Pros: Has braiding around the hoses to help prevent kinking
USB control/monitoring of fan and pump speed via Corsair Link
The fans and the pump were quiet even at full load
Has an RGB LED on the water block that can be set to change color when the CPU gets hot
Has a new and much better back plate compared to the one on my Corsair Hydro H70. That one uses metal screw holes which kind of float inside the plastic back plate. This causes them to spin around in the plastic when you try to take out the screws making it extremely difficult to remove. The new one however is all one piece so the screws can’t get stuck and makes it way easier to remove.
Performance benchmarks listed below:
Corsair Hydro H100i v2 (2 Fans)
• Idle Average: 82 °F
• Load Average: 158 °F
• Ambient: 72.2 °F
Phanteks PH-TC14PE_BK 140mm (3 Fans)
• Idle Average: 79 °F
• Load Average: 162 °F
• Ambient: 72.6 °F
Cons: Required a lot of effort to get it installed into a Corsair Carbide 300R case as the 4+4 pin CPU power cable, a heatsink for the motherboard and the memory were all in the way. If you want this cooler in this case, I suggest you do a lot of planning to make sure it will fit as it is really tight.
Assuming the water block is installed in the correct orientation, with the Corsair logo being legible and not upside down, the right angle mini USB connector is angled the opposite way that it should be. Why would anyone want it pointing towards the back of their case where there is literally no easy way to cable management it and get it out of the way. It should point towards the front of the case where in my case I have cable management holes where it could quickly disappear.
In the Corsair Link software, the pump controls only have two options, either quiet or performance mode, why is there no custom option? For the fans a custom fan curve can be set but not the pump, which is just as if not more important. Basically this means that when a game or another high CPU intensive application is not running the pump has to be manually changed to quiet mode or vice versa. This needs to be changed.
The hoses were very hard to maneuver if you have a smaller case as the braiding on the hoses makes them very strong to prevent kinking but does hinder mobility.
Overall Review: Overall this cooler offers excellent cooling performance over even the best air coolers at a noticeably quieter volume. Assuming it will fit in your case, I would highly recommend this AIO on any system, unless your case has room for the even better Corsair H110i.
Case: Corsair Carbide 300R
Motherboard: Asus Z87 Deluxe
CPU: Intel i7-4790K @ 4.7 GHz @ 1.218 volts
Stress Test: Aida64 for 10 minutes
Pros: As expected from a good cooler, it keeps my CPU nice and cool. I idle in single digit degrees Celsius; games can get in the low- to mid-20s. A little while of Prime95 stress testing put me in the mid-30s. Overall, pretty solid improvement over my Noctua DH-14.
Speaking of air cooling, the fans that cool the radiator are quiet. You’ll hear much more of the radiator itself than the fans. That was one thing that pleasantly surprised me, as one of my concerns was that I’d have to hear some constant pumping noise. Instead, it’s more like a low hum. Granted, it is a constant, consistent hum, but a low hum nonetheless.
Other than those things, it’s a pretty straightforward cooler that does a solid job with minimal noise.
Cons: It’s not easy to install in a way that cable management is also easy. The cables on the fans are not long enough to reach to one of the cable management ports in my case (immediately above the row of ports/top left of CPU, top right of CPU near drive bays). What ends up happening is I can get the cords over to one port, then I just have to tie them to cords that actually reach into one of the slots.
The reason this may be a problem is because the fans can easily get caught on or repeatedly hit the cables if you don’t find a place to stow them. This happened when I first powered up my computer after the installation, as one had come loose where I had put it and fell once I stood my tower upright. It certainly doesn’t make for a pretty sound.
Another thing is the mini USB cable that appears to provide some power to the heatsink portion of the cooler. Perhaps for the light that is on there, I’m not sure -- I could probably find out in the manual. This cable also isn’t long enough to go in a cable management port and reach the USB pins on the bottom of the board (which typically is where USB is). Again, stash the cable to the side and hope that the computer doesn’t really move.
