- Unboxing and Overview- 1
- Unboxing and Overview- 2
- Individual Component Testing
- Thermal Performance
Driver and Lighting
The software driver for the Hydro H150i PRO cooler is called CORSAIR Link, and you can find the installer on the Corsair downloads page here. The latest public release at the time of testing, version 18.104.22.168, was used for this review which had support for this built in already. The installer takes up 40 MB of space, and the final install requires 101 MB. Installation is straightforward in that you get the standard terms of service and the option to choose the install path. You are prompted to agree to install Asetek component drivers for the cooler as well.
No offense to the CORSAIR Link team, but the user experience here continues to lack sorely even compared to your own other software suite- CORSAIR Utility Engine. The black and red theme is dated, and splitting functionality between tabs works fine but it is implemented poorly here with nearly everything you need to do on the home page and trial-and-error needed the first few times.
The video above demonstrates the software control available once you have everything, including the fans connected with the appropriate cables. CORSAIR Link identifies the cooler and provides a small window for it with yet smaller sections for the pump, each of the three fans, and the LEDs on the block. Clicking on each of them opens up a new window offering more control options. For example, we see there are three modes available for the pump which just make it go to one of three preset pump speeds. There is no other way to control the pump, and it comes in the balanced mode out of the box. The fans are rated for 1600 RPM, and my own controller agreed that the max fan speed was at 1600 +/- 4% but for some reason CORSAIR Link erratically reads much higher RPM numbers at timers, sometimes as high as 1780 RPM which was not the actual case. This was my only complaint as far as the fan control options go, as CORSAIR provides a plethora of fan modes to choose from. The balanced mode it comes by default on is good to go, but if you end up using this on a CPU that runs cool then you should definitely try out the new Zero RPM mode that actually stops the fans if the coolant temperature (there is an integrated thermal probe inside which in turn is how the pump and fan speeds are controlled) is lower than 45 °C. I found myself using a combination of the Zero RPM mode and a custom curve when testing the cooler, and even when simply using the test rig for things such as writing this very review. The custom curve allows for a 300-1600 RPM range of control, as well as a 20-100% PWM duty cycle range of control which is plenty enough in my books for what the fans do.
The final option available is for the RGB lighting, and we can see here there are a few preset lighting options available as well. These lighting modes come with subset options such as animation speed (in three steps) and also choosing specific R/G/B channels in 256 brightness levels each for a total of 16.8 M colors. This is all fine and dandy, but the point remains that CORSAIR has one driver with limited lighting control but added functionality control for things that go inside your case (CPU cooler, LED strips, fans) and a completely different driver with more lighting control but zero thermal/performance control for peripherals that go outside the case. This is as good a time as any to go with a single unified driver, especially with most devices now supporting individually addressable LEDs allowing for cohesive lighting options.
Out of the box, the block lights up in the rainbow mode at the medium speed level. Seen above are some videos showing this and two other lighting modes at different animation speeds so you can get a better idea of how this will look in person. I also used the driver to set the LEDs to a static white to see how true to color it is, and I was left fairly impressed for what is an RGB, not RGBW solution.