How to install the Hydro Series H100i CPU Cooler

 

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The Hydro Series™ H100i is a high performance all in one liquid CPU cooler from Corsair. The H100i is similar to other Hydro Series CPU coolers from with a few exceptions, the main one being that the H100i uses a longer 240mm radiator. Luckily most Corsair PC cases will support the H100i and this blog will serve to illustrate the installation process. In this artice I will be installing the cooler into aVengeance Series C70 case.

First, it’s a good idea to lay out your components and make sure you have everything you will need for your particular CPU socket. The H100i supports the following CPU sockets right out of the box:

  • Intel: LGA, 115x, 1366, 2011
  • AMD: AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2

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In this installation we will be attaching the H100i to an Asus P9X79 motherboard which uses the LGA 2011 socket. The H100i ships with two different mounting brackets one for Intel sockets, and one for AMD. Both of the brackets attach to the cooling unit magnetically, so just slide the correct bracket over the cooling unit and it should “snap” into place.

The backplate for the H100i is adjustable and can be configured for any of the supported socket types. Just slide the pins on the bracket so that they align with the holes on the motherboard and then use the double-sided mounting bolts to secure it into place. With Corsair’s PC cases, there is a CPU backplate cutout so you can apply the bracket without having to remove the motherboard from the case. If your case does not have a backplate cutout to access the rear of the motherboard, then you will want to mount the backplate before installing the motherboard into your case.

If you are using a motherboard with socket LGA 2011, or any AMD based motherboard, then no backplate is required. With these sockets you can use the backplate that is already attached to the board.

The mounting bolts serve two purposes, one is to secure the backplate to the motherboard, and the other is to give you a mounting point for the CPU cooling unit and its bracket. Since our motherboard uses the LGA 2011 socket, we do not need to use the included H100i backplate.

There are two sets of double sided mounting bolts, one set has equal length threads on each side of the bolt and are used when the supplied Corsair backplate is being used. For LGA 2011, you will want to use the other set of double sided mounting bolts, the set which has one short threaded side and one longer. The short sided threads screw directly into the LGA 2011 Intel bracket that is already attached to the board. You can see in the picture below that all four double sided mounting bolts have been screwed in directly to the standard LGA 2011 socket.

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Now that the backplate and double sided mounting bolts are installed, we will mount the radiator. It will be easier to mount the radiator first, and then the CPU cooling unit, rather than the other way around. In most cases you will need to install the H100i in the top of the case, but if you have a large case with multiple installation points that support 240mm radiators, then feel free to experiment by mounting the H100i in a different area.

The correct order for securing the radiator is Screw > Washer > Case > Radiator.

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The fan installation can be done in multiple ways, but by default we would recommend having the fans mounted on the bottom of the unit exhausting air up through the radiator towards the outside of the case. If your system is already set up to have sufficient exhaust, then you can experiment with mounting the fans on top of the radiator where they can push cooler air from outside of the case down through the radiator. If you mount the radiator with the fans on the bottom, then it might be easiest to mount the fans to the radiator before installing the radiator into the case, which is what I did for this installation.

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With the fans mounted below the radiator you will want to use the 8x 10mm screws (the shorter set of screws) to secure the radiator to the case. If you are going to set up a push pull configuration (fans mounted on both sides of the radiator), or you are mounting the fans on top of the radiator then you will want to use the longer mounting screws in the following order: Screw > Washer > Case > Fan > Radiator.

Once the radiator, fans and backplate are mounted, it is time to mount the CPU cooling unit. Simply line up the pins with the holes on the CPU bracket and tighten it down with the supplied thumb screws. The H100i comes with thermal material already applied to the CPU cooling unit, so when you are ready to mount the CPU cooling unit, remove the plastic shielding that covers the thermal material and use the 4x thumbscrews to secure it to the mounting bolts that we screwed directly to the Intel 2011 socket earlier.