Overall Review: Much about this installation was unclear, and I sometimes had to go back and take some stuff off because I had something that wasn’t either the correct part or it wasn’t in the proper configuration. Here are some things to note if you get this cooler:
- remember to check for rubber stoppers where the radiator hooks to the case. This cooler didn’t come with any, so you’ll have to hope your case does
- there are 3 types of risers, and for some reason, the AMD and one of the Intel ones look very similar. If you’re installing for an Intel cooler, flip ahead to the AMD section before putting on your risers to make sure you have the ones for Intel.
- the cooler already has the Intel heatsink on it; the only one you’ll see in the box is for AMD coolers
- you will need your CPU bracket to install this cooler, or at least, the recommendation appears to be to have this. If you previously had an aftermarket cooler (like I did, the Noctua DH-14), you might’ve remove the bracket because that cooler didn’t need it. Dig it out of a box and put it back on, because this one does.
- while I’m not 100% certain, I highly doubt you’ll be able to reach your GPU with this. Considering the hassle I had getting it to properly fit my CPU, I’m not even going to try on my GPU.
Pros: Easy to install in my NZXT H440 case.
Beats my original H100i temperatures on an overclocked i7-6700K @ 4.6GHz by ten degrees when under load (70C vs 80C). Admittedly the older cooler is about two years old, but it's still a substantial improvement.
It also runs quieter, both at idle and under load. I suspect this is due to an improved pump design (since I was using the same Corsair Quiet Edition SP120 fans on each), and the fact that the pump speed is variable in the new model. When set to Quiet Mode in Corsair Link it is barely audible.
Looks are attractive, especially the braided hoses, though I think the pump is more attractive in the original model as the LEDs stand out more with the Corsair logo.
Corsair Link software is much improved over early versions, with customizable display of system temperatures and pump LED color.
Cons: Corsair name on radiator is upside down when mounted with the hoses to the right, though it is hidden behind the top of my case so no big deal.
The screws to mount the fans to the radiator are slightly too long and hit the metal tabs protecting the radiator before they can fasten the fans tight. I managed to find some 3mm thick rubber washers to take up the slack, but this could have been a major annoyance if I didn't have any. If Corsair cannot source any screws of suitable length, they could at least provide washers with the kit.
Overall Review: I was so impressed with this AIO cooler's performance, especially when compared with its predecessor, that I am awarding it five eggs and ignoring the minor Cons. When I took off the overclock and ran at stock speeds, it stayed in the low 60s on my load test even on the Quiet setting. Since my rig is mainly for gaming, the H100i V2 will be more than adequate.
Note: I was given this product by Newegg for the purposes of this review.
Pros: Excellent cooling performance
Simple and clear instructions
In the right case, easy installation
Cons: In the wrong case, not so much
Overall Review: Let's get the good news out of the way first: this cooler does an excellent job. Prior to installing the H100i in my primary desktop (i7 4770 with stock Intel cooler on Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3, 16GB DDR3 1600, 500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD, in a Corsair 200r Carbide case) I measured CPU temps with Speedfan, a free utility that I've used for a few years. At idle the temps ranged from 27C to 31C. Then I ripped a 2GB video file three times with Handbrake and showed a peak temp of 87C. (Handbrake is a good test of cooling prowess, it utilizes over 90% of CPU cycles during the ripping process.) I installed th H100i (more on that later) and noticed idle temps dropped to a range of 20C to 26C --- nice start. Then I ripped the same video file (again three times), and the temps peaked at only 49C. That is outstanding performance, especially since these tests were done at the stock, low fan speed setting.
About the installation: I was surprised to find that this cooler was too big to fit in my Corsair case. I never thought it would be an issue, the 200r is a big, roomy case with a grill and rubber grommets at the top, just waiting for a water cooler. What I didn't factor in was the distance from the top of the case to any obstacles on the motherboard -- the radiator and fans extend down 2-1/4" and overlapped the RAM and main power plug on my Gigabyte board. I was determined to make it work, and after considerable head scratching and playing around I discovered that the vent holes in the top grid aligned with the mounting holes on the radiator. I relocated the rear exhaust fan to the bottom of the case (something I was considering anyway) and moved the cooler about one inch toward the rear of the case, and up almost an inch. I ended up with just enough room to clear the obstacles (about 1/8" above the RAM), so close that I had to plug in the fan prior to mounting the cooler, but enough room to get the job done. By the way, I suggest mounting the fans to the radiator first, then installing the unit in one piece.
