Corsair H105 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler Introduction

Just in time for CES, Corsair announced to the world their latest edition to their Hydro liquid CPU cooling line - The H105.  What makes this cooler special in comparison to their other offerings?  This AIO cooler is still 240mm in size, but it is thicker than the rest.  Corsair's H105 is their first 240mm AIO cooler that measures 38mm thick versus the traditional 25-27mm thickness in other coolers.  The results from the increased thickness should provide superior heat dissipation, which means this cooler should theoretically be an overclocker's best friend.

Corsair H105

Corsair's latest, the H105, is available now for $109.99 shipped on Amazon and comes with a spectacular 5-year warranty.  This puts the H105 right in the ballpark of the rest of the coolers on the market and with a better warranty than many others.

Like the rest of their recent coolers, the H105 has a large list of compatibility, so expect to run this on just about any modern Intel or AMD CPU.  The compatible Intel sockets include: LGA 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, and 2011, while the compatible AMD sockets include:  FM1, FM2, AM2, and AM3.

This top mount 240mm radiator features dual Corsair 120mm SP120L fans, which are capable of pushing 73 CFM at 37.7 dBA with 3.9 mmH20 static pressure.  You can hook these fans up to a 4-pin fan header, for PWM fan speed control, to aid in the precise amount of cooling that you need.  Take note that this particular cooler is not compatible with Corsair's Link software, so you will not be able to monitor or control the fans and pump from your desktop like you can the H100i.

Also unlike the H100i, the H105 does not have LEDs to change the color of the pump light, but instead it has interchangeable rings to help you match the pump to the color theme of your system.  It's there to give a little extra style to your system, rather than just being the same boring old pump color – black.

Corsair H105 Pump

To get the H105 to fit in your case you will need a minimum of 63mm of clearance, which could prove troublesome for some.  We'll take a look and see how the H105 fits inside our Fractal Design Define XL R2 chassis.

Technical specifications

Compatibility

Let's move on and take a quick look at the retail packaging, followed by a quick overview of the H105 itself!

Corsair H105 Packaging & Unboxing

The H105 is packaged just like the rest of their coolers, which tells you everything you need to know on the outside of the box and packaged well on the inside.  Let's take a quick tour around the retail packaging and see what's included inside the box.

The top (or front if you will) of the box is the basic money shot of the H105 and that's about it.

Corsair H105 Box

Drop down to the first face and you catch a few of the features of the H105 as well as the note of the 5 year warranty.  Throughout the packaging you will find the same information in 6 languages, including English.

Corsair H105 Box

Turn the box to the right and there is mention of all of the contents of the box and a diagram showing the physical dimensions of the radiator.  This radiator measure 272.5mm wide and 63mm thick, with fans installed. 

Corsair H105 Box

The back side is basically a little blurb about the cooler and its features, while also showing you the results Corsair achieved on an overclocked Intel 3960x.

Corsair H105 Box

One last turn and the box will give you all of the technical specifications of the H105.

Corsair H105 Box

The bottom of the box doesn't feature anything, so we'll leave that one out.

Cracking the top of the box open, you can see the egg carton style packing, which means everything should be pretty safe and secure.

Corsair H105 Box

Wanting to get to the meat of the box, here is the H105 in all its glory!  The H105 comes with the silver accent ring pre-installed and can be swapped out with one of the other two included rings.

Corsair H105

A closer look...

Corsair H105

I was quite impressed with the fact that there were zero bent fins on this radiator, so it was definitely packed well.

Corsair H105 Radiator

Looking a bit closer at the pump, you again see the pre-installed silver ring as well as the Intel mounting bracket pre-installed.  You can easily swap this Intel bracket out with the included AMD bracket.  The wire that is sticking out on the right is the power for the pump, which you just need to hook up to a 3-pin header.  The Corsair logo on the pump will glow white, like their other coolers do.

Corsair H105 Pump

Looking at the bottom of the pump, at the copper cold plate, you will find thermal compound already applied from the factory, making installing this kit that much easier.

Corsair H105 Pump Cold Plate

Also included in the box are dual 120mm Corsair SP120L fans, which are capable of pushing 73 CFM at 37.7 dBA with 3.9 mmH20 static pressure. 

Corsair H105 Fans

The accessories that are included with the kit are all the hardware you need for an AMD or Intel installation, compatible with Intel sockets: LGA 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, and 2011, while the compatible AMD sockets include:  FM1, FM2, AM2, and AM3.  On the top right is a fan y-header cable, which will allow you to hook up the two fans to a single header on your motherboard.  Those of you with limited headers or a long reach to the nearest header will appreciate having this cable.  Finally, on the bottom right are the two included accent rings:  Blue and Red.

