Corsair was founded in 1994. The company started as high-performance DRAM manufacturer. Now they are the provider of enthusiast-grade PC components and peripherals. The company launched their Corsair Gaming brand in 2014 and targets the eSports professionals and gamers alike with the 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, we will be taking a look at their new Hydro Series CPU liquid Cooler H150i Pro RGB. This is a 360mm cooling solution from the Corsair featuring Asetek 6th Generation pump with a reportedly smaller cold plate. Corsair has been marketing their new Pro series coolers to be noise optimized or in other words silent cooling. We have to see if this comes at the cost of performance margin or another way around. The cooler has 3 ML series low noise PWM fans. These are not regular ML series high-performance PWM fans. So, again, we are seeing what approach Corsair is taking with these coolers. The much-marketed feature of these coolers is the killer RGB LED lighting solution on the pump top which speaks for itself. It is giving vivid effects that if I have to put in my words, is giving dope effect, to say the least.

  • Product:               H150i Pro RGB
  • Manufacturer:       Corsair
  • Price:                   Rs. 19500/- [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler comes in a large size cardboard box of multi colors. The top side has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. Salient feature are highlighted under the brand name like it is compatible with the Corsair Link, has 3x 120mm fans, and 5 years of Corsair Guarantee. I am wondering if this is their way of saying warranty! Pump has been shown in 7 different colors at the bottom left side depicting the customizable RGB Backlit pump head. This is a 360mm radiator with 3 120mm ML series quiet PWM fans. There is a picture of the cooler printed on the main section. Hydro Series is printed on the top right side with yellow color background. This is the Corsair’s low noise 360mm RGB Liquid CPU Cooler. The bottom side has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. H150i Pro RGB is printed on the top right side. The unit comes with three ML series fans utilizing the magnetic levitation to deliver improved airflow with low noise. Corsair Link software allows the user to monitor and control every aspect of this cooler from lighting effect to the creating custom fan curve. Customizable RGB Backlit pump head creates vivid lighting effect. This cooler comes with a Zero RPM functionality allowing the fans to stop spinning once the temperature comes below the low temperature setting. Block diagrams of the radiator are printed further towards the right side. There is 15mm of spacing between the consecutive mounting holes. The width of the radiator is 120mm with the depth of 27mm and 396mm of the length making it a lengthy radiator to have. These versions of the ML series fans have sound level of 25 dBA. Technical specification of the cooler is printed on the rightmost side. The left side of the box has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. Salient features of the cooler are printed in the bullet format in multiple languages. There is a picture of the cooler at the bottom. H150i Pro RGB is printed at the bottom. The right side of the box has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. There is a picture of the cooler printed in the mid-section. H150i Pro RGB is printed at the bottom. The rear side of the box has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. H150i Pro RGB is printed on the top right side. Socket compatibility information is printed in 6 different languages. It is compatible with all major sockets including Intel 2066 and AMD AM4+ excluding the TR4. A spare USB 2.0 header is required on the motherboard. An internet connection is also required to download the software from their website. Corsair Link can work with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. Contents of the box are printed in 6 different languages. A serial no sticker is printed on the bottom right side along with the part no which is CW-9060031-WW. The cooler is made in China.

 

Accessories

These include:

  • 3x ML120 PWM Fans
  • Hydro Series H150i Pro
  • Mounting bracket and hardware
  • Corsair Link 9-pin USB 2.0 cable
  • Quick start guide

 

Closer Look

H150i Pro is a 360mm closed loop liquid cooler from the Corsair. Let’s take a closer look at the unit and see what it is all about. It has a 360mm radiator with three non-RGB, 120mm ML series Low Noise PWM fans. Don’t confuse these fans with the regular ML series fans which are high-performance series fans. We will give a rundown of the specification comparison of fans below. The dimension of the radiator is 396x120x27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans the overall thickness would be 52mm. The cooler has a dense fin stack with FPI count of 20 as per calculation on our unit. The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. The blocks on both ends of the radiator are rectangular and have straight edges which really gives good looks to the unit. It has total 12 channels for water flow. It has a standard inlet and outlet blocks for the water flow. Hot water flows in from an inlet and passes through the corresponding channels. Heat is blown away through the fins by the fans and cold or normal temperature water flows out of the radiator through the outlet port.