Apart from that little challenge this was a very easy installation, the mounting process for the Intel CPU cooler/pump is much easier than it was a couple of years ago (this is my second Corsair water cooler, the first in this case). I decided to use the factory thermal paste to give it a fair test and so far haven't experienced any problems. Of course I thoroughly removed the old paste from the CPU. Finally I installed the Cosair utility and played around with the different settings. For now I'm sticking with the Low Fan Speed setting because the stock fans start to get noisy when set to the Balanced or Performance setting. It's nice to know there's headroom for serious overclocking though.
I think this is a very good closed-loop water cooling system. Just be careful with case measurements if you're considering one of these, it can be a make or break issue if you don't have the same luck I did. I initially debated knocking off an egg for the installation problems but decided that wouldn't be fair since I didn't do my research first.
Pros: Nice materials/build quality:
Water block surface is close to a mirror finish
hoses can twist and flex without feeling like they are going to crimp
sturdy connections on tubing
slick looking LED illuminated logo that you can set to a color of your choosing
2 included fans run off of the water block module and don't require extra fan headers
The Corsair Link software is very intuitive and really lets you dial in the cooling profile you need for intense overclocking or for near-silent operation. The included hardware gets you up in running whether its an Intel or AMD setup. All items worked as expected right out of the box. Replaced my trusty Corsair A50 and dropped both idle and loaded cpu temps by 6C and 11C respectively. Case temperatures have also dropped as I have the fans set to dump CPU heat straight out the top of my case.
Cons: You need to install the included back plate.
Overall Review: Be weary of the tubing length in case you have a super massive case, the radiator will need to be mounted about a foot away from the CPU. Experiment with the Corsair Link system, most likely you can get your system super silent and still be able to handle loads and gaming without blowing your socks off. After installing the H100i V2 I did bump up my OC another 300Mhz to 4.5Ghz. This was possible due to the greater thermal inertia of the heat block and the ability of the radiator to dump more heat out of the case.
This is a great cooler and I would recommended to any gamer, enthusiast, water cooler novice, and silent system overclocker. Corsair has brought value, quality, and performance in a 240mm package once again.
Running on i5 4670K at 4.5Ghz in heavily modded Lian-Li PC-A05NB mid tower case.
Pros: I tested the Corsair Hydro Series™ H100i v2 Extreme Performance Water / Liquid CPU Cooler kit. This kit is designed to replace your standard CPU heat sink fan (air-cooled) with a water-cooled system. Water cooling while more complex, has the potential to carry more heat away from your CPU than air does. If the goal is to reduce the temperature of the CPU processor to enable or improve on the over-clocking experience, or to eliminate CPU clock throttling caused by weak OEM HSF units, water cooling can help. The increased cooling can also allow for greater over-clocking on existing systems. Note over-clocking is dependent on many variables and your speed improvements may vary. IBM mainframes used water cooling for years. So its a proven method for cooling advanced CPU's
Corsair water cooling kits are sold in either single or double-wide fan/radiator configurations. Generally speaking the more fans the greater the cooling capacity. Please note that higher capacity kits tend to have higher RPM fans, which can generate more noise. The model H100i v2 kit has a dual 120mm fan radiator and is one of the higher cooling capacity rated kits that Corsair offers. As a result it takes up more space inside the computer case than a single fan radiator kit.
The kit's cold plate/pumping unit is compatible with the following processor sockets:
Intel LGA 1151
Intel LGA 1150
Intel LGA 1155
Intel LGA 1156
Intel LGA 1366
Intel LGA 2011
Intel LGA 2011-3
The kit is well-made and the hoses are designed to rotate where they attach to the cold plate/pump unit for more flexibility during installation. The radiator hoses are fixed and do not rotate where they attach to the radiator unit. The hoses appear to be made out of durable material. USB Link monitoring software can be downloaded free of charge from Corsair. More on this Link App later. The cold plate has a mirror polished copper base to enhance heat transfer between it and the CPU. It comes coated with the common gray heat sink dope that is designed to melt and flow at normal CPU temperatures to improve heat transfer.
