Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review

Corsair offers up the latest in 360mm AIO liquid coolers, but is there enough to warrant the cost of their iCUE LINK H150i RGB? Let's see.

Published
Manufacturer: Corsair (CW-9061003-WW)
14 minutes & 1 second read time
TweakTown's Rating: 91%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

The iCUE LINK H150i RGB is a decent thermal performer with limited to no noise involved. The "wireless" approach, sheer amount of RGB LEDs, and iCUE all come together to make a nice product, although it is pricey.

Pros

  • + Compatibility
  • + Silence
  • + RAM clearance
  • + Six-year warranty

Cons

  • - Cost
  • - Proprietary connectivity

Should you buy it?

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Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Corsair has come up with yet another iteration of what their H150i liquid cooling systems should offer, and with that comes many new things. Most of the latest inclusions are Corsair's newest QX120 RGB fans. This addition allows you to stack fans without wiring between them, has an exclusive "time warp" lighting mode, and uses magnetic dome bearings for lower noise and almost no friction.

As the name would suggest, the new H150i also uses the LINK system, which combines iCUE software. Some will love this, some will hate it, but we cannot deny that iCUE has gotten better, and it seems with every update, we get upgrades and features we have yet to see; and this is yet another time where we find this to be true. For those who do not care for iCUE, you can install the software, program it, set it to the device's memory, remove the software, and carry on. Either way, we feel you will not be disappointed with the amount of control and customization possible with the newer models.

Those already within the iCUE environment will love what Corsair has to offer, and while it may not include one of those fancy LCD screens, Corsair is not asking nearly $300 for this model either. You will get one of the quietest, decently performing AIOs on the market, with most of the bells and whistles available today, without all the hassle of installation in earlier models, with a much cleaner installed appearance. If these things are enough to get you slightly excited, stick with us, as the Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB has a few more tricks to show and is one of our favorite models from Corsair to cross our desks.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 01

The chart for the iCUE LINK H150i RGB was cobbled together from the product page and information from the box to give you the most information possible. The chart begins with compatibility, which seems to be standard, with mainstream Intel support going back to 115x. AM4/AM5 is covered for AMD users. Sorry, HEDT users, hardware is not supplied.

Next in line is the radiator. We are shown that it is 397mm long, 120mm wide, 27mm thick, and made of aluminum. It is not mentioned as black, as white is an option for this cooler, nor does it mention the chrome sails logo on either side of it or the high FPI design from this 8th Gen Asetek unit.

As we move from the radiator, we run into two sleeved tubes made of low-permeation rubber that run from the radiator to the head unit and back. Inside the sleeve are wires to keep things tidy, and we even get metal covers on the swivel fittings.

The cold plate is only described as copper and 56mm square. It is also found under the "wireless" head unit and comes with pre-applied XTM70 in a triangular pattern.

The fans and the LINK controller that feeds the fans are a big deal with this unit. We get a set of three 120mm iCUE LINK QX120 RGB fans. These direct-link fans only require a single wire to the fans for power and illumination via a second hub found on the radiator. While the fans are brilliant visually and near silent under most conditions, their magnetic bearings and 48 LEDs set this set apart from many others. These fans are shown to deliver up to 63.1 CFM and 3.8 mmH20 of pressure if they reach their 2400 RPM maximum. They are shown to be capable of 37 dB(A), which is quite a lot of noise for those numbers.

The last bits in the chart are the fact that the head unit and the fans both include RGB illumination and while you do not have to use iCUE if you want the most from the iCUE LINK H150i RGB, you will want to install it at least, set things up, then do as you choose. Along with everything we discussed, Corsair backs these coolers with a six-year warranty, but the cost is tough to swallow. The MSRP of the iCUE LINK H150i RGB is $249.99, but it is currently on sale at both Newegg and Amazon at $204.99 and $202.75, respectively. If you want the all-white variety of this cooler, expect to put down an extra $10 for that privilege.

