printed on the top half and other information printed in the lower half. The fans are made in China.

Installation

I have tested this cooler on the Intel LGA2011-V3 socket (X99) and AMD AM4 platform. Below is the installation guide for Intel LGA 2011-V3:

  • Install the LGA-2011 screws on the mounting holes around the CPU Socket.
  • Intel brackets are pre-installed on this cooler.
  • Install the fans on the radiator.
  • Install the radiator in the chassis.
  • Place the cooler on the CPU by aligning the holes on the mounting brackets with the LGA 2011 screws.
  • Secure the cooler by using the thumbscrews. Use a screwdriver for this job and go diagonal for even pressure.

AMD AM4 Installation

  • Remove the Intel mounting brackets from the pump by sliding them out in the opposite direction.
  • Install the AMD mounting brackets on the housing by sliding them inside from the opposite direction and snapping them together.
  • Install the AMD clips on each end of the AMD mounting bracket using two thumbscrews (one for each side).
  • The cooler will be installed on the AMD stock backplate.
  • Place the block on the CPU by aligning the clips on the brackets with the latches or catchers on the stock backplate. Once placed, simply hand tighten the screws to the full.

Common Steps:

  • Connect the 3-pin power cable to the CPU fan header/Pump/AIO header if available or any of your desire fan header.
  • Connect the female RGB connectors of the pump to the male RGB connectors of the fans.
  • Optionally connect the 4-pin PWM connectors of the fans to the 2-way headers of the pump.
  • Connect the SATA cable of the pump to the PSU.
  • This would complete the installation.

Clearance and Installation Notes

The best thing about AIOs is the maximum clearance and compatibility with respect to the chassis, DIMM slots, PCIe slot. This cooler has no such clearance issue. The tubes are not blocking any DIMM slot and RAM modules of any height can be used. Similarly, the block is not obstructing the first PCIe x16 3.0 slot. Make sure that chassis has provision for a 240mm radiator mounting (277mm total length for this cooler) and clearance for 55mm height and you are good to go.

RGB Lighting and Software

The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM packs multi-zone RGB lighting which creates some stunning and vivid effects. The overall lighting is not overly done and the ability to control each LED gives the users an opportunity to create and customize their preferred lighting effects.

Here are some of the cool pictures that I have taken for your eye candies.

 

 

 

iCUE

In order to control the lighting and functionality of the pump and the fans, the user is required to install the iCUE software which can be downloaded from the CORSAIR website. The user is also required to connect the bundled USB cable to the cooler and available 9-pin USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.

When the unit is connected to the motherboard, the Windows will automatically detect and list the unit in the connected devices as shown in the above picture.

When the iCUE is launched, it will detect the connected and enabled CORSAIR devices. In my case, the CORSAIR H100i RGB Platinum and the CORSAIR Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4 kit were detected and shown on the list. These pictures are coming from our AMD based test bench for which the CORSAIR has sponsored the DDR4 kit.

Clicking on the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM cooler picture will load its default page. The block’s picture is shown on the right side with the current loaded lighting effect. Fan1, Fan2, and pump speed are listed before the picture of the block.

In order to look for more control over the functionality of the fans and the pump, click on the Performance tab on the leftmost side. It will show the pre-defined 4 profiles, which are:

  • Quiet
  • Balanced
  • Extreme
  • Zero RPM

Zero RPM is a cool function that allows the fans to stop spinning given the specified thermal parameters are met. The fans will kick in as soon as the set thermal junction is crossed. In order to change the profile, click on the desired profile and then click on the fan(s) and the pump to put the profile in effect.

The user can set different profiles for each fan and pump at a time. The user can also set the profile for all connected devices. The user can also set the custom fan curve as well as set the fans to run at a fixed speed.

Under Graphing the user can monitor the different parameters like the speed of the fan or the pump. The user can also set the interval of polling before updating the graph.

The user can create/customize the notifications based on the temperature of the CPU and can set the LEDs to change the color for a defined thermal junction.

The above picture shows the fans and the pump’s speed under the Quiet profile. The picture was taken after 5 minutes of loading the profile.

The above picture shows the fans and the pump’s speed under the Balanced profile. The picture was taken after 5 minutes of loading the profile.

The above picture shows the fans and the pump’s speed under the Extreme profile. The picture was taken after 5 minutes of loading the profile.

It is evident that there is not much of a difference in terms of the speed for the Balanced and the Extreme profile but the difference really comes from the acoustic between both profiles.

Click on the Lighting Effects to access the lighting control for the cooler. The first picture is of the pump followed by the two pictures of the fans. The pump’s 16 LEDs are highlighted, so are 4 LEDs on each fan.

Clicking on the dropdown list will show the extensive range of lighting effects available at the user’s disposal. The user can control all 24 LEDs individually.

Static colors can also be set on the devices.

The brightness of the LEDs can be controlled under the Settings tab of the software. The user can also update the firmware of the cooler from here as well as change the temperature unit.

