Best Corsair Liquid Cooling Windows Central 2019

Overclocking your gaming computer's processor is an excellent way to boost gaming performance, which can often make the difference when playing CPU-intensive titles. However, it's a double-edged sword, as overclocking will often put your processor at risk for overheating, which can cause permanent damage. There's a solution to make overclocking safer, though: liquid cooling devices. These nifty contraptions transfer heat from your processor to water, cooling it down efficiently and effectively. One of the best manufacturers of liquid cooling systems is CORSAIR and out of all its liquid coolers, the Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB is the best due to its excellent capabilities, balanced size, and fair price.

Best Overall: Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB

Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB

Out of all of CORSAIR's liquid cooling devices, the Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB is the best overall option. The 240mm radiator is definitely large enough to cool down overclocked high-end CPUs, and there are dual 120mm fans with speeds from 400–2,400 RPM so you can run the cooler quietly or for maximum power. The device overall isn't too bulky either, which means that it'll fit comfortably in most gaming PC cases.

Using CORSAIR's iCUE software, you can activate RGB lighting on the water pump head and customize it, which looks cool and adds some style to your gaming rig. Also, you can use the software to manually alter how fast you want the fans to run, and you can even turn them off entirely during low-intensity gaming or downtime if you don't want to deal with the slight noise the fans make. Without a doubt, this liquid cooler will get the job done no matter what.

Pros:

  • Excellent cooling abilities
  • Designed space-consciously
  • Awesome iCUE options
  • Some RGB lighting

Cons:

  • A little expensive

Best Overall

Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB

All the power you need

With its powerful radiator and fans, space-conscious size, and awesome iCUE software integration, the Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB is the perfect choice for any hardcore gamer.

Elite Pick: Hydro Series H150i Pro RGB

Hydro Series H150i Pro RGB

Essentially, the Hydro Series H150i Pro RGB is an H100i cooler on steroids. It features a larger 360mm radiator, an extra fan, and the fans themselves are 120mm with a max RPM of 1,600. Frankly, this much cooling power is overkill for even most high-end gaming rigs, but if you're someone who plans to run with an extreme GPU setup — for example, dual NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti cards — your processor is going to need every bit of help it can get. In that case, a monster cooler like this would be worth spending the extra money. The larger hardware and extra fan mean that this cooler is bigger than the H100i, though, so make sure you have plenty of room to spare inside your case.

Pros:

  • Unrivaled cooling abilities
  • Awesome iCUE options
  • Some RGB lighting

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Bulky

Elite Pick

Hydro Series H150i Pro RGB

Overkill for overclocking

The Hydro Series H150i Pro RGB is an elite choice that will be overkill for most gamers but will appeal to people with multiple-GU setups that need extreme processor cooling.

Best Style: Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE

Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE

If you want to pay extra for style points, then the Platinum edition of the H100i cooler is perfect for you. Performance wise, its almost identical to its less-flashy cousin, offering the same iCUE functionality, the same radiator power, and the same dual fans, although its RPM caps out slightly lower at 2,200 instead of 2,400. This difference, though, is marginal.

The big difference is that the Platinum edition of the cooler comes with a bright white sheen instead of the black and silver styling and that the fans sport snazzy RGB lighting in addition to the water pump head. If you're looking to design a gaming rig you can show off, this cooler won't disappoint. The only issue is that you have to pay around $40 extra for the privilege of style.

Pros:

  • Excellent cooling abilities
  • Designed space-consciously
  • Awesome iCUE options
  • Lots of RGB lighting
  • Sleek, pearly-white color

Cons:

  • Very expensive

Best Style

Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE

Hot look, cool performance

The Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE is a sleek and RGB-oriented version of the H100i cooler that gets the job done and looks superb while doing it.

Best Budget: Hydro Series H45

Hydro Series H45

If you're looking for a solid liquid-cooling device but you don't want to spend too much, the Hydro Series H45 is a great budget pick. It's got a small 120mm radiator and a single 120mm fan that runs at a flat 2,300 RPM. These specs aren't amazing for cooling down an overclocked CPU, but the Hydro Series H45 will certainly make a noticeable impact. You'll likely want (or need) to avoid going for maximum overclocking power with this cooler, but if you're okay with boosting processor power a small amount, then you'll love the H45 for its lower price. It's also quite small, making it perfect for people who have small cases and don't want to upgrade.

With the lower price also, unfortunately, comes less styling or customization options. The H45 doesn't have the RGB lighting of its more expensive cousins and there's no iCUE app integration, so you can't control fan speed or monitor the system. In addition, the fan may get a little noisy because it's a small fan running by itself and at a very high RPM. The sound isn't terrible, but it's noticeable nonetheless.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Less powerful cooling
  • No iCUE software integration
  • No RGB lights

Best Budget

Hydro Series H45

Compact and affordable

The Hydro Series H45 is perfect for gamers on a budget, as it offers solid cooling performance for a low price. In addition, its small size means that it's awesome for people who have small computer cases.

Bottom line

Liquid cooling uses the power of, well, liquid to cool down your PC rig. The heat is transferred to the water, a radiator will cool the heated water down, and fans will blow the heat away. Finally, the water will get pumped back to the processor to receive heat again. CORSAIR is well known for its PC build accessories, including cases, keyboards, and power supplies, so it comes as no surprise that it offers a wide range of different liquid cooling devices, and each one will appeal to a different type of gamer and their specific needs.

However, overall, the Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB is the best of them thanks to the fact it offers awesome cooling power in a well-sized package and features some great iCUE software functionality and a bit of RGB lighting, too.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. He's relatively new to the writing scene, but he counters that lack of experience with a rock-solid work ethic and a desire to improve at every opportunity. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

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