Corsair H115i RGB Platinum full review
Corsair is one of the best-known names in closed-loop cooling (or AIO if you prefer), and the latest Platinum model both looks amazing and similar adjectives can be used to describe its performance.
With upgrades including a larger cold plate and out-of-box support for AM4 and TR4 sockets as well as the usual Intel setups, the H115i Platinum should appeal to plenty of gaming PC owners.
Corsair H115i RGB Platinum: Price & availability
If you’re after a shorter 240mm version, the H100i RGB Platinum is what you need. That’s £124.99 / US$159.99.
These are top-end prices, but as you’ll see, they include top-end features and also cooling. Plus, unlike some cheaper options from rivals, you get a long five-year warranty, which is reassuring.
Corsair H115i RGB Platinum: Design & build
You might assume Corsair has gone for form over function with all the LEDs, but this latest H115i manages to balance both surprisingly well.
The pump itself has 16 individually controllable LED, and the bundle comes with two 140mm ML Pro RGB fans with four LEDs each.
This is all controlled via Corsair’s great iCUE software which lets you sync up your lighting with other Corsair devices such as its gaming mice and keyboards.
There are plenty of effects on offer, and there’s sure to be a preset that’s to your taste. If not, you can control the LEDs yourself and the interface makes that very easy to do.
Moving to the cooling hardware, the pump itself has been upgraded with a thermally optimised cold plate and even quieter operation. The magnetic levitation fans are a fantastic inclusion as well, moving up to 97 cubic feet of air per minute, but also offering a zero-rpm option for silence when the CPU isn’t under load.
The radiator measures 322mm x 137mm x 27mm, a significantly larger surface area than 240mm models, and that’s a good thing if you need the best cooling performance.
Installation is straightforward, so long as you have a PC case that has a cut-out behind the CPU. If not, you may have to remove the motherboard to install the Intel backplate. AMD owners, though, shouldn’t have that issue, as the stock backplate and mounting blocks are used, which means installation can be completed in as little as fast as 15 minutes.
It pays to measure up your case first, and ensure there’s room, and suitable mounting holes. We installed it in an Obsidian 500D which will accommodate a 280mm radiator at the front and in the roof.
Wires exit at the top of the pump, and you should be able to route them neatly to exit behind the motherboard tray, though you might have to do this before mounting the radiator if space is tight. The only connections to make are SATA to power the pump, a single-wire fan header to your motherboard’s CPU cooler or dedicated pump header and a USB 2.0 header for the lighting.
Corsair supplies a USB cable which attaches to a microUSB port on the side of the pump. The right-angled connector is a bit unsightly but directs the cable north and we found it was long enough to route out of sight behind the motherboard to a header at the bottom.
The fans have power and lighting connectors, and these all hook up to matching connectors from the pump, so you don’t need spare RGB headers on your motherboard. You just need to find space behind your motherboard tray if you want to keep these out of sight.
Note that there’s no thermal paste besides the pre-applied stuff, so you’ll need to buy more if you ever need to reattach the pump.
These socket types are supported out of the box:
- Intel 115x
- Intel 2011 / 2066
- AMD AM2 / AM3 / AM4
- AMD TR4
Corsair H115i RGB Platinum: Performance
You might be buying the H115i for the lightshow, and you won’t be disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with buying coolers just for looks. But cooling is the name of the game and, ideally, cooling while creating as little noise as possible.
Via the iCue software you have full control over cooling: you can see the coolant temperature, fan speeds and pump speed. There are several presets: zero-RPM, quiet, balanced and extreme.
In quiet mode, the fans are essentially inaudible. And fitted to our rig, running an AMD Ryzen 1800X (a bargain now at £219.99 from Amazon), the fans and pump were more than able to keep the chip cool while gaming, editing and encoding video without making any discernible noise.
We compared cooling performance of the H115i with a high-end Noctua air cooler (NH-U12S) and found there wasn’t really much difference in terms of CPU temperature, or delta temperature when factoring in ambient air temperature. At stock speed, the 1800X ran at 59°C under full load (39.7°C delta). With the Noctua, we recorded 3°C more.
However, the difference between the two was greater when overclocking the Ryzen, with the H115i cooling it to 62.5°C using the Balanced profile, and we recorded 67°C with the Noctua fitted.
There are other benefits of an AIO cooler, though. The heat from an air cooler remains inside the case and has to be extracted with another fan, but an AIO expels heat through your case’s vents directly by blowing air through the radiator and out of the case.
The pump unit is also considerably smaller than any air cooler, which means there is better access to RAM slots and possibly makes the difference between being able to fit RAM in the slot closest to the CPU or the slot being blocked completely.
Corsair H115i RGB Platinum: Specs
- Radiator Dimensions: 322mm x 137mm x 27mm
- Fan Dimensions: 140mm x 25mm
- Fan Speed: 0-2000 RPM
- Fan Airflow: 97 CFM
- Noise Level: 37 dBA
- Fan Static Pressure: 3.0 mm-H2O