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Thermal Performance

Please note that all results here are obtained by testing coolers as they come out of the box. I did thermal tests on 2 systems:

8 core: Intel i7 5960x (4.2 GHz at 1.2 Vcore) with quad channel DDR4 memory
(a) Fans at 50% (Test 1, cooler noise 35 dBA)
(b) Fans at 100% (Test 2, cooler noise 44 dBA)

4 core: Intel i7 4770k (4.5 GHz at 1.25 Vcore) with dual channel DDR3 memory
(a) Fans at 50% (Test 3, cooler noise 35 dBA)
(b) Fans at 100% (Test 4, cooler noise 44 dBA)

The pump was kept at 100% each time here since it was quieter than the fans at the two chosen fan speeds. Each test was done in a climate controlled hotbox at 25 ºC ambient but the results will still be reported in terms of a delta T (component – ambient) in ºC. The ambient temperature should be nearly the same throughout the box with a +/- 0.25 ºC variability at most but still the ambient temperature sensor was held in front of the intake fan(s) as should be the case with CPU coolers in my opinion. If including the ambient temps into play, you are now introducing another variable into play here- the case/test bench air cooling layout- and this has no role in the review of a cooler. Each test/scenario was repeated three times and the average value taken to account of possible issues with mounting and TIM. Speaking of TIM, the stock TIM provided is not enough for installation demo + these 6 tests and so I used my reference TIM (Gelid GC Extreme) for the tests with cure time accounted for by measuring values after steady state was achieved post burning in with an Intel XTU run. Please note that the stock TIM is very good, and comparable to GC Extreme so I don’t believe this is giving the Hydro H150i PRO any undue advantage. Aida64 was used to measure the core temperatures.

Not a whole lot of scaling with airflow, but those are not bad temperatures at all given what we know about the cooler noise levels at these conditions. Let’s see where this stacks up against other CPU coolers. In order to compare between coolers, I am going to use the results from Test 4 (i7 4770k with all fans/pumps at 100%). I did test out the die to IHS heat transfer of this 4770k in the same hot box, and the internal bottleneck is extremely small here. As an update, this was among the last few coolers/blocks tested with that CPU before it stopped working (likely due to all the mounts/remounts done) so you may have noticed I am setting up a newer Intel mainstream test setup with the i7-7700K to replace this.

Please note that lower is better here.

For those who can’t view the above interactive chart, please click here: CPU cooler comparison on i7 4770k

Please note that these results are for my testing systems and your results may vary. Given the larger radiator, one would expect the Hydro H150i PRO to be near the top performing coolers and that is indeed the case here with it barely below the older 280 mm CORSAIR cooler. In fact, I dare say that this could have gone further but the slower fans, relatively for a CLC anyway, have a lower threshold to heat dissipation here.

Thermals are one thing, and noise is another. As always, I urge you to read the reviews of the individual coolers you are interested in because the numbers at 100% everything may not always be indicative of everything. Some coolers don’t gain much in temps going from 50% to 100% fan/pump speed but noise levels can increase a lot.

Please note that lower is better here.

Again, if you are unable to view this properly then please click here: CPU cooler noise level (100% fans/pumps)

This makes me very happy, and the reason is that finally we have a closed loop cooler that is not ear-shattering at full speed or near about. Indeed, you have a cooler taking advantage of the larger radiator and the excellent, relatively slower rated fans for a very good balance of thermal cooling and noise alike. Compare the Hydro H150i PRO to the older Hydro H115i, for example, which are within error margins thermally but vastly differing here. In fact, if you use the default fan balanced mode, the cooler is even quieter without any real performance deficit. There is also the Zero RPM mode which of course gives you as quiet a CLC as any, with only the pump running. Good job, CORSAIR!

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