After Corsair recently placed an AiO water cooling series below the top series Hydro Series RGB Platinum, a higher expansion stage now follows. This is called Corsair iCUE Elite Capelli. Using the example of the H115i, i.e. the model with a 280mm radiator, the new features will be shown in the following article. A performance test should of course not be missing.
Once again, Corsair is introducing a new product series under the “iCUE” label. The Corsair iCUE Elite Capellix series is the second AiO series with this addition after the Corsair iCUE RGB XT series (to test the Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT ). The reason can of course be found quickly: the new water cooling systems can also be configured with the manufacturer’s software. That the series will be introduced as an elite and thus above the Corsair Hydro Series RGB Platinum (to test the Corsair H100i & H115i RGB Platinum), has its justification, as you will find out later. Because the equipment is a little more extensive. Anyone who follows Corsair’s products can also begin directly with the term “Capellix”. These are special LEDs, which will be discussed in more detail later.
There are actually no changes to the radiator or radiators. Dimensions and design have remained the same, only the logo on the side has been changed. Instead of the lettering plus logo, only the logo is now emblazoned on the side – a little more subtle. The new series is available again in the common sizes with 240mm (H100i), 280mm (H115i), and 360mm (H150i) radiators. The hoses have also remained the same. Compared to the old Corsair Hydro Series, these are more flexible and slimmer, but still a bit stubborn. With AiOs from other manufacturers, this is not necessarily different.
One of the biggest changes affects the pump housing or the cooling unit. Compared to the Platinum, the height increases from ~ 36mm to ~ 51mm. An octagon is retained as the basic shape, but it is now much sharper or less rounded. The new design also has little in common with the iCUE RGB Pro XT. The manufacturer speaks of a low-noise centrifugal pump, which has not been mentioned before. So maybe a new model is working here now. The delivery rate should be 0.82 L / min and the volume should not exceed 20 dB. The base plate is also designed a little differently. As with the Corsair XC7 and XC9 RGB water coolers, you will skive cooling fins here 128 pieces. The assembly system looks identical to the other two AiOs mentioned.
The design has also been fundamentally redesigned on the top. A white diffuser plate forms the end of the unit, so to speak, on which two different tops can be attached. They are simply fixed with the four Allen screws. So you can not only choose between the black and clear lid but also freely adjust the orientation of the logo. The 33 named Capellix RGB LEDs are hidden under the white top in 21 zones, which are also built into the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB and Corsair K57 RGB Wireless, for example. These types of diodes are extremely small, but also very bright at the same time.
The connections are also new. There is also a 3-pin fan connector with a speedometer signal, as some mainboards otherwise react a bit bitchy, at least without interfering with the BIOS. What is new, however, is that all other connections are made via a wide plug, which is attached to a ribbon cable. This connects the water cooling with the enclosed Corsair iCUE Commander Core, a new fan, and an RGB controller. What exactly it has to offer is detailed below. Overall, however, it can be said that the scope of functions could be increased again. The NZXT Kraken X53only had a brief advantage from their additional ARGB channel. A very big advantage of the new connection is that no additional USB cable has to be plugged into the unit. So far, this was not a very nice solution and could also lead to compatibility problems.
Corsair iCUE Commander Core
The iCUE Commander Core is a mixture of the Lightning Node Core and the Commander Pro. In contrast to the other AiOs from the manufacturer, the two (or even three) fans are not connected to cables coming from the pump unit, but to this box. However, it not only offers a socket for the fans included but a total of six. This means that all fans in the system can be controlled via this or iCUE. The pump is also controlled by the Commander Core.
Also, the Commander Core offers six Corsair RGB sockets, so that a total of six fans from the manufacturer can be adjusted in speed and light. You don’t need an additional Lightning Hub like the Commander Pro or Lightning Node Pro, but the number of channels is limited to six. In most midi towers, however, this is sufficient or exactly suitable. There is also a connection for an external temperature sensor, but a sensor is not included. It is also conceivable, however, that the manufacturer will use the controller in other products in the future, or perhaps bring it out as a retail model.