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Now that the unit is mounted, we will want to plug in power cables for both of the fans and the pump. The H100i has an integrated 4-fan hub which is where you will want to plug in your H100i fans. You will find two ports on top of the cooling unit, where you can plug in the included fan power adapter cables. Each adapter will support two fans, and by plugging the fans directly into the fan power adapter cable and into the cooling unit, you will be able to monitor and control the H100i fans through the Corsair Link V2 software.

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The cooling unit itself has two cables to plug in, a SATA power connector, and a pump sensor cable. The SATA power connector should be connected directly to an available SATA power cable from your PSU, and the 3 pin (with only a single sensor wire) fan connector should be plugged into your CPU fan header on the motherboard. The sensor cable relays pump RPM information to both the BIOS and to the Corsair Link V2 software, and lets your motherboard know that you have a CPU cooler installed.

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Now that the unit is installed, there are two more things to take note of. On the side of the cooling unit you will find two different sockets, one is for the included USB cable and it connects the H100i to a spare internal USB 2.0 header on your motherboard and allows the cooler to communicate with the Corsair Link software. The other connector is a Corsair Link expansion port. The expansion port can be used if you have multiple Corsair Link devices in your system. This is useful if you do not want to use up all of your internal USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard. For example, if you have an AXi PSU, then instead of connecting it directly to the motherboards USB header, you can simply plug it into the cooling block on the H100i, where it will interface with Corsair Link through the H100i. The expansion port can also be connected directly to the stand alone Corsair Link kit which comes with the Corsair Link Commander unit. This is to minimize the amount of cables that need to be connected directly to the motherboard.

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Now that the hardware is completely installed, you will want to power up your system and download the latest version of the Corsair Link V2 software. You can find this download on the H100i product page.

Click on the “Downloads” tab and you will find the latest firmware update and Corsair Link V2 software version.

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Comments

  • rick edwards's gravatar rick edwards said:
    10/5/2014 2:24 PM

    Thanks for this! The Quick Install guide is not only terse but has at least one confusing figure. Might also mention that there are plastic caps on the end of the y cable - my first thought was that I got the wrong Y cable(s). I saw my mistake after seeing your pictures (and reading John's notes) but it isn't obvious. For my installation - in a fairly large case - i had to remove the mounted cooler to put in the Y cable and the USB cable. i'd recommend attaching those BEFORE screwing the heat exchanger onto the CPU.

  • Russ Kirby's gravatar Russ Kirby said:
    11/6/2014 9:52 AM

    Is it possible to use longer lengths of coolant tubing to place the fan/radiator in a room adjacent to the computer? It is possible for me to have such an arrangement with approximately 3 feet between the computer and the fan/radiator. Noise would therefore be much better. Thanks. Russ

  • Robert Brooks's gravatar Robert Brooks said:
    11/27/2014 1:23 PM

    I totally agree with Nick Edwards It not clearly indicated that there are Plastic caps on the "Y" I have look at a dozen Youtube Videos but, not one of them mentioned anything about the plastic caps. I was so convinced that I had received a wrong "Y" clip that I reordered order a new Cable kit to overcome this problem. Why didn't Corsair make this abundantly clear in their Quick Start Guide.

  • dave's gravatar dave said:
    12/2/2014 8:58 AM

    F'n Plastic caps on the "Y". Could not figure it out all night.. Thank you this was helpful.

  • tealeafPG's gravatar tealeafPG said:
    12/10/2014 4:54 AM

    What does it mean when the CORSAIR logo does not light up after a couple months of use? It is still pumping and keeping cool, but when a simple LED no longer words I get a bit worried about the other hardware inside. The process of replacing a CPU cooler is tedious and time consuming and often afforded by the customer using the product. It simply isn't worth the trouble to RMA. I was not thrilled with this nice little product after that light went out.

  • Kathy 's gravatar Kathy said:
    12/19/2014 5:28 AM

    OMG thank you so much, i couldnt' figure out those stupid y cables and i'm so glad i' wasn't the only one

 
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