ProsRetains the excellent performance of the previous gen H100i at lower noise levels; bracket installation is easier than with previous designs
ConsHigh static pressure fans have a whiny tone, even if they aren't particularly loud; thick hoses are hard to position during installation
Last year, we put together a comprehensive high-end cooler shootout, which included the original Corsair Hydro H100i. While that cooler offered the highest performance of all the models we tested, we felt that the air coolers we put it up against offered a better balance of temperature and noise. And so we came to our review of the H100i v2 curious how Corsair would tweak the design. Would it just go for ever-higher performance at the expense of noise, or would it re-tune the original H100i to operate with a more reasonable noise profile.
The first clue to the changes in store can be found right on the spec sheet:
Corsair went with lower-RPM fans that produce less overall airflow, but at higher pressure. It also punched out the dimensions of the radiator ever-so-slightly, and as we'll discuss on the next page, also changed the layout of the radiator fin array. Clearly, Corsair decided to try a different design philosophy here, but was the goal higher performance, or better-balanced performance? A clue to this is in the name, H100i v2, which suggests that this is indeed an evolution of the original, intended to offer a similar experience. Well, we decided it was time to find out exactly how similar to the two products are. Given that this series of liquid coolers is by far the best selling line on the market, we're betting a lot of folks will be interested in the results!
We used our high-end test platform to test the coolers, which consists of the following components:
- CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K, overclocked to 4.4GHz at 1.2V
- Motherboard: Asus X99-Pro/USB3.1
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti ACX 6GB
- RAM: G.Skill 4x8GB Ripjaws V DDR4-2666
- SSD #1: Samsung SM951 M.2 256GB
- SSD #2: 2x Samsung 850 Evo 500GB in RAID0
- Case: Corsair Carbide 500R
- Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 1000 PS
- Operating System: Windows 10
And just to be clear, here are the two coolers we're testing in this shootout:
We tested both coolers with the Quiet and Performance presets available from the CorsairLink application, which we highly recommend you download if you use a Corsair cooler. It is not included in the box. A screenshot of CorsairLink is shown above. It not only allows you to choose your desired level of cooling versus noise, it also allows you to monitor a whole range of data on your PC, from cooler activity to CPU and motherboard temperatures to video card measurements.
One quick note: while we haven't re-tested our fleet of air-based coolers, you can see how the original Corsair H100i fared against them in our high-end cooler shootout, and use that as a baseline for comparing the H100i v2. In short, you'll see that the two coolers are quite similar in cooling performance, if not noise levels.
All right, with the introduction out of the way, it's time to get into the nitty-gritty of Corsair's former and current best-selling coolers!