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Sunday, 9 August 2015


Corsair Hydro Series H110 280mm CPU Liquid Cooler Review

Corsair is a brand that has dominated the AIO CPU Liquid cooler market since long especially since the advent of its Hydro series that has been propelled by revolutionary coolers since day one. Offering coolers like the H60 for the entry level and the H80i for those who want tad more cooling to the less knows but very effective 140mm Corsair H90 which we'd reviewed a couple of months back.
With that being said to today I'm going to review the massive Corsair H110 CPU Liquid Cooler which is a dual 140mm unit giving it not only a massive size but also promises a leap in performance and efficient cooling. So lets take a look at the specs first and see if this new offering is going to live up to the reputation Corsair has cultivated with previous Hydro Series products by offering exceptional performance? Will it offer reduced noise levels if compared to its predecessors? I guess it is time to find out!
Firstly, it is worth noting that the radiator is 29mm thick (not the usual 27mm) and comes with two 140mm PWM fans with RPM ranges of 800 to 1500 RPM. These are capable of pushing 94 CFMs at maximum speed. The fan spacing is 20mm and since its a 280mm unit you need to plan ahead when you buy a cabinet since all cabinets cannot accommodate this unit because of its dual fan system unlike the H90 which is still manageable in many enclosures.

Packaging and Contents

The H110 is supplied in a larger box than the H100i, hinting at the larger size of the unit within.  It’s decorated in an attractive red and black livery which features a large image of the cooler on the front. The sides have all the features enlisted in various languages and gives you almost every detail you want to know about the unit without opening the box itself.

The box is very strong and an easily protect the enclosed contents during transit.
Upon opening the box, I found the instructions neatly on top. The pump and tubing were, of course, in a plastic bag, with the pump's coldplate protected by a plastic cover. The radiator was placed in a cardboard sleeve for protection, with the fans situated side by side in the cardboard tray.

The contents of the H110 are standard for an all-in-one of this size. Corsair includes two 140mm fans along with enough hardware to mount an additional two fans if you so choose. Since the H110 doesn’t support any software control you won’t find any additional cables here. Also, like the previous Hydro series we again see the plastic ring used for holding the retention clamp to the cold plate for easy installation.
Common parts supplied for mounting include:

  • Firm cardboard box, good enough to protect the insides well
  • Printing and designs make it look premium
  • Provided components are enough for all types of configurations
Retention ring is still made of plastic

Closer Look

Upon looking at the biggest unit of the lot, the radiator block, we see that its thing and measures at just 29mm thickness and obviously supports 280mm fan configuration. The sleek design compensates for the thickness of the fans and keeps the whole unit less bulky and avoids compatibility issues. Its black, plain and well built out of aluminum. The mesh is dense which spreads the heat quite effectively.

The water block is rather plain, with the flexible tubing securely attached to the pump. It's a solid design, but you won't find any bells and whistles here. This means that, much like the H90, the H110 does not have a fan-speed controller built in, nor does it have Corsair Link support. Both these features are sorely missed as they really do set the H80i and H100i apart from other liquid coolers on the market.
Underneath, the cold plate Corsair has used in the Hydro Series H110 is the same as that used in the H90. It is made of copper. Thermal paste has of course been pre-applied, which is fine for most users. Those wishing to use their own paste will find the pre-applied paste easy to clean off. Once done, a nearly flat base is revealed that, while lacking a mirror finish, is far from being rough.

Here we have the fans rated 1500 RPM. You get two of these, both 140mm x140mm x 24mm and PWM based as stated. Overall these are really good fans, not at all noisy whilst creating heaps of airflow.

The overall aesthetic is sophisticated and clean, which I really like. If you are looking for a discreet cooling solution, then this is a very strong contender.
  • Radiator is thin and well built
  • Fans are good enough and produce almost no noise at all
  • No LED on the water block
  • Doesn't come with a software to control the fan's RPM

Load Test

Installing the Corsair H110 is simple even a beginner can do it, provided you are aware of how the Corsair CLC installation takes place! There are two thing worth mentioning though, firstly make sure that your case can support this massive cooling system with an odd 20mm spacing between the fans. Secondly, the system has three wires two for each of the fans and one for the pump, so you can ideally connect the fans to the motherboard fan headers and the pump to the PSU directly or use a Y splitter to connect the two fans on the same fan header.
For the test I used an open bench setup like for most of my benchmarks, though the unit fits perfectly in my Antec GX900 case.

I tested the H110 on the following configuration:
CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K (Stock settings and OC to 4.6Ghz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X99 UD5 WiFi
RAM: ADATA XPG Z1 16GB DDR4 2400Mhz Kit (OC at 3000Mhz)
Storage: ADATA Premier Pro SP920SS 256GB SSD
Graphic Card: Gigabyte R9 290X 4GB DDR5 Windforce 3X OC
Chassis: Antec GX900 (Courtesy Antec India)
Power: Cooler Master V1200 1200W

I used the pre-applied thermal paste as supplied with the Corsair H110 and measured the temperatures using CoreTemp after running Prime95 for half an hour both on stock frequency and at over clocked 4.6Ghz. The fans were spinning at full 1500rpm default.
The cooler out performs it more expensive cousins especially when the CPU is under load
Its pretty clear that the Corsair H110 quite ahead of other coolers from the Hydro series.
For those who think that the Corsair H100i is performing near identical to the much larger Corsair H110 then hold on till you look at the acoustics of these coolers first.
At full speed the Corsair H110 is the noisiest cooler out there that can produce sound at over 50dB which is really uncomfortable in contrast to the mere 37dB of the Corsair H110. Its damn quite!

My Verdict

The Corsair H110 may lack some bling like the color-changing LEDs, integrated fan controller, and USB interface, but what the H110 delivers is simple, plain, cooling performance. It’s quite clear that Corsair are targeting this cooler at a different segment of the market compared with the H100i. The H110 does away with all of the superfluous features that aren’t really necessary and concentrates on offering the best cooling and acoustic performance for the lowest possible price. An ideal solution for those who are building a new system based on the X99 chipset and can't throw away a wad of cash right away on some fancy cooler. The installation is a breeze with the X99 boards aswell as you don't need to use the back-plate for the CPU at all!
The main drawback of its design is the case incompatibility, since most cases don’t have room for a 280 mm radiator. Therefore, make sure to pick a compatible case before buying the H110.
So if you want sheer cooling performance without hurting your ears nor your pocket and you weight quality and reliability over fancy LEDs then the Corsair H110 is the cooler for you. Big on size and performance but small on pocket!
I give it 10/10

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  1. What about the H110i??

    1. I haven't had the chance to review that so I can't comment much on this one. As far as the 'i' series of the Hydro series goes its minutely superior than or many a times the same in performance as their non 'i' counterparts.
      But I'll try to get one for review soon and give you a final verdict.
      Stay tuned and thanks for visiting.

  2. Thanks for your reply. Was just wondering because the H110 is almost 2 years old, and the H110i GTX is quite new and also do you have any leads whether the 110i this is available in India yet?

    1. Hi,
      I talked to one of my friends who has reviewed the H110i GT so as to give you a clear answer. The H110i GT is just 1-2 degrees cooler at stock or maximum 4 degrees at OC while using the I7 4970K or the i7 5960X. So going for the H110i GT is only a matter of preference for all the LED and customization software basically performance wise they are near identical.
      The H110i GT is not available on any e-commerce site but hopefully you can get it in the market as it was launched in India. The GTX variant is yet to come out globally.