We wouldn’t blame a reader for confusing today’s review with the product we covered last year, as the only difference in the name is the addition of the initials XT and the only visible difference in the product is that the new fans have nine blades rather than seven. Anyone could be forgiven for missing that last detail.
|Corsair iCue H100i Elite LCD XT|
|Thickness||28mm (54mm w/fans)||Connectors||USB/SATA/3-PIN|
|Width||120mm (4.73″)||Weight||1453g (50.6 oz)|
|Depth||276mm (10.9″)||Intel Sockets||1700, 1200/115x, 2066/2011|
|Pump Height||56mm (2.2″)||AMD Sockets||AM5/4/3, STRX4/STR4|
|Speed Controller||USB (Software)||Warranty||5-Years|
|Cooling Fans||(2) 120 x 25mm||Web Price||$260|
The thickness changes by 1mm, but that’s only because we rounded upward, and the weight goes down, but that’s only because we couldn’t decide which mounting kit to base it on. Corsair adds AM5 and AM3 to the compatibility list, but that’s just because AM5 is now released (no change to mounting hardware was required). Even the price stays the same. The box changed from black to yellow, but looking at the components…even the Commander Core controller is retained from the previous cooling kit. As it was covered there, we’ve less to cover here.
The fans still lack pass-through connections, so that each will still consume one PWM and one ARGB port from the six (each) provided in the Commander Core controller, and biggest design difference other than blade count and contour is that XT-model’s AF120 is listed as FDB, while the previous non-XT cooler’s fans were listed as magnetic levitation bearing. Of course magnetic levitation only unloads the sleeve bearing when the fan is spinning, so from a practical perspective these two will appear physically similar.
The LCD panel still uses magnets to latch onto the water block’s cover, but perhaps someone will spot a difference we missed? The only difference we’re seeing is that the grid pattern now applied to the factory thermal interface material reduces the amount used by around 20% (which is a visual estimate). The brushed copper finish of the cold plate remains unchanged.
Note that the factory installed Intel mounting plate above is composed of two pieces that have been slid into groves on the side of the base. The design allows this plate to be removed and another (AM5/4/3 or STRX4/STR4) to be installed.
Hardware Configuration & Installation
We’re heating the iCue H100i Elite LCD XT with a mildly overclocked Ryzen 7 and mounting the radiator above our CPU so that its fans will also aid in cooling the X570 Ace motherboard’s voltage regulator. Extra space between the top of the motherboard and Cere 500 TG ARGB case’s top radiator mount will reduce its effect on voltage regulator temperature when compared to previous test cases, but the additional space will eventually allow us to test larger coolers than our previous platforms would hold.
|Case||Thermaltake Ceres 500 TG ARGB|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: 8 cores/ 16 threads, 32MB L3 Cache
O/C to 4.20 GHz (42x 100 MHz) at 1.3625 V Core
|Motherboard||MSI X570 Ace: AMD X570, Socket AM4|
|RAM||T-Force Vulcan Z TLZGD416G3200HC16CDC0 DDR4-3200|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G|
|Hard Drives||Toshiba OCZ RD400 256GB NVMe SSD|
|Power||Corsair AX860i: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum|
As with most coolers, the iCue H100i Elite LCD XT’s lack of spacers beneath the standoffs leaves our support plate floating loosely while we attempt to fit the cooler’s bracket over those standoffs. Formerly solved by another company’s elaborate cup washer design, this now-common nuisance lasts only until the builder gets the nuts in place.
With the AM5/4/3 brackets installed and screwed to the standoffs, our installation woes are solved.
Corsair’s iCue software works great and with Corsair’s hardware, but requires a bit of work to coordinate with the motherboard ARGB that controls our case fans. Moreover, we got into a situation after clicking a “Mural” where we couldn’t figure out how to get back to where we had been until we opened the mural menu. The sticking point is that whenever we picked a software-controlled feature, we’d have to pick it again to revert to hardware defaults.
The Elite LCD 480×480 display can host the user’s choice of static images or animated GIFs in addition to the various modes included by Corsair. We picked a static image with a black background to contrast our previous effort.
|Load Software||Prime95 Version 30.7 Torture Test, Small FFTs|
|H/W Monitoring||HWiNFO64 v6.28-4200|
|SPL Monitoring||Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter: Tested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB)|
The iCue H100i Elite LCD XT edges out the BR24 by InWin by about one degree, and puts our Celsius S24 to bed with its 6° cooling advantage.
Proving that the old S24’s fans are fine, the iCue H100i Elite LCD XT merely matches it in voltage regulator cooling. InWin takes a big lead by placing a third fan atop its water block to cool the voltage regulator’s heat sinks more directly.
Of course the BR24 also makes more noise. The iCue H100i Elite LCD XT is far from quiet at full tilt, and most users would even have a hard time tolerating the quieter S24 with active fan management disabled. Which of course is why we enable it whenever we’re not testing a device’s maximum cooling capacity.
As noisy as it was a full speed, the iCue H100i Elite LCD XT also produced low enough temperatures at that speed to win a cooling-to-noise comparison.
A look back at our iCue H100i Elite LCD (non-XT) review showed that it earner our Approved rating for its great performance and feature set, despite its terrible, horrible $260 price. This new XT version offers the same features and even better performance, assuming its predecessor’s position as the most powerful CPU cooler in its class and the model with the best feature set.
|Corsair iCue H100i Elite LCD XT|
|As a revised version of its iCue H100i Elite LCD XT, Corsair’s iCue H100i Elite LCD XT improves the fan performance of an already complete package. Priced at the same (exorbitant) $260, it takes its predecessor’s place in our approval list.|