Corsair Hydro H110i GT - AiO water cooling in the test

Today we end our little round-up on all-in-one water cooling for CPUs with the Corsair Hydro H110i GT. The H110i GT is the youngest Corsair offshoot in this segment and at the same time the flagship of the manufacturer and aims to provide the best cooling performance with the best possible background noise. Our test today will clarify whether this will succeed.

Intro

Since twelve years (Attention: retro! 😉) Corsair is on the road in the segment of all-in-one water cooling for CPUs and has a lot of experience over this time. While the manufacturer's Hydrocool 200 is more reminiscent of the beginnings of the first mobile phones, developments in this segment have of course also changed, refined and ultimately improved. Of course, the size of a smartphone has not yet been reached, but smartphone manufacturers will certainly change that in the coming years.

But joke aside. With the Hydro H110i GT, Corsair is replacing its predecessor, the H100, which was quite successful. The H110i GT comes with a dual-fan radiator that can hold two 140 mm fans. Of course, you play in the high-end area of ​​AiO water cooling.

The fan control is not left to the mainboard, but the PWM control is integrated into the cooler unit and connects it to the own software, which offers a number of options via the integrated USB port.

However, the competition on the market has grown quite a bit and so the manufacturer has to prove where you can position yourself with your own product against the strong competition. Our test clears up all questions.

Bookmark (CPU) cooler: Know-how

Test environment

Hardware

Test candidates:

  • Corsair Hydro H110i GT

Reference cooler being tested

We recently had our new test stand in ours CPU cooler reboot article presents. To put the new test stand to the test, we used a total of 14 coolers of different designs. There are smaller as well as larger models, younger and older models. But the old representatives are still available on the market and can prove how the cooler segment has developed in recent years.

Of course, you will always miss one or the other favorite. Unfortunately, we cannot eliminate this fact in our consideration. As soon as options and rooms are available, we complete the comparison list. But the selected portfolio should actually be able to offer everyone a basis for assessment.

Hardware components:

The choice of the above components has been made with care. Besides the fact that the Gaming series MSI board When it comes to an enthusiast mainboard that leaves little to be desired on the feature list, there were two other main reasons for our decision. On the one hand, after various test runs, it showed that it did exactly what we asked it to do - be it voltages and clock rates or sufficient space in the area of ​​the socket and the distance to the PCI Express slot so that expansive coolers can also be used. We will come to the keyword socket keepout area later in the test.

We left the fan control curve - preset in the BIOS - in the delivery state. This applies to the speed behavior and the volume shown later.

The choice of the less spectacular Kingston DDR3 memory was also made for two reasons. On the one hand, the test phases showed that it works absolutely stable with the motherboard, on the other hand, the memory comes with flat heat spreaders, so that we run less risk of a bulging CPU cooler colliding with bulging heat spreaders. Oh yes: Visually, Kingston's Gray series also fitted a lot better.

For the actual heart of the test, we chose the aforementioned Core i5 processor, which is still in an affordable price range and is therefore likely to be more widely used than the more expensive i7 models or even those for the Socket 2011 platform.

Contrary to some instructions on the net regarding overclocking the new Haswell processors, we took a different, simpler path. We overclock the CPU to a maximum at the turbo clock and increase the multiplier there. So that sufficient temperature development is guaranteed and the clock rates are kept stable, we increase the pure core voltage to 1,3 volts and at the same time set the power limits (long duration and slow duration) to 155 and 165 watts, respectively. In this way, we ensure that the turbo cycle does not drop when there is sufficient cooling, and at the same time that it is reduced when the cooler is no longer powerful enough. Rather, with this approach, we ensure that we produce a power consumption of more than 125 watts and thus of course reach corresponding temperature regions in which the test coolers can prove themselves.