Corsair H105 Accessories

Let's move onto the installation section and see how easy it is to get the H105 inside a Fractal Design Define XL R2 case.

Installing the Corsair Hydro H105 Liquid CPU Cooler

We have already discovered that Corsair has made your installation of the H105 potentially easier, by having the Intel mounting bracket pre-installed and thermal compound pre-applied.  Corsair did also attempt to make your life easier with the Intel backplate, in the fact that you only have to slide the mounting points to your socket's needs.

Before you get to installing, you will want to change up your accent ring if the stock silver doesn't suit your needs.  Corsair includes both a blue and red ring to hopefully match your system's color theme.

Taking off the ring is pretty easy, and Corsair recommends using a flat blade (standard) screw driver.  Pry up on one corner and you can easily drop a new ring on.  Here's what the blue looks like:

Corsair H105 Pump

… and red:

Corsair H105 Pump

Now you will want to note a couple things with removing the colored rings and putting the new one on.  The new ring will only go on one way.  If you're putting it on the wrong way, you will notice it doesn't fit quite right.  Also note the potential damage to the pump's finish.  I was being as careful as I could be, and not careless, but I still managed to ding the finish on the pump.  Fortunately much of this will be hidden by the new ring, when properly installed.

Corsair H105 Pump Accent Ring

My color theme is red in my case, with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H motherboard, so I'm leaving the red one on.

I strongly recommend installing the fans before you even begin putting the radiator inside your case.  You will save yourself a lot of headaches.  We're doing a push or exhaust setup.  Here's what the radiator looks like with the fans all installed.

Corsair H105

One profile shot of how thick the radiator is in comparison to the fans.  The Corsair SP120L fans measure 25mm thick while the radiator is 38mm thick.  These provide a full thickness of 63mm, so you need that at minimum to get the H105 installed in your case.

Corsair H105 Profile Shot

Moving over to the case, setting the backplate in place is plenty easy; however, Corsair does not have a means of holding the backplate in place permanently.

Corsair H105 Backplate

Next up I had to screw in the standoffs for my Intel i7 4770k CPU, which this explains and will be more than enough to hold the backplate in place.

Corsair H105 Standoffs

Mounting the radiator to the case is another easy task with the included screws and washers.  Since we pre-installed the fans, we made our lives that much easier.

Corsair H105 Radiator Installed

One thing that I noticed, and had only a little trouble with here, is the fact that the 8-pin power connector almost got in the way of the radiator/fans.  This case is already pretty huge so I'm concerned that other cases might have an issue.  Again, you need to make sure you have at least 63mm of clearance up here.  Fortunately in my application, I was far enough away from the motherboard and MOSFET cooler to make this not an issue.

Corsair H105 Cutting It Close

Next we can drop the cooler itself on top of our CPU and attach it.  Positioning it is a breeze with how the holes are designed on the mounting bracket.  Attaching it to the backplate is done via large thumb screws.  When screwing these down, use a crisscross pattern to apply even pressure across your CPU.  When I got the thumb screws tightened down by finger, but not tight down, I used a screw driver to finish the job off.

Corsair H105 Pump Installed

Here's everything all installed.  Don't forget to hook up your fans to a 4-pin PWM header for better control, or you can utilize the y-header cable to hook both fans up to a single 4-ping header.  Also don't neglect to hook up the pump to a 3 or 4-pin header for power.

Corsair H105 Complete

Firing everything up I caught the white glow of the Corsair logo on the pump and the fans did not sound overly noisy.  When I got the fans to go their max speed, they did get somewhat noisy but they were quite tolerable.  The average gamer will have headphones on, so you probably won't really notice them.

Corsair H105 Complete Running

Here's what the pump's light looks like in a dimmer setting.  Up on the top you will notice a couple pricks of light at the edge of the red ring.  This is an unfortunate consequence of taking the stock ring off and the light damage from the screwdriver.

Corsair H105 Pump Color

Let's take a look and see how Corsair 105 performs and compare it to the other coolers that we reviewed.

The Test System

Before we take a look at the performance numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used.  All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

Corsair H105 Complete Running

Intel Z87/LGA1150 Platform

The Intel Z87 platform that we used to test these memory modules was running the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H motherboard with BIOS version F7 that came out on 08/05/2013.  The processor used, the Intel Core i7 4770k, will be using the stock frequency of 3.5GHz with turbo boost enabled, which can boost it up to 3.9GHz.  Low power state is enabled, which clocks the CPU at 900MHz.