It's best not to scrimp on the purchase price of one of these water cooling kits. Water and computers obviously do not mix and the last thing you want is a hose or water block springing a leak and spraying water all over your expensive computer electronics. From my past experience in using the Corsair kits, they are well-made and will not leak when installed in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. While you can purchase your own home-brew: water blocks, pumps, hoses and radiators and build your own custom water cooling system, you always run the risk of separate components developing leaks, airlocks and eventually destroying your high-end system. The ready made kits like those from Corsair and other vendors with their factory-sealed water loops are the most cost-effective and the best way to go in my personal experience as a system builder.
The Corsair H100i v2 kit includes: 1) Dual fan - 240mm radiator, 2) 120mm PWM Fans (rated 2400 RPM @ 37.7 db-A scale), 1) Cold Plate/Pump Unit, Mounting Brackets, Mounting Hardware, sealed cooling loop, and installation guide. Monitoring/control software can be downloaded separately from Corsair's support web site.
Corsair recommends to attach the included Corsair Link USB cable to a spare USB header on your motherboard and then download the free Corsair USB Link software to control the following features: You can customize cooling performance, monitor coolant and CPU temperatures, and change the color of the RGB LED lighting from the default white to match your system, or to change color based on temperature readings and other inputs. This definitely adds to the coolness factor!
With a sealed loop system there is no need to ever top-off the water level due to leakage or evaporation. System maintenance is thereby reduced and reliability is increased. Sealed loop systems are the most cost-effective, versus custom built cooling loops. These positives all make sealed loop systems the smart way to go for those new to system building.
Cons: The larger diameter hoses used on the Corsair H100i v2 kit, while offering better water circulation capacity, have the downside of being rather stiff and hard to bend. Due to the degree of stiffness, I am a little bit concerned about the amount of torque load being applied to the water block and eventually to the motherboard. Some motherboards may warp more easily than others. One solution might be to soak the hoses in hot water just prior to installation to help soften them up for easier forming.
While this is a minor con, I thought it bore an explanation. Corsair's motherboard fan wiring only supports 3-wire fan connections. The fourth blue fan lead that normally allows your motherboard to use Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to regulate the CPU fan speed is not included in the Corsair fan header harness that connects in place of your CPU fan connection. Note the plug will still connect to a standard 4-pin CPU fan header to supply 12 VDC power to the pump and radiator fan. Additional circuitry located inside the water block takes over for the PWM fan control on your motherboard and relies on the Corsair Link App to control the radiator fans speeds. If you don't download and install the recommended Corsair Link App, your fans will default to operating at full speed and can generate a considerable amount of fan noise in this mode. Just a guess, but this might be the source of the noise complaints from other reviewers. With the USB Link App installed I would recommend to set the fans to the mid-level speed setting for the best compromise between fan noise and cooling efficiency.
The fan output cabling due to its parallel design only has the ability to monitor one of the two connected radiator fans for rotational speed. If the fan connected to the end of the fan cable were to seize-up, the monitoring software would never detect the problem, because the 3rd tachometer lead connection is missing from part of the fan harness. This is a cost saving compromise to eliminate the need for a second fan control channel and cable.
Lastly, Corsair recommends to mount the radiator fans installed to pull air into the case, versus exhausting it outward. In their instruction guide they diagram the radiator mounted to the underside of a case top with the two fans then mounted underneath the radiator to form an assembly. This goes against common sense in my opinion. Heat rises in tower cases and tends to stagnate near the top inside of the case. Every tower case I have ever worked with was designed to pull air in through the lower front panel and lower sides of the case and then exhaust the hot air out through the top, or via a high, rear mounted case fan. This is done to improve cooling for the hard drives and graphics card(s) and this system then relies on a top mounted, or high mounted rear case fan(s) to pull any accumulated heat upward and out of the case. With good air flow the temperature inside the case should remain only few degrees above the room ambient temperature where the system is located.