Other hardware:

  • Power adapter: be quiet! Straight power 680 watts
  • Hard disk: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 500 GB
  • Drive: Samsung USB DVD Burner Model SE-S084
  • Housing: Cooler Master LAB (Benchtable)

One last word applies to our open test stand. Since there is practically no PC case that could be representative of the home user in any way, we rely on an open test stand. Depending on the housing used at home, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage. With well thought-out case ventilation, some coolers should show themselves better in terms of noise behavior, in average concepts probably on the level of the open test stand and in poorly ventilated cases with clear disadvantages. But that, in turn, is all dependent on many factors, and since this is so, we see a reasonable and reproducible way of doing these tests with our test stand.

However, we can currently attest that with the hardware used, the temperatures are usually driven into those areas where the fans have to reach their limits. Only carefully ventilated cases could optimize the cooling behavior here.

Software and test procedures

    • Windows 7 32-Bit - SP1 including all updates up to February 2014
    • NVIDIA GeForce / ION driver version 314.07 WHQL
    • DirectX as of June 2010

Tools

  • AIDA Extreme
  • Core2MaxPerf
  • CoreTemp
  • LinX
  • TES V: Skyrim

In addition to major changes in the hardware, we have also made fundamental adjustments to the software and the determination of the CPU core temperatures.

Load conditions:

We have now decided to work with a total of four instead of three scenarios, which - apart from load-free operation - represent worst-case scenarios for the CPU.

The applied load times are 15 minutes in idle and in LinX, and the last 60 seconds are averaged over all values. The load pickups with Skyrim and Core2MaxPerf are held for 30 minutes and the last five minutes are averaged. To do this, we log the temperatures completely over the running time via AIDA Extreme and at the end only give a temperature of the four processor cores. Under Idle, C2MP and Skyrim we give the averaged value of the recorded average temperatures, under LinX the average value of the maximum temperature values.

Why four scenarios?

The Idle value is obvious. If the PC has nothing to do or if it is only lightly loaded with office applications or surfing, it is less important to know how warm the processor will be, but rather how loud the cooler's fan is. We cover this area with this recording, which is taken 15 minutes after the system start.

This represents another category of daily PC use 3D games A large part of the younger generation likes to use the PC as a basis for gaming, since there potentially better picture quality can be offered compared to consoles. But at this point you have to differentiate between the applications. There are games that are very graphics card-heavy and demand very little from the processor. However, there are also games that paint the opposite picture and those that require both components in the course of the gameplay. To do this, we set out again to get hold of a suitable worst-case scenario. By this one should understand that this is only the worst case of the cases, which is permanently not to be found in the game. For this purpose, we have chosen a position in Skyrim where we can generate a lot of load on all four CPU cores and which runs through over a period of 30 minutes.

This is followed by the use of Core2MaxPerf as the next level of difficulty. Our measurements have shown that this synthetic load tool behaves in roughly the same way as when you ask the PC to Videos using handbrake to convert. From our point of view, this represents another common area of ​​everyday PC life and is more or less perfectly emulated by this procedure. There are actually no harder applications in everyday life today.

Core2MaxPerf and Coretemp in action

Finally, there are still special programs from the scientific fieldwhich can use the main processor of a system powerfully and excessively; even higher than the previously mentioned applications. One such case is LinX, which performs such calculations as an example. In our comparison, LinX represents the worst case for a CPU - and actually the best explanation for why you might need a very powerful CPU cooler.

A bit of office processing, surfing the Internet and reading e-mails also fall out of a meaningful consideration, as one moves in these areas practically on load-free operation for processors, which with their sophisticated energy saving measures usually work at the lowest clock frequency .

Benchmark scene Skyrim

However, there is certainly another area of ​​application that many users indulge in every day: Computer Games. Usually it is precisely this area - the gaming scene - that manufacturers of accessories from the cooler sector want to address in particular. We have therefore also selected a game title for today's test, which is supposed to cover this practical test as an example. We chose a representative through the previous selection who loads the processor sufficiently without being completely CPU-heavy. A large number of current game titles should not demand the (four-core) processor as much as we do in our test.

Note: The results of the newly selected test scene in Skyrim are of course not comparable with the results of the earlier tests.

