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H150i elite pump noise... possible problems?

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I just finished a new build and I made a point not to "cheap"  out with the luxuries this time round which inevitably always landed me with mis matched parts, noisy fans, and out of control RGB across platforms. For this reason I went pretty hard into the Corsair ecosystem including QX fans and a H150 elite XT LCD AIO, which ain't cheap! 

It all looks fantastic. I've got issues with the pump noise though. I use my PC for work as well as play, so am often sat in silence with my PC on the desk next to me, and the high pitched pump whine is annoying the heck out of me! All that money spent making the thing look pretty and I'm now considering demoting it down to the floor or inside a cupboard just to shut it up. I don't really mind if the system makes noise under load, as I've usually got headphones or sound on by that point, so wont hear it. but when I need to concentrate for work, It's a pretty annoying pitch. 

Is setting the pump to "quiet" in the icue software the best I can do?  Its still running at minimum 2300rpm. I'm not sure how that compares to other modern AIOs, as I've never had to consider it before. The corsair is the first solution I've had which isn't controlled via a fan or pump header from the mobo and locks me into icue determined presets. By comparison, my now 7 year old NZXT AIO pump is still near silent, even at higher speeds. I didn't even consider the AIO in terms of noise when I specced it as I'm sure they just all use basically the same asetek pumps anyway. I assumed that the newest, biggest, most expensive ones would all use whatever the newest best available pumps were and they'd be the at least the same or better than my old one. Is this not the case here? Did corsair cheap out or mess something else up here?  or did AIO pumps get worse since the last time I bought one? Maybe I've got a faulty unit, but looking around online reveals that I'm not the only one complaining about this.

 at 30C It feels like there's plenty of headroom heat wise to turn the speed down a bit on idol, and I don't think it'd need much to bring the pitch down to more acceptable levels. Is there any chance that corsair will address the lower limits or give more control with an update, or are we likely just stuck with the current choices of "medium", "high" and "obnoxious" whine levels. 

Perhaps more concerning I have an occasional much worse sound from my pump when the CPU is under load. This sounds more like a dry fan bearing so I'm thinking I could have some air in it. It isn't an issue I've ever experienced before so not sure.  My fitment is pretty conventional, upright mid tower, side exit AIO tubes, with my radiator up top. I've tried tipping the case, and manipulated the tubes to try and shake loose any air, but seemingly no change. Its a new system, so I haven't had much prolonged use. Hopefully it might just sort itself out if it hasn't already.

3rd issue, is the way fans quickly ramp up and down under load, it seems whatever the setting, they can go up to tornado levels for a second or 2 and then straight back down. the displayed temps jump around a bit, so is it possible I may have a mounting issue as well?  I've just used the stock pre-applied paste which is a first for me, could this be bad?      

Is there anyway to take control away from icue to set custom curves or speeds somewhere else? 

It's a bit hard to record, but here is a video 200% audio. all fans off at first to show quiet, balanced and then extreme pump noise at idol. That's not exactly horrendous, but hearing it on loop for hours at a time isn't so great. The 2nd and 3rd clips are more concerning when I managed to catch it making a real racket, this sounds more like it could be trapped air to me, which maybe clears itself right at the end of the 3rd clip? I'll have to monitor this to see if it continues or sorts itself...  


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The first video section is about the expected normal for a high speed AIO pump.  Unlike pumps from a few generations back, we've moved into narrower CPU channels for better cooling and it requires more flow pressure as a result.  The last several Corsair pumps all have a minimum speed just above 2000 rpm to account for that.  It's a high speed device, mounted to a motherboard, which in most cases has tendency to amplify the motor vibrations.  I am not sure I would classify any of the current AIOs across the market as "dead silent" in a quiet room at close range.  They are not physically capable of that.  You need to go to custom cooling with different pump design and mounting system to get that.  


The second part of the video is abnormal.  Most likely some back pressure from a large bubble somewhere, but it's possible there is a mechanical aspect.  With the pump at Extreme (max), lift up the front of the case and hold it for 10-20 seconds to see if you can release any air trapped in the pump area up and out of the block.  It's fine if it settles elsewhere, but around the pump or CPU channels is problematic for noise or temps.  If this does not resolve it or it continues to be persistent, contact Corsair for replacement or through the vendor.  Do not wait for it to 'get better' someday.  That's too far off and not worth the interim aggravation.  

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Last month I decided to change out my H150I Elite Capellix AIO with Corsair QL 120 RGB fans attached to the cooler. The AIO has served me well for many years. I decided to go with iCUE Link H150i LCD 360mm AIO along with the Corsair iCUE Link QX 120 fans starter pack (3 fans). I was looking forward to the iCue Link single cable installation. 

The first thing I noticed was the increased noise of the AIO pump compared to my older H150i Elite Capellix. My PC is placed to the right of my monitor and is approx. 3 feet away from and the AIO pump is at ear level. If I place the AIO pump in quiet mode and place the fans at 50% or greater speed in iCue software I can mask the AIO pump noise. Forget placing the AIO in the balanced or extreme settings as your video shows / sounds the sound level increases and so does the tone gets higher. I rather listen to the louder sound of the fans over the sound and tone of the AIO pump even in quiet mode. 

I sent Corsair customer support a video of the sound of the AIO pump and they informed me it was normal. Since I purchase my AIO from Amazon, I purchased another one (same model) and it produced the same sound. Corsair customer support advised me to return the AIO if I could not live the sound of the AIO pump. I was also dealing with a reduced brightness issue message in the iCUE software. Corsair is presently working on that issue as others have reported the issue after a firmware update that is associated with Link Hub. 

My solution was to return the iCUE Link AIO and fans I purchased and installed my old setup. Like you when I game the sound from the game masks the sound from the AIO pump but I also use my PC for work related tasks at home and it is very quiet in my office in my house. I own many Corsair PC related items, RAM , PC case, headset, PSU, and keyboard. 

The funny thing is, a YouTube reviewer did a review later last year with the same items I purchased. I posted a comment on his Youtube channel describing my AIO pump noise and he replied that his setup does not have any noise that you and I are experiencing. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

EDIT: The sound in the second half of the video turned out not to be pump or AIO related at all, so apologies for that. This is actually a separate issue from my PSU which makes this noise as it ramps up. The PSU is mounted directly behind the CPU in this case, hence the confusion. 

Thanks for the replies. Sounds like if what c-attack points out about new cooler designs is true, then we're stuck with increased pump noise from our AIOs in general now then. Even if it does perform better, it feels like a step backwards though, as one of the  biggest selling points for AIOs WAS their quieter operation. My CPU is just idling barely above ambiant 90% of the time, I'd happily trade a few degrees for some peace and quiet!  If I wasn't such a sucker for good looks and a gimmick, I'd be better off going back to air coolers.

Still holding out hope that corsair will tweak their pump curve pre-sets, or give us some increased control of our own so we can choose for ourselves. I don't believe that pump speed matters anywhere near as much as fan speeds do for cooling anyway

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