Swiftech H220-X CPU Liquid Cooling Kit AIO Review

Swiftech is a standard name in the computer hardware enthusiast arena. Today we review its answer to an enthusiast All-In-One CPU cooler. As you might guess it is strong on hardware, design, and purpose. The H220-X CPU Liquid Cooling Kit focuses on little to no noise while providing excellent cooling.

Introduction

Today we are looking at a Swiftech All-In-One CPU cooler, aka AIO, from a company that has pioneered water cooling in PCs since its inception twenty years ago. We looked at our first Swiftech product about 13 years ago. Swiftech is practically a household name when it comes to water cooling circles. Generally, Switech components are preferred by most enthusiast class users but it is here today to change that perception.

The H220-X is one of Swiftech's first all-in-one kits that brings the extreme level of cooling you'd expect from Swiftech and matches it to the ease of installation we've come to expect from an AIO. There has been a lot of new competition in the AIO market in recent years from companies such as, Corsair, SilverStone, Thermaltake, and Antec. Can Swiftech make a spot for itself in a market it practically created? Let's see if the H220-X is the answer.

Article Image

System Setup

Today's review takes place on our generation 4.1 [H]ard platform. The test bed consists of the ASUS Z97-a motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7 4770K.

During testing our previous motherboard gave up the ghost. With a quick swap, we set out to ensure the same performance by retesting some coolers. Once we saw the performance was the same we knew we could continue onwards.

Article Image

Test Methods

CPU

The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted their methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.

GPU

Once again we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.

Case

Corsair was kind enough to provide us with their Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the paste of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do their job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period for air cooled systems, and thirty minutes for liquid cooled systems, at 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using AIDA64 Extreme Edition v3.00.2500. This places an even greater load on the CPU than before and includes some benefits. Because the load is so extreme we see the temperature vary wildly from 72C to 86C in some instances. To get an accurate reading we will utilize AIDA64’s ability to average the temperature over time. Given twenty/thirty minutes at 100% load we arrive at a temperature that accurately represents our heatsink’s performance.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.