Corsair Hydro Series H100i AIO CPU Cooler

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Kits
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Internal Review

Just getting started on the internal review.  Because the kit is sealed, you do forgo your warranty once you do this.  I do have two samples, a brand new one I am using for testing and a used one that I used for the taking apart. I will updated this portion as I get that portion of the review and testing done.

Now to dig in…Not having found much in the way of best methods I just prepared as usual with a bucket…:)  Sorry again for the less than stellar photos, I did this with my iphone away from my usually camera and softbox lighting setup.


A closer look at the challenge ahead I could feel the barbs under the thick rubber tubing.


I chose to use a screwdriver to pry the tubing slightly up out of it’s settled grooves although it did leave some marks on the barbs as you can see above.  I would probably suggest carefully cutting with a razor blade as the preferred way to do this.


With some work I was able to slide the tubes off after sort of breaking that initial bond with the screwdriver.  I did take extra care to support the swivel barb too though as I’m sure with enough force you could probably snap one of these being that they are plastic.

And a close up of the barbs and tubing.


The barbs are extra long triple barbs.  The largest part of the barb is about 10.5mm so 3/8″ ID tubing could fit on there.  3/8″ID x 1/2″ I test fitted and it would work although 5/8″ OD may be a bit of a squeeze.  The rubber tubing measured approximatly 8mmID x 14mmOD.  You can see some threads exposed in the end of the tubing as well, so it looks similar to automotive heater hose, pretty tough stuff.  The fluid that came out was greenish in color and had some thicker viscosity to it, I suspect a good concentration of corrosion inhibitors is included to ward off the copper/aluminum corrosion potential.  The H100 kits have been around a while now and I’ve never heard of anyone having any sort of corrosion problem.  This kit I’m opening up was used as well as you will see in the baseplate photos, no black copper indicating any sort of corrosion was happening.  I believe galvanic corrosion potential is highest when there is direct metal to metal contact also and in this case the block is all copper/plastic/rubber which is in direct contact and the aluminum radiator is isolated from direct metal to metal contact.


Two little phillips screws hold on the LED and PCB window/cover.

Below that you are presented with the RGB light pad? which sits on top of the PCB and four screws tighten the PCB and pump back onto the volute below.


After removing those four screws and wiggling the pump out of it’s tightly sealed o-ring socket, you get the above.


The pump has similarities to the Alphacool DC-LT Ceramic, however the impeller blades are a bit different, the shaft is some sort of metal and the impeller bearing appears to be bronze and the back has four screws instead of two holes.  Also the DC-LT is rated at 4.9W where this one measured less than half that. While I would have preferred seeing ceramic bearing and shaft (included on the H220, DC-LT, and XSPC pumps), the impeller is much more pressure oriented than the paddle style impeller on either the XSCP X2O 750 or Larkooler pumps.  It is an extremely compact and low profile pump that is for sure and appears to be very similar to the H100 per this YT video where one is taken apart, however in the H100 tear down video, it appears the older H100 model did have ceramic shaft and bearing.  I have heard a few pump issues come up with the H100 (all covered by warranty), but I wonder if the change was to improve that or just a different manufacturer or…?

H100 Youtube Video Teardown By Rexin  (NOT MY VIDEO!)

I love the bag on the head, that’s probably the only way I’d do it too…lol!  I don’t think the port opening have much of any effect, but I would agree that the dense copper fins base does.  I just like the video because it shows you the H100 pump motor is slightly different and had a ceramic shaft where the H100i does not.  The copper base does appear from a distance very similar to the H100i though as does the nozzle and channel system.  And no I am not going to run my pump dry for demonstration purposes, my sample is still in good operating condition so I’d like to do some testing before sacrificing it to science..:)


The impeller slides up and out of place and is only held down by magnetic force with the stator which is hidden and encased in plastic to the left.


