Provided by: Corsair
No compensation was received for review of this product.
Price: $119.99 USD (MSRP)
With an estimated price point of $119.99 USD, the Corsair H100i is in the enthusiast category of CPU coolers.
The Corsair H100i's updated design and new fans outperform high-end air-coolers and the H100 on an overclocked Intel Core i7-3960X, although the new fans are very loud, even when set to Balanced mode.
The math, when it comes to radiators, is simple: more surface area equals better heat dissipation. Naturally, the 240mm radiator found on the H100 and the new H100i allows for enthusiast class cooling when paired up with very capable fans. As seen in the benchmark results, when it came to stock settings, two high-end air-coolers and both H100 and H100i perform similarly, with the quiet modes of the Hydro series trailing only by 2 or 3 degrees under load. Once voltage is applied, and the Sandy Bridge Extreme processor was pushed to 4.8GHz, however, the gap increases. The Corsair H100 in performance mode fared well against both the Noctua NH-D14 and Phanteks PH-TC14PE but the Corsair H100i in performance mode pulled ahead of the pack.
Aside from the performance upgrade, the H100i also boasts new and better features absent from the original H100. The new magnetic mounting bracket is easily superior to the screw-on type found on the H100 and also has more allowance for the mounting holes, so it is a lot easier to install on an LGA1366 and LGA2011 motherboards. The new thicker rubberized hose is also easier to manage than the ribbed plastic type from the previous version. The H100i, with its variable RGB LED, sleeker pump design and gray fans, also looks a hell of a lot sexier compared to the boxy H100.
Corsair Link is tightly integrated into the H100i, as it is with the rest of Corsair’s digital “i” products. A USB cable is included which attaches to a motherboard’s USB 2.0 header and does not require users to purchase additional accessories so they can control it from their desktop. The Corsair Link v2 software itself has plenty of features and opens up a ton of control options, including individual fan control, which the previous H100 was incapable of out of the box. The software is not perfect, however, and despite its wealth of features, I would’ve preferred if the font was bigger, for the text was quite small and I found no options for adjusting the size. The CPU temperature was also being reported incorrectly, reporting that my CPU temperature was only 44C when I was running OCCT while overclocked to 4.8GHz with a 1.485Vcore. There were also times when I booted the computer and the Corsair Link v2 software was reporting that the CPU temperature was 0C. Thankfully, the pump and fan controls do not offer any sort of resistance and would instantaneously adjust to whatever setting I select from the desktop without any delay or load times. Corsair Link even offers comprehensive fan control adjustments in case users do not wish to use the default presets and individual profiles can be saved and loaded.
The new set of high static pressure fans bundled with the H100i definitely cools very well, however, they are far from quiet in Balanced and Performance mode. The H100 was very loud when set to the highest setting but the H100i’s fans are impossible to ignore, with an added annoyance of a faint but very high pitched noise. I cannot imagine anyone using a system running the H100i in Performance mode and actually get work done because it is very distracting. I suggest making use of the Corsair Link software to make your own custom fan profile or running it in Quiet mode.
Overall, the Corsair H100i improves a lot and adds several new use features over the previous H100. Just the fact that it is being offered at the same price as the original H100, despite having a ton of improvements and having superior cooling results, should merit it an Editor’s Choice award. However, the extremely distracting noise, even in balanced mode, and the quirks of the Corsair Link software mar its otherwise stellar performance.