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H80 Water Pump Grinding/Grating Noise - My Experiences & Findings


Bagheera

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Hello Everyone. Like many of my fellow H80 owners, I went through a lot of trouble dealing with a noisy pump on my Corsair H80. I have finally resolved my issue, and I would like to share with you my personal findings (which are... somewhat unsettling, so be warned).

 

My first Corsair H80 was purchased last month from an Amazon merchant, "TigerDirect". This unit was installed into my computer - it is completely SILENT and the performance is simply stellar. I was so in love with it, I ordered another one for my girl friend's computer (I wanted to help her squeeze some extra power out of her aging Phenom II x4 965 BE - by that I meant getting it to 4GHz).

 

The second H80 unit, also ordered from Amazon (but from a different merchant, this time by "CircuitCity"), arrived. Upon opening the box I immediately noticed a few different things: For one, the radiator fins were very badly dinged up. This was NOT at all an issue with the unit I received from TigerDirect. Secondly, the included thumbscrews were different from my first unit. The one I received from TigerDirect (the perfectly silent one) has thumbscrews with notches on top for flat head screwdrivers to help tighten the bolts down - the new unit's thumbscrews have completely smooth heads so I was forced to tighten the pump using my fingers - not at all ideal!

 

Upon installing the second unit, I immediately noticed a loud grating/grinding noise from the water pump (basically sounds like a loud hard drive that's constantly seeking, and yes it is highly noticeable and VERY annoying). I did a search on the issue and sure enough, a lot of people were having the same problem. I tried turning the radiator and water blocks to cycle the water but nothing helped. Then, the day after installation, when I unplugged the fans from the water pump, the fan controller just flat out died - the lights won't come on and the fans won't spin. The only thing that still worked was the pump (I could still hear the grinding noise, even though it wasn't reporting its speed to the motherboard anymore either).

 

I tried to ask Corsair to set up an RMA for me, but Corsair told me to try and exchange it through the retailer instead. Of course, after waiting on the phone for 20 minutes with CircuitCity, they gave me the usual run around of "Transfering me to the Tech Support Department". Whatever.

 

Not ready to give up on getting my girl friend a working H80 unit but not wanting to wait a full week (or possibly longer) for an RMA, we went to the local Fry's Electronics to pick up a new H80. By then I pretty much figured out that my unit and hers were from different batches/revisions - and I was afraid hers were built to lower quality. I dearly hoped the batch Fry's carried was the same as mine.

 

We got a brand new, factory sealed unit from Fry's. Upon opening the box I immediately noticed the same issues as my girl friend's first unit: Dinged up radiator fins, and flat thumbscrews that can't be tightened with a screwdriver. My heart sank, and for good reason - the moment I connected the pump to the power supply, it made the EXACT same grinding/grating noise as the one we were replacing.

 

So it is confirmed, this whole batch of H80 is bad. We went back to Fry's in the hopes of finding an older batch - we found two open-boxed H80 units that looks like they have been sitting on the shelves for some time. I opened one of them, and to my relief, the thumb screws included with that unit has the notches for screw drivers - which means it's from the same batch as my GOOD unit. I then examined the box for any model/part number that might identify/confirm the difference between this unit and the new ones - and sure enough, the serial numbers are different.

 

Serial number of the GOOD H80 batch: 11269402

Serial number of the BAD H80 batch: 11369482

 

My personal H80 unit (the first one I received, from TigerDirect) also carried the serial number of the good batch.

 

We took the open-boxed unit from Fry's home and sure enough! The pump is working and completely silent. On top of that I can finally secure the pump properly with a screw driver.

 

So, the moral of my long-winded story? If you are looking to buy a Corsair H80, try and hunt down an older unit - pay attention to the serial number!

 

And my personal customer message to Corsair: I am very disappointed with the build quality of the new H80 units. I know you don't manufacture these units yourself - but perhaps forward your customer complaints to the OEM manufacturer? (I think CoolIT Systems is making your water cooling units, right?) It's simply unacceptable that a large number (if not all) of your new H80 water pumps are producing loud noises. In my opinion, it completely defeats the purpose of getting a water cooler - we want performance on-par with high-end air coolers but without the noise, right? And we are paying a premium for that. So please, tell your manufacturer that the current H80 revision has an inherent defect - my guess is they went with a different water pump with this new revision. It would be nice if you can confirm it with them.

 

If you are a fellow owner of an H80 unit, please help confirm my findings by examining your retail box! If you have an unit with perfectly silent pump, check the serial number on the box and let me know if it matches "11269402" (or if it comes with "notched" thumb screws). If you have a unit that's making grinding noises, check if the serial number matches "11369482" (or if it comes with "flat" thumb screws).