Corsair ML140 RGB
There is also a change or novelty in the fans used. There are no Corsair MLS as in the iCUE RGB Pro XT or Hydro Series Pro and no Corsair ML Pro RGB as in the Hydro Series RGB Platinum. The new fans are called Corsair ML RGB. They also have the magnetic levitation bearings like the other models of the ML series but are otherwise a mixture of the non-illuminated and the Pro RGB fans.
Because there are also diodes installed here, but twice as many, i.e. eight. However, this is not the Capellix LEDs. In terms of optics, it seems to be the same as the Corsair SP RGB Pro fans (see e.g. Corsair iCUE 220T RGB Airflow ). On the other hand, one misses the decoupling at the corners. Otherwise, the technical data reads like the normal ML fans.
The H115i Elite Cpaellix is of course controlled via iCUE. The first point is the lighting setup. What is new here is that the connected RGB components can be recognized automatically. Then it goes to the configuration of the RGB LEDs. The procedure here is no different from other components from the manufacturer. The LEDs can therefore be individually assigned effects and colors. The fan channels and the pump can be set under Options. Of course, you can also add your own profiles to the already stored profiles.
To put it briefly: The lighting of the pump cover puts all previous solutions of the manufacturer in the shade. Even the Corsair XC7 RGB can even look it up here. The Capelli LEDs fulfill their purpose without any problems or very well and the diffusion surface ensures very even illumination. The fact that the unit has been divided into 21 zones leaves scope for cool effects, whether with movement or static. The fact that you can choose between the two lids should also be emphasized positively. You can choose between relatively subtle (black) and conspicuous (transparent). The fans now also work better than the ML RGB Pro. In the end, their lighting effect can be compared to the Corsair SP RGB Pro.
Scope of delivery & assembly system
In the scope of delivery, it can be mentioned that the second set of ventilation screws is included so that the water cooling can also be operated in the fan sandwich. Compared to the other two more recent water cooling series, the assembly system was not touched again. The mounting frames are simply pushed into the floor instead of being screwed into the floor as is the case with most Asetek models. The AMD TR4 bracket, included with the respective Threadripper CPUs, therefore does not fit, but Corsair includes a suitable one. So all current sockets are really supported. Specifically, the following bases are:
- Intel Socket LGA 1200, 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066
- AMD Socket AM2 (+), AM3 (+), AM4, FM1, FM2 (+), TR4, SP3
Installation of the cooler on the Intel socket 1200
For mounting on the Socket 1200 and Socket 115X from Intel, you need the pre-assembled bracket, the enclosed backplate, and four threaded rods, and knurled nuts. Since the manufacturer labels all bags, the right material can be found quickly. The backplate is placed from behind on the mainboard, whereby the threaded sleeves must protrude through the holes. For easier assembly, they can also be glued on, the adhesive film is already applied. Then screw in the threaded pins from the front. Then you can put the cooler on and fix it with the nuts. Overall, there are no problems at all. Because the cables are led relatively high up, VRM coolers should not be a problem either, as can be seen on the MSI MEG Z490 Unify can also see.
Installation of the cooler on the AMD Socket AM4
With the AM4 socket, things are a bit simpler, as is almost always the case. The original holder of the base is used. You only need to change the frame on the cooling unit for the one for AMD, attach the eyelets there and you can already put the cooler on. There are no problems here either. Visually, the Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix also fits in perfectly with the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi.
Test system presented: hardware
To be able to show valid results in the cooler tests, the same system is always used, on which no changes are made. The basis is the Corsair Carbide 678C. This offers a lot of space for large radiators or air coolers and is equipped with three ML140 fans ex-works. These are always used in the air cooler tests; in the water cooling tests, the fan in the front is removed. Also, the mesh grille is used on the top instead of the insulation board. You can read more about the case in the corresponding test.
