Performance Results

I mentioned in the introduction that the new Corsair radiators are operating off of the same OEM hardware as NZXT's resident 140mm-based radiators. What I didn't mention was that Corsair doesn't have any software control for the fans or even any allowances made towards connecting and controlling the fans at all beyond the conventional motherboard headers. Corsair needs to hope the fans used on their H90 and H110 are enough to differentiate them from NZXT's Kraken series.

Swiftech, meanwhile, also uses PWM control, but includes a breakout block with the H220 to connect as many as seven different fans to a single PWM channel. It's worth noting, too, that though the Swiftech H220 is a 240mm radiator (like the Corsair H100i), the building materials and pump are almost completely different. The pump uses Swiftech's own secret sauce, while the radiator uses brass and copper instead of the garden variety aluminum the other radiators use. On top of this, they're using their own fans. Suffice to say, it's going to be interesting to see if the H220 can prove the extra effort and higher quality components are worthwhile.

Cooling Performance

Whether it's Corsair, NZXT, or good old-fashioned Asetek, the results don't lie: the 280mm radiator is just plain more efficient than any smaller block. Swiftech's H220 puts in a reasonably strong showing, though interestingly it has trouble overtaking the Corsair H80i at higher speeds. There's a very good reason for that, though, and you'll see it in a second.

Meanwhile, Asetek's single 140mm radiator basically continues to be a bust. It's by no means a terrible product, but the H90 and Kraken X40 are both pretty underwhelming. A thicker 120mm radiator with two fans continues to be a comparable if not superior choice.

Acoustic Performance

If the Swiftech H220's performance is a little underwhelming, this is why. The H220 itself is definitely a strong radiator, but Swiftech clearly tuned their fans for acoustics instead of performance. At 30% fan speed only the X60 and H110 can offer both better thermal performance and fan speed, but at 100% fan speed, the louder, more aggressive fans are just able to push more cool air through their respective radiators.

What must be kept in mind is that while the H220 isn't necessarily blowing up the charts, the noise levels and thermal performance need to be connected and placed in context. The H220 is able to deliver competitive performance at lower noise levels than the competing radiators, and really only has to worry about the Corsair H110 and Kraken X60 beating it. Both of those are much harder to fit into most cases, too, a problem the Swiftech H220 doesn't have.

Testing Methodology Conclusions, Part 1: Corsair
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  • AngelOfTheAbyss - Monday, February 4, 2013 - link

    Either you like closed loops or you don't.

    Personally, I like them because you can move the heat from the cpu to the outside of the chassi without having to disperse the heat inside the chassi before wenting it.

    One of my machines is a 3930K@4.3 in a Antec P190 chassi with a H100 using 2x120 (push) + 2x140mm (pull) fans on the rad which make it really quiet.

    Unless you suffer from pump grinding (see WLW WL on overclock), the pump should barely be audible (i have had to patch my two H100's but not the H80).

    Note also that most comparable air-coolers weigh alot and don't employ top-down fans.

    In my htpc (Antec ISK 310-150 EC + A10 5800K), I put a big shuriken due to space constraints, couldn't figure out how to mount a closed loop (bummer).
  • rms8 - Monday, February 4, 2013 - link

    I love the articles here!

    Regarding the reviews of the current market of self contained H2O coolers....I have a custom H20 setup with an XSPC CPU block & RX360 rad, Swiftech pump and Intel i7-2600K.

    I have BIOS setup to run the CPU at 1.6Ghz when idle, but will ramp up to 5.2Ghz depending on needs. At idle the temps are in the 26-28 degree range with no fans running. When running Prime95, it will run at upper 60-'s/lower 70's with fans maxed out.

    I really don't know how good this is compared to some off the shelf self contained setup.
  • jasonelmore - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    It's a shame the Swiftech H220 got taken off the market due to patent infringements. It was the only Closed Loop cooler that i'm interested in.

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