 

Hopefully this finding will help those of you out there who are looking to buy a H80 unit, or trying to troubleshoot noise issues with your current unit! :)

 

P.S. - Regardless of whether or not it has a noisy pump, the H80's performance is simply superb. My girl friend's Phenom II x4 965 BE is now at 4GHz and the load temp never exceeds 51C! And that's not even on H80's "high" setting. ;) My Core-i5 2500K is running rock stable at 5GHz and the load temp never exceeds 81C. Good times.

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Yeah I'm having the same problems with the pump and mine is 11369482 and comes with flat thumb screws.

 

Well, at least that seems to be in line with my findings - may be hunt down an older unit at the local retailer? :)

 

Come on people, I know a lot of you have the noisy pump issue. Post here!

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Not my pump but the fans on the H80 are very noisy at top speed and middle speed. On low setting it is ok but the cpu gets a bit wamer. I'm thinking about replacing the fans.

 

On low fan setting I hear very little sound from the computer once it's closed up.

Middle setting there is enough noise to be noticeable and iritating.

At high setting it gets really loud.

 

I don't know if the speed button on the front of the H80 controls the fan or the fan and the pump, but it definitely gets louder and louder the higher you set it.

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I just fitted one of these on my Intel 2011 and its has the screws with no slots, it makes a slight noise but nothing terrible, but it does seem badly made, the screws didn't seem to fit the rad so it was impossible to tell if the thread was crossed, the bracket that mounts the blocks didn't fit the 2011 socket at all well, I had to use a lot of pressure to get it on the studs, and then the thumb screws have no slots so it was hard to tighten the screws, it seems to work fine, just expected more from something that cost me over $100
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If you are a fellow owner of an H80 unit, please help confirm my findings by examining your retail box! If you have an unit with perfectly silent pump, check the serial number on the box and let me know if it matches "11269402" (or if it comes with "notched" thumb screws). If you have a unit that's making grinding noises, check if the serial number matches "11369482" (or if it comes with "flat" thumb screws).

 

I have a VERY noisy, likely soon-to-fail H80 that I just bought brand new from Amazon.com and it's batch number is: 11359402. It came with the flat thumbscrews. It sounds absolutely terrible and gives me temp fluctuations. I took some video of it and you can hear it very well. I will upload it to youtube soon and post a link. It sounds like a broken HDD along with a fan rubbing against something - kind of a high pitched hissy noise, if you will.

 

Here is the video link:

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Well, at least that seems to be in line with my findings - may be hunt down an older unit at the local retailer? :)

 

Come on people, I know a lot of you have the noisy pump issue. Post here!

 

Opened a separate thread for my H80 on same issue, but I have a newer model:

 

http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=101812

 

Quick question. On your older pump that works perfectly, is the case standing vertically and not producing any kind of thrashing/hard drive reading or writing like noise? I've already tried rocking the radiator and flicking both tubes but no joy. The pump is only silent if I lay it horizontally. I'm wondering if I should just return this unit back to Amazon and try to look for that older model, or risk an RMA.

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I've had my H80 installed for 2 days now. Flathead thumbscrews, part no #11359402 from Amazon - same noisy radiator. I think my noises began when I slightly bumped my PC. If I power down, they usually go away for a while. The pathetic part about it all is even if I get a replacement there is a strongly likelihood that the next one will be defective too.

 

I can't even just pay more for the upgrade - The H100 has reports of the same issue.

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Just an update:

 

If I flick the tubing a few times the noise goes away. I guess that's why the noise started after I slightly bumped the PC (it even started today just by me pressing the power button on my case). I guess they were right when other people said it was caused by air being stuck in the line.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I've had my H80 installed for 2 days now. Flathead thumbscrews, part no #11359402 from Amazon - same noisy radiator. I think my noises began when I slightly bumped my PC. If I power down, they usually go away for a while. The pathetic part about it all is even if I get a replacement there is a strongly likelihood that the next one will be defective too.

 

I can't even just pay more for the upgrade - The H100 has reports of the same issue.

 

I have the same exact batch number(11359402) as well. Also ordered from Amazon when they had the sale on these. Mine is still in the shrinkwrap. So now im paranoid that I have a bad one too. Awaiting word from Corsair in this thread to see what to do next. I also believe the likelihood that if i return to Amazon, ill just one of the same back, which wouldnt do me any good! Grrrr.

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Hi, I built this rig on Nov 15/2011 with an H80 (#11339402) with no slotted screws...and have not had a problem so far...seems to me I read on a forum that the unit may develop air bubbles in the lines either from shipping or the unit being bumped and a solution may be to slighty flick the lines until the bubbles get out of the system. Seems that if air is causing a lock up that would make the pump noisy as there is either no or very little coolant heading through the pump.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I had this issue today. Same part number, same smooth heads. I installed the H80 earlier and it worked fine, then went in to do some cable management.

