If you compared them side by side, you might not notice many differences between the H100i and the original H100. But if you look closely, the differences become obvious.
One of the most obvious differences between the two coolers is the tubing used to connect the CPU block to the radiator. The H100i uses wider tubing than the H100 which should help improve the flow of coolant within the loop. The rubber tubing used for the H100i is also much more flexible than the more rigid plastic tubing used for the H100. This facilitates installation of the cooler.
Corsair has chosen to remove the button from the pump unit, relying on the Corsair Link software exclusively to control fan speeds. There is still a large Corsair logo on the pump, though, which now features RGB LED lighting which can be configured to any colour of your choice through the Corsair Link software.
There are a number of connections on the CPU block which include a mini-USB connector, and two fan splitter adapter.
We also find a thin cable coming straight out of the CPU block which terminates in SATA power and 3-pin fan headers.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two models is the different fans included. The H100i is supplied with a pair of Corsairs new SP120 fans which are already highly regarded by enthusiasts despite only being on the market for a month or so.
Corsair suggest that for the optimum performance, the two fans should be mounted so that they push air through the radiator and then out the case.
One aspect of the H100i that is important to consider before buying is compatibility as it simply won’t fit in many cases. It requires a dual-fan vent (with standard 15 mm fan spacings), preferably in the roof of the case, with at least 50 mm of space between the vents and the top of the motherboard. Also, if you want to run the cooler with a push-pull fan configuration you will need 75 mm of free space between the vents and the top of the motherboard.
An interesting feature that sets the H100i apart from the competition is the Corsair Link V2 software which is bundled with the cooler. This lets us manually adjust fan speeds, set different fan profiles and even create our own fan profiles for the cooler. This will let you configure the cooler to suit your specific needs.