Corsair Hydro Series H100i AIO CPU Cooler

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Kits
Tags: , , ,

Noise Comparison and RPM Correlation

Corsair H100i VIDEO

Swiftech H220 VIDEO

That is what I have so far, I will let your ears do the talking… As a place holder you may start and stop both videos to match up RPMs if you would like and simply play one, stop, then play the other back to back.

Corsair H100i Chart

CorsairH100i-NoiseVsRPM

Noise vs Temperature

Swiftech-H220-TH-29

I’ve conducted a few different fan polls in the past before moving forward with radiator testing and typically the majority of watercooling users out there were using fans at about 1350RPM with a distribution that predominantly covers the 1000-1800RPM range. There are a few people that run higher speeds, but the vast majority are more in the 1000-1800RPM range. That makes sense as those speeds are only producing noise levels in the lower 40s dBA which is acceptable by most.

With that “Silence” preference in mind, the Swiftech H220 did outperform the Corsair H100i by roughly 2dBA at the 1350RPM mark, and about 3-4dBA better at the 1800RPM mark. The H100i does have higher speed capabilities, but at 60dBA you are approaching vacuum cleaner noise levels (70dBA). There are some users that don’t care about noise though, so I’ll leave it to you on what’s important.

For me personally, minimum noise level, dynamically throttling the noise and performance, and a smooth noise is priority. I find the H100i fans (like most high speed fans) to produce quite a bit of motor noise and there was quite a bit of harmonics between the two fan RPMs that generally produces a poor noise quality. The H220 helix fans are for the most part fairly smooth and the sound quality blended in well with my other fans. That’s not to say you couldn’t replace the kit fans with something better, but in spirit of testing kit vs kit, the H220 is king of silence (minimum noise level) and better at like performance levels by 1-4 dBA over the H100i.

The price however is what still makes the H100i an appealing option. I personally would recommend replacing the stock fans with something designed for more silent performance. Something PWM capable in the 1000-1800RPM would be ideal to maintain the same PWM capability, or you could replace them with Gentle Typhoon fans (expensive). If you really wanted high speed performance and lower noise levels you might consider the GT AP-29 and modify the fans to make them PWM capable. I hear they have the circuitry built in, you just have to solder on a fourth wire. Heck, you could just cut the wires out of the H100i fans and solder them into the GTs and try that. The fans are something I personally would recommend replacing, they can get you by, but for most users I suspect they would want to replace them with something more silent oriented.

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Comments
  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
    Steven

    • Martinm210 says:

      No personal experience, but this review:
      http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/NZXT-Kraken-G10-Review-527/

      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
        Steven

        • 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)
        ?
        😀