Introducing Corsair’s Hydro Series: H60, H80 and H100

Closed-loop liquid CPU cooling solutions are gaining popularity as more and more vendors are carrying their own variation. We've even seen both Intel and AMD announce the inclusion of liquid-coolers for their upcoming processor lines. Today we're going to take a look at the Corsair Hydro Series H60 High Performance, H80 High Performance, and H100 Extreme Performance liquid CPU coolers. Corsair has teamed up with CoolIT Systems this time around. They have previously partnered with Asetek for other Hydro Series products (H40/H50/H70/H70 Core), but our focus here is on the H60, H80, and H100.

The Corsair Hydro Series of liquid CPU coolers aim to give you the power of liquid-cooling in a compact, easy to install package, without the complexity of traditional water-cooling kits. They are designed to be a closed-loop solution with no maintenance required at all. But just how well do these Corsair liquid-coolers perform against the current cream of the crop air-coolers? After all, Corsair is targeting the high-end air-cooling market with these cooling solutions, both in price and performance. First, let's take a look at the specs for the units being tested today.

Corsair Hydro Series Specifications
H60 H80 H100
Radiator Dimensions 120mmx152mmx27mm 120mmx152mmx38mm 122mmx275mmx27mm
Fan Dimensions 120mmx120mmx25mm 120mmx120mmx25mm (x2) 120mmx120mmx25mm (x2)
Fan Speed (+/- 10%) up to 1700RPM (+/- 10%) up to:
1300RPM (Low),
2000RPM (Medium),
and 2500RPM (High)
(+/- 10%) up to:
1300RPM (Low),
2000RPM (Medium),
and 2500RPM (High)
Fan Airflow / dBA,
Static Pressure
74.4 CFM / 30.2 dBA,
46-92CFM / 22-39 dBA,
46-92 CFM / 22-39 dBA,
Cold Plate / Radiator Material Copper / Aluminum Copper / Aluminum Copper / Aluminum
Tubing Low-permeability for near-zero evaporation Low-permeability for near-zero evaporation Low-permeability for near-zero evaporation
Intel Sockets LGA 775, 1155/1156, 1366, 2011 LGA 775, 1155/1156, 1366, 2011 LGA 775, 1155/1156, 1366, 2011
AMD Sockets AM2, AM3 AM2, AM3 AM2, AM3
Warranty Five years Five years Five years
MSRP $79.99 $109.99 $119.99

H60, H80, and H100 Overview
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  • ypsylon - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    What advantages bring Closed Liquid Cooling solution. Yes big air coolers like Noctua DH-14 or Thermalright/Cogage Silver Arrow (using one of those) easily outperform CLC. But nobody is thinking about how much problems such big radiators bring to your life. Not everybody own case with horizontal motherboard (I do). In standard vertical mounting bolting 2kg to motherboard is a risky business. It can easily bent, brake and destroy brand new and spangling board you just bought. Need some work to reduce stress on the motherboard. From my own experience, I had that problem when I went from vertical to horizontal. There was certainly microscopic bent on CPU socket because short time after switching when board warmed up everything crashed to hell. Screwing everything even tighter helped for a week, but then whole circus started again. After replacing the board problem was gone, but that is the possible problem with humongous radiators. On the other hand CLC are small, weight very much nothing, performance is very good, often on par with extreme air coolers. Of course standard open LC is better option but it cost much more. If you don't do extreme OC and all what you need is excellent cooling for affordable price with minimum clutter around CPU socket then CLC is simply UNBEATABLE! Simples.

    What I don't like about these Corsairs is that stupid LED display on top of them and that you need to replace fans for something really useful (well all CLC have this problem).

    As for why big air coolers still outperform CLC answer is fairly simple: Radiator thickness. 27mm is very thin for an radiator in liquid cooling setup. If they put 50+mm one day then air coolers will be dead. And I mean D.E.A.D.
  • Tetracycloide - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    If you don't do extreme OC and all you need is excellent cooling for an affordable price expensive CLCs or expensive big air coolers are easily bested by fairly simple parts. If there's no extreme OCs any of the price points offered by corsair for CLCs are more than you should spend really and price/performance wise the CLCs are actually pretty poor performers relative to standard air coolers. The only thing CLCs really offer are space savings, they trade space around the CPU for space around an exhaust fan which is some chassis is a very good thing.
  • Beenthere - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Those were my points. The CLC's are a poor value, inefficient and over-rated. One leak can cost you hundreds of dollars is damaged PC hardware.
  • Mediarocker - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Inefficient? Hardly. They perform as well as most air coolers, with the exception of the giant Noctunas and ETC. but when it comes down to it, and you need space savings these are perfect for the job.

    So no they aren't of a Poor Value, and aren't inefficient and over-rated. They just don't belong in YOUR market segment.

    Just because you don't have any use for it doesn't mean that they don't have a place to belong.

    Nevertheless these CLC's won't leak as easily due to there being less user error. The CLC's are sealed shut. So leaking is highly improbable without there being some abuse involved, E.G. taking a screwdriver to the rad accidentally.

    Take your fears elsewhere. It's been established that you are afraid of liquid cooling and prefer air cooling. That is entirely alright, but don't dismiss the merits of CLC cooling just because it has no use for you.
  • jed22281 - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    All-in-one's from Swiftech (latest rev H20-220 etc) & similar specialist vendors are far better performers than the H100.
    And they're more flexible when it comes to adding your own tweaks/improvements etc.
  • jed22281 - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    Pop over to xtremesystems where everyone talks about nothing but water-cooling.
    And they'll recommended it any day over the sealed loops from Corsair.
  • Fastidious - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    Why not include some good cheap air heat sinks as well for comparison as well? I really don't see how this is recommended by Anandtech, very expensive with no major advantages along with added complexity and danger of leaks. It also seems impossible to refill these if they are losing liquid? They do have nice 5 year warranties but I suspect most air heat sinks will last much longer.
  • Iketh - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    heat pipes would need refilling if they leaked too... your point is moot
  • kyuu - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    Part of the whole point of closed-loop (these) vs. open-loop water-cooling is that they are much less complex (from the article, it seems that they're actually easier to mount than many traditional air HSFs), and, since they're sealed, there should be no danger of leaks (unless the unit is defective, in which case I'd assume the warranty should cover replacement of any damaged components). And of course it's impossible to refill them... again, they're sealed. You shouldn't have to worry about loss of liquid for the same reason.

    Personally, I love the idea of the CLCs (water-cooling performance without the expense, trouble, and risk of an open loop water-cooling setup), but unfortunately it's just not there yet. While it does provide a good alternative to mounting bulky, heavy air-coolers, you still have to pay a premium to get merely competitive performance with cheaper airs.

    Hopefully, soon they'll be able to get these to outperform air-coolers as a water-cooler should.
  • mrjoltcola - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    Maybe I missed it, but I see no mention of fan direction / configuration. For the H60 in particular it is important to mount the fan to push into the case/radiator.

    The H100 + 600T is really not the best test for that cooler. I reported this to Corsair tech support after I bought the combo, and they wouldn't even admit there was a problem. The grille between the top slot and the radiator causes major turbulence if you mount the fans to push into the case the fans vibrate like crazy. I had to do the same thing Jared did, leave the top grille off. Unacceptable for the money spent, considering Corsair claims compatibility. They were no help, though.

    I opted to buy a 650D to move my rig into, but Corsair messed up with the 600T. Most of their other cases are perfect for the H100, though.

    I'd like to see AT test the H100 without that inefficient 600T grille, in a case that actually sets up for it like the 650D.

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