 

There are no protective sheets over the fins under the fan mounts. So, take care while mounting the fans as longer screws could damage the fins which would hamper the performance of the cooler. It is recommended to use the supplied long screws to mount the fans on to the radiators using the washers. The hoses are firmly fitted on the radiator assembly and on the pump housing. Corsair seems to be using Teflon based meshed hoses though we are not confirmed about that. The soft material tubing is flexible and doesn’t produce kinking which is always a plus. The hoses are a change from the previous generation of Hydro series coolers from Corsair. Hoses on the Pro series cooler are thinner than the ones on the non-Pro series coolers hence they are easy to manage inside the chassis as per the required orientation. The finishing of the radiator is top notch and we did not observe any bend fin on the assembly part. The radiator has 396mm length making it the largest of what we have reviewed in 360mm CLC category. The Raijintek Orcus 360 has a length of 395mm. Just a 1mm gap there. There is a gap of 15mm between two consecutive fan mounts which makes it a tight fit for the 120mm fans spacing. With fans installed on the radiator, the total depth of the unit would be 52mm plus add 1 to 2 mm of the spacing that the head part of the screw will take so we have approximately 54mm or so depth of the unit when fully assembled. There is a metallic Corsair brand name and logo in shining silver color pasted on both sides of the radiator. This radiator does not have any swappable sidebar as we have seen on non-Pro hydro series coolers like H100i V2 or H115i GTX. In terms of radiator or hoses, we are not seeing any radical change as compared to the previous gen hydro series coolers from the Corsair. Length of the hoses is approximately 393mm.

Let’s take a look at the main ingredient of the design. This cooler is the first, as per our limited knowledge, to be using the Asetek 6th generation pump and PCB. Reportedly, this unit is also using smaller cold plate though we could not get confirmed information regarding the no of fins used in the cold plate and gap between the fins. The cooler has circular copper base and it comes with Intel mounting bracket pre-installed on it. It has Asetek pre-applied thermal paste as well. Corsair has introduced new pump housing with RGB LED lighting solution on it. All these changes are new to the Pro series of the cooler and can’t be found on previous generation of Hydro series coolers from the Corsair. The hoses are implemented in 90° on the block. They are not that much protruding as we saw on the Aerocool P7-L240 hence RAM clearance is not an issue with the H150i Pro. Hoses can be rotated in left or right side depending upon the orientation of the cooler. The dimension of the block as per our calculation is approximately 78x30x62mm.The block has two-toned chassis with a diffusor sitting in between. The top portion is in white color whereas the bottom one is in the black. The top side of the block has a hexagonal shaped shiny black color reflective module on it with the Corsair brand name and the logo on it. There is a gap between this module and the boundary of the top side. This gap also has a diffuser in it for lighting purpose. The central module has a raised surface which blends in really well with the overall symmetry of the block’s design. There are three zones of the block that light up when powered on. One is the diffusor sitting between the top and the bottom portion of the chassis, second is another diffusor around the central module on top side of the block. The third is the Corsair brand name and logo on the top. There is a micro USB port on the front side of the block. The Corsair has provided a 9-pin USB 2.0 cable. Its micro end is connected to the block and the 9-pin USB connector is inserted in a USB 2.0 header of the motherboard. Using this cable, we can control the cooler’s lighting effects and performance using the Corsair Link software which can be downloaded from their website. There are 3 cables coming out of the block on the rear side in between the hoses ends. These cables are SATA cable to power up the pump and connected fans. It has a length of approximately 263mm. The second cable is a 3-pin cable which is to be connected to the CPU fan header to report the pump’s speed. It has a length of approximately 270mm. The third cable is a splitter cable with 3 4-pin headers. The ML series low noise fans are to be connected with these fan headers. Please, note that this is not a mandatory requirement and user can connect the fans directly to the motherboard fan headers or a fan controller depending upon user’s requirement but going that route user won’t be able to control the speed of the fans using the Corsair Link software. The length of this cable is approximately 295mm. The pump is rated at maximum of 2800 RPM at 12V DC. In our testing, the pump hits 2820 RPM in Performance mode, 1080 RPM in Quiet mode and roughly 2100 RPM in Balanced mode. As was the case with the previous gen hydro series coolers, you can’t control the pump’s speed without Corsair Link software and Corsair has maintained this implementation with their Pro series coolers as well. On a personal note, I am against such design considerations where users are bound to a software use. Anyhow, this is my personal opinion and has nothing to do with the performance of the pump or the unit. Unfortunately, I was not able to gather information on the flow rate of this pump. To my surprise, the new Pro series coolers are not yet listed on the Asetek website.