Flipping the impeller over shows you the circular ring magnet that has been pressed or glued into the impeller disc.  You can also see the bronze? bushing extends full width.  I did not see any paint dots or weight points for balancing like I did on the Swiftech H220.  In the end, not quite up to H220 pump quality(Ceramic shaft, ceramic washers, mechanically restrained, + balance weights), but I would say it exceeds my expectations for the price point.  While the pump bearing is metal, I do like the bronze bearing/bushing and I prefer this style of impeller over the XSPC X2O 750 or Larkooler pumps.  It is only spinning at 2300RPM, so this sort of build quality much be adequate to meet the 5 year warranty.


While not the greatest picture, the pump volute does have a nice full spiral shaped volute (increasing radii around the perimeter) with a nice cutting edge, it’s a good design.

Moving onto the copper cold plate and rubber slot nozzle.  To get at this area, you have to remove 8 coutersink head philips self tapping screws.


It’s a fairly interesting design. I really like the large white rubber nozzle/midplate  It is perfectly formed to seal the inlet nozzle hole and a nice softer rubber material that forms to the microchannel base for a perfect seal there as well.  The only thing this doesn’t do is provide much bowing of the base as was evident in my TIM spread.  The copper base however is an EXTREMELY fine microchannel “Skived” structure.


The fins are obviously manufactured using a Skiving Machine which is basically a big knife that shaves the copper after they mill out the outer channels and middle depression.  The microchannel fins on the H100i are probably the smallest in thickness that I’ve seen and only the second time I’ve seen the process used on products that I have reviewed.  The Danger Den M6 is a DIY block that used this process for the base similarly although with larger fins than the H100i.

I like the dense micro micro-channels and skived design.  While it will mean a fairly restrictive block, this is probably well suited for the smaller pump and lower flow rate.


Looking down on the block top without the rubber nozzle in place.  Fluid comes in through the middle port/barb point into the pump, then spins outward through the impeller and is caught by the exit port to the right middle.  It is then fed into the middle nozzle chamber, pushed through the rubber nozzle into the copper fins and collects in the larger collection chamber.  The exit port is to the top left where the blocked off filler port is to the lower left.  The thermal sensor is not actually in direct water contact, it is sitting on top of the copper base so it is reading copper base temp.  This should be fairly close to water temp, but I’m sure there is some differential.  The water temp sensor appears to be your typical analog thermal sensor.


And a closer look at the PCB and LED pad.  I’m not much of an electronics guy, but everything looks very much like a normal PCB built with SMT components.


So that’s the internals of the pump.  While it wasn’t a Swiss watch in construction quality, I was generally very happy with the fitment and didn’t see anything that looked cheaply made.  Generally pretty good quality and the pump top and impeller setup is better than I expected.  It didn’t employ a ceramic bearing, but it does have a bronze bearing and the impeller is more high pressure oriented than the paddle style of the XSPC 750 and Larkooler.  I also like the skived fin copper base, it is extremely micro in fin thickness and spacing which is likely a great fit for the smaller pump and lower flow rates.  I also felt all of the o-ring channels and fitment was very good and it would be difficult to have any leak issues there, generally a tight snug fit.  I do expect the block to be fairly high in restriction with the channels so fine, but in a CPU only loop as it is intended to be used that’s no problem, but it probably will mean the block resistance (pressure drop) will result in pretty low maximum flow rates.

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  1. Pedro says:

    Thanks Martin,
    I’ll use your tips. I will cut the tubes to the size I need them to be and then re-assemble and bleed the kit out of the case.
    Do you know that voltage is the pump using? if it is using the 5v rail maybe I can mod a cable to connect it to the 12v to speed it up a litle.. humm I can alreasy smell the smoke..

    Using a reservoir is out of the question as there is no space for one on the case. It’s a mini-itx build with a ncases M1 case.

  2. Hi Martin,

    Hope you had a great Christmas ! And hope you have a safe and joyous New Year also!

