Corsair H100i RGB Platinum Review: More Color, Less Cooler

Corsair has lifted the cover on their new line of RGB coolers, with their 240 AIO model being christened the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum.  As expected, the pump housing and each of the 120mm fans provide multiple LED RGB lighting effects aimed at providing a user-controlled, lighting environment inside your PC case. 


Unfortunately, Corsair’s focus on providing RGB ambiance and flair with the H100i RGB Platinum doesn't make up for otherwise lackluster cooling performance that is easily bested by the H110i RGB Platinum’s sibling, the H100i Pro at a fraction of the cost.

Intel and AMD fans can rejoice in the fact that the H100i RGB Platinum’s standard mounting kit supports hardware options for every current-generation CPU, including Threadripper. Previously, most AIO coolers have had minimal (or no) support for AMD socket TR4, and if it did it was typically only as an add-on. The included micro-B USB cable that interfaces the H100i RGB Platinum to the PC is only viable as a 9-pin USB motherboard header; there is not a 9-pin to USB Type-A adapter to connect with a typical USB port, although one could be sourced if you look hard enough

Specifications

Thickness

1.11 inches / 25.1mm (2.28 inches / 57.9mm with fans)

Width

4.75 inches / 120.65mm

Depth

11 inches / 279.4mm

Pump Height

1.46 inches / 37.08mm

Speed Controller

Software, BIOS

Cooling Fans

(2) 120 x 25mm

Connectors

(1) SATA
(2) 4-pin PWM
(2) 4-pin RGB
(1) Micro-USB

Weight

67.8oz / 1,921g

Intel Sockets

2066, 2011x, 1366, 115x

AMD Sockets

AM2(+), AM3(+) AM4, FM1, FM2(+), TR4

Warranty

5 years

The distinct, blocky pump housing with the silver and black color scheme and back-lit Corsair logo is the central focus of the H100i RGB Platinum, and while the pump is technically PWM controlled, it can only be managed from the Corsair iCUE software suite via the supplied micro-USB cable. As expected, RGB lighting controls, thermal monitoring and firmware are also driven over USB through Corsair’s iCUE user interface (UI).

The base of the H100i RGB Platinum is milled from copper with a smooth, satin finish and a splotch of pre-applied thermal compound, although we’ve cleaned it for better visual representation of the block mating surface (above). The pair of 90-degree swivel fittings allow some flexibility to block orientation and tube routing during installation.

The H100i RGB Platinum’s mounting plate system is a snap-fit solution. Each socket bracket pair slides around a channel groove in the block base and secures the pump base to the mounting hardware. Swapping these plates out simply requires sliding the existing bracket plates apart and away from the block and then snapping the selected ones back in.

The H100i RGB Platinum has the basic look and feel of most 240 AIO coolers in the Corsair armada: a 240mm all-aluminum radiator, black-sleeved tubing and two 120mm ML120 fans, although this time those fans are equipped with RGB LEDs. Although they sport 4-pin RGB connectors, they don’t work well with most traditional 4-pin male or female adapters, as Corsair seems intent on keeping their lighting ecosystem relatively exclusive.

As with most 240 AIOs, the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum is compatible with most PC cases that support a 2x 120mm radiator. Radiator and block installation were relatively problem-free and nearly identical to every AIO we’ve installed, which makes routing the fan, USB and RGB cabling the only portion of the cooler setup that required any real focus. Cable management not only looks tidy but also prevents chassis airflow interference for ideal thermal regulation.

Corsair’s iCUE software provides a graphical UI to allow management of all detected Corsair peripherals and components, ranging from customized color palettes and patterns, to fan curve profiles, pump management and even the device firmware update that provided us a bit of a higher pump speed on the Extreme setting.

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  • redgarl
    At 160$, it is when cooling is losing all meaning. That extra 100-200 MHz is costing you 100$. At this point upgrading your CPU is the wise option.
  • derekullo
    Anonymous said:
    At 160$, it is when cooling is losing all meaning. That extra 100-200 MHz is costing you 100$. At this point upgrading your CPU is the wise option.


    The meaning of cooling is to cool.

    This is actually a worse cooler than the Corsair H100i Pro which has a cost of $120.

    It isn't clear where your "extra 100-200 MHz is costing you 100$" comes into play.

    One of their last paragraphs was

    "This leaves us scratching our heads as to why someone would consider paying a 30 percent premium for not-quite-as-good thermal performance and RGB lighting that can be had for less money…from Corsair themselves."
  • rantoc
    Clearly a troubling trend nowadays - Make an lesser product, add led and morons will buy it anyway
  • Neuspeed
    and this is why I have stopped using Corsair products.. Paying more for less product.. sad times..
  • jimmysmitty
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    At 160$, it is when cooling is losing all meaning. That extra 100-200 MHz is costing you 100$. At this point upgrading your CPU is the wise option.