Fan control:

All manufacturers offer fan controls for the fan connections on today's motherboards. However, they usually have nothing in common with each other, and so the fan control on our MSI mainboard is certainly different from that of ASUS, ASRock or Gigabyte, for example. There are no specifications from the CPU manufacturer, and therefore each manufacturer cooks its own soup.

Modern fans are primarily only equipped with 4-pin PWM fans. In a few cases, however, you come across 3-pin models that do not support pulse width modulation. While earlier motherboards offered the option of being able to regulate 3-pin models, we had to find out with the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming that apparently only 4-pin fans are regulated here.

The control curve is kept very flat up to 40 ° C and then rises steeply in the range between 40 and 70 ° C. From a CPU temperature of 70 ° C, the control system tries to counteract these temperatures by means of maximum speed. In view of the variety of coolers on the market, we think the settings made make sense. In individual cases manual interventions - adapted to your own case cooling system and the CPU cooler - could have a positive effect on the noise behavior. Of course, our test cannot cover these situations.

temperature fluctuations

Our tests are carried out at a room temperature of 20 to 21 ° C. Of course, there are temperature fluctuations in the immediate area of ​​the test station due to the hardware's own heat generation. Fluctuations in room temperature, even in midsummer, are not to be feared in our measurements because we are working with an air conditioning system.

Hardware: special features

Meters

We like to use high-quality measuring devices in our tests. Volume measuring stations, thermographic cameras, infrared thermometers, clamp ammeters or simply voltage measuring devices (voltmeters) are used.

Depending on the area and purpose, we sometimes rely on well-known manufacturers such as Fluke or Tenma, in other cases also on Conrad's own Voltcraft brand. When it comes to noise emissions, we use special devices from ulteeaudiotechnikwhich enable us to carry out sone measurements in addition to dB (A) measurements. Further details on the measurement technology we use can be found here.

Recording of the background noise

In addition to the cooling behavior, the background noise from the combination of cooler and fan is an essential criterion for assessing such a product. Regular readers should know that we have specialized in this segment. As a rule, our measurements can hardly be compared with the results of most other publications, because they mostly use inexpensive hand-held measuring devices in the 100 to 200 euro price range, the microphone noise of which starts at around 30 dB (A) . In this respect, it is hardly surprising why quiet values ​​are given as 30 dB (A) in such comparisons, although a standardized 30 dB (A) value is anything but quiet.

In addition, in order to meet or at least approximate the norm, such measurements lack a low-reflection room and all too often information on the distance is missing. A dB (A) value without specifying the distance to the test subject must be understood as a standard value, and this corresponds to a distance of one meter.

Our current device DAASUSB from the house ulteeaudiotechnik is in a significantly higher price segment and offers us the opportunity to take significantly more precise measurements.

The calibrated device allows us to take measurements in the dB (A) and sone range, and we give the measurement results, as usual, standardized, which corresponds to a distance of one meter. In addition, the test subjects are measured in a kind of anechoic room.

The spectral analyzes also allow an impression of the spectral distribution of the level of a fan in combination with the radiator of the individual test candidates and show how the combinations behave in the different frequency ranges.

Spectral analysis of a test candidate

In order to be able to quickly see the essential values ​​in the spectral analysis, we have marked the detailed field information here with red arrows. The measured value in dB (A) and sone is shown at the top right and the information on the load condition at the bottom - in the middle. Next to it on the right, we list the test subject's fan speed.

In addition, of course, the actual graph provides clear clues to die-hard connoisseurs. Stochastic signals (random signals as defined in the acoustic range) in the range up to around 700 Hz are less misperceived by most people than in the more sensitive range (around 1.000 to 4.000 Hz). In addition, tonal signals in the range from around 200 Hz upwards can significantly impair subjective perception and be perceived as unpleasant (a so-called whistling tone as an example).

However, experience in this sector in recent years has taught us that larger CPU fans are much more gentle on our hearing in those areas. The age of the booming 40, 60 and 80 mm fans is over. Nowadays, hardly any cooler manufacturer starts developing below a diameter of 92 mm.

