Corsair H80i CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on January 28, 2013


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

We tested the Corsair H80i, a sealed liquid cooling system for CPUs, with a 120 mm radiator cooled by two 120 mm fans. Check it out!

The highlight of the H80i is the “Corsair Link” USB interface that allows the computer to control and monitor the CPU temperature, the LED present on top of the block, and the pump and fan speeds.

Figure 1 shows the box of the Corsair H80i.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the radiator-block set, fans, manuals, cables, and installation hardware.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 2: Accessories

This watercooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Radiator

Although the Corsair H80i comes with two 120 mm fans, it uses a regular 120 mm radiator and not a 240 mm one. In other words, the radiator is “sandwiched” between the two 120 mm fans. The sealed radiator-block system is shown in Figure 3. At the left is the 120 mm radiator; at the right is the block.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 3: Sealed system

Figures 4 and 5 reveal the 120 mm radiator of the Corsair H80i.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 4: Radiator

Corsair H80i
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Figure 5: Radiator

The Block

Figure 6 shows the cables of the block. There is one power connector that must be connected to a SATA power cable of the power supply. This may be a problem if the user has a relatively old power supply with few SATA power cables, or if he or she is using all the available SATA cables. There is also a single cable that must be connected to the “CPU cooler” header of the motherboard, since many motherboards must receive the rpm signal of the CPU cooler fan in order to work properly.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 6: Block cables

The block is shown in Figure 7. There are connectors for the fans (at the left) and for the USB cable (at the right). Each one of the connectors at the left is intended to be used with a harness that connects two fans, but the H80i comes with only one of those harnesses. The white area at the top of the block is illuminated by LEDs whose colors can be configured by the user.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 7: Block

The base of the block, which is made of copper, is revealed in Figure 8. The thermal compound comes pre-applied.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 8: Base

The Fans and Cables

Figure 9 illustrates the 120 mm fans that come with the Corsair H80i. The fans have three-pin connectors.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 9: Fan

The cables that come with the H80i are shown in Figure 10. The top harness allows you to connect two fans at the block;the bottom cable connects the H80i to a USB port of the motherboard.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 10: Cables

Installation

In Figures 11 and 12, you can see the mounting hardware of the H80i. Figure 11 shows the frame, backplate, and screws for use with sockets LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, and LGA2011. The frame to use with AMD processors (which use the stock backplate) is presented in Figure 12.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 11: Mounting hardware for Intel CPUs

Corsair H80i
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Figure 12: Mounting hardware for AMD processors

Figure 13 shows the screws installed on the component side of the motherboard.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 13: Screws installed

The last step is to install the system inside the computer, attaching the block on the CPU and the radiator on the top or rear panel of the computer case.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 14: Installation finished

The software that controls the H80i must be downloaded from the Corsair website. Both fans can be configured for several manual or automatic modes. The color of the LEDs at the block can also be configured. We liked the option to change the color of the LEDs according to the temperature of the coolant liquid. Figure 15 shows the application screen.

Corsair H80i
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Figure 15: Corsair Link screen

We tested the H80i in two modes: Quiet and Maximum.

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX318 °C50 dBA2850 rpm69 ºC51 °C
Corsair A7023 °C51 dBA2000 rpm66 ºC43 °C
Corsair H10026 °C62 dBA2000 rpm64 ºC38 °C
EVGA Superclock26 °C57 dBA2550 rpm67 ºC41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14020 °C46 dBA 1250 rpm65 ºC45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 12026 °C42 dBA1500 rpm82 °C56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X26 °C43 dBA1200 rpm71 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max20 °C51 dBA1700 rpm62 °C42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition22 °C50 dBA2400 rpm65 °C43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA518 °C44 dBA1500 rpm70 °C52 °C
Noctua NH-L1220 °C44 dBA1450 rpm70 °C50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme21 °C53 dBA2550 rpm71 °C50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin15 °C48 dBA1450 rpm58 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 40015 °C44 dBA1500 rpm60 °C45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 81223 °C51 dBA2350 rpm66 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 30018 °C43 dBA1650 rpm74 °C56 °C
Intel stock cooler18 °C41 dBA2000 rpm97 °C79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton19 °C52 dBA2900 rpm83 °C64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE218 °C42 dBA1300 rpm69 °C51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin24 °C46 dBA1650 rpm78 °C54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced13 °C56 dBA2000 rpm62 °C49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition9 °C48 dBA2100 rpm53 °C44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme21 °C53 dBA1750 rpm59 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE212 °C44 dBA1700 rpm64 °C52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro15 °C54 dBA2000 rpm52 °C37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark18 °C45 dBA1500 rpm74 °C56 °C
Arctic Freezer i3013 °C42 dBA1350 rpm63 °C50 °C
Spire TME III8 °C46 dBA1700 rpm70 °C62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer11 °C54 dBA2000 rpm49 °C38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS11 °C45 dBA2000 rpm82 °C71 °C
be quiet! Dark Rock 210 °C41 dBA1300 rpm58 °C48 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14CS16 °C47 dBA1300 rpm58 °C42 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14PE16 °C48 dBA1300 rpm57 °C41 °C
SilverStone HE01 (Q)19 °C44 dBA1150 rpm63 °C44 °C
SilverStone HE01 (P)20 °C57 dBA2050 rpm62 °C42 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (S)17 °C44 dBA1250 rpm52 °C35 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (E)17 °C53 dBA1900 rpm50 °C33 °C
Deepcool Neptwin11 °C46 dBA1500 rpm56 °C45 °C
SilverStone HE0219 °C49 dBA2000 rpm64 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900DF23 °C45 dBA1400 rpm68 °C45 °C
Deepcool ICE BLADE PRO V2.022 °C43 dBA1500 rpm67 °C45 °C
Phanteks PH-TC90LS24 °C47 dBA2600 rpm95 °C71 °C
Rosewill AIOLOS20 °C40 dBA1600 rpm94 °C74 °C
Corsair H6020 °C49 dBA2000 rpm64 °C44 °C
Zalman LQ31027 °C51 dBA2050 rpm65 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-L9i24 °C44 dBA2500 rpm95 °C71 °C
NZXT Respire T4020 °C45 dBA1850 rpm76 °C56 °C
NZXT Respire T2021 °C45 dBA1900 rpm77 °C56 °C
Zalman LQ31520 °C52 dBA1950 rpm57 °C37 °C
Corsair H80i (Quiet)19 °C44 dBA1100 rpm61 °C42 °C
Corsair H80i (Maximum)19 °C57 dBA2500 rpm55 °C36 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Corsair H80i

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

Corsair H80i

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Corsair H80i CPU cooler include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Corsair H80i is a very flexible and smart liquid cooling solution for CPUs. It can reach a very high cooling performance in “Maximum” fan speed mode, and also be very quiet, while maintaining a good cooling performance in the “Quiet” mode. You can, of course, balance quietness and performance at your will.

The “Corsair Link” is another highlight of the product, allowing you to monitor and control the temperature, pump speed, and fan speeds. We liked the fact that you can configured the LED present at the block to change its color according to the temperature of the liquid inside the system.

The only weak point of the Corsair H80i is its price tag of USD 110, which cannot be called inexpensive.

The Corsair H80i receives the Hardware Secrets Silver Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Corsair-H80i-CPU-Cooler-Review/1709


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