Buy at Amazon

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$189.99$239.99$202.57
-
---
* Prices last scanned on 7/23/2024 at 7:34 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Packaging

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 02

Currently viewing the top of the box, where Corsair uses the space for its name and logo. I also have a view of the cooler with its pastel rainbow mode active, the cooler's name, and an icon indicating that this is a LINIK ecosystem product.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 03

The front changes from matte black to yellow, and in addition to offering what the top had, we are now told this is an extreme performance 360mm RGB liquid CPU cooler. It has icons of quiet, zero RPM, and connectivity for up to fourteen devices.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 04

As we reach one of the smaller ends of the box, which is identical to the other end, we again get mostly the same information as the other panels.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 05

With more yellow to strain your eyes, we see icons about efficiency and silence, the 360mm radiator, LINK QX120 RGB fans, and zero RPM mode, being part of the LINK ecosystem, compatibility, and its high-performance pump and copper plate cool the latest CPUs. The central portion shows the cooler yet again. Still, this time, above dimensional renderings and the right side are used to list features in other languages while showing the pre-applied paste on the cold plate.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 06

The bottom of the box contains a short list of specifications in ten languages. We also see renderings of all the parts that will be included inside.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 07

We are told to stop and use the QR code to view the instructions as we open the box. While we understand the paperless movement, when you see that they still use paper in many other ways, it seems like it's done for giggles and not really to limit the use of paper.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 08

Once opened, you first see the paper safety and compliance insert. Beyond that, we can see mostly plastic inside the compartmentalized inner packaging that kept our cooler in perfect shape. It also helps that the hardware is solidly locked in the central portion of the packaging, and with pre-installed fans, there is even less moving around inside to cause any issues.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 09

The head unit is larger than some previous models, and because of this, the top has been shifted a bit to maintain clearance and alignment with the CPU. The top portion is illuminated through the milky gray portion and even through the logo of the rotatable black cover. The lower portion is black plastic; this side says //LINK, and the other says //Corsair.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 10

At first, we were unsure if the gray portion was removable for rotation, but we found it easy to unclip, exposing the large LED pad used. In the center, four magnets are placed around the white central portion, which holds the black logo cap onto the head unit.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 11

From the side, we can see metal caps on the ninety-degree swivel fittings, mainly used for their notch, which helps to allow wires to go under the sleeve. This allows the head unit to appear " wireless " when installed.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 12

There are a few things to note while looking at the bottom. First, the offset we mentioned earlier is due to its size, which can be seen on the left. We also noticed the pre-installed Intel hardware, which is slid out of the unit so it can easily be swapped for AMD parts. We also get the pre-applied XTM70 thermal paste in the Corsair triangles we see everywhere else.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 13

Once we removed the paste, we could see the vertical machine lines left in the copper. Against a straight edge, the surface is convex, which helps even out the heat spreader on many CPUs.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 14

With nearly eighteen inches from the fittings on the head unit to the radiator, we got all that 450mm length the specifications show. Also, notice that the fans are already installed; we followed the steps as we took these photos.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 15

A proprietary hub is attached to the radiator between the tubes. In conjunction with the LINK hub, you connect a wire from the LINK hub to this one and another cable to the fans for complete control of fan speed and coloration.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 16

On either of the radiator's long sides, smack in the middle, is the chrome Corsair sails logo.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 17

Not only can we see the stickers on the radiator and see its 52mm thickness with the fans installed, but we can also see something else. If you look to the right of the tube, you will see a PCB in the fan. Like those on the hub, these are the connectors Corsair used in these QX120 fans.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 18

As we mentioned, Corsair pre-installed the QX120 fans to simplify the installation process and eliminate issues for those not used to using linkable fans like these. We hope this trio of QX120 RGB fans tame this 24 FPI radiator.

