Corsair began selling L2 cache modules to OEMs in 1994. After Intel integrated L2 cache into its Pentium Pro CPU lineup, it pivoted to DRAM. Today the company sells various components and peripherals. Corsair 5000X case and CX750M power supplyBut cooling has also long been a staple of the company’s lineup, and the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler is the latest model to land on our test bench. Taming his 12900K from Intel, our best aio cooler list? To find out, we need to do some testing. But first here is the specification removed from Corsair.
Corsair H100i Elite Specifications
|cooler||Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Elite|
|Manufacturer’s suggested retail price||$139 USD|
|net weight||£2.18 (with LCD upgrade)|
|Socket compatibility||Intel Socket LGA 115X / 1200 / 1366/ 1700 / 2011 / 2066|
|Rated noise level||Up to 31.5 dBa|
Packing and inclusions
Like most modern midsize AIOs, Corsair’s H100i Elite ships in a midsize box with molded cardboard and a soft plastic cover to protect the individual pieces.
- CPU block + radiator with thermal paste applied
- 2x AF ELITE FDB PWM 120mm Fans
- Mount for all modern CPU sockets including LGA1700, TR4 and AM4/AM5 motherboards
- USB-C wire harness
Installation of cooler
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Installing the H100i Elite was very easy. First, secure the radiator to the case with the included screws. Then press the backplate onto the motherboard and use the standoffs to secure it.
The thermal paste is pre-applied to the CPU block so you don’t have to worry about it. Press the CPU block onto the standoffs and secure using the provided thumbscrews.
What is the difference from other coolers?
We tested the base model of the iCUE H100i Elite with ARGB lighting on the CPU block. However, for $99 you can upgrade to the LCD version that supports a variety of customization options.
- Software suite with deep customization options
The iCue software suite is a bit bulky with a download size of 1 GB (3.5 GB after installation), but offers a variety of in-depth customization options. Three preset noise profiles are available and you can change which sensor responds when customizing the noise level. The default is coolant temperature, but it can be set to CPU package temperature or various other sensors.
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Along with fan and noise profile controls, there are of course various ARGB lighting presets and the ability to control each LED individually.
A unique aspect of Corsair’s software is the ability to set fans to 100%, trigger all RGB LEDs, shut down the computer, and run programs when the CPU temperature reaches a desired value. It is a function to set “alert”.
- Corsair AF Elite FDB PWM 120mm Fan
There’s more to liquid coolers than just radiators and pumps. The included fan has a big impact on cooling and performance. The H100i Elite includes his two AF Elite FDB fans. This fan is black and runs very quietly.
|model||AF Elite FDB|
|fan rotation speed||400 – 1850 RPM±10%|
|air flow||10.9 – 59.1CFM|
|air pressure||0.09 – 1.93mm H2O|
|noise level||Max 32.9dB(A)|
|cooler||Corsair iCUE H100i Elite 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler|
|Manufacturer’s suggested retail price||$139.99 (base model) $259.99 (LCD model)|
|Comparison Coolers Tested||BeQuiet Pure Loop 2 FX, 360mm AIO|
|Cooler Master Master Liquid PL360 Flux 360mm AIO|
|Cougar Poseidon GT 360, 360m AIO|
|Corsair iCUE H100i Elite 240mm AIO|
|DeepCool AK500 Air Cooler|
|DeepCool LS520, 240mm AIO”|
|motherboard||MSI Zz690A-Pro DDR4|
|case||keep quiet!silent base 802 window|
|PSUs||Deep Cool PQ1000M|
Corsair’s iCUE H100i Elite tested with Intel’s Core i9-12900K. Due to the increased heat density of the Intel 7 manufacturing process, as well as changes to core and component layouts, Alder Lake CPUs are more difficult to cool than their predecessors in the most heat-intensive workloads.
This means coolers that kept previous generations like the i9-10900K nice and cool struggle to keep Intel’s i9-12900K below Tj max (the maximum temperature before the CPU starts throttling) It means that there are cases. Many coolers I tested failed to keep the i9-12900K below TJ max when the power cap was lifted for workloads like Cinebench and OCCT.
Note that there are many factors other than the CPU cooler that can affect cooling performance. The system’s motherboard can particularly affect this, as there are motherboards on the market with CPU sockets that do not conform to Intel’s specifications, which can cause distortion and poor contact with the CPU. The case you use also affects the cooling effect.
With Alder Lake’s cooling demands in mind, we evaluate CPU coolers in three different tiers.
Tier 1: These coolers are able to keep the i9-12900K below TJ max at most loads without enforcing power limits. I believe only the best liquid coolers meet this criteria.
Tier 2: These coolers can apply a CPU power limit of 200W to keep the i9-12900K below the TJ max threshold. I would expect most liquid coolers and the best air coolers to meet this standard.
Tier 3: These coolers are able to keep the i9-12900K below TJ max with a CPU power limit of 140W applied.
Cooler Master’s iCUE software has a variety of presets to choose from, which can affect noise levels and overall cooling performance. During these tests, we ran the cooler using the default setting of Corsair’s iCUE software, the “Balanced” profile.
To test the limits of a cooler’s ability to dissipate heat, we run two major stress tests. cine bench When OCCT 10 minutes each. This may be a short amount of time, but it’s enough to push most coolers (air and liquid) to their limits.
While stress testing in Cinebench, I ran with the power cap removed and a 200W CPU power cap applied. In this test setup with MSI’s Z690 A Pro DDR4 motherboard and Be Quiet’s Silent Base 802 computer case, only the best coolers can pass the Cinebench test when the power cap is lifted.
Do not test OCCT without power capping. Because when I try this, the CPU package draws over 270W, instantly throttling even the best of his AIO coolers. Instead, we test at 200W to give the cooler a chance of passing. We also include the 140W and 95W results to provide comparable data to lower-end CPUs such as AMD’s Ryzen 5600x and Intel’s i5-12400.
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