Reversing this normal air flow direction effectively kills the chimney effect that occurs inside the case and can result in a higher internal case temperatures in my experience. Yes pulling outside ambient air over the radiator does help its cooling efficiency, but at the cost of a poorly ventilated tower case? I don't think its worth the bother to disrupt the normal case airflow patterns for a slight improvement in the water cooling system efficiency.
I have achieved better cooling results with these water cooling kits by mounting the fans to the underside of the case top, then mounting the radiator to the underside of the fans. I install the fans to pull air up through the radiator and then exhaust it out the top of the case. This maintains the case designer's preferred airflow pattern, while still providing good airflow across the Corsair radiator. While this may make the assembly process more cumbersome, I believe the final results are well worth the added effort. Keep in mind that radiators generally perform best when the air mover is mounted to pull air through the radiator, versus trying to push air through the radiator. This also results in lower fan noise that the added turbulence would cause.
Overall Review: Unfortunately the 240mm radiator supplied in the Corsair H100i v2 kit was too thick to fit into my existing Antec 300 v2 midsize tower case. Typically you will need a mid-tower case or larger, with a bottom mounted power supply and two 120mm top mounted fans. This Corsair kit is designed to replace those two top-mounted fans. Because heat naturally rises, these kits work best if they are mounted on the underside of the top case cover. My Antec 300 case meets this criteria, however my Gigabyte 990 chipset motherboard places the AMD 8350, 8-core processor, too close to the inside top cover of the case. This should not be an issue on most Intel motherboard layouts. This resulted in a lack of vertical clearance for the Corsair radiator unit with both fans mounted. The H100i v2 kit that I tested requires 3" (75mm) of clearance between the processor and the top inside of the case. You will also need to be weary of protruding voltage regulator heat sinks, tall capacitors, DRAM cards and other large motherboard components, that are mounted near the top edge of the motherboard, that could interfere with the 240mm radiator/fan units supplied with these kits.
I considered cutting out a portion the top perforated integral fan grills on my case to allow the water hoses and cold block to pass through and then mounting the fan/radiator unit externally for the test session. After some consideration I decided it was not worth the added expense of destroying a perfectly good case for the purpose of a single review. The final nail in the coffin on doing this review was the need to completely remove the motherboard to mount the cold plate/pump unit mounting brackets. Obviously it is easier to install these kits on a new build, before the motherboard/CPU are installed into the case. Would be nice if Corsair could come up with a retention lever mounting system that could work with the existing AMD motherboard CPU mounts, thus eliminating the need to remove the motherboard from the case. This would reduce the amount of time needed for retrofitting existing AMD systems.
My experience with the Corsair H100i v2 cooling kit stresses the need to carefully measure the clearances needed to fit one of these kits into an existing system case, or to exercise care in selecting a new case to be compatible with the water cooling kit you wish to purchase. Alternatively in the worst case scenario have a Premier membership or similar account that allows you to return items that don't fit at little or no-charge.
In conclusion based on my past experience of installing these Corsair water cooling kits for some of my clients, the single fan units are the most compatible, because they take up the least amount of internal case volume. If you are custom building a high-end gaming system, be sure to over-size your case height/depth to allow enough room for the planned water cooling system to mount. I have used a number of the Corsair kits over the years and have never had one come back due to water leakage, or any other defects. In my experience a single fan unit will work fine with processors that draw up to 125 Watts TDP. With a high-end, or older processor that exceeds 125 Watts TDP, I would recommend to use a dual-fan water cooler. If you are looking for a good low-maintenance, sealed-loop, water cooling kit I would not hesitate to recommend any of the current Corsair models. They are all well engineered to their individual price points and offer excellent value for your money.
Pros: - Works great on AMD & Intel Sockets alike.