 

 

Now that we have taken a look at the unit’s main assembly, it is time to dig these ML Low Noise PWM fans. Corsair has provided 3 120mm fans with the H150i Pro CPU Liquid Cooler. These are not RGB fans should you be looking for this information. These fans have black color frame resembling that of the regular ML series high-performance PWM fans. Each fan has 7 blades in gray color. There are no anti-vibration pads on these fans which is surprising as the Corsair’s approach with this cooler is to provide silent cooling. There is a black color sticker pasted on the motor hub with a white color Corsair brand logo printed in its center. The frame is narrow in the centers and thicker on the edges. There is a 111mm of spacing between the mounting holes on the same side. There is a serial no sticker pasted on one of the sides of the frame. The central area of the frame’s sides has triangle cutout like design patterns. One side has a two arrow indicators showing the airflow direction and spinning direction of the fan blades. The backside of the fan has a 4-arms assembly in an X pattern. There is a sticker pasted on the motor hub with half of its cover in black having Corsair brand logo printed on it. The fan takes 0.219A with 2.628W of power. The fans are made in China. One of the arms has an inset for cable routing with a proper catcher. There is a cutout on the left side’s frame from where the cable is routed out of the frame. Cable has a 4-pin PWM connector and has a length of approximately 292mm. Here is a quick rundown of these fans’ specifications. They are rated at 47.3 CFM with the static pressure of 1.78 mmH₂O. Maximum speed is rated at 1600 RPM with 25 dB(A) sound level.

Installation

Installation method is the same as we have seen in the previous generation of the hydro series coolers. We have tested the cooler on the X99 platform with a 2011-3 socket. We started with installing 4 standoffs on the pre-mounted holes around the socket. Use the ones with different threading on both ends as these are the ones dedicated to 2011/2011-3/2066 sockets. Next, we apply the thermal paste on the IHS of the CPU. We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste on our test bench to test the coolers. Place the block on the standoffs by aligning the holes on the pre-installed Intel bracket with the screw threading. Use the thumbscrews to secure the block. Make sure to mount the block in a diagonal pattern for even pressure. Tighten them till the thread runs out but don’t over tighten the block. Connect the SATA cable to the PSU’s SATA Cable. Connect the 3-pin connector to the CPU fan header. Connect the Link cable to the block and any available USB 2.0 header of the motherboard.

 

Test Setup and Testing Methodology

Following test bench was used for testing this cooler: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Crucial Ballistix Elite 4x4GB @ 3000MHz
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 FE
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD Black 6TB
  • Corsair AX1200i

Other coolers in the test are:

  • Alphacool Eisbaer 360
  • Corsair H100i V2
  • Reeven Naia 240
  • Aerocool P7-L240
  • Noctua NH-D15/U14S/U12S
  • Reeven Ouranos/Justice
  • Raijintek Leto Pro RGB
  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer C

Following software were used for the testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70

The thermal paste being used on our test bench is the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste. The use of a 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 cooler is tested on stock clocks i.e 3.6GHz using 1.136V manual VCore. The Asus RealBench 2.44 is used to stress test the cooler’s performance. Each run of the test was of 15 minutes followed by 15-30 minutes break to let the system cool down. Fans were set to run at their 100% RPM and water pump was set at 100% as well. CPU is overclocked to 4.3GHz with 1.350V manual VCore. Three test runs are made. Average of each test run is calculated. The max temps on each core are summed up and divided by the core count to give the average figure. The max average of three tests is used for reporting. Delta temp is calculated by subtracting the ambient temp from the max average temp. No rounding is done on the ambient temps. To test the sound level, Fonseo Digital Sound Meter is used. There is no other fan on the test bench. The Corsair AX1200i’s fan is set to below 40% which nearly makes it inaudible and Alphacool Eisbaer fan on the Eilswolf cooler is set to 40% as well. Testing is done during night time.