The test candidate at a glance

Key data and scope of delivery

Key data Corsair Hydro H110i GT
Cooler type Compact water cooling
Dimensions (W x H x D) radiator 322 * 140 * 27 mm
Length of tubes (measured) about 380 mm
Total weight (measured) about 1.280 grams
Material Radiator aluminum, cooler copper
Fan Pump SATA power connector; Fan 4-pin connectors
Fan dimensions 140 * 140 * 25 mm
Fan speed (measured) 550 to 2.100 revolutions per minute (+/- 10%)
Airflow maximum approx. 192 m³ / h (per fan)
Noise behavior (manufacturer information) 43 dB (A)
Features USB connection, software, illuminated logo
Pump (measured) around 2.300 RPM
Socket Compatibility - AMD AM2, AM2 +, AM3, AM3 +, FM1, FM2, FM2 +
Socket Compatibility - Intel LGA 1155, 1150, 1156, 2011, 1366
What's in the box Cooler, fan, instructions, mounting material
Street price (as of 19.04.2015/XNUMX/XNUMX) around 125 euros

Like practically all manufacturers of compact water coolers, Corsair works with a mixture of materials. The base plate of the cooler (cooling surface) is made of copper, the radiator is made of black painted aluminum. To prevent chemical reactions, water additives are added to the coolant. Obviously, this works quite well for the manufacturers - this is also supported by Corsair's limited warranty of five years.

In addition, the necessary assembly material for all possible current CPU sockets is of course supplied. The thermal paste is applied once. Once installed, you need new paste from your own inventory if you want to install the system on a new CPU or in a new system. In this price range we would have wished that additional paste had been added to the scope of delivery.

A special feature is the USB connection on the pump, which can be connected to a free internal USB port using a USB cable. Not only can various system states be monitored using the manufacturer's link software, but it is also possible to illuminate the pump in different colors.

The price is based on the upper segment. The cheapest prices currently start at around 125 euros (which is also due to the exchange rate to the US dollar). This is of course a proud price, but there are also shown solutions that operate well above this price.

Impressions

Perhaps at the beginning you have to state that Corsair does not build such AiO cooling itself - like most providers of such solutions. Corsair is involved in the developments, contributes the basic ideas and wishes, and commissions manufacturers to manufacture and implement them. So far, Corsair has relied on products from the manufacturer CoolIT with its last AiO water coolers. Now the name of the manufacturer has changed to Asetek - a sonorous name in the scene. As a result, the H110i GT is now based on previous Corsair experiences and developments with CoolIT, now combined with influences and options that are offered with the new paver.

Materials and radiator size remain very similar to identical to their predecessors, with slight to clear changes to the pump.

The copper cooling surface has remained, but there is now a fan control throughout the entire cooling block, which was missing in previous top models. There is also a USB port that can be connected to an internal USB port on the mainboard using the cable supplied and then works with the Corsair Link software.

The pump housing has also changed a bit as a result and has been expanded by means of a plastic attachment, in which the control logic mentioned is probably located. The upper end is a gray inlay, which bears the Corsair lettering and optically matches the color of the new fans.

As already mentioned, Corsair has already applied the thermal paste to the cooling surface. There is no additional paste in the scope of delivery.

In terms of its dimensions, the new Corsair radiator is reminiscent of products previously shown. The radiator has a length of 322 mm and a thickness of only 27 mm. The supplied fans correspond to a dimension of 140 * 140 * 25 mm and are optically well chosen for the design. Not only the color variant adapts to the pump, but also the silver stripe with the Corsair logo integrated into the radiator.

There is also an innovation in the power connection of the pump. This is now supplied by a SATA power adapter. These plug connections are currently common and less fiddly than the previously used 4-pin Molex connections. A 3-pin connector is also included, but here it is not used for power supply, but only for monitoring the pump speed.

In addition, there are two 4-pin PWM connections to which the two 140 mm fans are to be connected, which are then controlled by the integrated electronics.

Assembly

We have come to a point at which the question arises as to what the assembly instructions are good for. For experienced users, the system leaves hardly any questions unanswered, and the instructions are only rarely required. For less experienced users, however, more is needed.

