CORSAIR iCUE H150i Elite LCD Display Liquid CPU Cooler Review: Bring Larger
CORSAIR has launched their new AIO Liquid CPU Coolers a few weeks before the Intel Alder Lake launch because they are well aware that Team Blue’s new processors run quite hot. It remains to be seen whether CORSAIR has incorporated any new design changes to better manage the high temperatures at Alder Lake. The new CORSAIR iCUE ELITE LCD Liquid CPU cooler appears to be a minor upgrade compared to their iCUE ELITE CAPELLIX liquid CPU cooler which was launched last September. We decided to check out 360mm variants like CORSAIR “H150i” iCUE ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler to see what has changed. The CORSAIR also includes the H100i 240mm and H170i 420mm variants with the new LCD display.
CORSAIR is not the first to place an LCD display in their cooler. ASUS showcased Ryujin with an LCD display in 2018, and we’ve seen brands like the NZXT come up with late cooler displays.
The CORSAIR H150i iCUE ELITE LCD comes in a simple black and yellow cursor box with all the accessories needed to fit all modern CPU sockets. The Intel bracket is pre-installed on the cooler and supports LGA1700 / 1200/1156/1155/1151/1150 sockets. And for AMD, you get AM4 / STR4 / STR4X brackets and mounting hardware.
The fan included with the CORSAIR H150i iCUE ELITE LCD Liquid CPU Cooler is a 120 mm ML RGB Elite Fan that uses magnetic levitation bearings and delivers 14.86 to 58.1 CFM when running between 450-2000 RPM. These are static pressure fans that are used with dense radiators Each fan has a 4-pin PWM connector for getting the fan and a 4-pin RGB connector.
To control the LCD display and all RGB of the fan, CORSAIR includes a COMMANDER CORE with cooler. This thing can handle six fans and six RGB devices in addition to the cooler’s LCD display. And if you have six RGB fans, it can handle that. A proper mid-tower cabinet such as the 680X will have some RGB fans of its own, so that the Commander Core with three ML RGB Elite can easily operate.
You’ll also find a USB Y-splitter cable for connecting two USB connectors to a USB 2.0 header on the motherboard. This doesn’t always work because some boards will make it difficult to identify devices if passed through a USB hub. When we use splitter cables with our test rigs, the three ML RGB elite fans connected via LCD display, or COMMANDER CORE, are also not recognized. We had to bypass the USB Y-Splitter to allow iCUE to recognize the devices
Intel’s mounting mechanism is quite simple. There is a rear bracket with adjustable inserts that can fit the LGA1700 / 1200/1156/1151/1150. A few two-sided standoff screws secure the bracket and the CPU block goes up and is secured with four nuts.
The AMD mounting mechanism is just as simple. You need to change the CPU block bracket and use it with the standard AMD backplate. There are several two-sided standoff screws to secure the AMD backplate. And the CPU block goes up just as it did with the Intel CPU block.
Then comes the COMMANDER CORE which controls the RGB lighting of all fans, fans and pumps. The CPU block consists of a thick flat cable running in COMMANDER CORE that is connected to a SATA power connector and a USB 2.0 connector. The CPU block also has a USB 2.0 connector. To connect the iCUE to the pump display and COMMANDER CORE, both USB connectors need to be connected to the motherboard. As we mentioned earlier, we could not use the Y-Splitter USB cable with the two devices and they had to be connected directly.
Corsair went with CoolIT for this particular model and since Corsair is such a huge customer, they can customize a lot more aspects of AIO than other customers. In the case of the CORSAIR H150i iCUE ELITE LCD, they did nothing more than attach a display to the top of the pump block. Let’s start with the radiator.
Same old design made using full aluminum body. The radiator is 27 mm wide and has about 20 fins per inch.
Radiators can easily incorporate screw protectors or screw guards as we see in the Corsair XR5 and XR7 radiators that are part of their Hydro X series. The XR5 and XR7 are made by hardware labs and come from AIO CoolIT. OEMs are different. We’re pretty sure CoolIT got it from any other OEM but now it’s time for this general design change to include all AIO manufacturers.
Moving on to the tubes and joints, we see nylon-sleeve tubes in place with creamed fittings that do not rotate or swivel.
