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h100 Fan Noise - Adventure


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Hello guys,


I had an urge to finally make a thread here and explain myself for what I've been doing for a week.


TL;DR: Stock fans don't go below 2000 RPM when on idling or small load.


H100i is pushing air out from top of the case: This picture is before I made all the maintenance



It all started with h100i stock fans started to generate alot of noise no matter if computer is idle or on load and finally one day, my PC ended up with endless power loop, not even getting to boot screen.


I've started with CMOS reset and it was fixed, then I saw my 4x4GB rams listed as 12GB at OS. I seated them again and that was also fixed. I made various stress tests and checked temperatures, did some hardware diagnostics and everything was seeming fine.


But that h100i fan noise was not going away so I went ahead did the below things:


  • Bought Cooler Master: MasterGel Pro and applied it to both CPU and GPU, replaced thermal pads on GPU memories as well.
  • I have completely removed every fan in case, including H100i, GPU, cleaned them all and also applied sewing machine oil to them.
  • Did cable management on entire case.
  • Added 230mm fan to side panel to push more air into GPU and to the case.
  • H100i had 1.0.5 firmware and CL v4 didn't offer firmware upgrade so I installed v3.2.5247 and updated firmware to 1.1.3


My notes are below:


There was tiny bit of thermal paste left in h100i copper sink, I was shocked but 5820k having soldered IHS, heat transfer was okay.

That MasterGel Pro is so hard to apply, being so intense.

I don't use USB cable for CL, I plugged it and started monitoring stuff, pump temperature is around 32°C (ambient is more than 25°C) on idling or small load, crawling towards 38°C or more if load gets tougher. Pump RPM is always around 2100 (I read it is always like that no matter the load) and fans are 2000-2200 RPM on low to medium loads, going towards 2600 on full load.


When I updated the h100i firmware, fans went down to 1600RPM (balanced mode) until I restarted PC, they were back to 2200ish. I hit Quiet mode 1300 Rpm and repeated stress test and CPU package was around 50-53°C.


I read that fan RPMs are tied to Pump temperature and not to the CPU heat, When I max CPU fans in BIOS, they don't increase or lower. (Fan cables are connected to h100i). Manual set speeds change when they are directly connected to mobo.


I have OC'd my CPU from 3.3Ghz to 4.5GHz and repeated many tests, on 4.5GHz stress test, CPU package was around 65°C. All seems fine, I am back to stock speed.


When on idle, OC or not, fans spin fast and they blow really cold air, seems like they are working heavily for nothing.


And today, I plugged h100i fans to Mobo, oh guys!, they were idling at 650 RPM and it was so quiet I had a shock =) How I missed silence.


I was reading various forums and watching tons of video about h100i and fan noise, many people are complaining about stock fans are too noisy and replacing them. Then I spent couple of days trying to decide between alot of fans as a replacement. It seems that NF-12 (expensive) and Cougar Vortex 120mm PWM (cheap) good alternatives to try. Also, SP120 quiet edition to consider.


It's not fair to compare 2600 RPM fans to 1500 RPM or lower fans, h100i stock fans also silent on same speeds.


I even thought about replacing the coolant inside h100i, but then I don't have overheating issue.


My questions are:

  • If I use 4x fans for h100i. Will it lower RPM so I will have lower noise?
    Plugging CPU fans to mobo resolves the noise but then I feel missing something so I want to connect fans to heatsink as usual.

  • I want to stay on Balanced mode but I want RPMs to be lower than 2000 when idling or on medium load. Don't want to lock fans to 1500 RPM, need them to vary speed according to load.

  • To resolve all of this guess I need to replace fans with NF-F12 or equivalent, bcs they don't have high RPMs, but I am open to inputs from you guys as after all these stuff, I might be missing something to fix. In future, if I decide to OC, those slower fans feel like they will be inadequate to cool.

  • Using High - Balanced - Medium profile don't change CPU/pump temps on idle or medium load.


Came upon some great videos while searching for solutions:

  • This guy is using custom mainboard tray and this timelapse build is amazing to watch: [ame]

  • How to clean a computer fan, simple: [ame]

  • Noctua NF-12 PWM:
    1. [ame]
    2. [ame]

  • Corsair H100i with Replacement Fans: [ame]

  • Cougar Vortex Push/Pull Water Cooler Corsair H100: [ame]

  • Corsair H100i Primer Modding Watercooling: Someone went crazy modding with his h100i [ame]

  • Noctua NF-F12 Review Corsair H100 including push pull: [ame]


This was a long post to read, if you did read, thank you so much. I wanted to share my trouble and findings, hope they will server others having similar problem in future. English isn't my native language, I tried to be informative as much as I could.