The fact that the screw holes for the mounting module (backplate) can be set variably first became clear to us relatively quickly, but this does not apply to the 08/15 user, and in the instructions we did not get any exact information about the position in which they should be move to mount them on the respective CPU sockets.

This is a weak point in the manual, but at the same time we would like to positively mention that the manual is relatively extensive and does not lie carelessly in the box as a leaflet that is printed too small. But what use is it in the result if it doesn't answer the questions?

After the correct alignment of the screw holes in the module was found, the assembly went more or less easily by hand. The enclosed spacer bolts, which fix the module to the mainboard, are correctly described and can therefore be easily found. They can be screwed in by hand, but then offer a certain desired leeway for the module on the mainboard.

This changes as soon as the mounting frame (also sensibly described) is placed on the pump area and screwed tight with these spacer screws using knurled screws.

Note: If you tighten the knurled screws with a screwdriver, you also increase the screw-in point of the spacer screws. These can then no longer be loosened without tools (suitable hexagon wrench or pliers).

The contact pressure on the CPU appeared to us to be relatively low when attaching it, compared to other solutions we have seen so far. But in practice - as will be seen - our concerns will be dispelled.

Finally, all that remains is to create the power supply. We like the fact that Corsair has separated from the typical 4-pin Molex connectors on the power supply and instead provides a SATA power connector on the power supply. These can be connected more simply and securely and are less fiddly due to the lack of wobbly pins in the connector. The 3-pin connection, coupled to this cable harness, is not used for a power supply, but only for monitoring the pump.

There are also two 4-pin PWM connections - provided with protective caps - which must be connected to the 4-pin connections of the PWM fans. The fan speed is regulated via the electronics integrated in the H110i-GT pump unit.

You can use the USB port on the pump, but you don't have to. This connection, made with the supplied cable and an internal USB port, ensures that the Corsair Link software can monitor, determine and output data. It also allows the logo on the pump to be illuminated in a different color.

The software is powerful, offers a wide range of monitoring options, but is not always available immediately. The presentation was adapted to Corsair components (here a case in the background), but all the optical gimmicks actually distract a little from the core point. Here we would rather have a straight line, based on the essential main points, and optionally more in-depth settings in submenus, which can be selected if desired.

Test results

Speed ​​behavior

Particular attention is paid to the speed behavior and thus the PWM control (pulse width modulation). For several years now, the CPU fan has been controlled by the mainboard, depending on the temperature in a "curve" programmed by the manufacturer. Depending on the design, the finally measured temperature or volume differs significantly. There is no specification from either Intel or AMD, so that every motherboard manufacturer can implement their own ideas, which is done diligently. Sometimes changes can only occur from one BIOS version to another, but at least from one model to another.

Many manufacturers have also integrated the option of adapting the PWM control to their own parameters. In this constellation, we typically only use two of the parameters: Fan control deactivated or activated. Some modern motherboards are currently no longer able to control 3-pin fans - this effort has been abandoned in favor of the common 4-pin fans.

The following table gives us an overview of the behavior of the test candidates consulted today (in alphabetical order):

System status: Idle Games (max.) Core2MaxPerf full load
Unit: RPM RPM RPM RPM
Noctua NH-U14S 405 1.290 1.460 1.448
Noctua NH-D15 425 1.370 1.500 1.500
Phanteks PH-TC14PE 1.222 1.204 1.208 1.216
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate 1.038 1.362 1.664 1.848
NZXT Kraken X31 [lowest regulation] 720 720 720 720
NZXT Kraken X31 [PWM-controlled fan] 720 1.740 1.920 1.920
NZXT Kraken X41 [lowest control level] 870 870 870 870
NZXT Kraken X41 [PWM-controlled fan] 870 1.988 1.988 1.988
NZXT Kraken X61 [lowest control level] 800 800 800 800
NZXT Kraken X61 [PWM-controlled fan] 800 1.970 1.970 1.970
Raijintek Triton [manual control options] 544-2.600 544-2.600 544-2.600 544-2.600
Corsair Hydro H110i GT 550 1.100 1.200 1.200 (2.100 max.)

