Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Just as the energy is starting to calm of the results we saw the Corsair H80i GT put up in our charts, we then realized that this is the smallest of the three options Corsair is offering in this latest Hydro series. They still offer a 240mm version, and another that uses a 280mm radiator with the rest of the components staying the same, except for the fans. While the 240mm version uses the same pair of fans we saw in the H80i GT, the 280mm version gets 104CFM fans rather than the 70CFM the SP120L fans produce. Outside of that, the looks, appeal, sleeved thicker tubing; it all remains the same across the board.
Now we were not sent the H110i GTX, which is their big dog if you will, or the cooler that should offer the best performance out of the entire group, but instead, we were given the mid-range 240mm option. Considering what a single thick radiator was able to accomplish in the H80i GT, with more surface area to cool in our latest sample, with the same fans cooling it, it isn't hard to put together that this cooler should indeed be more efficient than that. Due to the fact that the H80i GT almost jumped into the lead, we have no doubts that we will have a new top dog in our charts with this latest submission.
As we look at the H100i GTX that Corsair sent, we will be going through everything. We will be testing with the Corsair Link software in control using the various profiles, and since we have the pair of fans off the H80i GT, we even went as far as to try four fan testing just to see how crazy things can really get. Knowing the gap in performance associated between various AIO configurations, it is easy to see that things are just going to get more impressive, and with how well the H80i GT performed, we are extremely excited to get this testing underway and see just what Corsair has in store for us when it comes to the H100i GTX high performance liquid CPU cooler.
When we took a look on Corsair's website for information regarding this H100i GTX, we found that Corsair puts it all in two different locations again. The top section of this offers the basic information. We see there is a five-year warranty, that the cold plate is copper, that the radiator is made of aluminum, and that it uses low permeability large diameter tubing. They also show is that this will install on AM2, AM2+ AM3, AM3+, FM1, and FM2 sockets. As for the Intel side, this cooler will fit LGA115x, LGA1366, and LGA2011.
Under the specifications header, we do see more of the finer details. The radiator of the H100i GTX is 120mm wide, 275mm long, and is 30mm in thickness. The included fans are the SP120L fans that are 120mm square and 25mm thick. Doing a bit of math, that makes for 55mm in thickness out of the box with fans included, and if you opted for a push/pull configuration, you are then at 80mm of thickness to fit into a chassis. The SP120L fans are made to spin at 2700RPM, delivering 70.69CFM of airflow at 37.7 dB(A), while also offering 4.65mmH2O of static pressure.
We did skip over the included bits, but you do get the H100i GTX, mounting hardware, two 120mm fans, fan and radiator mounting screws, and pre-applied thermal compound. You also get instructions, a warranty insert, and most importantly, a Corsair Link cable to take advantage of software controls for this AIO.
With the plain fact that the H100i GTX is larger and more efficient than the H80i GT we just looked at, we assume the pricing will of course be a bit higher, and this is what we found. The MSRP on this kit is set to $129.99 which is spot on for all 240mm AIO cooler release pricing. That being said, it does not mean you have to shell out $130 to own this. Over at Amazon, we found that the H100i GTX is listed at $111.99 and is currently offered with free shipping.
Corsair sent its H100i GTX in the same black box all Hydro Series coolers come in. Along the bottom, under the bright red lettering in the naming, we find that this has Corsair Link capabilities, it comes with two fans, and that there is a five-year warranty.
This longer side panel does not have all that much to offer, but along with the naming at the top, near the bottom, we find a list of contents. This is then repeated in five other languages to cover their markets.
The same goes for this taller side panel. While they obviously used the other panels to say all they had to give, this panel offers just the company name and logo at the top with the product naming taking center stage here.
On this longer side panel, we start off with a list of six key features found in the H100i GTX, and at the bottom is information on the Corsair Link system. Both of which are repeated as well in many languages.
The last of the side panels addresses the socket compatibility from both camps, and also addresses that you will need an available USB 2.0 header on the motherboard, and a free download to take advantage of Corsair Link associated features.
On the back, we see Corsair covers the fans, the improved cold plate and pump, and also the radiator at the left. In the middle, we see results of Corsair's own testing above dimensional renderings of the radiator. Then to the right is a full list of specifications for the H100i GTX.
As all their AIOs do, this H100i GTX comes packed in a compartmentalized inner packaging. On top of keeping the bits from touching each other, they also wrap everything in plastic, and the fans are cardboard sleeved to make sure there are no minor scuffs or scratches either. As to this particular sample, it has arrived in perfect shape and is ready for our abuses.
Corsair H100i GTX CPU Cooler
In the exact style we saw the H80i GT come in, the head unit here is a dead match. The octagonal shaping, the silver stripe across the middle, even down to the back lit logo and Corsair name on it, it is all the same.