Many of the previous tests we chose not to overclock beyond the turbo frequency in order to show you what your average user would see.  Starting with this cooler, the 4770k will be overclocked to a 4.3GHz turbo boost at 1.270 volts, which is over the stock 1.193v.  To push this particular 4770k stably to 4.4GHz required well over 1.4 volts, which the performance gains of a 100MHz increase was not worth that huge bump in voltage.

Corsair H105 Benchmarking

In the benchmarks that will be run, we used an Intel 4770k clocked at 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost and the low power state enabled.  Turbo Boost allows the 4770k to hit up to 3.9GHz.  Many of the previous tests we chose not to overclock beyond the turbo frequency in order to show you what your average user would see.  Starting with this cooler, the 4770k will be overclocked to a 4.3GHz turbo boost at 1.270 volts, which is over the stock 1.193v.  To push this particular 4770k stably to 4.4GHz required well over 1.4 volts, which the performance gains of a 100MHz increase was not worth that huge bump in voltage.

To record temperatures, we used Core Temp, logged the temperatures for 15 minutes or while each program was active, and averaged all 4 cores.

Benchmark wise, we will be using several synthetic and real-world benchmarks to perform normal, heavy, and extreme load.  The benchmarks that I'm going to use today include:  Prime95, x264, 3DMark 2013 (Firestrike test only), Metro Last Light, and Sleeping Dogs.  Prime95 will peg all four cores and eight threads to 100%, which will help us to understand exactly how hot this CPU can get with each cooler.

Ambient temperature during all testing was 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

I have reviewed several other liquid CPU coolers in the past and you will find them in the charts below for comparison purposes.  I was able to get test results while overclocked for the previous cooler that I reviewed, the Cooler Master Glacer 240L, and have included them here.

Idle

Corsair H105 - 3DMark 2013

Prime95

Corsair H105 - Prime95

X264

Corsair H105 - x264

3D Mark 2013

Corsair H105 - 3DMark 2013

Metro Last Light

Corsair H105 - Metro Last Light

Sleeping Dogs

Corsair H105 - Sleeping Dogs

Overall Results:  Corsair's H105 took the crown in a number of scenarios at the stock frequency of 3.9GHz on our 4770k.  Even if it was not number one at this speed, it found itself in a very close second.  When it came to overclocking the 4770k to 4.3GHz, the H105 still pulled in cooler temperatures than many other coolers when the CPU was at 3.9GHz.  The most impressive result here is the Prime95 test at 3.9GHz, coming in several degrees Celsius cooler than the next closest.  Thinking this was a fluke, we ran the test twice more and came back with similar results each time, confirming the numbers were in fact true.

Corsair H105 Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The H105 is the latest cooler in Corsair's Hydro series, taking place of a top mount 240mm space.  With the lack of the “I” denotation at the end means this cooler isn't designed to work with the Link software, like the H100i is.  You won't be able to monitor fan and pump speed via this software and will instead have to rely on PWM fan headers to control fan speed.

Corsair H105

That minor point aside, the H105 is a much thicker radiator than most, measuring 38mm thick vs. the traditional 25-27mm thickness.  With this increased thickness, one should expect to have greater cooling performance.  By our tests, we must say this definitely held true!

The design of the H105 isn't really anything different than previous coolers, however Corsair did allow you to add a little extra flare to your kit via interchangeable rings.  If you don't care to have the silver accent ring, you can change it up to a red or blue one to hopefully help match or contrast the pump to your system's color configuration.  In our setup, we chose to install the red to match the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H red theme.

Corsair H105 Complete Running

If you're looking to pick up the H105 for your system, you can find it for sale on Amazon for $109.99 shipped, and Corsair has a 5 year warranty with every kit.

Overall the price of this kit hits the market just right and it couldn't be recommended enough.  Installation is simple, performance is on par or better than every kit we have tested, and you can't forget about how reasonably priced this kit is.

Corsair H105 Cutting It Close

The only problem that some users may have is the fact that you need 63mm minimum clearance for this kit to work.  Not all of the Corsair cases can fit this cooler. The Corsair Obsidian 250D mini-ITX chassis was designed from the start to support the Corsair H100, although the Corsair H105 is too thick to fit. In our Fractal Design Define XL R2 chassis, we had just enough room to squeeze this kit in place.  We did have the fans rubbing against the 8-pin motherboard power connector, but fortunately is didn't require much effort to get the kit in place.

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line:  The H105 is a darn near perfect kit that packs the performance in a thicker than average 240mm radiator.  The only thing you need to ensure with this kit is that you have 63mm of clearance.  If you do, this is the right kit for you!