To determine the readout options of the motherboard as well as a Voltcraft DT2L / K digital speedometer used. The latter is used to compare the information provided by the monitoring software and as a control.

As mentioned, Corsair is positioning itself differently with the H110i GT than we have known so far. Of course, it would still be possible to connect and control the two 140 mm fans via the mainboard, but the internal implementation offers its own fan control. We show the speeds encountered on our system in the table above. We do not have exact information about the fan control curve used by Corsair. However, the table clearly shows that the possible maximum of around 2.100 RPM per fan is not reached.

Temperature behavior

Idle - dormant desktop

Temperatures

Idle: Windows desktop

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

22,4
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

22,8
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

22,8
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

22,9
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

22,9
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

22,9
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

23,0
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

23,5
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

23,7
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

23,7
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

24,1
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

24,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

24,6
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

25,5
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

25,7
Noctua NH-U14S

26,3
centigrade

As already indicated elsewhere, here again to clarify: It is basically completely the same whether the cooler cools the four CPU cores at an average of 23 or 30 ° C in idle mode. Far more interesting and important in this operating state is the background noise with which it works. After all, what use are the few degrees Celsius difference if the fan is constantly annoying at high volume?

The temperature behavior of the Corsair implementation shown is therefore initially irrelevant. Due to the fan curve selected by the manufacturer, which goes hand in hand with the integrated control, both fans rotate in the range of around 550 to 570 RPM and are whisper-quiet.

Games - worst case

Temperatures

The Elder scrolls: Skyrim

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

55,9
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

56,5
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

57,5
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

58,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

58,9
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

59,0
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

59,4
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

60,3
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

60,7
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

61,0
Noctua NH-U14S

61,6
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

61,7
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

62,6
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

63,4
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

63,6
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

71,6
centigrade

In games, we saw a maximum of 1.100 revolutions per minute for the two fans in the worst-case behavior of our approach. This means a clear increase in the background noise that can now also be heard from a closed system, but the implementation is still relatively pleasant.

The temperature behavior between the version with regulated fans and fans set manually at the lowest level changes of course - surprisingly, however, within an absolutely acceptable framework. 58 to 63 ° C - these are the facts, and of course we are still a long way from the real limits of temperature.

Video encoding simulated

Temperatures

Core2MaxPerf

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

64,9
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

65,9
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

66,7
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

67,0
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

67,6
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

67,9
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

69,2
Noctua NH-U14S

69,4
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

69,9
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

70,2
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

70,8
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

71,3
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

72,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

74,2
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

74,5
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

83,2
centigrade

The picture changes again with a higher CPU load on four cores. This shows a speed behavior of around 1.200 RPM - ultimately the maximum that we could measure on our system. In theory, the fans still have potential up to 2.100 RPM. And we can still attest that we were not confronted with noise, but rather surprisingly with a pleasant operating noise.

In the temperature range, of course, we are now moving to higher regions, but still not in any questionable areas. We like both variants of the Corsair H110i GT very much in this segment, especially with regard to the noise behavior.

Full load - mathematical calculations

Temperatures

Simulated full load:

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

72,3
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

76,3
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

76,3
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

76,3
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

76,3
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

79,0
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

79,3
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

79,5
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

81,0
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

82,0
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

84,3
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

84,8
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

87,0
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

88,0
Noctua NH-U14S

88,8
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

92,8
centigrade

The lines we wrote earlier also apply here, because as noted, the speed did not rise above the 1.200 RPM, which we also decreased with the fans under video encoding load.

Of course, other AiO solutions are “supposedly” more efficient in the temperature range. However, this is simply due to the applied speed of the fans used! This of course makes the volume a really important factor in assessing the various candidates.

Background noise: sound pressure (dB (A))

The Corsair Hydro H110i GT comes in its current presentation with its own fan control, which we of course include in the consideration. At the same time, we were interested in the potential of the cooling solution, which is why we also presented measurements with the lowest fan speed for the previous chapter.

