The Corsair iCUE Link custom cooling loop


Radiator, pump/reservoir and fans:

Let’s take a closer look at the three components that will form an integral part of our cooling loop: the XR5 360 NEO radiator, the XD5 RGB Elite pump/reservoir combo and the iCUE Link QX120 RGB fans. These three components are fairly recent and feature the iCUE Link connection principle, which will make life easier during assembly, but that’s for another few days.

The iCUE Link XD5 RGB Elite pump/reservoir combo:

For several years now, it’s been commonplace to find pump systems combined with a reservoir. This saves a considerable amount of space in your case. Corsair has added a new reference to its catalog with this XD5 RGB Elite, available in stealth gray or white. The price advertised on Corsair’s website is 254.90 euros.

The packaging remains in the brand’s spirit, with a yellow and black box that Corsair has been sporting on the majority of its components for several years now. The front panel features a photo of the pump/reservoir. A QR Code on opening the box takes you directly to the installation instructions.

Let’s start with the pump, which is a Xylem D5 PWM version with a maximum flow rate of 800 liters per hour, and comes with a 3-year warranty. This is a pump that needs no introduction, as it has already proved its worth. In fact, it’s found on many of our competitors’ products. The pump is topped by a 330 ml reservoir, which is more than sufficient.

As far as inlets and outlets are concerned, there are three on the pump. This choice has been made to give you maximum freedom in the design of your cooling loop. The top of the tank also benefits from two inlets. The XD5 also features RGB backlighting, with no less than 22 individually configurable RGB LEDs. There’s also a dip tube inside the tank, whose role is to prevent the creation of a “cyclone” and facilitate the elimination of air bubbles from your liquid circuit. The XD5 RGB Elite also features an integrated temperature sensor.

This new pump/tank is “iCUE Link” compatible, meaning effortless connectivity via a single cable. We’ll come back to this in detail when we install the cooling loop. Next to the iCUE Link connector on the base, there’s also a switch that will be useful when priming the pump, but we’ll come back to this in detail during installation.

Finally, the bundle includes three mounting systems. The first is a standard bracket for mounting the bass of your XD5 RGB Elite, while the other two allow you to mount it on either a 120 or 140 mm fan.

The Hydro X Series XR5 360 NEO radiator:

Let’s move on to the second essential element of any liquid cooling system: the radiator. It’s the radiator that will dissipate the heat from your circuit. Usually, a 240 mm radiator is more than sufficient to dissipate heat from the CPU waterblock. For our configuration, the GPU also benefits from a waterblock, so we opted for the 360 mm Hydro X Series XR5 NEO. Corsair offers a range of models from 120 to 420 mm.

Our example is priced at 78.90 euros. The difference between these series is the radiator thickness, which is 30 mm for the XR5 and 54 mm for the XR7. The radiators have a copper base and come in matte black. This XR5 306 NEO radiator will therefore accommodate three 120 mm fans.

The core of the radiator is made of copper, and the cooling fins are 45 microns thick. Just a reminder: before choosing a radiator, don’t forget to check that its size and thickness are compatible with your case.

ICUE Link QX120 RGB fans:

The pack we received is a starter pack which, in addition to the 3 iCUE Link QX120 RGB fans, comes with the iCUE Link HUB. It is, of course, possible to purchase the fans without the HUB, but then by the piece. This starter kit is priced at 159.90 euros. The fans are also available in white and in 140 mm format.

The principle behind these new fans is that they can be stacked together, requiring only a single cable to manage speed and RGB backlighting. Speaking of backlighting, each fan features 34 RGB LEDs distributed over two light zones on each side. Another new feature is a temperature sensor on the rear of the fan.

PWM control lets you fine-tune the speed of your fans so they only run at the speed they need to, reducing their noise, while support for “Zero RPM” mode means they can shut down completely at low loads. Features include rotation speeds between 400 and 2400 RPM, a maximum airflow of 63.1 CFM, and a maximum noise level of 37 dBA.

Installation: a little more patience:

As we’ve already hinted, we originally planned to install the cooling loop outside the case, but we thought it would be more appropriate to install it inside the case. We’ll be assembling a configuration based on the ROG Maximus Z790 Extreme motherboard, an i7-13700K and an NVIDIA RTX 4080 Founders Edition graphics card. As for the case itself, we’re waiting for confirmation before telling you more!

Thanks to Corsair for making these components available, and see you soon for the fourth and final part of this test dedicated to Corsair iCUE Link components.