Posts Tagged ‘Corsair’

Welcome to my round 11 fan testing.  This is a fairly small round of fans from the kits I previously tested.  Rather than do my normal written form, I’m trying to do this more video based.

Before I do that, I would first like to thank my parts sponsors, without their support this test wouldn’t have happened:

Logo-FrozenCPU

Swiftech_logo_white_backgrounds

Kit Fans Intro

This video does some physical comparisons of the fans and gives you a good close up look of the fan, sleeving, build quality, etc compared with my previous best performing fan the Gentle Typhoon.

Fan Test Rig Description

This video is just a quick overview of the flow bench and meters used in the fan testing to follow.

Individual Fan Tests

The following videos are of the actual test run on each fan recorded with audio and stepping through 50FPM air flow results.  You can now easily adjust two or more fan videos to like air flow numbers and pause them both, then switch back and fort for a direct apples to apples air flow comparison.

Larkooler Kit Fan

Corsair H100i SP120 Kit Fan

Swiftech H220 Kit Fan

XSPC 750 Kit Fan

Servo Nidec Gentle Typhoon AP-15

Extracted Results

These were pulled from the video, by isolating a looped region where air flow was close to the 50FPM increment.  This provides the resulting detail read on the meters and a calculated RPM.  On the right are some subjective noise quality comments I added as I reviewed and extracted the results.

R11-FanTesting-Detail

Summary Radiator Noise Level vs Radiator Air Flow

This is the “Meat & Potatoes” result.  While I wish I could measure noise quality in a good quantitative way, that’s really not possible.  The next best thing is to compare noise levels when mounted to a radiator at like air flows through that radiator.  It takes into account the fans pressure capabilities and puts it in a more real world condition.  It’s not perfect, but the best thing I’ve been able to come up with to simplify radiator noise performance.  Fans that extend further right are capable of higher air flow maximum results at 12V.  Fans with lines lower on the Y axis are producing more air flow per noise level.

R11-FanTesting-Summaryl

No real surprise, but the kit fans all tested relatively the same (most within 3dbA or less differences which fall within the “barely perceptible” level).  The Helix fan did for some reason have a bit higher than expected harmonics on the radiator bench which didn’t seem to be as noticeable when actually testing in a case, but it is something I heard a little when trying push only.  In push+pull I noticed most of that helix harmonic disappeared.

I would consider the kit results to be relatively similar, they are like most fans and all perform roughly the same.  The Gentle Typhoon however does seem to retain that unique ability on a radiator and tested upwards to 8-9dBA lower in noise level at 12V than other fans producing the same flow.  The H100i fans and their 2700RPM capability did produce the highest maximum air flow, but it comes at the prices of having a fairly gritty noise quality.  Noise quality isn’t captured well in the graph and really only something you can listen for in the videos.

The other aspect I’m now noticing that is missing from this single fan test bench is harmonics between the two same fans.  In the thermal testing using the kits and earlier noise testing, I had significant RPM harmonics issues with the H100i fans, but a single fans test scenario completely misses that.  This is something I seriously want to consider in fan flow bench future upgrades.  I think it is important to capture the “paired fan” harmonics effects as it can be fairly significant.  The helix H220 fans did really well paired together in the kit testing, but you just can’t see that in a single fan test.

Also as noted some of the pressure harmonics issues can also be mitigated for by going push + pull.  The helix fans don’t show real well in this single push test, but I found when testing four fans in push/pull on a radiator the fans worked very well together.  They are not up to Gentle Typhoon silence or build quality standards, but in use I would say they fair better than what the above chart or single fan test result demonstrates.

I also think the Larkooler fan subjectively sounds quieter than the produced dBA.  I’m not sure how to describe it, but the sound type is more lower in frequency and seem to contain less motor noise and gritty noise that is more prevalent in the other fans.  It has a noise quality that reminds me of the noise blocker series which I’ve always liked.  Noise level doesn’t measure anything special, but I think this fan does have pretty good noise quality particularly at slower speeds.  This is another one where my own ear and the meters don’t really agree all that well..:)

This at least gives you one more perspective on the sound.  I would suggest listening to the fans at like air flow levels and make a decision not based on noise level, but what you perceive as being less irritating.  That is likely a combination of frequency, noise quality, and noise level.  Don’t put too much weight on the noise level, it is important, but it’s not the entire picture and each person and each setup will be slightly different.

