Articles: Cooling

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Asetek vs. Swiftech, and Their Water-Cooling Kits

Not so long ago we examined and tested the Swiftech H20-120-P cooling kit the manufacturer refers to as belonging to the mainstream category (Swiftech’s top model is H20-22500-P). And after our today’s tests you may be wondering what’s better, Swiftech or Asetek?

This question is no easier to answer than “What’s better – Mercedes or BMW?” Let’s start from the obvious. It is not correct to directly compare the models we have tested in our labs. While the system from Swiftech belongs to the mainstream (in the manufacturer’s definition of it), the WaterChill KT12A-L30 is in fact an acme of Asetek’s line-up and costs much more (even without the additional water-blocks). We wouldn’t attempt to predict the outcome of a comparative test with models of the same parameters (at least, with similar radiators) without statistical data on hands.

The foremost advantages of water-cooling systems for enthusiasts are flexibility of configuration, upgrade opportunities, and a wide selection of additional accessories. Moreover, components of cooling kits of that type usually have the standard diameter of the fittings, irrespective of the manufacturer. So people who want to assemble an ideal system, exactly for their specific needs, can buy the components separately. The effect is going to be awesome if the selection has been done right, but that’s rather a long and costly way.

Anyway, we will try to describe which component is better with Swiftech or Asetek basing on our own experience and the information we have managed to gather from other sources.

Water-blocks: Asetek

Our tests point at the Asetek WaterChill Antarctica as the unrivalled leader in terms of pure performance. Swiftech, however, has its own trumps: the MCW6000 block is easier to fasten on the processor and the fastening itself can be easily replaced. Swiftech’s block is also a little cheaper.

Radiator: 50/50

Using the same “Black Ice” design, the Americans paint their radiator blue metallic color. It wouldn’t be correct to compare the radiators of the models we actually tested in our labs since both companies offer modifications of different sizes. Of course, the Black Ice DUAL (for two 120mm fans) is going to be more efficient than the MCR (with one fan of a similar size), but all radiators of the Black Ice type perform alike, their dimensions being the same.

Pump: Swiftech

At the same performance (1200 liters per hour), the MCP650 has three advantages over the Hydor Seltz L30 pump employed in Asetek’s systems: smaller dimensions, a handier fastening, and power supply from the 12V. The last factor is not only valuable for the lack of additional wires – enthusiasts may appreciate the opportunity of an easy control over the pump power with the help of a simple reobus (the only requirement is that the reobus could sustain up to 25 watts per channel).

Reservoir: Asetek

The small “bottle” isn’t meant to expand the volume of liquid in the system, but makes it easier to fill and bleed it. It’s handier than with the “sanitary engineering” from Swiftech. The reservoir for the 5.25” bay in the next revisions of the Swiftech H20-120-P is easy to use and functional, but doesn’t meet our aesthetic requirements. Generally speaking, we’d recommend you to buy a separate, large reservoir – more coolant can only do well to any cooling system. J

So you see it’s impossible to name an overall winner. Each company has something to be boastful about – a product which is definitely better than the competitor’s analog. The other components are almost the same value with a minor advantage to this or that manufacturer (the radiator and the reservoir in this case). We’re sure the situation would be even more complicated if we added some other renowned names like InnovaTek, Danger Den, Koolance and Zalman into the comparison. But this lack of an unrivalled leader is why these companies keep on competing with each other J. We hope we will have an opportunity of examining products from other developers to answer our questions.

The choice of a serious water-cooling system resembles the problem of choosing Hi-Fi equipment.

You can assemble an “ideal” system out of components from different brands and have an optimal ratio of all the parameters as the result (provided you are well informed about the quality and compatibility of the components). If you’re like that, you won’t get much from our reviews as you can only get answers to your questions in tests of separate components (water-blocks, radiators, pumps, reservoirs, various accessories).

But if you don’t want spend much time for such an investigation, but want to have a well-balanced kit with a minimum of troubles, with ideal compatibility and high efficiency, you may want to consider ready-made systems. Particularly, the Asetek WaterChill KT12A-L30 and Swiftech H20-120-P are both an excellent choice for their price (there’s no immediate rivalry between the two since they belong to somewhat different classes).

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