- Easy to install onto the motherboard, but it was a little more challenging to attach to the top of my Corsair 900d (If you have this case, the dimensions of the radiator will make it so that you have to remove the 3rd fan slot on the top of the case to make room for it. Not really a big deal, but I miss having the sleek line of lighted fans.
- The tubing is extremely flexible (you can twist it 180 degrees without any angular bending of the tubes) it doesn't feel delicate or prone to rupturing during installation. So if you have a mid size chassis, if you need to muscle it in, you don't have to worry much about breaking it before you get a chance to fire it up.
- The coolant used in the Hydro series coolers is a 50/50 mix of propylene glycol and water, similar to the antifreeze in your car. You shouldn't need to worry about it cracking the unit because the coolant will not freeze unless it was like 35 degrees below zero.
- The threading is pretty solid, and you will need to exert a little bit of pressure to fasten it to the case / fans to the radiator.
- The pump itself uses RGB leds that allow for almost any color you would ever want. (but if you dont attach the USB Header to your motherboard, you don't be able to customize cooling performance, monitor coolant, or change the color of your RGB LED lighting.)
- Price point seems pretty solid considering the design, construction, materials, features & aesthetics makes a convincing case for very high value.
Update from first review:
- Still running strong, no change in idle / load temps, the thermal paste is really holding its own.
- No unusual hums, pump still works flawlessly.
- CorsairLink software has some improvements, but is still far from mature. I'm interested to see what other features they add down the line.
Cons: - READ THE INSTRUCTIONS about changing the Intel bracket if you have an AMD chipset switching the brackets was not 100% intuitive without referring to them.
- Others have mentioned this, if you use AMD like I do, you'll need your backplate to attach the cooler. (Not a huge deal, but could be a deal breaker for someone.)
Overall Review: - The H100i V2 is simply a re-branded H100i GTX with a few very minor tweaks.
- These minor tweaks include replaceable color straps and the USB plug that attaches to the pump is removable and in a much better position to provide better cable management.
- Please thoroughly inspect your radiator, tubes and all connections for a leakage BEFORE INSTALLING.
- The fans were a little louder than I liked and weren't of the LED variety :P SO I swapped them out with x2 Corsair Air Series AF120 LED 120mm Quiet Edition High Airflow Fans and my temps on average are 22-24c (these fans are about -15CFM from the stock fans btw)
- You need to be very careful when tightening down the radiator to the case. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN! Doing so can strip the threads inside the radiator which will not grab the screw anymore.
- If you want to remove the thermal paste that's included by default and put some arctic silver 5 paste on there, I'm sure you won't regret it. :)
Pros: I compared this cooler back-to-back against the original H100i cooler on the same system. In short, Corsair has tweaked the design to optimize it, but it's not radically better. Basically, the radiator is more efficient and the fans run at lower RPM. I found that in Quiet Mode (using CorsairLink's presets), the temperatures were actually 2C higher both at load and idle, while noise levels were the same at idle but 2-3dB lower at load.
The real changes are in "Performance" mode, which was intolerably loud before. Now Performance mode yields temperatures similar to the previous cooler's Quiet mode, but with slightly lower noise levels.
Cons: Don't kid yourself - lower RPMs do lead to higher temperatures. There is no way this cooler can match the old H100i with it's ultra-loud 2700RPM fans.
Also, while installation has been simplified versus the H100i (much better bracket, no SATA power cable), the hoses are so thick that they actually have become hard to bend. And because of this issue, I found that they basically touched my rear 120mm case fan. This wasn't a problem with the older H100i.
Finally, despite being the same size class, this cooler is actually thicker than the H100i. Whereas the H100i fit perfectly in my Corsair Carbide 500R's radiator compartment, the H100i v2 is too thick to fit without the case's top panel bulging.
Overall Review: Interestingly, by removing the SATA power connection that the older H100i used, the H100i v2 now draws power directly from the fan header, and it seems that motherboard controls will affect both fan speeds and pump speed. I didn't find anything in the manual regarding whether this is safe, but typically, coolers do not allow you to slow down the pump. Doing so most definitely allowed amazingly low noise levels at idle, but long-term this could cause a problem.