So there is another round and the Gentle Typhoon retains it’s low noise/rad air flow ratio crown.  Nothing comes close…

Welcome to the fourth kit in my value <$150 2x120mm radiator kit series, the Corsair Hydro Series H100i CPU cooler. Corsair has been in the sealed AIO cooler business for a while and although I personally have never had the opportunity to review any of the kits before, I’ve seen the forum following grow over the years so I expect good things. A good following and user base is no accident and usually means good things. I also very much enjoy my Corsair TX650 power supply and regularly run Corsair memory such as my current Vengence memory due to the quality of parts and consistent good result I’ve had with Corsair products. They also have a good reputation for customer service and honoring warranty issues and that means a lot to me as well. When I decided I wanted to do kit testing, the H100i was on my short must do list due to its popularity and amazing low price of just $119. While the H100i doesn’t come designed for expansion due to it’s sealed nature, it is the lowest priced kit with a 240 sized radiator and had the longest warranty so I was very interested in reviewing.

Corsair-H100i-02

Here is a quick picture of the kit

Frozen CPU Product Information

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/17765/ex-wat-236/Corsair_Hydro_Series_H100i_High_Performance_Dual_Radiator_CPU_Cooler_CW-9060009-WW_-_Sockets_LGA_775_1155_1156_1366_2011_AM2_AM2_AM3.html

Product Description

Have a PC case that supports a top-mounted 240mm radiator? Take your CPU cooling to a new level. H100i starts with the advanced design of the Hydro Series H80i, and adds a double-wide radiator for even better performance.

Monitor temperature and control lighting and fan speed on your screen. No additional hardware is necessary using the Corsair Link

Features

Self-contained Cooling System

  • Hydro Series H100i comes pre-filled, and never needs refilling or priming.

Dual Radiator with Custom Fan Design

  • The 240mm top-mounted radiator provides maximum surface area for maximum cooling power. The 120mm fans use wide, low-pitch blades for better static pressure to noise ratio, offering improved efficiency at lower noise levels.

Built-In Corsair Link

  • No additional hardware is necessary – just connect the included Corsair Link cable to a USB header on your motherboard and download the free Corsair Link Dashboard software. You can monitor coolant temperature and adjust cooling performance directly from your desktop.

Tool-free multi platform magnetic mounting bracket kit

  • The modular design makes installation simpler, and it’s compatible with Intel and AMD processors.

Large-diameter, low permeability tubing

  • Minimal coolant evaporation helps ensure long life, and the resilient material offers both high flexibility and excellent leak protection.

Technical Specifications

Technical Specifications
Radiator dimensions: 120mm x 275mm x 27mm
Fan dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Fan speed: 2700 RPM
Fan airflow: 77 CFM
Fan dBA: 37.68 dBA
Fan static pressure: 4mm/H20
Compatibility: Intel™ LGA 1155, 1156, 1366, and 2011
AMD™ sockets FM1, FM2, AM2, and AM3
Hydro Series H100i requires a case with dual 120mm fan mounts with 15mm spacing for a 240mm radiator
Package contents: Corsair Hydro Series H100i High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Magnetic Multi-platform mounting kit for all modern CPU sockets
Dual SP120L High Performance Fans
USB Cable for Corsair Link™ Compatibility
Fan and radiator mounting screws
Thermal compound (pre-applied)
Quick Start Guide

So as already noted, the 5 year warranty stands out for me as does the 2700RPM fans.

What it doesn’t specify and what I found out during the review is the lack of Window 8 support in using the Corsair Link software when I did my testing on this unit.

I did just double-check the corsair website and now that I have removed the H100i for other unit testing, it does appear that corsair link is now finally 5 months later, supporting windows 8. If you go to the downloads section, you will now see that the latest software is supposedly supporting Win 8. That has recently been updated.

http://www.corsair.com/us/cpu-cooling-kits/hydro-series-water-cooling-cpu-cooler/hydro-series-h100i-extreme-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler.html

Also worthy of note for those thinking of modding the kit, the radiator is “aluminum” so any sort of mods will require a corrosion inhibitor because of the mixed copper/aluminum metals.

