Question Corsair H150i iCUE require iCUE software?

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
1,113
46
91
I'm considering upgrading my CPU cooling from a Noctua U12A to a Corsair H150i iCUE to cool my Ryzen 5800x. Does the Corsair H150i iCUE require to install the iCUE software that comes with it to function? I'd rather not have to install software and have it running the background in order for a CPU cooler to function. I rather control the cooling of a CPU cooler through the BIOS and set the CPU fan curves there and controlled via PWM. If I don't need the software to use this CPU cooler, will it lower the cooling performance just using the BIOS to control this CPU cooler? Also my motherboard has three 4-pin system fan headers, two 4-pin CPU fan headers, and a 4-pin pump header.
 

Paperdoc

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2006
2,067
174
106
I expect that using the iCUE software is better, but not required.

When you install that system, the instructions are to connect a cable from the pump to the CPU_FAN header, and the cables to the RAD FANS do NOT go to the mobo. Instead they plug into output connectors on a cable from the pump. When you then run the iCUE software, it knows that the PUMP speed will be read from the CPU_FAN header where the cable is connected, and the FAN speeds will be read from the pump unit itself - there is also a cable from the pump to a mobo USB2 header for communication with iCUE. iCUE controls the FAN speeds that way as well as monitoring them for failure. iCUE also monitors the PUMP for failure (VERY important) from its speed signal on the CPU_FAN header. It also allows you some options for setting pump speeds for fine-tuning its controls, a feature many AIO systems do not have. But most importantly, any cooling control system has a few "tuning parameters" for system response times and amplifier gain, etc. that you never see, and these are pre-set by Corsair exactly suited to the way the H150i system operates. ALL cooling of the CPU is controlled by iCUE and you can customize that in that software. The BIOS display of "CPU Fan Speed" will really be the PUMP, and there will be NO ability in BIOS to see and show the rad fans - that is done in iCUE.

If you do NOT install as instructed, then you NEED to change how connections are made so the mobo normal control system can operate. First, the cable connection from the PUMP to the mobo should go to your mobo's PUMP header. That will operate the pump at full speed all the time, monitor and display its speed for you, and check it for failure. Then the RAD FANS need to be connected, using a simple SPLITTER, to the CPU_FAN header. That will control their speeds according to the CPU chip's cooling needs and monitor one of them for failure while displaying its speed. You will NOT need the cable to connect to a mobo USB2 header if you NEVER want to run iCUE. Then all control of CPU cooling is done by your mobo and you can customize that in BIOS Setup if you wish. This does mean, though, that the "tuning parameters" it uses are those suited to a common fan and heatsink cooler, rather than the AIO system. Not a big deal, but it is a difference.
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
1,113
46
91
I expect that using the iCUE software is better, but not required.

When you install that system, the instructions are to connect a cable from the pump to the CPU_FAN header, and the cables to the RAD FANS do NOT go to the mobo. Instead they plug into output connectors on a cable from the pump. When you then run the iCUE software, it knows that the PUMP speed will be read from the CPU_FAN header where the cable is connected, and the FAN speeds will be read from the pump unit itself - there is also a cable from the pump to a mobo USB2 header for communication with iCUE. iCUE controls the FAN speeds that way as well as monitoring them for failure. iCUE also monitors the PUMP for failure (VERY important) from its speed signal on the CPU_FAN header. It also allows you some options for setting pump speeds for fine-tuning its controls, a feature many AIO systems do not have. But most importantly, any cooling control system has a few "tuning parameters" for system response times and amplifier gain, etc. that you never see, and these are pre-set by Corsair exactly suited to the way the H150i system operates. ALL cooling of the CPU is controlled by iCUE and you can customize that in that software. The BIOS display of "CPU Fan Speed" will really be the PUMP, and there will be NO ability in BIOS to see and show the rad fans - that is done in iCUE.

If you do NOT install as instructed, then you NEED to change how connections are made so the mobo normal control system can operate. First, the cable connection from the PUMP to the mobo should go to your mobo's PUMP header. That will operate the pump at full speed all the time, monitor and display its speed for you, and check it for failure. Then the RAD FANS need to be connected, using a simple SPLITTER, to the CPU_FAN header. That will control their speeds according to the CPU chip's cooling needs and monitor one of them for failure while displaying its speed. You will NOT need the cable to connect to a mobo USB2 header if you NEVER want to run iCUE. Then all control of CPU cooling is done by your mobo and you can customize that in BIOS Setup if you wish. This does mean, though, that the "tuning parameters" it uses are those suited to a common fan and heatsink cooler, rather than the AIO system. Not a big deal, but it is a difference.
The bios for my motherboard has an option to set the Pump header to PWM mode. Will this AIO ignore the PWM mode for the Pump header and run it at full speed even if set it to PWM mode?
 

13Gigatons

Diamond Member
Apr 19, 2005
7,194
383
126
Not required but allows more control of the RGB stuff. The software also installs a service that runs in the background so the main iCUE software doesn't need to run all the time.
 

Paperdoc

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2006
2,067
174
106
If you are NOT using iCUE and instead connect the cable from the pump to the mobo PUMP header, then that header SHOULD be set to PWM Mode. And then it will NOT change the pump speed. Confused?

For most AIO systems the design is that the pump always should run full speed, and only the FANS on the rad have their speed controlled. You really cannot have BOTH the fan and the pump speed being changed in response to changes in the internal temperature of the CPU chip. If you did that, they would "chase" each other. So ALL control of the CPU internal temp is done by altering the FAN speeds only. It happens that the H150i system has an additional feature IF you are using iCUE. It allows you to change the pump speed, and that is used like a "range" setting. You can set the pump speed to a low, med, or hi setting and leave it there, so that the FANS under automatic control run in a reasonable speed range. If you make a major change in workload you might want to set the pump speed a to a different range so the that fans also keep using a reasonable range of speeds. But you do NOT make frequent pump speed changes.

Now, in the H150i system, the power for the pump is supplied directly from the PSU via a connector to a PSU SATA output. So the connection cable from the pump to your mobo is ONLY for ONE signal - the pump speed on Pin #3 - and is NOT involved in power to the pump. The ONLY way the pump speed can be changed is by iCUE using its USB2 communication connection. With iCUE NOT running, the pump will always run at full speed, and the actions of the mobo PUMP header have no effect on it.
 
Last edited:

KentState

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2001
8,247
348
126
There are better options than Corsair if you are opposed to their software. Look into either Artic or EK for example.
 

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