Corsair H150i ELITE 360 LCD CPU Cooler Review
Corsair’s new flagship cooler delivers cutting-edge performance and so much more
Corsair dominates many areas in the PC hardware industry, with a very impressive fleet of products ranging from fan controllers to RAM. We rate them highly and are always quick to recommend them for builds. This is their new flagship AIO liquid cooler the H150i ELITE LCD and we’ve put it through the wringer with both real-world and synthetic workloads to see if it lives up to the Corsair name.
We don’t need to keep you in suspense for long. The box is very impressive, and it’s the least impressive part of this CPU cooler. If we’re hyped about the box and at the same time telling you it’s the worst part, then you know you’re in for a real treat.
- 480x480 LCD Screen
- Revised AMD mounting solution
- Excellent thermal performance
- Quiet operation
- Upgrade kit
- 12th gen compatible
The box is matte black with an armada of images and information around the H150i ELITE LCD detailing its design, features, and specifications with colorful glossy images and easy to understand text.
So what’s inside the beautifully designed box?
- 1x H150i ELITE LCD CPU Cooler
- 1x iCue Commander Core Fan Controller
- 1x USB Y Splitter
- 3x 120mm ML RGB Elite Series Fans
- 1x Intel Backplate
- 1x Intel Mounting Hardware
- 1x AMD Mounting Hardware
- Various Fan And Radiator Mounting Screws
- 1x Thermal Compound (pre-applied)
You don’t always want to start a review with the coolest thing, so we’re starting with the hottest, the radiator, in this case, an aluminum monster measuring 397mm x 120mm x 27mm. The design is comparable to every standard matte black radiator we’ve seen and there’s no real swanky way to make a radiator. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
You can see a small mirrored Corsair logo in the center of the left and right side of the radiator, a nice little touch that isn’t too distracting from the radiator’s stealthy demeanor.
The H150i ELITE’s tubes are braided with black fabric, rigid but not excessively so, and feature matte black aluminum cuffs at both ends to ensure durability. The right-angle couplers that connect the tubes to the CPU block swivel with ease, about 120 degrees vertically. The tubes are also flexible enough to bend into submission when faced with difficult installation scenarios, as is the case sometimes.
The CPU block is undeniably the pièce de resistance of the H150i ELITE LCD. But firstly, let’s take a look at what’s under the hood, or, screen in this case.
Even under the LCD screen, this CPU block looks like it means business, and it definitely possesses the technology to back it up. The brains at Corsair have managed to engineer a pump that can push a whopping 0.87L of liquid per minute, all while generating less than 20dBA – just for comparison, a careless whisper (not the song that’s much louder) is about 30dB. Achieving unparalleled cooling performance without a headache-inducing whirr emanating from your PC – that’s a big win in our book.
Encompassing the pump is the block itself, a sleek black cube that you don’t see much of because of the LCD screen (we’ll get to that in a minute). The block holds 10 silver screws (four of which are for the LCD screen to sit on) and we’re confident about the construction quality.
It’s interesting to see that the H150i ELITE LCD has the exact same plate connector as other earlier Capillex models, and this is how the LCD screen gets its RGB instructions from ICUE. But not power – power is handled by an acceptably lengthy internal USB cable, as the LCD screen will definitely draw way more power than you would want to route through a fan hub.
With the H150i ELITE LCD having the same plate connector as earlier Capillex models you can even purchase an upgrade kit for around £89, that turns your old Capillex AIO CPU cooler into one LCD-toting badass bit of kit.
Okay, enough beating around the bush, here’s the prize, the 2.1-inch IPS LCD display. Whether you wish to showcase CPU temps, liquid temps or your funniest meme in the form of an image or animated GIF, this 480 X 480 ultra-bright LCD screen has you covered. The very fact that Corsair encourages you to display memes on your top-of-the-line CPU cooler is brilliant.
