Testing Methodology

Although the testing of a cooler appears to be a simple task, that could not be much further from the truth. Proper thermal testing cannot be performed with a cooler mounted on a single chip, for multiple reasons. Some of these reasons include the instability of the thermal load and the inability to fully control and or monitor it, as well as the inaccuracy of the chip-integrated sensors. It is also impossible to compare results taken on different chips, let alone entirely different systems, which is a great problem when testing computer coolers, as the hardware changes every several months. Finally, testing a cooler on a typical system prevents the tester from assessing the most vital characteristic of a cooler, its absolute thermal resistance.

The absolute thermal resistance defines the absolute performance of a heatsink by indicating the temperature rise per unit of power, in our case in degrees Celsius per Watt (°C/W). In layman's terms, if the thermal resistance of a heatsink is known, the user can assess the highest possible temperature rise of a chip over ambient by simply multiplying the maximum thermal design power (TDP) rating of the chip with it. Extracting the absolute thermal resistance of a cooler however is no simple task, as the load has to be perfectly even, steady and variable, as the thermal resistance also varies depending on the magnitude of the thermal load. Therefore, even if it would be possible to assess the thermal resistance of a cooler while it is mounted on a working chip, it would not suffice, as a large change of the thermal load can yield much different results.

Appropriate thermal testing requires the creation of a proper testing station and the use of laboratory-grade equipment. Therefore, we created a thermal testing platform with a fully controllable thermal energy source that may be used to test any kind of cooler, regardless of its design and or compatibility. The thermal cartridge inside the core of our testing station can have its power adjusted between 60 W and 340 W, in 2 W increments (and it never throttles). Furthermore, monitoring and logging of the testing process via software minimizes the possibility of human errors during testing. A multifunction data acquisition module (DAQ) is responsible for the automatic or the manual control of the testing equipment, the acquisition of the ambient and the in-core temperatures via PT100 sensors, the logging of the test results and the mathematical extraction of performance figures.

Finally, as noise measurements are a bit tricky, their measurement is being performed manually. Fans can have significant variations in speed from their rated values, thus their actual speed during the thermal testing is being recorded via a laser tachometer. The fans (and pumps, when applicable) are being powered via an adjustable, fanless desktop DC power supply and noise measurements are being taken 1 meter away from the cooler, in a straight line ahead from its fan engine. At this point we should also note that the Decibel scale is logarithmic, which means that roughly every 3 dB(A) the sound pressure doubles. Therefore, the difference of sound pressure between 30 dB(A) and 60 dB(A) is not "twice as much" but nearly a thousand times greater. The table below should help you cross-reference our test results with real-life situations.

The noise floor of our recording equipment is 30.2-30.4 dB(A), which represents a medium-sized room without any active noise sources. All of our acoustic testing takes place during night hours, minimizing the possibility of external disruptions.

<35dB(A) Virtually inaudible
35-38dB(A) Very quiet (whisper-slight humming)
38-40dB(A) Quiet (relatively comfortable - humming)
40-44dB(A) Normal (humming noise, above comfortable for a large % of users)
44-47dB(A)* Loud* (strong aerodynamic noise)
47-50dB(A) Very loud (strong whining noise)
50-54dB(A) Extremely loud (painfully distracting for the vast majority of users)
>54dB(A) Intolerable for home/office use, special applications only.

*noise levels above this are not suggested for daily use

The Corsair H150i Elite Capellix Liquid Cooler & iCUE Software Testing Results
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  • bigi - Thursday, October 15, 2020 - link

    Shiat is getting ridiculous. I miss the days where computer parts did not emit light, blinks, and weren't designed for 12 year olds. Reply
  • khanikun - Thursday, October 15, 2020 - link

    Why you can buy parts from other companies that don't do that. There's nothing wrong with having lots of options. I would like companies to have 3 options for these kind of things. No fans, has fans, and has RGB fans. Course I don't think any AIO manufacturers sell them without fans. Reply
  • ANoNameX - Monday, October 19, 2020 - link

    @ Ian Cutress - it would be great to know if the base plate would cover the heat spreader of an sTRX4 Threadripper. It's basically the #1 concern for AIO coolers with Zen2 Threadrippers. Reply
  • BattleRam - Thursday, October 22, 2020 - link

    Cmon no comparison to a Noctua D15 ? I know it is not an water cooler but I wish we could know exactly how much better than the best aircooler this new Corsair is. Reply
  • Tom Sunday - Sunday, November 1, 2020 - link

    I always grow suspicious when companies use the word ELITE. But CAPELLIX what a nice new word thrown into the AIO market basket! Looks like Corsair's AIO dominance continues with all of its LED splendor (or circus action) still trying to making the big $$$ and profits. For sure the "cool Capellix'' price of $190 is not for the average blue collar Joe like me working midnights riding the forklift. But now Intel with especially the "heat on by AMD" will be pushing out their 12th Generation (10nm-Fin) Alder Lake program probably just before the 2021 Holidays? The Big Deal: The socket dimensions for the newly Alder Lake mandated LGA-1700 is about 7.5mm taller than Intel's current LGA 1200 socket and this forcing that all future mobo architectures will be dramatically changing along with their graduation to DDR5 and much more. Meaning that the H150i Capellix (along with all their other competing AIO siblings) will essentially be obsolete by the end of next year since the current chipset AIO water blocks will not fit the new CPU molds. This of course will first only be applying to system upgraders, but nevertheless and with AIO's supposed to be lasting 5-years or so, it will most certainly make people think twice before investing in a new or upgraded (costly) AIO in the months to come? I am curious in how the industry or sellers will handle this matter? Or will it be just for the enthusiast or those havng money to burn to simply starting over and or further supporting the seemingly neverending AIO upgrade craze? Unless of course we are ready now to create a used AIO market like the existing and booming 'used GPU's now being proffered. Would you buy a used Capellix? Thoughts? Reply
  • Damorejordane - Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - link

    Admittedly a super product, I can listen and download music comfortably on https://tonurideapelgratuite.com/ Reply
  • alex31g - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    I have a noob question. Is this one has better cooling performance than NZXT X63 RGB? Reply

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