An AMD AM4 system has moved in here. Specifically, there is an AMD Ryzen 7 1700X with a TDP of 95W in the base of the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max, which is operated with a fixed 3.5GHz at 1.25V. This bypasses the automatic overclocking via XFR and still achieves roughly the typical heat output of the eight-core. The CPU is supported by a 16GB RAM kit. The two bars of the Corsair Vengeance LPX are relatively flat, which means that compatibility problems are never to be expected. So that the basic system can be described as quiet, an MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X takes care of the image output, in which the fans do not rotate without graphics load.
The system is powered by a Corsair RM650. The power supply is certified with 80 PLUS Gold efficiency and has a 135mm fan. This only starts when it is needed, otherwise, the energy dispenser is completely silent. The power supply is complemented by a Corsair Pro PSU Cable Kit with individually sheathed cables. The operating system takes place on a Corsair MP510 with 240GB. Using an M.2 SSD saves additional unnecessary cables. In addition to Windows 10 Pro, only iCUE and Prime 95 should actually be mentioned as software. Because a Corsair Commander Pro comes as a fan control to train. This can not only regulate the fan speed with PWM or voltage but also offers external temperature sensors. Furthermore, the temperature values of the hardware can be displayed and also logged in the software.
The cooler setup
|Processor:||AMD Ryzen 7 1700X|
|Mainboard:||MSI B450 Tomahawk Max|
|Storage:||Corsair MP510 240GB|
|RAM :||16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200|
|Power supply :||Corsair RM650|
|Graphics card :||MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X|
|Casing:||Corsair Carbide 678C|
|Controller:||Corsair Commander Pro|
|Thermal paste||Arctic MX-4|
Test procedure hardware
Prime 95 v29.8b6 with custom settings are used so that the CPU is stressed the same way in every test. It selected 8K FFT, which is the highest heating power generated. Also, the same memory area is always tested, i.e. a checkmark is set for FFTs in-place. AVX2 and AVX are deactivated. The time is set to 120 minutes so that there is enough time for the run.
While the case fans are fixed at 600 rpm, the speed of the fans or the fans on the cooler or radiator is varied. First, the highest Drezhal level is set and the system is heated up. If the temperature of the CPU does not change any further, logging of the measured values is started. After about a minute, the speed is reduced by 200 rpm, and this level is maintained again until the CPU temperature does not change any further. This state is then also logged for ~ 1min. Overall, the process is carried out until the fans no longer allow any changes. At any time, the room temperature is determined with two external sensors and also logged.
All in all, a data set is thus obtained from which the difference between room and processor temperature can be determined very precisely and for a wide range of speeds. The sound pressure level is also determined for each level; however, the case fans are throttled even further and the front door of the case, which is otherwise open during the test, is closed.
Measured values: temperature
As already written a page before, all coolers were tested under identical CPU conditions. The test results determined correspond exclusively to those of the components of our test system. Deviating configurations of this hardware combination result in inevitable changes in the measured values obtained and displayed by us. In addition to fixing the clock rate and the voltage of the processor, the speed of the fans in the housing was also fixed at 600 rpm, which results in an ideal basis for comparison of all models.
As you can see, there is hardly any difference in performance between the Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT and the Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix at the same speed. So there doesn’t seem to be any real changes to the pump or the base plate. The slight difference can either be attributed to the measurement inaccuracy or the lighting of the fans takes its toll. RGB diodes already emit waste heat. The AiO can of course prevail against the rest due to the larger radiator.
Measured values: volume
A ” PCE 318″ sound level meter is used for measurements from a distance of 50 centimeters from the left side of the housing. The front door is then closed. The three 140mm fans built into the case are fixed at 400 pm. The fans on the graphics card and in the power supply standstill
The volume measurement is a bit strange. The illuminated version of the Corsair ML140, i.e. the ML140 RGB, was measured a little louder than the unlit ones. Of course, there is also a variation in fans, but the difference is significant. A reason for this could not be found. That’s what the Corsair doesiCUE H115i Elite Capellix overall for the loudest water cooling in the test field. It should be noted here that the pump was running in the intensive profile (~ 2700 rpm) during the test. In the balanced profile (~ 2500 rpm) the pump could even be measured louder with 31.4dB, whereas in the quiet profile (~ 2300 rpm) only 29.4dB were measured. It can be said that you can hear the pump in every setting and always differently. Sometimes it hums softly, sometimes it hums. It is never completely silent.