Accessories and Documentation

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 19

Intel users will want to choose the proper set of standoffs for the socket you use, and an easy way to tell them apart once out of their bags is that the LGA1200/115x standoffs have the groove in the middle. Along with them, you will also need a backplate with some adjustments to fit the motherboard.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 20

The AMD gear is a bit simpler. You will need to change the brackets for the head unit, and a shorter set of standoffs come along, specific to the AMD AM4 and AM5 factory backplates.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 21

In a bag marked miscellaneous, we find many screws, washers, and a set of knurled nuts. There are twelve extra fan screws should you decide that push/pull is the better setup. There are twelve shorter screws for securing the radiator to the chassis, which all come with washers. On the right are the knurled nuts that will be used to install the head unit.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 22

The Corsair LINK hub is next, and not only did it get much smaller, but many connections have changed. The hub sports a Corsair logo with a foam tape pad to mount it. The front edge shows the power, USB, and fan sense connections, while the sides offer links to product control ports, one per side.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 23

Wiring and accessories come in yet another waxy paper bag. At the top, we see the RPM sense wire and a slot connector and key to link more fans to what you have, although, in this instance, it is impossible to do so. We have the LINK cable that connects the LINK to the radiator hub, the USB controller wire, a short LINK cable to take control from the radiator hub to the fans, and a 6-pin PCI-e connection for powering the LINK hub.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 24

We removed a fan to see what the back of the hub offered in terms of information and found the Corsair logo on a sticker there. We like the beefy frames, and the amount of RGB these fans push out is huge.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 25

The information is shifted where the connections are made. In the center of the fan, we see the QX120 RGB name and amperage used, but the edges are more important to us. On the left, you can see the plastic "biscuit" that locks the fans together on the left, while the right uses a hollow adapter that connects PCB to PCB.

Installation and Finished Product

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 26

AMD users are shown to remove the plastic latches and factory screws and set them aside for potential later usage. Leaving the factory backplate in place, we grabbed the AMD-specific standoffs and screwed them in until we could no longer do so with our fingers-no need to wrench these in.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 27

We also had to change the brackets on the head unit quickly. We slid the Intel brackets out of the grooves and installed the AMD brackets.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 28

We were also told to go ahead and make connections to the radiator. We put the long cable into one of the ports and the shorter cable in the other, making the LINK hub now in direct control of all things fan-related. What you see here is all you will see of any wiring once installed, minus the RPM sense wire.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 29

If you need clarification on how to wire the LINK hub, this is what it should look like. The fat control wire on the left can also go on the right if it helps with wire management, but the 6-pin PCI-e power lead, the USB cable, and the RPM sense wires should all look like ours.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 30

After applying the paste, installing the head unit, alternating the knurled nuts until we ran out of threads, and installing the radiator, we took five minutes to get this far. In a chassis, the control cable is much easier to hide, but we are not mad that it is the only thing out of the ordinary we see. There is no mess of head unit cables leading away from the socket, and no 4-pin PWM fan connectors or ARGB connections are to be made. Outside of iCUE, we are ready to go.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 31

Once powered, the default lighting mode is a pastel rainbow wave, which is what we see here. The head unit coloration is not muddied-up with the use of gray plastic, and the logo shines brightly in the middle. We also love the light coming from the fans, as each has nearly fifty LEDs. With the slots on all sides and the dual layering of LEDs on either side of the fan, RGB illumination is one thing you will not be in short supply of.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 32

So that we could show it off more, we got another angle of the iCUE LINK H150i RGB in all of its glory. The lighting reflects on the chassis, and when the room is dark, this cooler brightens any room it's in.

Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results

Chad's Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications

  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
  • Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
  • Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
  • Case: Hydra Bench Standard
  • Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
  • Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64

To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.

Thermal Results

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 33

Since iCUE offers four presets for fan control and three for pump control, we used them: Quiet, Balanced, Extreme, and Custom. The pump only uses the first three.

Quiet mode offers us a stock load temperature of 65.2 degrees, but the cooler is silent currently. Balanced mode increases the noise, but not enough to matter, while offering 59.2 degrees. You can use Extreme mode with more noise, which nets the best results at 55.3 degrees.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 34

Turning up the heat, we find that the iCUE LINK H150i RGB performs admirably. With hardly any noise from the cooler, we saw 72.7 degrees in Quiet mode. Opting for Balance mode takes thermals down to 65.9 degrees, but for the best thermals, use Extreme mode, where we saw 62.4 degrees as the best the cooler can do under normal operating conditions.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 35

With so much fan speed left in the tank from our previous tests, we figured the iCUE LINK H150i RGB would have decent performance yet to be had. However, with a ton of noise accompanying this result, we did see 59.3 degrees as the lowest temperature we could hit, and we do not find the 3.1-degree difference worth the ear intrusion.