Edited by fatihso
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That's a lot things crammed into the post, but the one thing you are missing is the critical value --- the H100i Temp in Link. That is the coolant temperature and as you stated it is the dependent variable for fan control. When you fans start to spin up unexpectedly and stay elevated, that is the very first thing you should check. There is no reason to do anything else until the value is known.


You are not tied to the preset profiles and can (and should) make your own. Your CPU does not overheat because you drop the fan speed by 400 rpm. Water cooler functionality is not tied so closely to fan speed. The water does most of the work. Furthermore, you should not need high fan speeds no for almost all uses, other than extreme limit benching. I don't really like the stock SP120L fans and if you want to change them for tonal reason or aesthetics, by all means do so. You will need 4 pin PWM fans if you want them to stay on the pump fan controller. That is also why tweaking the BIOS setting have no effect on the radiator fans. They are not on the motherboard's controller.


So, what kind of H100i Temp do you see in Link? I am concerned you have a developing problem if the fans stay at those speeds. It could mean the flow is restricted. It could also mean it's over 30C in your room and this has an effect on the entire system.

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Coolant temperature (31.5C) looks completely normal and appropriate for your room temp and idle state. At that temperature, the fans should not be racing up and down or stay elevated.


Click on the fans in Link or go to the configuration panel and make sure the "Group" is set to H100i Temp and not package temperature. If that does check out, make a custom curve with really low fan speeds across the board and see if the fans follow their instructions. If not, then it is possible the there is a control conflict or something is amiss with the H100i controller. If so, we will need additional help. That part is not my area of expertise.

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Thank you c-attack again for you reply.


h100i fans were grouped as h100i so I went ahead for custom fan curves, there was already a silent one as template so I hit "apply". Now h100i rpms are around 1100 rpm. I didn't touch case fans bcs they are always around 700 RPM and silent.


What I wanted from this cooler is that without editing anything, RPMs would stay as low as possible and ramp up when needed. Now I need to make a correct fan curve for this.


Balanced mode is really troublesome for me, in that picture fans are at 1650 and then at 25% CPU load and there you have 1900 RPM CPU fans. at 50% CPU you wouldn't want to stay near it haha, but then it's just blowing all the cold air. I've reverted one of the case fans so it's now blowing fresh air to heatsink, helping with lower idle RPMs.


From what I've understand, motherboard is smarter on CPU fan control than Corsair Link program when it comes to automatic management.

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If you look closely at the curves for Balance and Performance, you will see a 40C coolant temp = 100% fan speed line. They had to pick some value. If your starting temp is in the low 20's, like it might be in a cold or office climate controlled room, this would be appropriate. A +15C rise in coolant temperature would reflect a very large amount of heat in the system. There are a few problems with this: 1) not everyone has the same conditions and most of us have rather dynamic room temp changes seasonally or even daily; and 2) there are other sources of heat in the case (the GPU) that can dramatically alter the local environment. It is not uncommon for people to see higher coolant temps when gaming then running a 100% CPU test.


You can use motherboard control if you like. Some boards offer (or at least claim to) fan delays to lessen the ramping up and down. I have had three Asus boards with this feature and none of the delays worked when CPU temperature was the variable. Coolant temperature is the most efficient form of control. It will give you the lowest fans speed, with the least amount of speed change, with the same temperatures. What you need to keep in mind is the cooling system has two different stages.


Stage 1 is the heat conduction from CPU cores to lid to TIM to cold plate. This is all material heat transfer and no amount of fan or pump speed will alter this. You are stuck with that rate and most coolers have a similar rate. You can burn your CPU by applying heat faster than the material can conduct it out. This is why you cannot use 1.50v Vcore, at least for very long. Extreme overclockers get around this by lowering the temperature of all the physical materials to sub zero levels reducing the starting temp point, not by finding a way to make the heat go faster.


Stage 2 is the coolant stream. This is a secondary holding tank for the heat and it also serves as a transport system to dump it out of the case. The fans and pump regulate this section and you do have some control here. However, if the coolant is not heating up, you don't need more fan speed. If the heat is not removed from the coolant stream, it will transfer heat back into the CPU. That cold plate is a two way path. Your coolant temperature effectively becomes your baseline or lowest possible CPU temp. So when you have a +6C coolant delta, the most you can reduce the CPU temp at any fan speed is 6C. In reality, you can never be 100% efficient so most often the extra fan speed is just noise.


I would suggest trying to make your own curve. It does not need to be complex. Take note of the highest coolant temp you see. Set the highest fan speed you can stand to +2C above that. Then slant the curve up to 100% about 5-10C further down the line. This will give you an auditory warning if things are out of bounds, but still be tolerable for your daily use.

Edited by c-attack
Wow, lots of typos... even for me.
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