Corsair H80i review

November 30, 2012 | 07:00

Tags: #all-in-one-liquid-cooler #cpu-cooler #water-cooling

Companies: #corsair

Corsair H80i Review

Manufacturer: Corsair
UK Price (as reviewed): £75.35 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $104.99 (ex Tax)

It was around this time last year that we looked at Corsair's H80 all-in-one liquid cooler. Its great cooling performance and simple installation made is a great choice for LGA2011 users, but the software fan control available with the equally well performing Antec Kühler H20 920 made the latter one the better choice for other sockets. It appears Corsair has been paying attention, however, as with us today is the H80i, which boasts some upgraded hardware as well as software fan control.

In design terms, it's almost identical to the H80 before it. Manufactured again by CoolIT, the H80i comprises a single pump attached to the copper baseplate, connected via its tubing to a single full height radiator, which can be attached to a 120mm case mount. Two fans are included as before, but they've been upgraded to models based on Corsair's own SP120 fans.

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Click to enlarge - The H80i features new tubing (left) and a redesigned CPU block (right)

There's also a noticeable difference between the H80i and the older model in terms of the tubing, which now uses a proprietary rubber material that Corsair claims increases its flexibility while reducing coolant evaporation. What we can say for sure is that the tubing is indeed flexible enough to allow for easy installation, but also very firmly attached, which is indicative of the all-round solid build quality the H80i enjoys.

The redesigned CPU block features a lovely gloss black finish, with the fan control button having been replaced simply by the Corsair logo. Illuminated by an RGB LED, the colour of the logo can be set within Corsair's Link software, which is also used to control the fans.

The intuitive software provides temperature monitoring for the coolant and your hardware, and the fans can be set to pre-configured cooling modes like Quiet and Performance or specific RPMs. You can even design your own cooling curve, setting desired fan speeds based on the temperature your CPU reaches. It's a powerful addition that surpasses the software available with competing coolers.

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Click to enlarge

The unit is powered by a single SATA power connection, and also connects to any fan connection on your motherboard. A single fan splitter cable allows you to wire up both fans, and finally a micro USB cable connects the cooler to any spare USB header. It's a fair amount of cabling to deal with for a single cooler, but we'd say it's worth it for the functionality it enables. An integrated Corsair Link connection also allows you to attach another Corsair Link device for software control.

The new Intel and AMD mounting plates forego the need for screws by utilising magnets instead, and both plates stick very securely to the CPU block. Other than that, installation is the same simple procedure as before. Standoff screws are tightened into the backplate for Intel sockets (or straight into the motherboard for LGA2011 users), and thumbscrews are used to connect the mounting plate and CPU block to these.

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Click to enlarge - Corsair's Link software (right) provides tempertaure monitoring and LED and fan control

AMD sockets are a little fiddlier, as you'll need to hook the cooler onto the standard retention bracket and lock it in place with thumbscrews, though this is still one of the easiest installation procedures for AMD CPU coolers. Thermal paste comes pre-applied, saving you a task, but you'll need to supply your own should you need to mount the cooler again.

Corsair recommends mounting the radiator with its fans in the intake position, but as this might not match the optimum cooling setup of your case, we've decided to test it in both the intake and exhaust positions. We also tested at the pre-set Quiet, Balanced and Maximum fan settings, as this will be roughly translatable to low, medium and high speeds.
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