Corsair H80i & H100i Review

Author: AkG
Date: January 29, 2013
Product Name: H80i & H100i
Part Number: CW-9060009-WW / CW-9060008-WW
Warranty: 5 Years
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Closer look at the H80i

As with Corsairís previous models, the H80iís box will be bound to get attention on retailerís shelves. It is bold, brash, covered with useful information and surprisingly large considering it houses a single bay cooler. Opening it up, we can see an extensive internal protection scheme consisting of a sturdy cardboard buffer zone which is topped with a layer of foam.

As with the second generation H60, the accessory / mounting component list is complete with complete compatibility for AMD and Intel based motherboards. Every one of these components is built to exceedingly high quality standards so longevity shouldnít be a concern.

On a cursory glance, the H80i bares very little resemblance with the original H80 and appears to be a near carbon copy of the second generation H60. The only real differences which are visible to the untrained eye are the second included Airflow SP120 fan, a thicker radiator and a SATA instead of MOLEX power connector. This last point is actually quite significant since it allows builders to make use of existing connections while leveraging the ability of modular power supplies to reduce cable clutter.

Gone is the standard 3/8 OD ribbed tubing found on the H80. That rather inflexible and limited tubing has been replaced with a 9/16 (OD) design made from a hybrid rubber compound that is both malleable and quite durable. More importantly, the H80iís pump has received a substantial upgrade and is now capable of moving liquid through these larger tubes at a quick pace for optimized cooling performance.

Other upgrades have been performed to the CoolIT-supplied water block itself. The combination of a more efficient pump, revised internal heatsink and a sleeker design have allowed Corsair to save space while also improving cooling capabilities. This is augmented by the addition of a built-in fan controller alongside compatibility with Corsairís LINK monitoring and control software.

In order to accomplish the expansion of various features, a few changes were necessary. Corsair has foregone the convenient yet sometimes inaccessible fan speed button atop the water block and incorporated custom fan headers. Neither of these moves is particularly worrying since the fan speed control (along with plenty of other options) is now lumped into the included LINK software stack while Corsair has included adaptor cables to make standard fan headers compatible with the H80i.

Both the USB and custom fan connectors are a touch delicate to install but do get the job done nicely. On the positive side, the water block has two fan controller connectors and two USB connectors for the Corsair Link software. One of the USB data ports is the older direct connection style similar to the ones found on the AXi Power Supplies and the H80 while the other is a standard USB connector which fits the included USB accessory cable. Either will allow the Corsair Link software to connect and control the integrated fan controller.

A few other convenient additions have been implemented as well like the swiveling 90į tubing connectors (which make installation a breeze) and two small diagonally opposed magnets which allow the top bracket to Ďstickí to the water block, facilitating installation. This is an ingenious solution to the age old dilemma of having the top bracket fall off at the most importune of moments.

As with all Corsair Hydro series coolers the water block comes with TIM pre-applied. Unfortunately, while the block itself has undergone an extensive makeover, the finishing quality on the copper base hasnít been improved in any drastic ways. Believe it or not, the surface quality of Corsairís lower-end H55 is better than this. Considering the difference in price between these two models, this is disappointing to say the least.

Unlike the new block, the radiator itself looks to be the same classic CoolIT design which accompanied the H80. It sports 12 fluid channels and while is still a standardized 120mm form factor, depth has been increased to 38 mm. This should significantly increase cooling capacity without moving the H80iís dimensions outside of standard proportions.

While the first generation H80 was equipped with a pair of 2500RPM fans which could be charitably classified as Ďloudí, this cooler receives a non-PWM version of the Air series SP120L from Corsair. These are rated at 2000RPM, move 54CFM of air and boast a moderately high 2.36mm static pressure rating.

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