But in addition to the fans, AiO water cooling also has a pump, which lets the water circulate in the circuit and creates a certain background noise that is often higher than the volume of the lowest fan speed of the fans.

The pump of the H110i GT achieves a very good 12,8 dB (A) (0,81 sone) in terms of noise development, which in practice means the best result for pumps from AiO solutions so far. When viewed frankly, the pump noise is no longer audible to a healthy human ear from a distance of one meter. It is completely lost in the overall level of a PC, especially if the fans themselves, which are located on the walls of the case, are already working louder.

We also like the behavior of the two 140 mm fans very much. Corsair gives maximum values ​​of 43 dB (A), which we have never encountered in practice in our system. In idle we saw a "measly" 14,4 dB (A) or 0,97 sone. Both may pass as whisper-quiet - based on a distance of one meter and in any case imperceptible in the closed housing. This whisper-quiet value therefore also applies to all temperature measurements in the manual control state.

Thanks to the integrated control, we achieve a maximum of 25,7 dB (A) under gaming load, and 27,9 dB (A) under video encoding and maximum CPU load. These are values ​​from which other manufacturers should first learn a bit. The results can be seen clearly, even from a closed case, but they can be described as relatively quiet and not very annoying under load.

Idle - dormant desktop

Volume (sound pressure - dB (A))

Idle: Windows desktop

Noctua NH-U14S

8,9
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

9,0
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

10,8
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

14,4
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

14,4
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

15,8
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

15,8
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

15,9
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

15,9
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

17,5
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

21,4
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

21,4
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

21,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

24,7
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

27,7
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

47,0
dB (A)

Games - worst case

Volume (sound pressure - dB (A))

The Elder scrolls: Skyrim (Outdoor)

Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

14,4
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

15,8
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

15,9
Noctua NH-U14S

20,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

21,4
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

21,6
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

23,5
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

25,7
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

26,8
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

27,4
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

27,7
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

29,1
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

29,3
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

35,7
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

39,8
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

47,0
dB (A)

Video encoding and full load

Volume (sound pressure - dB (A))

Core2MaxPerf

Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

14,4
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

15,8
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

15,9
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

21,4
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

21,6
Noctua NH-U14S

24,3
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

27,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

27,7
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

27,9
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

28,3
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

29,1
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

29,2
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

31,2
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

35,7
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

39,8
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

47,0
dB (A)

Full load - mathematical calculations

Volume (sound pressure - dB (A))

Simulated full load:

Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

14,4
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

15,8
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

15,9
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

21,4
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

21,6
Noctua NH-U14S

24,3
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

27,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

27,7
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

27,9
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

28,3
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

29,1
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

31,2
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

33,3
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

35,7
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

39,8
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

47,0
dB (A)

One can probably state here that Corsair has found the best solution from home in terms of cooling and background noise. These are probably also the prerequisites that can be placed on AiO cooling for everyone. So far, installing and feeling at home has been the best fit here. Fine adjustment is of course also possible here.

Background noise: Loudness (sone)

We present the sone considerations to complete our results. In doing so, sone would like to present a subjectively clearer value, which we cannot grasp either through spectral analyzes or other facts.

It may be interesting that the test candidates were reloaded for the first sone measurement years later, but their assessment of the loudness was completely different from years before. "Sone" crap! Jokes aside: sone is a quantification based on field trials with humans. An evaluation option was derived from this, which should come close to human perception. The evaluation schemes resulting from such an approach are always subject to a certain change as a function of time. Translated: The aging of people naturally also contributes to the fact that noises are perceived in a different form, perhaps as quieter, perhaps as louder, and so the previous inventory of these people has its corners.

Nevertheless, sone remains a value that is gladly seen today, and that's why we show it too.