Relationship between volume and cooling capacity
The two previous pages already provide measured values, but it only gets really interesting when you relate the measurement of the temperatures to the measured volume values. The efficiency of the cooler is revealed here, so to speak. In the following, the cooling capacity or the temperature difference between CPU and room air is plotted against the background noise generated.
Due to the slightly higher volume of the Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix, it cannot keep up with the Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT in terms of cooling efficiency. Especially in the low volume range, almost all other water cooling systems can sit in front of the existing cooling system, as it simply cannot be regulated down that far. This would only be possible with the pump in the quiet profile, but this would reduce the performance. In the end, it is not enough for the model with a 280mm radiator to beat the NZXT Kraken X53 at the same volume, although it only has a 240mm radiator.
After the last updates of the Corsair AiO water cooling range were more of a cosmetic nature, the manufacturer is bringing technical innovations with the latest series – and these make a decisive difference. The CorsairiCUE H115i Elite Capellix as an exemplary model of the series comes with the usual good workmanship. That means that there is nothing to complain about. That should already be mentioned because with the pump unit they went a completely new way and did not rehash the old design. The unit of cooler and pump grows upwards, but this is not perceived as annoying. The new-look is also due to one of the technical changes. 33 Capellix RGB LEDs are located under the lid, which is grouped into 21 zones. You can achieve the promised brightness by using the diffuser for even illumination. Visually a treat and again an opportunity to let off steam more with the lighting in iCUE. Another adjustment concerns the connectivity of the unit. The assembly system has not undergone any changes, which is a good thing. It just works and has great compatibility.
Because the control is outsourced to the Corsair iCUE Comannder CORE. It is, so to speak, a light version of the Commander Pro. It offers six fan and RGB channels and can therefore control more than just the water cooling. A very clever implementation, with which you can monitor and adjust the entire ventilation system, at least in a typical system. Of course, the controller is addressed via iCUE, which makes the whole thing comfortable and easy.
The fans used are also new. The Corsair ML140 RGB fans rely on the high-quality bearings of the ML RGB Pro, come without decoupling, but with twice the number (eight instead of four) of diodes. In the sample at hand, the volume of the Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT, which the Corsair ML140 uses, could not be reproduced. Overall, the Elite Capellix does a little worse in the volume section. It can still be operated quietly, although it must be said that you can always hear the pump a little.
Overall, there is actually very little that the Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix can fault. The price is already high, but you also get a full fan and light control. For this model with a 280mm radiator, € 169.90 is called. For the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix with 240mm it is 159.90 € and for the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix with 360mm radiator, it is 189.90 €. Overall, water cooling can be recommended if you are a fan of lighting in the computer and plan to install additional components from the manufacturer.
Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix
- good performance
- can be operated relatively quietly
- including six-fold RGB and fan controller
- is compatible
- simple assembly system
- high compatibility
- extensive, bright lighting
- Design changeable
- The pump could be quieter
- Fans can be loud if necessary
- high priced
Corsair iCUE General SummaryCorsair iCUE To summarize, we see that it has very good features in terms of design, price and performance. Corsair iCUE, which has given a successful performance compared to its competitors in this segment, has not received any serious complaints from its users until now and has given its users confidence with maximum positive feedback. With the Corsair iCUE 2-year warranty, it continues to support any problem after the sale and does not suffer the user.
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Installation of the Product is Extremely Simple. You can set it up easily with the included Guide.
Has no known chronic problems.
Yes, they say they are generally satisfied.
The minimum warranty period is 2 years.
You can buy it from sites like amazon, ebay.