On the right side of the head unit, using the logo for reference, we see there are two leads coming out from the head unit. There is a three wire lead and a 3-pin connection on the end to power the pump from the motherboard. There is also a four wire lead that breaks into a pair of male 4-pin fan power connectors.
On the bottom of the head unit, we find a Mini-USB port. This is to allow users the option of using the Corsair Link cable to take full control over this cooler rather than leaving everything to the motherboard's PWM circuitry.
The base of the cooler has a round patch of thermal paste pre-applied to the copper plate, and to protect it there has been a plastic clip on cover used. Also, we may as well use this time to point out that the H100i GTX head unit comes out of the box with the Intel hardware already on it.
The base of the cooler is convex like the other is, and has circular milling marks still visible in the copper. Also what was a lock ring in the last series has changed. This time nothing comes apart, but you can rotate the mounting hardware to allow it to pass through the grooves in the black plastic.
We almost forgot to mention these, but the new much thicker tubing is something you just have to see. Gone are the adjustable fittings of the standard AIO, as this thick tube with braided sleeves applied is mounted more like a custom water block.
With one end of the tape on the front of the radiator, we see that there is roughly 14.5 inches of tubing this time around, nine inches of pump power lead, and ten inches of fan power lead coming from the head unit.
At the end of this 27mm thin radiator, we do see a couple of stickers. The one to the left offers the model number, serial number, and power draw for this cooler. The sticker to the right is less important as it is the radiator manufacturer's stock code.
This radiator will allow for the stock fans to go on either side of the radiator depending on the way you want it to work. The fin spacing is tight at 22 FPI average, but more surface area is a plus when it comes to raising the efficiency of a cooler.
Also to match the head unit, both sides of the H100i GTX's radiator have this elongated octagon shape with the Corsair name and sails logo, and the silver stripe continues down the majority of the sides.
Accessories and Documentation
To kick things off in what we found in the bag of goodies, we see here the Intel LGA1366 and LGA115x back plate on the left. To the right, we find the AMD top mounting bracket. To swap out brackets, rotate one to unlock it, remove it, and put this one in its place and rotate it into the locked position.
No matter what socket used, the knurled nuts at the top are what locked the head unit to any of the standoffs below. As to those standoffs, the top left offers the LGA2011 ones, and to their right are the LGA1366/LGA115x standoffs. That leaves the black set at the bottom which are used for AMD installations.
Since this 240mm radiator is cooled with a pair of 120mm fans, we see there are eight long screws to mount the fans to it. Off to the right, we see eight smaller screws, and these are used to mount the radiator to the chassis. Of course they also ship washers for both sets of screws as well.
To take control of the H100i GTX in software, you must have this Mini-USB to native USB 2.0 cable connected to both the head unit and the motherboard. You also need to download the software, but without this, the software won't do jack for you except maybe read some temperatures.
These are the pair of SP120L fans that shipped with the H100i GTX. They have grey blades that sort of goes with the silver accents on the cooler, they are 4-pin powered PWM fans, and from what we saw in the H80i GT testing, these fans are pretty bad ass.
If you do run into issues trying to install this cooler, referring to the manual will get things sorted with their renderings and explanations. They also include a warranty insert that says basically, do not mod this cooler, run it like a normal human being would, and it will be covered for five years.
Installation and Finished Product
Getting the back plate in place is super simple. First, make sure the studs in the corners are set in for LGA115x and all the way out if you are using LGA1366, and set the plate on the motherboard, allowing the studs to settle in the CPU cooler mounting holes.
Once the back plate is in, you grab the correct standoffs, and screw them in until they run out of threads. We find finger tight is sufficient, and there is no need to grab a wrench to cinch these down before installing the head unit.
At this point, we re-applied some thermal paste, set the head unit on the CPU, and screwed the nuts down in an X-pattern until again they run out of threads. We also made sure to connect the pump power lead to the CPU FAN header, run the fan power cable to the fans on the radiator, and was sure to connect the Link cable as well.
There is a bit of room in the middle of the fan that gets no forced airflow, but this has always been the case, just these round frames point it out a bit more. As for the rest of the fins, they have beasts for fans to cool the fins they do cover, and we see them having no issues doing this.
There is plenty of cable to run from the head unit, up and over the top of the motherboard, down behind the motherboard tray, and still have a few inches to play around with to get it connected to the USB 2.0 header on any motherboard.
Before we get hammered for head unit orientation, this is strictly for images only, so the name is readable. In testing, we will orient the block properly and make sure our results are up to snuff in the various rounds of testing we put all coolers through. We do like that there is plenty of tubing for our needs, and that all told, this is a slick looking AIO.