    The meaning of cooling is to cool.

    This is actually a worse cooler than the Corsair H100i Pro which has a cost of $120.

    It isn't clear where your "extra 100-200 MHz is costing you 100$" comes into play.

    One of their last paragraphs was

    "This leaves us scratching our heads as to why someone would consider paying a 30 percent premium for not-quite-as-good thermal performance and RGB lighting that can be had for less money…from Corsair themselves."



    That last statement is not 100% accurate though. The H100i pro costs $120 but to get the RGB effects you would need to buy a lighting node pro and the ML120 RGB fans. There is a triple pack for $120 which means paying $240 for a similar setup. Even if you just bought the fans alone they are $27 each so still more than this setup. This is all if RGB is important to the purchaser.

    That said it is sad to see worse thermal performance as I would assume they would be using the same design as the Pro but they are including the iCue abilities built into the cooler instead it seems more like older H100 performance.
  • rubix_1011
    This is why we test thermal performance on the same hardware as other coolers - to make the only variable the cooler itself.

    I've been seeing this trend for several months now; there is a huge push to make everything RGB capable even at the expense of making RGB inclusive of any brand using a standard connection. Many vendors opt to use the typical 4-pin connection, but some have moved to using a different 4-pin connector that is proprietary. Either way, the appeal is far more visual than performance-driven in many of these coolers.

    Also remember that most AIO coolers are made by one of 3-4 manufacturers and simply re-branded. The same pumps and radiators are used among competitors with the only real differences being cosmetic changes, software/UI and the brand of fans being used.
  • aborealis27
    These results are interesting to say the least. OC3D's test results are far different:

    "With their RGB Platinum series, Corsair has decided to team up with CoolIT, moving away from the Asetek design used in the PRO RGB series, while also transitioning to faster fans that offer the same speeds as boxed Corsair fans. This means that Corsair is using a new coldplate design with their RGB Platinum series, as well as a quieter pump, both of which are designed to offer end-users increased performance.
    The use of a broader baseplate on the H1XXi RGB Platinum series also offers advantages on processors with larger sockets, especially AMD's TR4/Threadripper platform, which benefits from the use of coolers with more extensive IHS coverage. While this isn't a full IHS covering water block for Threadripper, this is a close as we can set to it while retaining support for mainstream CPU sockets. We certainly appreciate this versatility.
    On the performance front, we must admit that we are impressed. At first, we thought that something was wrong with our testing, but after lengthy retests we had to include that the H100i/H115i RGB Platinum series was just that good, getting surprising close to Corsair's impressive 360mm H150i RGB PRO series cooler."

    So who can not test properly these coolers?
  • rubix_1011
    I am guessing the same hardware is not being used between testing benches - can you link to this other review? Edit: found it https://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cases_cooling/corsair_h100i_rgb_platinum_and_h115i_rgb_platinum_review/1

    Difference in CPUs - ours is an i7 5930k at 4.20Ghz, theirs is an i7 7700k @4.7Ghz.

    The i7 5930k is a 6-Core CPU based on the 2011-v3 socket and 140watt stock TDP, the i7 7700k is an 1151 LGA quad core CPU with a stock TDP of 130watts.

    This isn't an apples to apples comparison of coolers tested on the same CPU, even when overclocked. This is why comparing the results of different coolers from one (same) testing bench would be better considered than the same coolers tested on different hardware. Our benching hardware is intended to push the upper thermal limits for coolers, including showing failures of those which cannot handle the heat loads. Other benchmarking sites often choose to use 'what the average enthusiast would use' to show representative results. It is just two different methods of testing and presenting results.

    The term 'your mileage may vary' is part of how we define these differences.
  • s.petmecky
    Maybe I'm old, but I've never had a need for my computer to light up or glow. I bought a new case several years ago that was good but it had glow lights on the front. I tried it out and those lights got ripped out 30 minutes later. Pointless LEDs are ... pointless.
  • rubix_1011
    RGB isn't for everyone, but it's good to know that you can still turn it off if you really don't wish to use the features.
  • kennethkirby48
    Tech Yes City did a review of the Corsair H115i Pro Platinum RGB and was Very impressed Not sure why other sites are showing these coolers to do good and here it is doing bad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05EadRvVceg
  • rubix_1011
    Well, for starters, this is the H100i, not the H115i as you've listed. Also, I'm not saying it 'does bad'...it just doesn't do as well as other coolers I've tested in comparison, including the Corsair H100i Pro (non-platinum).

    In the link you've provided, he's using a different CPU, system is not inside a chassis (it's breadboarded in open air) and he's benchmarking using AIDA64 where we use Prime95. Also, if you look at his chart, he's reporting that the H115i is turning out CPU load temps of 101C and 95C while the EK Predator is listed as 98C. These numbers seem quite high for any form of liquid cooling.

    So, you have several variables as to why this is a completely different comparison.