Before we proceed further, it is pertinent to mention that this cooler is being marketed as a low noise cooler. That is why Corsair has provided low noise ML fans. The pump at full speed makes a whining sound which is not audible under Balanced/Quiet mode. In order to test this cooler from the manufacturer’s point of view, either we need to set a noise-normalized performance testing in which we determine the noise level of the fans and then test other coolers according to this noise level or we test the cooler with high-performance PWM fans. Since we are not following the convention of the noise-normalized performance testing, we would also test the cooler with high-performance PWM fans from the Corsair and show the results in the graph. This would indicate the level of performance cut that is there with the cooler, if any, given the utilization of low noise fans. For that purpose, we have included Corsair ML Pro in the testing. Testing with ML Pros was done on the same parameters as was with the Low Noise PWM ML fans that are shipped with the H150i Pro cooler. Before we proceed to the results, here is a comparison of the fans in terms of their specification:

Parameter ML Low Noise PWM ML Pro PWM
Airflow (CFM) 47.3 12 – 75
Speed (RPM) 1600 400 – 2400
Static Pressure (mmH₂O) 1.78 0.2 – 4.2
Sound Level (dBA) 25 16 – 37

 

Results

Let’s take a look at the results and see how the cooler performs with both of these fans. On stress testing with stock clocks, the cooler was doing 24°C with the stock fans which is shy above 24.33°Cthat the Reeven Naia did. Reeven Naia is a 240mm cooler. There was a difference of 2.5°C between the Corsair H150i Pro and Alphacool Eisbaer 360 with Eiswind 12 fans. With ML Pros, the cooler was doing 22°C which is just 0.5°C less than the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 and is marginal enough to say that both coolers were neck to neck. This result is clearly showing that with high performing fans, the Corsair H150i Pro can take on any cooler in the competition but since the Corsair is aiming for low noise cooling with this cooler, this is still a pretty decent performance from the cooler given the noise level of the fans.

Next, we overclocked the chip to 4.3GHz using 1.350V on VCore. Maximum temperature with the stock fans was 40.5°C which is higher than the Reeven Naia’s 38.8°C. Alphacool Eisbaer 360 was doing 35.2°C so strictly between two 360mm coolers the Corsair H150i Pro was trailing by 5.3°C. Next, we ran the test with the Corsair ML Pros and the cooler was doing 37.8°C which 2.7°C improvement over the stock fans.

In terms of the relative performance, the Corsair H150i Pro offers a decent performance yet at silent levels which have enabled the Corsair to achieve what they have been marketing about this cooler. And we can see that with high-performance fans, this cooler can take the challenge with any other cooler in the market; mind you, in closed loop category.

The sound level with stock fans and pump running at their full was measured to be 30dBA as per our Fonseo Digital Sound Meter. With ML Pros, this was 40dBA. So, the equation is clearly visible to the users now. Either opt for the silent level of operations using stock fans or opt for the performance with some high-performance fans for which silent levels won’t be possible but both can’t be taken at a time. Keep in mind that if you opt for performance then add the price of the three high-performance fans to the price of the cooler and it will not be a value product at all from this perspective. Corsair is already charging a premium for this cooler and going to spend more on fans won’t be a wise move.

Software and RGB Lighting

Let’s take a look at the Corsair Link software which is used to control the lighting effects on this cooler as well as the pump and fans control. The version we have used is 4.9.5.25. Its main interface shows the temperatures of the motherboard, CPU, storage drives, graphics card(s), RAMs, cooler, and Corsair digital PSUs like in our case it was showing the power in, power out, temperature, the voltage reading off the AX1200i. Our main focus here is the Cooler related settings. The summary is showing the current temperature reading of the sensor followed by the RPM of the three connected fans and the Pump. The last option being shown is the LED color. Click on the LED color to show more options. A new window will have the name Configure LED. It has multiple options on it to play with the LED effects for this cooler. There are 6 preset color lighting effects:

  • Static
  • Blink
  • Color Pulse
  • Color Shift
  • Rainbow
  • Temperature

Each color mode has its own settings with few common. In static mode, there is only one color option. Click on it to open the color selector box and define color as per your requirement. Click on Apply to make it effective. Blink mode has the option to select up to 7 colors. A user can also control the speed of the blinking. Color pulse has the same option as the Blink mode. Color shit also has the same option as Blink mode. Rainbow mode has only speed control and it has almost same behavior as of color shift mode. We don’t have multiple colors across the three zones in Rainbow mode. Temperature mode has three options to select colors as per the temperature range. A user can also group it with other sensors on the board.