Corsair ICUE is the pinnacle of RGB software, allowing for almost infinite RGB customization for fans, RAM, mice, and anything else Corsair you may be lucky enough to possess. But it’s not just RGB we have to customize today, but a whole LCD sensor panel and ICUE has you covered.
There’s a whole host of ‘screen types’ preconfigured by Corsair all ready to go for you, and we’ll get into them in the ‘features’ section of the review later.
Corsair has bestowed upon us a new ship in its impressive fleet of components, the ML RGB ELITE Series Fan, coming in both 120 and 140mm sizes, boasting a 2000 ± 10% RPM and an airflow rating of 14.86 – 58.10 CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) for the 120mm model, which we happen to possess currently. Corsair continues the Magnetic Levitation legacy with the ML RGB ELITEs promising low noise and maximum performance on the ‘MagLev’ bearing we love so much. The sleek black fans additionally boast eight individually addressable RGB LEDs ready to set the competition alight.
Corsair’s Commander Core is both a PWM controller and an RGB controller. The Commander Core is the standard fan controller shipped with most Corsair AIO CPU Coolers. It is constructed incredibly well and looks the part, matte black and featuring a black corsair logo dominating front and center, with handy markings and numbers in contrasting white to clearly mark the port’s intended purposes – six fan ports, six RGB ports, one temp port, and one block port. How much more connectivity do you need?
When you’re tasked with determining the quality of a product, there’s one key area you should examine. Cables… always check the cables. This is where most brands cheap out in order to cut costs, but not Corsair. Corsair’s cables are of an exceptional quality. They feel sturdy, look clean, and are braided for that extra durability and visual appeal.
H150i Elite LCD Installation
Installation of the Corsair h150i ELITE LCD is a breeze, quick and easy, following most standard AIO installations. However, the orientation you pick can change the installation process slightly.
We chose to mount the radiator to the front of the case with the fans providing intake, but we also wanted the fans to be visible in the front of the case. To do this, we had to line up both the fans and the radiator one at a time and screw in from the front of the case using the long fan screws. This process is standard to almost all AIOs in this configuration.
The process can be a little tricky when using a large radiator such as the 360 and 420 sizes the H150i LCD comes in. However, the new ML120 RGB ELITE’s square design made it incredibly easy to line up the fans with the radiator before screwing in – the fans and radiator just seemed to slide together and line up like some sort of puzzle, almost like Corsair thought of this.
Next up you need to install the CPU block to the CPU. We’re using an AM4 motherboard as our CPU of choice is the Ryzen 9 5900X. That means we don’t need to mess around with a pesky backplate for CPU mounting, right?
Sorry, not this time. Corsair has decided to switch from the standard clip-based AMD mounting bracket to a four standoff backplate mounting solution. We didn’t realize this at first and had to exhume the motherboard from the case to add the backplate.
But hey, we make these mistakes so you don’t have to. After cursing our collective ignorance, we came to understand why the change was necessary, as the LCD screen and all its tackle adds a fair amount of weight, and every gram matters. Less weight means less strain on the socket when mounted upright.
So, with the backplate on, the standoffs can follow in their respective holes in each corner of the CPU. The CPU block then slots on top. Don’t worry about thermal paste as there’s a generous amount pre-applied to the bottom of the heat spreader. Now in each corner, four thumb screws adorn the standoffs we previously installed into the backplate.
Also worth a mention that the H150i ELITE also ships with full LGA 1700 compatibility
When installing the CPU block we recommend caution when screwing the block to the standoffs. We felt a bit uncomfortable at the amount of force the block seemed to be putting on the CPU, but we haven’t experienced any CPU or socket problems yet. If you’re concerned, just unscrew the mounting thumb screws a bit. Just make sure you still retain sufficient mounting pressure to support the CPU block comfortably upright.
All that’s left is to thread the beautifully designed, sturdy cables through the relevant cabled management cutouts on the case, and install them into the Commander Core, which neatly and effortlessly mounts to the case wherever you’d like thanks to the included 3M double-sided tape.