For those wondering what the LEDs and head unit look like when it is in your chassis running, we made sure to turn down the lighting and give you just that. With everything black as can be, the colored Corsair name and sails glow brightly, and this is only one of 16.8 million choices it can be.
Corsair Link Software
After installing the Corsair Link software, we found all of the sensors listed off to the left in the column where most of them still are. In order to make adjustments to any of them, they need to be placed on the case image window to the right. Corsair provides quite a few of their cases to use as the backdrop, but you do have an option to use your own image as well.
For now we right clicked on the H100i GTX Fan, and to the right we see an options menu. Here you can select one of the various control methods in the drop down box to control the fans with a visual display of the fan curve offered with that setting.
We now right clicked on the H100i GTX pump icon. While the icon displays a speed in numbers, to the right, we see a tachometer version of the same speeds, and the menu offers just Quiet mode and Performance mode to control pump speeds.
Doing the same for the H100i GTX Led, we are first given the option to run it normal, with a light on all the time as we set it to be with the sliders or via direct RGB code entering at the bottom. The other option is to run the LED by temperature, where things start blue when it's chilly, moved through green, amber, and orange, and when things are hot, the LED will be red.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results
Test System Setup
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
Because we can, we ran testing both ways; once in quiet mode, and again with performance mode enabled. As for what is an equal comparison, the 48 degree result in fifth place is what counts. However, dealing with a bit of noise at this time was worth a first place result with temperatures averaging 45.5 degrees.
As we pushed the abuse, we ran this test three ways. Quiet mode did not do so great, but is still respectable at 71.75 degrees. The real magic happens when we used performance mode and got the chart topping 65.25 degree average. We also added the H80i GT fans in the mix, and with four fans installed, we saw 63.75 degrees. There is no denying Corsair current supremacy in AIO thermal performance.
Noise Level Results
Testing the fans at idle with only 7.5V running through them, we found the fans turning at 830RPM and the noise levels are kept low as this 28dB result shows.
With two fans allowed to spin as fast as possible, and speeds of 2700RPM on the nose were recorded, we found the noise level kicks up a few notches to 59dB at this time. For those wanting to go with a push/pull configurations, noise then jumped to 66dB in case you wondered.
We knew that when we tested the H80i GT that we were in for some really good results when it came to the H100i GTX, but we did not expect them to be this good. The revamp of what the new Hydro Series coolers offer was well worth the time effort and engineering that went into this new design. A new pump and cold plate just makes that end of things more efficient, offers less heat dump, and has to allow for a bit more flow through it as well. The tubing is larger and is no longer a point of discussion in AIOs at to the amount they can or cannot allow, as with these, it is obvious that coolant is indeed moving very well through the loop. The only restriction is in the radiator, and not so much in the tubes or headers, but due to the high FPI used in these AIOs. Knowing this though, Corsair packed in a pair of seriously capable fans to force bunches of air through it, and deliver us award winning thermal results.
We like the looks of the shaping of the new head units, we dig the silver accents to it, and who does not like LEDs that you can change on a whim, set to the theme of the build, or even know at a glance without Alt Tabbing out of the game to see, as the LED can also tell you if you are cool, warm, or hot just by seeing the color of the head unit from the corner of your eye. The tubing, while sleeved and nice to look at, can be stiff when trying to install things and in tight quarters could be an issue, and with the swivel fittings now gone, overall height is now an issue for SFF cases.
The thing is though, we get why all of this was done, and to be honest, we really like what Corsair did here. Not only did they hugely upgrade performance which is what is the backbone of sales, but they also bridged the gap between what the typical AIOs used to look like, and what a custom loop looks like. While there is no way to add into these loops and keep the warranty, it is truly the only thing that separates this kit from a custom loop at twice or three times the price.
With all this cost talk being thrown around, even to get one of the less efficient custom loops we have tested, at minimum you have to spend $200, and that is just to cool the CPU as well. Here with the H100i GTX, you get better performance, software control of lighting, the fans, and the pump, you don't have to do half the work involved in a custom loop, and to get a loop this attractive, you are going to spend twice that. To get great results with no hassles, you can simply opt to buy into the Corsair Hydro Series, and seeing the H100i GTX listed at $112 with free shipping, you are either broke, or very thick headed not to take advantage of what this kit brings to the table.
The thing is though, even if this was not so impressive to you as it is to us, there is still also the H110i GTX to ponder, and from what we know about surface area, and that that kit has even more intense fans with it, Corsair is poised to be the benchmark from which all future coolers are measured and designed against.
|Quality including Design and Build||99%|
|Bundle and Packaging||96%|
|Value for Money||100%|
The Bottom Line: Corsair shows that there is always room for improvement as the Hydro H100i GTX beats everything we have previously tested. It looks great, performs great, and while things can get noisy, for less than $100, it's basically impossible to go wrong with it.
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