Corsair H80i Water Cooling System Review

The test rig consists of the following parts:

Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 EVO
Video Card: SPARKLE Calibre Series X480 GeForce GTX 480
Memory: Corsair Vengence 8 GB @ 1600mhz
Power Supply: High Power Astro PT 700w
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB Running Windows 8 64bit
Cooling: Corsair H80i
Case: Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

Testing was done using Intel Burn Test (IBT) with the AVX instruction set. The reason I use this instead of Prime95 with this setup is that it pushes our i5 2500K a whole lot harder, giving us a better sense of load temps. Most of the testing was done at the high memory setting for a single pass. While admittedly this in no way would qualify the chip as stable when overclocking, it gives us a realistic idea of what temps it will be hitting.

Here are the stock cooler results:

Ambient temps: 22.22C/71.99F
Idle temps: 31.25C/88.25F core average
IBT temps: 78.5C/173.3F core average

Next I ran the H80i through the exact same test at the same motherboard settings:

Ambient temps: 16.67C/62F
Idle temps: 26C/78.8F core average
IBT temps: 49C/120.2F core average

Corsair H80i Water Cooling System Corsair H80i Water Cooling System


As we have been finding and is actually normal with liquid cooling the idle temps tend to be higher than even Intels air cooler. However when you get under load these units absolutely blow them away.

With the stock results in hand it’s time to find out what this 120mm AIO cooler can do when we push our CPU.

And after a not so lengthy overclocking session I quickly found what it’s limits are.

Ambient temps: 16.67C/62F
Max overclock: 4.8 ghz/1.424V vCore
IBT temps: 78C/172.4F core average with one core hitting 83C

Corsair H80i Water Cooling System


While not a bad overclock, I have to say that I actually expected a little better results. With a low ambient temperature and the fans set to performance mode using the Corsair Link software this isn’t that great of an overclock. Also with the fans at this setting they are nearly as loud as a single propeller Cessna airplane! That is to say, they are loud. Much louder than you would want them to be for everyday use at least.

I wanted to see what could be achieved at either end of the fan speed spectrum. Setting the fans to max speed mode, they kit 2500rpm and went from sounding like single prop Cessna to a C130 military transport.

Corsair H80i Water Cooling System

As you can see it did drop the temps to an average of 75C with 80C as it’s single highest core temp. This could actually provide the headroom to possibly hit 4.9ghz, though it would never be worth the noise.

The other end of the spectrum is quiet mode. With the fans just edging over 1000 rpm they were basically inaudible and quite pleasant. Unfortunately they weren’t enough to keep up with the 4.8 ghz overclock we had applied.

Corsair H80i Water Cooling System

With an average core tempe of 81C and a single core hitting 87C I had to end the test about halfway in. It seems that with the fans at this speed you would be limited to the 4.6-4.7ghz range, which is still a decent overclock at a very acceptable noise level.

I would like to point out one really neat feature of the H80i that we have courtesy of the Corsiar Link software, which is LED control on the pump. Through the software you have complete end user control over the full spectrum of colors. You can even set the software to rotate through them and limit which colors you would like to see or not see. You can even turn the LED off altogether.

Corsair H80i Water Cooling System Corsair H80i Water Cooling System Corsair H80i Water Cooling System Corsair H80i Water Cooling System

It’s really so simple, but allows this unit to fit into any build color scheme with ease.