The Corsair hydro range has become an infamous product line. The early models were mediocre at best and were generally either much warmer than similarly priced air cooler or if the temps were good the noise they made was enough to make your deaf granny down the road think Jesus had cured her hearing or duck because she though a jet was landing.
Thankfully with some product maturity all these things have changed and the H100/H100i has pretty much become a bench mark point with many users asking "does it perform better than the H00i" when ever a new AIO is seen on the horizon.
The H105 is the bigger brother to the H75 and shares the same pump, cold plate, mount and OEM manufacturer. As this is a non 'i' unit it does not have support for the Corsair link software but as we have pointed out in the video this could be to many peoples advantage. Something that might not work to peoples advantage is the 38mm thick radiator but we are getting ahead of ourselves so lets take a look at the specifications and then our first look and unboxing video before turning the page to see the performance testing.
Radiator dimensions: 272.5mm x 120mm x 38mm
Fan dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Fan speed: 800 RPM - 2700 RPM (+/- 10%)
Airflow: 73 CFM
Noise Level: 37.7 dBA
Static pressure: 3.9 mm/H20
Power Draw: 0.34A
Normally with our heatsink testing we would test with our 3960X undervolted and at a selection of overclocks. This time we have heard nothing but people asking about its performance compared to the H100i so we have tested using our usual 4.6GHz specs at 1.45v so we can compare it directly to the cream of the crop in our elite test. In addition to this in the second graph we have retested (our original H100i) with the H105 fans and also a set of SP120 PE fans both sets being run at 12v and with the (FSR) Corsair fan speed reducer added.
As you can see in the graph below (now JPG for all you mobile users!) there isn't a single air cooler in this graph, even the NH-D14 does not have enough cooling potential to be featured here. So all that has made this graph so far are the AIO big players and dedicated custom watercooling kits.
Couple things to point out is in the first graph the H105 is using its standard fans and even with the fan speed reducer added and running quiet enough to please pretty much ever silence freak it still out performed the Swiftech H220 and H80i even when they were running 12v fans. It also puts up a galant effort falling just behind the 140mm fan cooled H110.
Moving on to our H100i - H105 head to head test the first thing to point out is the H100i when run with stock fans and the FSR added failed our upper temperature limit of 80c. It did this when run on 'quiet mode' in our original test and the FSR really does slow these fans right down. What this does prove though is that the thicker H105 radiator does allow you to run slower fan speeds and yet achieve better temps than its anorexic brother - that in our eyes is a perfect combination!
So the big question that has been on a great deal of peoples lips was could it beat the H100i performance wise? And the answer is yes. Even with lower fans speeds. This most surprising point is looking around its going to cost about £90 so in most retailers its also cheaper than the H100i.
With a lower cost and higher performance it may lead you into thinking have they cut corners to make savings, but it is made by a different OEM to the H100i and because of this doesn't feature the Corsair link software which allows the user to control fans speeds and LED colour on the desktop plus monitor temperatures. With the H105 the LED is just white so its a great neutral colour that should fit in with most systems and the lack of fan control just makes things easier for those of your out there wanting to run a manual fan controller. Utilise the motherboard fan header and control or even like we favour in the office setting your fan speeds up via fan speed controllers wired direct to molex.
The interchangeable coloured rings on the pump face are a nice touch for easy customisation but these can be difficult to remove. A quick heads up for anyone doing this just jamming a screw driver in to pry the ring out will probably damage the pump housing, it wont be enough that it stops it from working but you will definitely be able to see some physical damage where the screw driver has push onto the plastic of the pump housing. We are fully aware of this because J our intern did exactly that, he soon learned the trick about wrapping some insulation tape around the end of the screwdriver that touched the edge of the housing stops the chance of this (he also got sent in the rain to the coffee shop as punishment)
The main things most potential purchasers need to be aware of is the clearance you will need above your motherboard for that 38mm radiator. Once you take fans in to consideration you will need 65mm of clearance between the top of your motherboard and the roof of your case. We make a point of covering this measurement in everyone of our reviews and/or videos so if you are not sure just look back if you are not sure. If you do decide to measure for yourself please remember to turn your system off and remove the power cable before waving a metal tape measure around inside your rig.
All in all with the thicker radiator you can have better temperatures with lower fan speed and therefore a quieter system for less outlay than if you were to buy a H100i. You just need to be very careful about your case choice because this is much more limiting than the thinner H100i. All in all a thoroughly well deserved OC3D Gold award.
Thanks to Corsair for sending the H105 in for review, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.