Testing

Following test benches have been used: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Corsair Vengeance RED LED 16GB @ 2666MHz
  • GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 6G Gaming G1
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Thermaltake TP iRGB 1250W PSU
  • PrimoChill Praxis WetBench

AMD Test Bench

  • Asus Strix X470-F Gaming
  • AMD Ryzen 2700X
  • Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Colorful GeForce GTX 1050Ti Vulkan
  • HyperX 120GB SSD
  • Antec HCP1300

The following software were used for testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44 (Intel)
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70 (Intel)
  • AIDA64 6.0 (AMD)

Here is the settings table for testing:

Intel Stock Voltage (V) 1.130
Stock Clock (MHz) 3600
OC Voltage (V) 1.350
OC Clock (MHz) 4300
AMD Stock Voltage (V) 1.1125
Stock Clock (MHz) 3700
OC Voltage (V) 1.3250
OC Clock (MHz) 4100
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
XFR/PBO Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 60 minutes
Idling Time 15 minutes
Fan Speed Set to run at 100% speed
Pump Speed Connected to the AIO Pump header to run at 100% speed

 

The thermal paste being used on the test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of the same thermal paste for all coolers will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM was tested using Quiet, Balanced, and Extreme profiles/modes with overclocked Intel i7 6850k to 4.3GHz. Let’s take a look at the results.

It was a tie between the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler and ASUS ROG Ryuo 240 cooler.

The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler has performed that well using Extreme and Balanced profiles. Not a bad performance with Quiet mode either.

The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler has taken a top slot beating the ASUS ROG Ryuo 240 cooler.

With just 0.4°C and 0.3°C difference, the CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler takes the third slot.

During the testing, the UEFI/BIOS of both platforms were showing the pump to be running at 52xx speed. The pump’s speed was changing frequently so much so that once it was shown to be operating at 10000 RPM. Using the Extreme profile in iCUE the maximum reported pump speed was in 29xx RPM. I have connected both fans one by one on the PWM fan header of the motherboard (Asus Rampage V Edition 10). The maximum speed reported for one was 2352 while for the other’s fan it was 2335 RPM. Both fans did not reach 2400 RPM. This could well be due to manufacturing tolerances. But when these fans were connected to the unit they were reaching to 26xx RPM in Extreme profile.

Acoustic

I could not measure the sound level of the unit due to uncontrollable environmental noise which would invalidate the actual sound level. Based on my experience with the fans and coolers testing so far, the ML120RGB fans were loud under the Extreme profile. They were definitely quiet under the Quiet mode. With a Balanced profile, the noise level was a bit reduced from the Extreme profile level.

Conclusion

The CORSAIR is continuing the SAGA of their Hydro series CPU Liquid coolers. Their new generation is dubbed as RGB PLATINUM and is available in 240 and 280mm sizing. CORSAIR was kind enough to send their H100i RGB PLATINUM for the review. They have changed the OEM for their Hydro series coolers effective from this generation switching from Asektek to CoolIT. Yet their design team was right on the job and retain the original footprint that was introduced with Pro series of their coolers which have Asetek as OEM. I did not realize this until the cooler was unboxed and mounting hardware came in my hands. The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM is compatible with Intel LGA115X/20XX and AMD’s AM4/3/2/FM2 and TR4 sockets and comes with 5 years warranty from CORSAIR.

The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler has an aluminum-made radiator having a dimension of 277x120x27mm. 27mm is the height of the radiator. The total height with a fully assembled unit will be between 54-55mm with fans and the screws. The radiator has 20 FPI count. The hoses are braided for better looks with 350mm of length which is plentiful. The hoses are quite flexible to my personal liking. There is no protective plating underneath the mounting holes on the radiator so take care while installing the fans. Use the bundled screws and washers. The pump housing is made of the plastic finished in matte black color. The top lid is surrounded by a silver color shroud. The lid itself has a black color background. The CORSAIR brand logo and name are on the lid. They light up when powered on. The diffuser runs on across the four sides of the block. There are 16 digital RGB LEDs, four on the top and three on each of the sides. A micro USB port is on the front side. CORSAIR had bundled USB cable as the lighting effects and functionality of the pump, in particular, are controlled through iCUE. The pump’s housing has three cables coming out of it. These are SATA cable including 3-pin connector, 2-way 4-pin fan headers cable and 2x 4-pin RGB LED power connectors cable. The copper base measures 55x55mm. CORSAIR has provided mounting brackets for the TR4 socket as well.

CORSAIR has bundled ML 120 RGB fans in the box. Each fan measures 120x120x25mm. The rated speed is up to 24RPM with an airflow of 75 CFM having an air pressure rating of 4.2mmH₂O. The noise level is rated at 37 dBA. The fans have 4-pin PWM connectors. The fans are rated at 12VDC with 0.225A current rating. The user is required to download and install the iCUE software in order to control the lighting effects of this cooler as well as controlling the full functionality of the fans and the pump. The unit disconnects for a fraction of the second whenever iCUE is loaded in the Windows which should not have been the case.

The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler is listed at PKR 19,800/- at the time of the review and is available at Easetec, Pakistan. CORSAIR is known for charging a premium price for their premium products and this cooler is not an exception to that. The CORSAIR H100i RGB PLATINUM has performed superbly on both test benches and has taken a top spot in our graphs for Intel whereas for AMD it is on the third spot but the margin of difference is negligible (0.4°C and 0.3°C). However, this high performance is coming at the cost of a high noise level. With a custom fan curve, the user can easily set the optimal speed to noise ratio for better acoustic without compromising much on the thermal performance.

I am thankful to the CORSAIR for giving me the opportunity to review their H100i RGB PLATINUM CPU Liquid Cooler.

 

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