Click on the Configure button and scroll down to the H150i Pro’s options. We have Fan1, Fan2, Fan3, Pump speeds being displayed individually and the last option is the pump’s LED. Clicking on pump’s LED will open the same Configure LED window which we have discussed above. Click on the Pump option and it will open a new window named Configure Pump. It has three modes from which the user can select either Quiet, Balanced or Performance mode. Click on any of the Fan options and it will open a window named Configure Fan. There are 9 modes available for the user to select from. There is a graph at the bottom showing the fan curve. Zero RPM mode can be activated from here. A user can define custom fan curve as well or can set fixed RPM or the fixed percentage. There is a button Copy To at the bottom left side. Click on it and you can copy the same effect to the other fans without defining same settings individually. Corsair was kind enough to consider the user convenience and simplicity in the user interface. There is a Notification tab in the main window. Click on it and you will see more options to configure. You can set minimum and maximum temperature values and decide which action needs to be run if any of these values are crossed over. A user can have PC to be shut down which is handy for maximum temperature limit crossing over or make all fans to spin at 100% of their speed. These are handy features.

Here are few pictures of the unit with LED lighting effects.

 

Conclusion

Corsair has released their new closed loop coolers in Hydro series namely H150i Pro and H115i Pro. The H115i Pro is a 280mm cooler whereas H150i Pro is a 360mm cooler and as such is the Corsair’s first cooler in the category of 360mm. Both of these coolers are bundled with the ML Low Noise PWM Fans with the 140mm version in the H115i Pro and 120mm version in the H150i Pro. These coolers are featuring the Asetek’s 6th generation pump and PCB. This is presumably the first coolers with 6th gen technology of Asetek though we are not sure about that. Corsair has been marketing these coolers to be built for low noise cooling and bold styling with RGB LED pump head with a tagline of “Be Seen, Not Heard”. These coolers have Zero RPM functionality that can be accessed through the Corsair Link software in which the fans will stop spinning at low temperatures eliminating the fans noise altogether.

The dimension of the radiator is 396x120x27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans the overall thickness would be 52mm. The cooler has a dense fin stack with FPI count of 20 as per calculation on our unit. The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. The soft material tubing is flexible and don’t produce kinking which is always a plus. The hoses are a change from the previous generation of Hydro series coolers from Corsair. Hoses on the Pro series cooler are thinner than the ones on the non-Pro series coolers hence they are easy to manage inside the chassis as per the required orientation. The finishing of the radiator is top notch and we did not observe any bend fin on the assembly part. In terms of radiator or hoses, we are not seeing any radical change as compared to the previous gen hydro series coolers from the Corsair. The cooler has a circular copper base and it comes with Intel mounting bracket pre-installed on it. It has Asetek pre-applied thermal paste as well. Corsair has introduced new pump housing with RGB LED lighting solution on it. All these changes are new to the Pro series of the cooler and can’t be found on the previous generation of Hydro series coolers from the Corsair. The hoses are implemented in 90° on the block. There are three zones of the block that light up when powered on and creates stunning looks and vivid effects, to say the least.

The Corsair has provided a 9-pin USB 2.0 cable. Its mini end is connected to the block and the 9-pin USB connector is inserted in a USB 2.0 header of the motherboard. Using this cable, we can control the cooler’s lighting effects and performance using the Corsair Link software which can be downloaded from their website. There are 3 cables coming out of the block on the rear side in between the hoses ends. These cables are SATA cable to power up the pump and connected fans. The second cable is a 3-pin one which is to be connected to the CPU fan header to report the pump’s speed. The third cable is a splitter cable with 3 4-pin headers. The ML series low noise fans can be connected to these fan headers. Corsair has provided 3 120mm ML Low Noise PWM fans with this cooler. They are rated at 47.3 CFM with the static pressure of 1.78 mmH₂O. Maximum speed is rated at 1600 RPM with 25 dB(A) sound level. Each fan takes 0.219A with 2.628W of power.

This cooler is rated at Rs.19500/- at the time of the review. This is a premium price tag from the Corsair. In Int’l market it is rated $170 approximately. This is not a cheap cooling solution anyway. Keeping in line with their marketing of this cooler, the Corsair H150i Pro RGB Liquid CPU Cooler offers low noise cooling with RGB LED backlit pump head. In our performance testing, this cooler has shown a decent performance with the stock fans which is actually in line with what Corsair is trying to achieve with this cooler. So, in that very perspective, this cooler has performed very well by offering low noise yet adequate cooling performance. On the other hand, this level of performance is also being achieved by a 240mm closed loop cooler hence the price factor is making its entry in the big equation as well. We have three factors at hand; Performance, Noise, Value. This cooler is not a value product as it is an expensive solution given the performance level that it is offering but it is a clear winner in terms of low noise operations. It is clear that with this cooler, either you go for silent operations or high performance but not both at the same time. And for that high performance, you would need better fans that would add further to the bill. Corsair is offering 5 years warranty on this cooler which shows their confidence in this product.

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