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Corsair H100 Extreme Performance Liquid Cooler Review

For our review today we are using an Intel Core i7 990X (engineering sample) processor, with the Asus Rampage III Black Edition motherboard. We have spent the last week retesting the leading coolers on this board.

While we could use an open test bench, we like to try and mirror more ‘realistic’ conditions so we use one of the best chassis currently available on the market – the Lian Li X2000F chassis, which actually needed a little work to accept the radiator.

The Lian Li X2000F is our reference chassis for cooler reviews, but it doesn’t have a position for a single 240mm radiator at the rear. Thinking outside the box a little we used the front of the case with a 120mm to 140mm adapter plate, after removing two of the Lian Li 140mm intake fans.

We swapped the Corsair 120mm fans to intake air across the radiator and into the case, rather than expel out the back (as it isn’t possible in this chassis). Corsair recommend that the fans are used in the reverse position, and normally we would agree. However, we want to maintain the front to back flow system as shown above.

Intel System:
Processor
: Intel Core i7 990x
Motherboard
: Asus Rampage III Black Edition X58
Thermal Paste:
Noctua NT H1
Power Supply:
ADATA 1200W
Chassis
: Lian Li X2000F
Memory
: Kingston T1 Modules @ 1600mhz (12GB @ 9-9-9-24)
Graphics Card
: Asus GTX580

Comparison coolers:
Antec KÜHLER H₂O 920
Antec KÜHLER H₂O 620
Corsair H50
Corsair H70
Coolit ECO A.L.C.
Coolit Vantage A.L.C.
Noctua NH D14

There is no point testing these coolers at reference clock speeds as the results are all too closely matched. We therefore cranked the Intel Core i7 990x to 4.8ghz at 1.49volts.

System validation is available over here.

Above, a quick run of Cinebench 11.5 64 bit at 4.8ghz. A score over 12 points means this is pretty much as good a ‘mainstream’ system as you will get for rendering or video editing duties.

The H100 has a button on the top which allows the user to switch between three cooling profiles. These vary the fan speeds according to the coolant temperature. In the image above we have selected the performance setting.

Quiet: fan speed range, 900 – 1300rpm
Balanced: fan speed range, 1300 – 2000rpm
Performance: fan speed range, 1600 – 2600rpm

We use a diode attached to the CPU, as software monitoring is often inaccurate by a couple of degrees Celcius (or more). Room ambient was maintained at 23c throughout testing. We loop Cinebench 11.5  for 30 minutes to mirror real world working conditions under 100% load.

Impressive, to say the least. It had to happen sometime, and the Corsair H100 has ousted the Noctua NH D14 (Austrian Sandwich) from the top position on the leaderboard. At the performance setting it is just over a full degree celcius better, and it matches the D14 at the balanced setting.

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