Idle - dormant desktop

Volume (loudness - sone)

Idle: Windows desktop

Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

0,5
Noctua NH-U14S

0,6
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

0,6
NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

1,0
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

1,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

1,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

1,0
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

1,1
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

1,1
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

1,2
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

1,6
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

1,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

1,7
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

2,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

2,6
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

9,4
sonnet

Games - worst case

Volume (loudness - sone)

The Elder scrolls: Skyrim (Outdoor)

NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

1,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

1,0
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

1,1
Noctua NH-U14S

1,4
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

1,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

1,7
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

1,9
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

1,9
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

2,3
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

2,5
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

2,6
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

2,6
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

2,6
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

4,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

5,9
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

9,4
sonnet

Video encoding and full load

Volume (loudness - sone)

Core2MaxPerf

NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

1,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

1,0
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

1,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

1,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

1,7
Noctua NH-U14S

2,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

2,1
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

2,4
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

2,5
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

2,6
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

2,6
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

2,9
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

3,1
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

4,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

5,9
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

9,4
sonnet

Full load - mathematical calculations

Volume (loudness - sone)

Simulated full load:

NZXT Kraken X31
[lowest regulation]

1,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Fan manual at 580 RPM]

1,0
NZXT Kraken X41
[lowest control level]

1,1
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 544 RPM]

1,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[lowest control level]

1,7
Noctua NH-U14S

2,0
Corsair Hydro H110i GT
[Default]

2,1
NZXT Kraken X31
[PWM controlled fan]

2,4
Noctua NH-D15
[1 fans]

2,5
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 1220 RPM]

2,6
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

2,6
Noctua NH-D15
[2 fans]

3,1
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

3,8
NZXT Kraken X41
[PWM controlled fan]

4,6
NZXT Kraken X61
[PWM controlled fan]

5,9
Raijintek Triton
[Fan 2600 RPM]

9,4
sonnet

Summary

Test scoring Corsair Hydro H110i GT
Scope of delivery / options +
Documentation o
compatibility ++
Assembly ++
Cooling capacity (lowest control level) ++
Cooling capacity (maximum control level in the test) ++
Volume load (lowest control level) ++
Volume load (middle control level in the test) +
Volume load (maximum control level in the test) +
Price o

Evaluation options: ++ [very good] / + [good] / o [satisfactory] / - [very bad] / - [bad]

Amazon price around 165 euros Price search engine approx. 124 euros Manufacturer product page

Our short round-up on AiO water cooling for CPUs ends with the brand new Corsair H110i GT for CPUs. In summary, we have to state that in our eyes this was the best and most compact overall appearance so far. Corsair has incorporated its many years of knowledge in the field of water coolers into the new product, as well as the options offered by the new Asetek paver.

The product, which is located in the high-end cooler segment, scores absolutely points in terms of cooling performance and volume and, in addition, does not let the less experienced layman down in its approach. Manually adjusted fan control curves are hardly necessary, but are of course possible as an option.

The specialty of the Hydro H110i GT lies in the integrated PWM fan control and its internal implementation of the control curve, which manages the balancing act between volume and cooling. But even as quiet as a whisper, manually set to the lowest control level, the cooling capacity is still absolutely sufficient to adequately cool our test system. After that there is really only potential for higher cooling performance, and that is offered in full.

Installation is easy - the manual could still be better. In terms of compatibility, of course, no compromises are made, and we can only complain petty about the scope of delivery by complaining about the lack of additional thermal paste for re-assemblies - complaints at the highest level. In addition, we like the processing of the candidates so far best. If you build an AiO CPU cooler with water, then you should do it exactly as Corsair has implemented.

The price is of course proud and the availability is currently not really perfect. At Amazon, the Hydro H110i GT is said to cost over 165 euros, but providers in price search engines can already be found with offers from 125 euros. Let's look up here in comparison NZXT's Kraken X61 With prices starting at 150 euros, the Corsair product appears as a bargain. Let us, however, consider Thermalright's powerful solution with the Water 3.0 Ultimate, we see no better cooling performance at just under 140 euros, only a higher volume. This means that the price of the H110i GT is absolutely okay for us in this segment of hardware. The model definitely deserves a recommendation due to its strengths.

[pg], April 21, 2015

About David Maul

David Maul is a qualified business IT specialist with a passion for hardware