Noise Level Results

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 36

Starting with zero RPM in Quiet mode, the fans got up to 485 RPM, giving us only 20 dB of noise. With the pump at 25 dB, any of it is hard to hear in a chassis. In Balance mode, we got near the pump noise at 24 dB with fans at 656 RPM, and it wasn't until we enabled Extreme mode that we got to 28 dB at 1022 RPM, which is in the near-audible range for many users.

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Adding in the overclock did raise noise levels, but only slightly, and still well below most users' tolerable limits. The quiet mode has the fans turning at 565 RPM while keeping the noise down to 22 dB. Opting for Balanced mode, the fans were still slow at only 705 RPM, so they only get up to 25 dB. The most we got from the cooler using the modes is in Extreme, where we hit 30 dB with the fans at 1101 RPM, the highest noise from the iCUE LINK H150i RGB.

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Review 38

While the best we could do was to set the pump in Extreme mode at 2808 RPM, we opted for the custom fan control in iCUE. We then put the fans to 100% and found our set to spin at 2435 RPM. It was slightly higher than spec, but within the plus or minus ten percent, the fans raged to a very annoying 68 dB of noise into the room.

Final Thoughts

There isn't much to complain about at the base level with the performance we saw. Can you do better, sure, with various offerings in the eleven slots above it in our stock thermals chart. Many of what we have listed are expensive solutions with all the bells and whistles, but there is still that thorn in everyone's side: the FX360, sitting in the middle of the crowd, smiling at $60.

Looking at it that way, you have a $100 AIO with a cool aesthetic and an iCUE LINK QX120 RGB PWM fan starter kit tossed in the box for $139.99. While this is a poor way to justify anything, it is what it is, and without the changes to the head unit with the hidden wiring that leads to proprietary connectivity, in our heads, it better blow our minds. The thermal results are good, not great, but the lack of noise, no matter what mode you pick, is impressive. Link that with the thermal results, and things will look better. However, we must give it to Corsair because without the hidden wiring and the sheer number of custom options in iCUE these days, they would not have impressed us visually as much as the iCUE LINK H150i RGB has. With forty-eight LEDs in each fan, with per-LED customization, plus those in the head unit, you will have plenty of options to do whatever you wish.

On a side note, "Time Warp" is cool, no pun intended. One of the many lighting options is time warp, and other modes will be deactivated if this is active. You can still customize the lighting but in a different way. If you are not running the fans past Extreme mode, in our usage, the time warp will stop the fans, make them spin slowly clockwise, or counterclockwise, with the use of strobing light, but it is undetectable to the naked eye. There are videos on YouTube from Computex that you can watch if you'd like to see what we are talking about.

Overall, things are looking good for Corsair and the iCUE LINK H150i RGB. We got everything we could want in an AIO, minus the LCD, but we are not paying the near $300 some of them are asking. Thinking back to the thermals, the lack of noise, the vast number of things iCUE offers, and the ability to shift all your settings to the AIO and eliminate iCUE is what many want, and it's all possible. We also like that Corsair stepped up the warranty and now offers six years of coverage against defects, poor quality, or early failure. It all sounds great until...

That $204.99, or $202.75, is hard to swallow after the FX360 hit the desk. We broke things down earlier, and while that does soften the blow, you also must be good with spending $140 on proprietary fans, the LINK hub, and the iCUE ecosystem to hold a lot of value. While Corsair is more in the market value of around $200 than at the $239.99 MSRP, with the knowledge that you can cool better for nearly a third of that MSRP, you can see our dilemma.

Photo of product for sale

Performance

89%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

75%

Overall

91%

The Bottom Line

The iCUE LINK H150i RGB is a decent thermal performer with limited to no noise involved. The "wireless" approach, sheer amount of RGB LEDs, and iCUE all come together to make a nice product, although it is pricey.

TweakTown award
91%

Corsair iCUE LINK H150i RGB

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$189.99$239.99$202.57
-
---
* Prices last scanned on 7/23/2024 at 7:34 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM and coolers.

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