 

Opened the side of my case and found out one of the fan cables was right about against the fan. That was the cause of the noise. Maybe everyone else is having different issues ... but because of the way the cooler is oriented, when you move your case back to its side, the cables can come lose. That's what was causing the noise for me.

 

Hopefully this helps some people.

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I got mine from Newegg and it has flat screws but no grinding noise ( just noisy fans on high -- not too bad on medium -- and fairly quiet on low ).

 

I've been using it for close to 2 months now with no problem.

 

But it has a different batch number on the box.

 

11359402

 

PS It also had no bent fins. Condition was perfect.

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I have an H80 purchased at Microcenter on 12/29. The number on the box is 11359402.

 

The first thing I noticed was that there were a couple of bent fins on the rad, and also there was dust in the fins. Not a lot mind you, but I noticed it. Nothing else in the packaging made me believe this wasn't a brand new unit. The paste on the block was untouched. The screws all looked new. So I installed it anyway.

 

The unit has been working fine, until today. I now have the grinding noise. It's not terribly loud, but it is very noticeable.

 

I am looking for an answer on what to do. I can still return to MC, but I do not want another unit that's just going to do the same thing.

 

Edit:

I also have the thumb screws that DO NOT have slots for a screw driver. I was able to tighten them properly, but it wasn't at all easy.

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Yes that's true, that nasty old cavitation. What's odd is the H-series cooler pumps run at a constant speed, and apparently although the H60 reads ~4200 RPM pump speed, and the H80 and H100 read ~2000 RPM pump speed, a Corsair rep once said that in reality, they all run at the same speed, which is ~4200 RPM. No big deal, just interesting...

 

Some users report that using a fan speed controller on a H-series pump, and lowering the speed on a H60, for example, to ~3800 RPM, caused their noise issue to stop. A 10% speed reduction is enough to stop cavitation, if that is occurring, which is believable IMO.

 

Why some user experience noise and others don't seems to suggest cavitation is not the standard issue. Both of my H60's are very quiet, and both pumps run at ~4300 RPM, and usually a bit higher.

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I just picked up an H80 setup this last week from Frys. It is serial number 11459402. The thumb screws have a phillips head at the top to tighten. Pump has been dead silent which is great!

 

Now the down side. The button in the middle which I assume (I may be wrong) is to control fan speed, does absolutely nothing at all. Upon power up, the fans spin up to full speed, same sound as if I plug it directly into the mobo. After 30 seconds or so, the fans ramp down to being quiet but still spinning no matter what the center light / button thing is set to.

 

Actual cooling has been stellar so far as I plugged the fans into the mobo and control them that way. But the unit as far as I can tell is in fact defective.

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Hi, Having read the posts on the H80 I was rather concerned about getting one. Glad to say that the one I have installed is silent. Batch no 11409402. This also has no cross head fixing screws, so when I saw this I thought I'd better keep the box cos it might be going back. Asus bios for cpu temp is 19deg c at idle. :laughing:
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...

Now the down side. The button in the middle which I assume (I may be wrong) is to control fan speed, does absolutely nothing at all. Upon power up, the fans spin up to full speed, same sound as if I plug it directly into the mobo. After 30 seconds or so, the fans ramp down to being quiet but still spinning no matter what the center light / button thing is set to.

 

Actual cooling has been stellar so far as I plugged the fans into the mobo and control them that way. But the unit as far as I can tell is in fact defective.

 

There is a firmware reset procedure for the H80 and H100, which is described here:H100 Firmware Reset Instructions

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11409402 number and the fans never start even the tempeture up to 90C. Why CORSAIR didn't call-back from reselers the problem parts? They know and let the customers to found the way and the time fix then.

 

NOTE: If you are requesting an RMA / Replacement for a cooling product, you must return any fans that were provided with the original merchandise or we will not be able to accept your RMA.

 

This is from site and the words from the reseler here in Greece.

 

I DON'T have it couse i trust CARSAIR mind nothing can happent with such a serious company.

 

Thanks for your time guys

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11409402 number and the fans never start even the tempeture up to 90C. Why CORSAIR didn't call-back from reselers the problem parts? They know and let the customers to found the way and the time fix then.

 

Sounds like there is no power, did you make sure the molex connector that plugs in directly to the PSU is properly secured? sometimes one of the pins would come off from the house causing the unit not to get power.

 

NOTE: If you are requesting an RMA / Replacement for a cooling product, you must return any fans that were provided with the original merchandise or we will not be able to accept your RMA.

 

This is pretty standard warranty policy for most companies and re sellers.

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