As we mentioned, the Commander Core is labeled to ensure ease of installation. The ports are even-numbered and these numbers correspond to a number within ICUE and how ICUE will order the controller LEDs, so number one on the Commander Core will be the first LED set ICUE changes.
For those of you with the LCD upgrade kit, installation is as simple as removing the old LED diffusion plate, slotting on the LCD screen making sure that the two connectors line up and clip-in. Finally, just plus the screen into the motherboard and Commander Core. That’s it, simple. You’re ready to go.
With everything plugged in and ready, it’s time to turn on your PC.
Okay… so your LCD screen displays a warning and all your fans are flashing a deep, blood red. What have you done wrong? Well, provided you installed everything correctly all you need to do is give your Commander Core a cheeky firmware update, which you can do through the ICUE software. A box will advise you of a pending Commander Core firmware update and prompt you to install it. Simply follow the steps to install the update.
So what can you put on the LCD screen? Think of something in your head right now, anything – what did you think of? Well, the chances are you can probably display whatever your thought was on this LCD Screen and you can conjure up a custom color scheme to match.
You can add images and GIFs or customize the RGB, with 24 individually addressable LEDs hidden under a circular frost white light diffuser, encompassing the circumference of the LCD screen. The fans themselves also have eight individually addressable RGB LEDs and you can adjust, set, and customize them all to your heart’s content within ‘lighting Effects’.
We tested all of the coolers built into the Corsair 5000X ATX case, in an as controlled environment as we could, all with an ambient room temperature of 20.5°C and an ambient case temperature of 23.3°C For testing, we used a top-of-the-line system equipped with a Ryzen 9 5900X and an MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080, running a 20-minute synthetic (CPU Only) test and a real-world gaming benchmark with a 20-minute Battlefield 5 gaming session.
As you can see, in the synthetic tests the H150i ELITE comes in second place to the Lian Li Galahad by a margin of 8.4°C. A substantial difference in temperature there, but to place second on a list of five other CPU coolers is nothing to scoff at, especially when the H150i ELITE’s predecessor (the H150i Capillex) is among them. The ELITE beats the Capillex and came out a respectable 5.8°C cooler in a synthetic CPU test.
In the real-world test (a 20-minute action-packed stint of battlefield 5 in 1440p) you can see the H150i ELITE LCD place second to the Galahad yet again, dropping behind by a 3.1°C factor. Unsurprisingly, the ELITE LCD bests the Capillex for a second time, coming out a whopping 5.2°C cooler than its older brother. That’s exactly what we want to see from a new iteration of a product.
AIO CPU coolers are obviously reserved for the high-end bracket of custom-built PCs, and that’s exactly where the ELITE LCD belongs. The H150i ELITE LCD is well-designed, well-rounded, and offers improved performance over its predecessor. What more could you ask for? The ELITE LCD also possesses some of the most noteworthy features within its accompanying ICUE software that we have seen in a CPU cooler to date.
We’re in love with the look and feel of its stealthy black design and the LCD screen offers the opportunity to give your custom PC a personal touch that can really make it your own and bring a build together.
We have to talk about price, though, and we’re going to rip the band-aid off quickly. It’s $289.99 (plus tax) for the 360mm model we have, while the 240mm comes in at $259.99 (plus tax). The monumental 420mm comes at a cost of $309.99 (plus tax).
It’s pricey, yes, but bear in mind, this is targeted towards PC building enthusiasts and its performance is very good compared to other CPU coolers we have tested, even knocking the RYUJIN II off its second-place spot.
Don’t balk at the price. A cooling solution is basically solely responsible for your CPU’s longevity, so it’s a vital part of your next PC build (or if you’re considering making upgrades to your current rig). This is where Corsair has really stepped up its game with the H150I ELITE LCD series. The sleek, elegant, stealthy design paired with stylish mirrored logos and accents, high airflow Maglev fans and a neat IPS LCD screen, and offering performance that earns it a respectable second place on our list of coolers. That’s a big win in our book. Overall, we can’t recommend this cooler enough if you can front the cost.
WePC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more