Corsair’s refresh of the H100i, the Elite Capellix XT, brings a new cooler with a familiar design. How does the updated version stack up?
In the world of PC components, there’s nothing that compares to the fervor around cooling. GPUs, CPUs, and RAM might all get mainstream attention, but have you ever looked into those who love cooling? Fan curves, excessively checking temperatures, and the wild ways they attempt to bring it down as low as possible, it’d be impressive if it weren’t so dry.
So with Corsair’s new H100i refresh, the Capellix Elite XT, what fascinating new things does it bring to the table?
|Cold Plate Material||Copper|
|CORSAIR iCUE Compatibility||Yes|
|Coldplate Dimensions||56 x 56mm|
|Tubing Material||Black Sleeved Low-Permeation Rubber|
|Radiator Dimensions||277mm x 120mm x 27mm|
|Fan Dimensions||120mm x 25mm|
|Fan Speed||550 – 2100 RPM ±10%|
|Number of Fans||2|
|Cooling Socket Support||Intel 1700, 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 2011, 2066, AMD AM4, sTRX4, sTR4|
|Fan Airflow||13.8 – 65.57 CFM|
|Fan Static Pressure||0.17 – 2.68 mm-H2O|
|Noise Level||5 – 34.1 dBA|
If you’ve seen one Corsair cooler, you’ve probably seen them all. The new H100i doesn’t do anything to reinvent the wheel in terms of looks. It does however feature a new pump aesthetic, which dissipates an array of LEDs for an appropriately neon look.
Something that you will see in just a few words though, is that its design needs a rework. While it’s great on larger systems with more space to move around, in our mid-tower ATX case we found it much more difficult to install.
Installing the H100i Elite Capellix is not something you want to do with just one pair of hands. There’s a delicate balance of holding the radiator up while installing it and ensuring the screws didn’t get lost in the maze of capacitors and wires. Meanwhile, you’re also trying to ensure the fans weren’t hitting RAM or the two thick pump cables, and this is before you’ve managed to screw down the pump itself.
While you might have an easier time with a brand-new PC, there’s just no way to get around the fact that installing an AIO is always going to be a hassle. We understand that this is all to ensure proper secure fittings and work around Intel and AMD’s designs, but we hope to see more innovative designs and mechanisms for installation in the future.
To use iCUE, you have to install the included iCUE Commander Core controller which can cause trouble for those building in more compact cases, when bundled alongside the 240mm radiator.
Again, we understand why, because iCUE is a massive ecosystem and a dedicated controller is needed. It’s also handy that they include it within every major product that might need it, but there has to be a better way than this in 2023.
The two giant fans it comes with are the easiest part to install, and you can control them all through iCUE with your own fan curves, RGB goodness and more. Of the many pieces of software we have used like this, iCUE is one of the best, it’s just so simple to use.
Included thermal paste
We will say that the inclusion of thermal paste is welcome, as it also comes pre-applied with Corsair’s XTM70 compound, saving you the trouble of having to apply a pea-sized dot of your own. The triangular pattern will also allow for even spread across your entire IHS.
Despite battling with the 240mm radiator during installation into our relatively compact case, once it was up and running, we were impressed. We started to understand the fervor, the constant chasing of the metaphorical dragon to see how low temperatures can really go.
H100i Capellix Elite XT Performance
The system we used to test the Corsair Capellix Elite XT is as follows:
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- EVGA RTX 2070
- Ryzen 2700X with AMD Wraith Prism cooler
- 32GB of RAM
- 550W PSU
- ASUS B-450 Plus TUF motherboard
Inside, we’ve got a 1TB NVMe installed directly onto the motherboard, as well as a PCIe adapter hosting another 1TB NVMe. Connected to the PC are an ultrawide monitor, a 4K BenQ monitor, and a 1440p, 165Hz monitor. There are also three external drives (one RAID, two Seagate expansion drives) and a Game Capture HD 60S.
No, we’re not showing off, we’re just giving context to what is installed and going on the PC when it is completely idle.
|Application||Corsair H100i Capellix Elite XT||Stock Cooler|
While using the “stock” AMD Wraith Prism cooler, the CPU sat at around 45 degrees, with the odd spike here and there. When playing Crysis Remastered at Ultra High, the CPU spiraled towards 70-75 degrees. Editing in DaVinci Resolve Studio saw the CPU hit Crysis-like temperatures while using Resolve’s VFX in Fusion.
Using the H100i XT
Upon fitting the H100i XT, we saw a dramatic difference. Temperatures dropped across the board by around 10 degrees for the CPU across all three of our benchmarks.
At idle, we saw the system drop to about 30-35 degrees, and at its peak running games and video editing software, was hitting a new low of 60 during intensive sessions. While performance wasn’t directly affected, knowing that the PC is a lot cooler on the inside is a comfort, and would allow for our CPU to achieve slightly higher boosting speeds.
H100i sound and noise levels
The H100i is also excellent on the sound front. During a session of Destiny 2, we found the stock cooler and fans runnning at maximum, trying to keep the PC cool. It’s loud and irritating during a late-night run through the same six quests.
With the H100i installed, we were concerned at certain intervals that the PC had flatlined. Instead, it was just diligently doing its job. The fans were rotating and once the cable management had been sorted, we were more than happy with it’s whisper-quiet performance, even while gaming.
Verdict – 4/5
Is the Corsair H100i Capellix Elite XT worth it? This really depends on your current PC situation. This isn’t particularly aimed at enthusiasts of the cooling world, as they already have their own lineage and some hooded figures on Reddit have nodded in agreement on a list.
Our main sticking point with something like a PC cooler is Corsair’s pricing. Sitting at $180, it feels like an unnecessarily high price to invest in something that, at the end of the day, sliced off 10 degrees of heat.
If you’re someone who just wants to ensure their PC is staying cool, there are still cheaper options out there that might suffice. Between the awkward installation and the $180 price tag, we can only recommend this to people who want the aesthetic to go along with their cooling performance, which also hooks into the company’s interconnected web of iCUE products.
It’s not a strictly necessary upgrade from a stock cooler if you are a mid-range user, but for those using hotter chips, you may find it incredibly worthwhile. The bug has bit us and despite everything, we would heartily recommend the H100i Capellix Elite XT as a fairly easy solution to cooling problems, with a good splash of RGB aesthetics in there, too.
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