Introducing Corsair's Hydro Series Liquid Coolers
Fortunately for us, Corsair answered the call. Corsair has long been a driving force in the all-in-one liquid cooler market. Many enthusiast builders have looked to their Hydro series models in recent years for improved thermals and clean aesthetics. Corsair’s Hydro series lineup extends from single 120mm radiator models, like the H45 and H60, to their new H150i Pro, a 360mm triple fan behemoth. The H150i Pro is not their only new model, however, as they also just introduced the new 280mm dual fan H115i Pro. In all, Corsair set us up with their H60, H110i Extreme Performance, H115i Pro, and H150i Pro Hydro series coolers.
The H110i Extreme Performance cooler, as its name implies, is designed to minimize temps with a larger radiator and dual-140mm fans to deliver increased airflow. Specifically, the SP140L PWM fans provide 113 CFM of airflow at a rated static pressure of 3.99mm-H2O. The waterblock provides its own fan headers for the radiator fans and also features a basic RGB LED lit logo. It integrates with Corsair Link via mini-USB to control lighting and cooling profiles on demand.
Moving onto the new hotness, Corsair’s H115i Pro looks a lot like the H110i with dual 140mm fans, but pushes priorities to the quieter end of the spectrum. The H115i Pro uses magnetic levitation, or ML, series fans to reduce noise under load. Corsair rates these at 20.4 dB(A) under load which would be whisper quiet especially when compared to the roaring 43 dB(A) of the H110i’s SP140L fans. Unfortunately, it also means cooling performance may be reduced as the airflow rating is down to just 55.4 CFM at 1.27mm-H2O. We will of course be examining how much of a difference this makes in practice. Other changes include more RGB LED lighting, a new mounting bracket style for a cleaner appearance, slender tubing for increased flexibility over the H110i, and the USB connector is now micro-USB for Corsair Link integration.
The H150i Pro tops our list out with three 120mm fans to cover maximum surface area (about 10% more than the H110i and H115i Pro) while also prioritizing quieter performance. Like the H115i Pro, the H150i Pro uses ML series fans, though the smaller size brings their rated noise level up slightly to 25 dB(A). Airflow is comparable to the H115i Pro with 47.3 CFM at 1.78mm-H2O but of course the extra fan leads us to expect performance to be just a bit better. The H150i Pro uses the same new mounting system, RGB LED setup, slender tubing, and micro-USB connection.
We will be comparing all four against AMD’s own very capable Wraith MAX air cooler. The Wraith MAX marks a departure from the poor performance we usually expect from stock coolers with its 140W TDP rating. It is not included with the Ryzen R5 1600X we will use in our testing, however, it still provides a good reference point for typical air coolers a builder may consider in lieu of liquid cooling. The basic design of the Wraith MAX is similar to the original Wraith cooler, but features a new 92mm fan and redesigned shroud to improve performance using the same four copper heatpipe setup.
So now that our five contenders are outlined, let's check out the rest of our test system...