Noise and Lighting Demonstration
To give you a better idea of what these coolers look like and sound like in actual use, we created a video compilation of all of them running through our Prime95 benchmark. We've ordered them from loudest to quietest according to our decibel meter, but you may find that certain pitches or tones are more noticeable even in coolers that are technically quieter, so pay attention!
Also on display were the various lighting effects, ranging from none (Arctic), to basic (CoolerMaster's white LED logo), to flashy (Thermaltake's Riing fans doing their cool RGB cycling), and to truly innovative (Reeven's backlit colored liquid coolant!).
Comparison to the Corsair Hydro H100i v2 on the Intel X99 Platform
To give readers some context, we decided to mount one of our contenders in our Intel X99 platform to dual it out against our Corsair Hydro H100i v2, which we've been running in that test system since we first published our review of the cooler in early 2016. From among our new contenders, we chose the Reeven Naia 240, which comes it at nearly the same pricepoint (give or take a few dollars).
In this test, we ran our fire-breathing Intel Core i7-6900K at 4.2GHz, using 1.27V. Note that while we used to run this system at 4.4GHz using 1.35V, we degraded our CPU, and it can no longer sustain this overclock. Benchmarkers beware, if you're using 1.35V or above, you might just be trashing your CPU!
That being said, even at 1.27V, this system just sucks down power, pulling 118W at idle and 220W in CPU-z (that's 55W more than our Ryzen-based system). Because the Corsair is extremely loud in its "Performance" mode, we turned it down to "Quiet" mode to see if it would end up doing better. Here's how it worked out at idle and CPU-z:
Clearly, the Corsair H100i v2 is outmatched by its newer competitor. One of the issues is that the H100i has is a fixed pump speed, which is far too loud at idle, and yet really too slow at load. It's simply the worst of both worlds. And despite running its fans at much higher RPMs than the Naia 240, it's the same temperature or hotter in both tests.
Folks, Corsair's reign has come to an end. Yes, it will probably still hold nearly every spot in Amazon's top 10 best seller list for a long time to come, but TBG readers now know better, and we'll be updating all of our buyer's guides next month to remove Corsair coolers from our recommended lists.
By the way, interesting fact for AMD fans - in the new ultra-intensive 3DMark Time Spy Extreme CPU benchmark, our Core i7-6900K outscored our Ryzen 7 1700 by just 12%, with 10.5% higher clockspeeds (4.2GHz vs. 3.8GHz at the same voltage). Thus AMD is only a few percentage points behind in terms of performance per clock cycle, which is amazing for a CPU that was released at $330 just one year after the 6900K debuted at over $1,000. Three cheers for competition!