When I stop to think about watercooling for a bit, I see two basic performance reasons why I like it .  One reason is the performance of it, I can overclock higher than with air.  The second and probably more critical to me is the performance per noise level.  Perhaps I’m getting more noise critical in my old age, but listening to a vacuum cleaner in the background is not at all acceptable or what water cooling is really about.

I can test performance and log RPMs, but that’s really not apples to apples either.  Some fans have stronger PQ curves at like RPM levels and there is also a large variety of noise quality differences.  How a fan interacts with neighboring fans can be both good and bad and box specs simply do a poor job at measuring noise levels in an actual case/radiator condition. IMHO, a review of performance without a measurement of noise is no different than testing one radiator with 1800RPM and the other with 2700RPM and calling it a review.  You can compare like RPM levels as a quick and dirty test, but that too is generally a poor measure since fan performance can vary by as much as 400RPM producing the same air flow.  To do a review and comparison correctly, you really need to measure and compare noise vs dT or noise vs Core temp or some sort of constant. That’s what I’m attempting to do with this first noise testing phase.  I am also retesting in a top case mount condition so all kits get a equal and fair condition.

I started this kit testing using the bottom mounting location on my Switch 810 however I encountered a problem when trying to install the H100i….the hoses are about 2″ too short.  I’ve done enough testing to know you can NOT change the condition, no matter how small between tests.  A simple thing like placing the case on carpet vs a hard surface is enough to throw results out by 2C, same goes for noise measurements.

So in an attempt to get a true apples to apples noise vs DeltaT, I first need to compare noise vs RPM and then in Delta T testing I can convert the logged RPM average to noise level.

Unfortunately, Corsair Link is not compatible with Windows 8, so my only means to control the unit at all was to use the PWM fans and control speed via speed fan. Corsair Link simply does not monitor or control anything H100i related if you are running windows 8 as of this testing which was a bit of a surprise to me.  I believe Win8 has been out since last October so a good 5 months later, still no Win8 support.  Oh well, it really didn’t bother me since the new kit fans do have 4pin PWM control. At least I could control fan speeds using the motherboard and speed fan, I just needed to use a PWM splitter.

Corsair H100i VIDEO

Swiftech H220 VIDEO

That is what I have so far, I will let your ears do the talking… As a place holder you may start and stop both videos to match up RPMs if you would like and simply play one, stop, then play the other back to back.

Corsair H100i Chart

CorsairH100i-NoiseVsRPM

Swiftech H220 Chart

SwiftechH220NoiseVsRPM

RPM Comprarison

CorsairH100ivsSwiftechH220N

dBA Chart

For reference use this to compare to similar daily noise types:

Sound sources (noise)
Examples with distance

 
   Sound pressure
Level 
Lp dB SPL
 
 Jet aircraft, 50 m away 140
 Threshold of pain 130
 Threshold of discomfort 120
 Chainsaw, 1 m distance 110
 Disco, 1 m from speaker 100
 Diesel truck, 10 m away 90
 Kerbside of busy road, 5 m 80
 Vacuum cleaner, distance 1 m  70
 Conversational speech, 1 m 60
 Average home 50
 Quiet library 40
 Quiet bedroom at night 30
 Background in TV studio 20
 Rustling leaves in the distance 10
 Hearing threshold  0

Using the following chart for perceived noise level differences:

Perceptions of Increases in Decibel Level
Imperceptible Change 1dB
 Barely Perceptible Change 3dB
Clearly Noticeable Change 5dB
About Twice as Loud 10dB
About Four Times as Loud 20dB

 

Top Mount Noise vs Core Comparison

While I only have the H100i for comparison at this point, this is how that combination of noise testing and thermal testing lays out.  This is the meat and potatoes results as it pulls out all the variables such as fan performance vs RPM differences and compares a direct apples to apples noise vs performance.

Swiftech-H220-TH-27

And that plots out like this:

Swiftech-H220-TH-29

I’ve conducted a few different fan polls in the past before moving forward with radiator testing and typically the majority of watercooling users out there were using fans at about 1350RPM with a distribution that predominantly covers the 1000-1800RPM range.  There are a few people that run higher speeds, but the vast majority are more in the 1000-1800RPM range.  That makes sense as those speeds are only producing noise levels in the lower 40s dBA which is acceptable by most.

