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Corsair H170i Elite Capellix Review: Bigger, Bolder and Colder

Can you make room in your case (and your budget) for a 420mm AIO?

Corsair H170i Elite Capellix
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

For our CPU cooling tests, we use the same hardware, overclock and configuration for every test to minimize variables in testing. This allows for all results across all coolers tested on the platform to be viable as side-by-side examination for direct compare/contrast.

Intel i9 Test System Setup

CPUIntel i9-10850k LGA1200 (Comet Lake), all 10 cores 4.6Ghz @ 1.190v
 (3.60Ghz stock speed, single core boost @ 5.2Ghz)
MotherboardMSI Z490 MEG Godlike (bios vers. 7C70v12)
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LPX, 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4-3000
StorageCorsair MP600 m.2 2280 NVMe, 500GB
GraphicsGigabyte GTX 1050Ti
Power Supplybe quiet! Dark Power Pro11 1200w
ChassisCorsair Graphite 760T
MonitoringCrystalFontz CFA-633-TMI-KU, 4x Dallas One Wire WR-DOW-Y17 sensors
Fan ControlCorsair Commander Pro, 100%/50% PWM Speed profiles (liquid cooling pump always @100%, if applicable)
OSWindows 10 Pro 64bit
NetworkingDisconnected, not used
Thermal CompoundArctic MX-4

All data reported for this article has been collected on the current Intel i9-10850k platform and will be maintained as like-for-like evaluation of ongoing cooling coverage.  We’ve recently swapped the taller, Corsair Dominator RGB DIMMs with shorter Corsair Vengeance LPX for higher cooler compatibility for testing.

Prime95 v29.4b8 (no AVX) is used for two-hour intervals, one managing fans at 50% PWM and the other at 100% PWM with RPM measurements being taken every 3 seconds and averaged across the duration of each 2-hour capture.  Omitting AVX instruction sets allows for accurate, 100% loads at chosen clock speeds, while allowing AVX instructions would provide higher, albeit, unrealistic synthetic CPU loads and excessive heat production, less indicative of real-world use. 

This also allows for a greater range of CPU coolers to be tested and compared without the need to configure the system differently for smaller coolers which may not handle the excessive thermal loads being generated during testing, while larger coolers might be better equipped to manage heat output produced by the i9-10850k. 

While the test platform is quite capable of a 10-core overclock at 5.0Ghz and 1.265v, we were seeing 360mm AIOs struggle to keep core temperatures in check at lower fan speeds, providing insight that the enthusiast-grade i9’s need excellent cooling if the goal is overclocking.

HWInfo64 is used for real-time core temperature readout, thermal throttling alerts, motherboard power consumption, CPU speed and logging of data, while a CrystalFontz CFA-633-TMI-KU is used to monitor and later average both ambient room (2 probes) and motherboard voltage regulator heatsink (2 probes).

  • aetolouee
    Noctua U14S 100% RPM: 24.8 dBA, 70.7°C
    420mm AIO 50% RPM: 23.6 dBA, 71.1°C

    Noctua U14S: A third of the price, double the longevity
    420mm AIO: More cooling headroom, RGB
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    Admin said:
    Can you make room in your case (and your budget) for a 420mm AIO?

    Corsair H170i Elite Capellix Review: Bigger, Bolder and Colder : Read more
    On page 3, Threadripper's Temperatures Over Ambient was posted in place of the one for the 10850K.


    aetolouee said:
    Noctua U14S 100% RPM: 24.8 dBA, 70.7°C
    420mm AIO 50% RPM: 23.6 dBA, 71.1°C

    Noctua U14S: A third of the price, double the longevity
    420mm AIO: More cooling headroom, RGB
    XD

    That was Threadripper though.
    What with Ryzen and Threadripper not being monolithic and being more power efficient than their Intel competitors... cooling is a little funny with these chips.
    When the charts are fixed, we can see the Intel one.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    aetolouee said:
    Noctua U14S 100% RPM: 24.8 dBA, 70.7°C
    420mm AIO 50% RPM: 23.6 dBA, 71.1°C

    Noctua U14S: A third of the price, double the longevity
    420mm AIO: More cooling headroom, RGB
    With the AIO, you also don't have over 2lbs hanging off the motherboard.

    This AIO is for people who "need" that last 0.5% better prime 95 benchmark result or they bought a huge case, and a 360 AIO would look too small. No one is buying it for the price/performance. A radiator this large for just a CPU is complete overkill. Anything above a 280 is overkill for a mainstream CPU. If it could be expanded to connect a GPU as well, then it could be an interesting option for more people.
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    This is a great solution for quiet full tower builds then, provided it’s a wider than usual case.

    Might be my next one, but the problem with Corsair is that they abandon their software so freaking often. Some coolers have to be in older versions and they break on certain windows updates, it’s really annoying.

    Does it allow you to control it from PWM exclusively? If that’s the case then this is a winner.
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    I simply MUST buy this about 2 days before the official sales/release of Alder Lake....so that I can't use it! :)
    Reply