Corsair iCUE H170i Elite LCD XT AIO Review

Test Methodology

I first install the cooler into a hemi-anechoic chamber, and with the help of a highly sophisticated sound analyzer, I take all necessary noise measurements required for the testing. Afterward, I install the system inside a giant climate chamber, where the ambient temperature remains steady at 25 degrees Celsius; this way, I don’t have to take the delta difference into account anymore since I can evaluate all coolers under precisely the same ambient temperature. I used to believe that taking the delta difference between the measured temperature of the CPU and the ambient temperature provided accurate results. Still, after testing with the climate chamber, I soon realized this was not the case.

Climate Chamber Technical Specifications:
  • Manufacturer: Giant Force
  • Model Number: GTH-800-20-CP-AR
  • Temp Range: -20℃ ~ +100℃
  • Humidity Range: 20% ~ 98% RH
  • Temp/humidity Constancy: ±0.2℃; ±2.5%RH
  • Temp/humidity Uniformity at center: ±0.5℃; ±4%RH
  • Indication Resolution:
  • Internal Dimensions (WHD): 100 x 100 x 80 cm
  • External Dimensions (WHD): 145 x 190 x 135 cm
  • Net Weight (approx): 450 kgs
  • Heat-up Time (No load, no linear): (from 20°C to +100°C) 30min
  • Pull-down Time (No load, no linear): (from 20°C to -20°C) 50min
  • Cooling System: Airtight compressor + evaporator fins + air-cooling condenser
  • Power Source: 3Φ AC 380V ±5%, 50Hz±1% 10KW
  • Based on Standards: ISO 5801-2007, AMCA 210-0, ASHRAE 51-2007, IEC 61591-2005, GB/T 1236-200

Besides the Giant Force climate chamber, I also use the following equipment.

Testing Equipment:
  • Noise Test Environment: Hemi-Anechoic Chamber with 6 dB(A) noise floor
  • Conditions: 25 (+-2) degrees Celsius, 40-50% humidity
  • Sound Analyzer: Bruel & Kjaer 2270-S G4
  • Microphone: Bruel & Kjaer Type 4955-A
  • Mic Calibrator:  Bruel & Kjaer Type 4231
  • Data Logger: Picoscope TC-08

For evaluating the coolers, I use a super power-hungry Intel i9-13900K. This beast is reaching 360W of sustained load, which I measure accurately using a Powenetics v2 system. All parts of the CPU cooling station test system are shown below. The thermal paste I use is the Arctic Cooling MX-4. I run at least two test sessions and take the average results.

Test System Specs
Mainboard Asus Prime Z690-A
CPU Intel 13900K Package Power Limit (PL1, PL2) set to 250W
RAM XPG Lancer DDR5 (2 x 16GB) 6000MHz
Power Supply Seasonic Vertex 1200W
(Cybenetics Platinum)
CPU Cooler What is under test!
Case DimasTech Bench
Ambient Temperature 25°C ±0.5°C
Humidity 50% ±4%RH

The load application is no other but Prime95 (small FFTs), which applies a tremendous load to the processor. I run each test for 20 minutes, allowing for a 10-minute cool period between each test. The whole procedure is fully automated thanks to a particular application that I made for this purpose.

The critical point in my methodology for coolers is that I consider the CPU’s average frequency during testing because it doesn’t remain steady throughout the tests. It constantly changes according to the load and the operating temperatures. Moreover, I have the Powenetics system to continually measure the CPU’s power consumption, which is way more accurate and faster than using a software solution like HWinfo.

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2 thoughts on “Corsair iCUE H170i Elite LCD XT AIO Review

  1. >Speaking of the climate chamber, another myth is that considering the delta difference between the CPU’s temperature and the ambient temperature, you don’t need to worry so much about the room temperature. Well, so far, my experience with the climate chamber proved quite the opposite,

    Could you elaborate on this? I’ve always considered that delta T is roughly comparable, say a delta T of 40 degrees is roughly the same whether your ambient is 20 or 30. Thanks!

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