The CPU water block is pre-fitted with LCD panels and metal brackets for mounting on Intel systems. The tubes are connected using plastic swivel fittings with a metal crimp at the end to secure the tube. All the cabling CPU comes out from the top of the water block which is based on the side in this figure. And then you have the LCD display which is a 2.1-inch 24-bit color IPS panel with a resolution of 480×480 pixels and a frame rate of 30 fps. The backlight is bright at 600 Nits.
You can easily remove the LCD display and you will be left with it. There is no connector to connect directly to the pump block if you do not want an LCD display.
Corsair mentioned that the cold plate is 56 x 56 mm, we got a millimeter smaller but that’s fine. The cold plate is secured with eight Phillips screws and the cooler is quite easy to open. However, it is not recommended unless you have a mixture of some glycol and distilled water that falls to top it off.
At the bottom of the cold plate we see the simple CoolIT design of the micro-skid fin. Corsair says they have 128 fins per inch in this design.
Inside the pump head, we see a blue thermocol for measuring the temperature of the cold plate and a rectangular washer in the center for the liquid channel in the center of the micro-skid fins.
Lastly, we have the CORSAIR ML120 RGB Elite Fan which is another big change with this launch. In the iCUE ELITE CAPELLIX AIO, we had the ML120 RGB fan with eight LEDs and the fan could run between 400-1600 RPM while pushing up to 47.3 CFM. It did so without much noise at 25 dBA. The ML120 RGB ELITE, on the other hand, has eight LEDs mounted on the straight edge of a slightly different housing and can run between 450-2000 RPM by pushing up to 58.10 CFM. This makes more noise at 30.4 dBA maximum.
Overall, the biggest change in front of the design is the LCD display and fans above the CPU block. Let’s see how they perform.
An important point about AIOs is to see if the micro-skid fins, where most of the heat exchange takes place, align with the actual CPU inside the IHS. Intel and AMD have different arrays of dyes on the substrate and the efficiency of the AIO depends on how well they align with the actual dyes. Intel’s consumer processors have a huge exclusive dye while AMD has their own chiplet design that spreads the dye across the entire substrate. Since the H150i iCUE ELITE LCD cooler was launched around the Intel Alder Lake processor launch, we decided that it was well aligned with the die.
On the top-of-the-line of the Intel Core i9-12900K, the die is about 10.2 x 20.4 mm and bangs in the middle of the substrate. And we see that the Finns provide adequate coverage for newer Intel CPUs.
The units were reviewed in the following configuration:
Intel 12th Gen Test Rig
CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K and Core i5-12600K
Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master
SSD: 2x WD Black SN850 1TB
HDD: Seagate FireCuda 2 TB ST2000DX002
RAM: Corsar Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5 32GB (2 x 16GB) @ 4800 MHz
Cooler: Corsair H150i Elite LCD
PSU: Cooler Master V1200
The Alder Lake flagship processor is a gazelle and it runs very hot which makes it ideal for testing CPU coolers. We went and graphed the power consumption values for a period of 10 minutes with the first 5 minutes showing heavy load and the next 5 minutes running absolutely nothing.
During loading, the P-cores hit a maximum temperature of 97 degrees Celsius, with the e-cores topping at 85 degrees Celsius. When inactive, P-cores were around 21.5 সেল C and e-cores were around 20 C. The temperature of the CPU package at load was always between 98 and 100 degrees Celsius. More importantly, the e-cores had just hit the TJmax where the P-cores had a very hard time staying away from the TJmax. The average distance from TjMax at load time was 3.1 degrees. This is the ambient temperature of 19 degrees.
For noise levels, fans ramp up to a maximum during a 10-minute thermal throttling test. At the highest level, cooler fans exceeded 42 dBA which makes the cooler as loud as most competitions. During normal load, the audio layers were equal to the ambient layers
The CORSAIR H150i iCUE ELITE LCD Liquid CPU cooler is a decent AIO for the new Alder Lake processor, unless you’re crunching prime numbers all the time. The LCD display is a nice change and CORSAIR has done a great job making the whole iCUE interface easy to polish and control. Fans, on the other hand, are a little louder than before. Overall, the H150i iCUE ELITE is an excellent addition to CORSAIR’s portfolio.