This month, Corsair is on a hot streak with their releases! Not only have they launched a new line-up of iCUE-enabled cases, the iCUE 4000-series, but also a new lineup of their all-in-one liquid CPU coolers, the iCUE ELITE CAPELLIX series. We got our hands on the biggest and baddest of the stack, the 360mm H150i ELITE CAPELLIX, to see if this could be Corsair’s new king of cool.
- MSRP: $179 USD
- Cooler Warranty: Five Years
- Cold Plate: Micro-skived Copper
- Plate Diameter: 65mm
- Radiator Material: Aluminum
- Radiator Size: 360mm
- Fan Dimensions: 120mm
- Fan Speeds: 400 - 2400 RPM
- Fans included: 3x Corsair ML-Series RGB PWM Fans
- Fan Noise Level: 0 ; 10 - 36 dBa
- RGB: Multizone CAPELLIX LEDs (33 LEDs; 21 zones)
- Controller: Corsair iCUE Commander Core (RGB Lighting, PWM fan speed)
- Supported Sockets:
- Intel LGA 1200, 20xx (2060, 2011-3, 2011), 115x (1150, 1151, 1155, 1156)
- AMD AM4, TR4, sTRX4
Corsair is no stranger to the CPU cooler market; their Hydro Series all-in-one (or AiO) CPU coolers have been a mainstream option for PC builders for years! In more recent history, Corsair introduced iCUE-enabled iterations, showcasing their latest software ecosystem. It is into the Hydro (or H-) Series lineup that they released the ELITE CAPELLIX AiO liquid CPU coolers to complement their existing H100i, H115i, and H150i models.
In case you were wondering what sets the series apart from the pack, The ELITE H-Series AiOs come equipped with Corsair’s CAPELLIX LEDs. Introduced at CES 2019, CAPELLIX LEDs are up to 60% brighter and more efficient than standard LEDs, they require 40% less power, and insanely small! This means that less LEDs are needed to get similar or better performance at a lower power. It’s a three-way efficiency win!
Adding to this winning combination is the inclusion of Corsair’s iCUE Commander CORE with each unit. The Commander CORE is a dream come true for system builders - especially if you have multiple Corsair fan types. It serves as one part RGB controller, one part PWM fan controller, and a hub for up to six fans. The beauty of this unit is that Corsair added a feature which allows the Commander CORE to automatically detect the number of LEDs in your fans and control them. This cuts down significantly on the extra cables and hubs behind the scenes,
On top of that, Corsair has redesigned the pump head to include an alternative cap for the RGB module and has paired this AiO with their ML (or Magnetic Levitation) series of fans for high performing (and quiet) fans.
If you have never installed an all-in-one cooler, it can be a little intimidating at first… especially if you go all in with a 360mm set up like the H150i ELITE CAPELLIX. Fortunately, the mid-tower case that I was working within, Corsair’s iCUE 4000X, provided just enough space to work in without feeling too terribly cramped.
For my installation, I was working with an AMD AM4 socket, which required me to swap out the stock mounting out of the box. This is no problem whatsoever thanks to the split design of Corsair’s mounting brackets. While these are easy to swap out, the AM4 socket is my least favorite socket to mount a Corsair AiO onto. The hook-and-thumb-screws have to line up just right with the tabs on the motherboard’s brackets, which is quite the challenge for a guy with bigger hands.
Once the pump was secured, it was time to mount the radiator and fans. For this job, Corsair includes a number of screw options for the user, depending on the orientation of the fans and the radiator itself. For my build, I went with an intake system to push cool air through the radiator… and so I could see the programmable RGB on the ML120s!
Speaking of programmable things, I need to pause for a moment to share how excited I was to discover that the iCUE Commander Core could control more Corsair fans other than whichever fan type populated the first bay. This meant that I could use my Corsair LL120 fans without having to worry about a second controller. As someone who tries hard to make sure that cables are nice and tidy, the ability to remove cables and controllers from my case to simplify the setup was incredibly welcome! The installation of the Commander CORE was fairly simple, once I found the best place for all of my cables to run.
Our test bench for this review is as follows:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
- Cooler: Corsair H150i ELITE CAPELLIX 360mm
- RAM: 32GB ZADAK Spark RGB DDR4-3200
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime X570-PRO
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
- Storage: 1TB WD_Black SN750, 1TB Kingston KC2500, 2 TB Seagate FireCuda
- PSU: NZXT E850
- Case: Corsair 4000X
In order for us to get a good picture of how a cooler will operate, we look closely at comparative temperature while idle as well as under heavy load. The testing environment is a controlled 22 degrees Celsius with coolers set to their highest performance option. We collect load temperatures from the CPU after a twenty minute test via Prime95. This gives the fluid within the AiO a chance to warm up and for us to be able to record any trends that we might see along the way. The temperatures charted believe show the temperature increase over ambient.
Here is how the H150i ELITE CAPELLIX looks compared to other AiOs on the market:
(It is important to note that the testing benches used to collect the comparative data was different. However, the conditions of the testing were meticulously replicated as best as possible)
While this chart gives our best measurements, there is a point that static numbers don’t share about the H150i ELITE. After being under load for about 13 minutes into the test, the temperatures took a significant dive. While they peaked for around 7 minutes at roughly 59C over ambient temperatures during the majority of the test, they dipped to around 31C over ambient temperatures. This wasn’t a fluke: they stayed around that temperature for the remainder of the test.
In short: this beast keeps the CPU cold, but only after the fluid has had a chance to regulate. A cooler of this magnitude is likely overkill if your common operations are not utilizing heavy CPU loads.
The H150i ELITE CAPELLIX is a beast of an AiO. Not only is it impressive to behold, it kept our CPU temperature under significant control during our experience with it. Out of the box, it was a pretty standard setup experience - which is not a bad thing! But there was one thing that puzzled me:
This series is marketed as an “elite” setup. While the focal point is clearly Corsair’s CAPELLIX LEDs (which are stunning), the inclusion of ML-series of fans makes me wonder if Corsair is simply trying to make the pump head the aesthetic star of the show or if this is supposed to be an elite package. Please do not misread that: the ML-series are incredible fans - clearly, they keep temperatures under control! This decision just seems like an aesthetic sidestep from the LL-series included with the former “elite” H-series of AiO, the H100i PLATINUM. What would have made a bit more sense to see something unique, such as a CAPELLIX-based line of fans. Perhaps those will be included in the next version.
Critique aside, the H150i ELITE CAPELLIX all-in-one CPU coolers from Corsair are a very pretty iteration of the existing iCUE H-series. The CAPELLIX LEDs are beautiful and the options for programming via iCUE are nearly limitless. The performance of the system under load is exceptional and the 360mm radiator makes a stunning statement. Even the behind-the-scenes partner, the iCUE Commander Core, makes this AiO a highly desirable option for keeping your system wiring to a minimum, your CPU cool, and your lights in sync.
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.