With that “Silence” preference in mind, the Swiftech H220 did outperform the Corsair H100i by roughly 2dBA at the 1350RPM mark, and about 3-4dBA better at the 1800RPM mark.  The H100i does have higher speed capabilities, but at 60dBA you are approaching vacuum cleaner noise levels (70dBA).  There are some users that don’t care about noise though, so I’ll leave it to you on what’s important.

For me personally, minimum noise level, dynamically throttling the noise and performance, and a smooth noise is priority.  I find the H100i fans (like most high speed fans) to produce quite a bit of motor noise and there was quite a bit of harmonics between the two fan RPMs that generally produces a poor noise quality.  The H220 helix fans are for the most part fairly smooth and the sound quality blended in well with my other fans.  That’s not to say you couldn’t replace the kit fans with something better, but in spirit of testing kit vs kit, the H220 is king of silence (minimum noise level) and better at like performance levels by 1-4 dBA over the H100i.


This thread will serve as my updated 120mm radiator based fan testing work in progress. While fan specs are helpful, like pumps they represent how the fan performs in an artificial open air and unmounted condition without any restriction, mounting vibrations, or undervolting effects. In addition there are many different mathematical methods in which noise levels are calculated (Removal of ambient noise) and measured making the task of comparing fans based on specs alone for a radiator application a best guess. In addition, those testing conditions do not include vibration created noises that exist once a fan is mounted to a radiator. Many fans also exhibit motor ticks or harmonics at some voltage levels other than 12V when using a fan controller. That brings me to the purpose of this test, to test in a more real world like radiator scenario without any adjustments to noise levels and record it for your own review.

This round will focus in testing and comparing 120mm fans on a Swiftech MCR120 radiator using a voltage based fan controller to evaluate a more real world radiator condition on a constant test platform.

First off, a HUGE thanks to the following sponsors. It’s been amazing how much support I have received in this so far..a real tribute to the community we have here:

This includes the parts/fans and the sponsors who have donated for this cause as well as some tabular results:
Click to enlarge:

I’ll start creating a new post for each new fan including the pictures and the data tables then link them back up in this main post.

MASTER NOISE vs CFM CHART

I’ll update this from time to time. Per my reading, it normally takes about 3dbA for most people to perceive a change in noise level…that’s about the spread of “Most” of the fans here. But if we’re splitting hairs…here is the chart for your viewing pleasure…

Just note this is NOISE LEVEL only. I think this is only half the picture, noise quality is what you get by listening which points out the things like motor tics, and other less that smooth sounds.

ALL FANS ALL LEVELS

NOISE LEVEL BAR CHARTS dbA @ X CFM

NOISE QUALITY (MOTOR TICKS/RESONANCE/SMOOTHNESS)
And last but not least, my completely subjective rating on noise quality. I suggest you listen to the videos to sort this out yourself, I think everyone will have a slightly different opinion on this, but this is what I came up with as a place to start. Noise quality has nothing to do with noise level. I made up my own scoring system by listening for motor type noises and resonance issues. If a fan sounded like very smooth air, it would get high marks. I also marked against resonance issues. If the fan had specific voltage ranges where it resonated, I marked it down. I rated quality in 3 steps and resonance in one field, and averaged them out. I wish there was some sort of scientific way to do this, but this was the best I could do. Again, I suggest rating this with the videos for yourself.

Generally anything with a 7 or better is really good and pretty tight. I just had a slight preference toward fans with slightly lower pitch and or smoother air noises.

Many fans below that were also very good in some areas, but may have had a small motor tick or resonance issue during the test. Resonance is one of those tricky things that may be specific to one test bed. I can only rate what was tested though, it would be impossible to see how the fan behaves in all situations. I’m also typically only testing one sample, and it’s very possible the one fan I test was flawed or less that perfect.

Bottom line, there is no replacement for trying out a fan yourself. Before you go buying 20 fans of the same type, I suggest trying out at least one sample for yourself and see how you like it.