    Quick question, have you heard of that Kraken g10, the CPU AIO adapter for a GPU? It looks pretty cool and read some impressive reviews. Just wondering your thoughts on it. Also, do you know someone who sells a heatsink kit for a graphics card to use on the VRam and VRMs? Perhaps an assorted package of small heatsinks you could glue to the chips? I talked to a guy that was going to use 2 of these with H90s to cool 2 780s. He said he would get back to me when he has it up and running.

    Take care

    • Martinm210 says:

      No personal experience, but this review:

      Seems to indicate the VRM need more than the fan and noise is really not better than the stock HSF. I had a GPU only block on an old 8800GTX with passive ramsinks and a 120mm fan which seemed to do ok, but I do think you generally need the little Heatsinks and a fan close by to keep the rest of the card cool. In the end it doesn’t look nearly as nice as a full cover GPU block.

      By the time you buy two AIO units and all the other bits, you could nearly buy lower end DIY watercooling that looks a lot better. might be fun to play and try, but that’s my limited experience take on it so far.

      • Thanks Martin, that is a good write up, liked the thermal images, they really tell a story. I sort of figured the same as you, the NZXT info says the fan will take care of VRAM and the VRMs, but it seems they are not. That is why I asked about a heatsink kit, to let this guy know.

        Your right, after adding up the cost for everything, a full cover would be a lot better, but this guy got most of the stuff free so that is the way he is going. I will drop you a line when he gets back to me about how things went.

        Take care

        • Martinm210 says:

          Nothing wrong with putting together a bunch of free or cheap parts and tinkering, it’s all good!

          • vChris says:

            Hey Martin, first off I love your reviews. Always very thorough and well-controlled testing.

            But I was wondering if you collected any data on the h100i built in fan outputs. I have a watercooling project in the works and I’m wanting to see if I can just plug my NZXT grid fan splitter (30 watt max) into one of the h100i’s 4 available fan headers and use that to control a 2nd radiators fans.

            I couldn’t seem to find any specs on the max fan wattage so I was hoping you tested it.

          • Martinm210 says:

            No i didt’t but…you could probably make or buy one of the power supply fed splitters like the swiftech pwm splitter or one of the other brands that use only the pwm signal from the device and draw power direct from the power supply. The h100i newer models do use 4 pin pwm fans so the output should include PWM signal. You could make your own out of a spare fan molex adapter and a normal 4 pin Y splitter too. You just need to bypass the power and ground and draw them direct from molex or sata power to the PSU.

            I would just recommend testing the H100i output voltage. If power out remains a constant 12v while reducing speeds, then you can be sure it is sending a regular PWM signal. Pretty sure it does, but I never checked. I also had no luck with link on windows 8 so I have no way of testing and bypassed the pump fan controller completely.

            Of coarse you could also bypass the h100i fan controller and run PWM off the motherboard cpu header using speedfan as well on to multiple PWM 4 pin fans.

  3. Kaah says:

    I like your scientific approach and trust your judgement
    I’m owner of the h100 coupled with Noctuas (NF-F12) and confident with that
    I’d like to move my hardware to a new home (namely a Lian Li TYR-X2000(F(N)))
    therefore I’m looking for reviews about Coolermasters Nepton 140XL – ideally in Tandem with 7mm shroud/anti-vibration adapter and Arctic F14 PWM fans …
    any plans to do something along this line? 😉

    • Martinm210 says:

      Sorry, no testing in the near future. I’m in the middle of my buggy building project. I also tend to feel you really need at least a 240 rad to gain the benefits of watercooling. I’ve been able to bring even the 240s to their knees and throttle my 3930 at lower fan speeds. A lot of high end air coolers are fairly competitive I think with many of the 120/140 CLCs. A noctua NH-D14 with a pair of Gentle Typhoon AP 45s running with PWM mods would probably outperform most of the CLCs of similar size and with lower noise.

      • Karsten says:

        thanks for your input *goes back to the drawing board^^*
        New idea:
        Swiftech H320 + Nexxos 180mm monsta rad + EK GPU full cover (GTX 680)