Technical Specifications and Recommended Pricing
Testbed and Methods
All tests of the new Antec cooling system and its competitors were performed inside a closed system case with the following configuration:
- Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-X58-UD9 (Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS F5 from 5/4/2011);
- Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, 3.33 GHz, 1.225 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3 (Gulftown, B1);
- Thermal interface: Arctic Silver Ceramique;
- Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB GDDR5 128 bit, 850/4800 MHz;
- Memory: DDR3 3 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (Spec: 1600MHz / 7-7-7-24 / 1.65 V);
- System drive: RAID-0 of 2 x Kingston V-series SNV425S2128GB SSD (SATA-II, 128 GB, MLC, Toshiba TC58NCF618G3T controller);
- Drive for programs and games: Western Digital VelociRaptor (300GB, SATA-II, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” HDD silencer and cooler;
- Backup drive: Samsung Ecogreen F4 HD204UI (SATA-II, 2 TB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
- System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S2 fans at 1080 RPM; back panel: two Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilent PRO PL-1 fans at 1080 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
- Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
- Power supply: Xigmatek “No Rules Power” NRP-HC1501 1500 W (with a default 140 mm fan).
We managed to overclock our six-core processor with the default (non-lapped) heat-spreader surface using 25x multiplier and enabled “Load-Line Calibration” (Level 2) to 4.5 GHz. The nominal processor Vcore was increased to 1.46875 V in the mainboard BIOS:
We disabled Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies during our tests. The memory voltage was at 1.64 V and its frequency was 1.44 GHz (7-7-7-16_1T timings, Extreme profile). All other parameters available in the mainboard BIOS and connected with CPU or memory overclocking remained unchanged.
All tests were performed under Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 operating system. We used the following software during our test session:
- CPU Stress Test (CST) version 0.18b – to load the processor (matrix # 15, 10-12 minutes);
- Real Temp GT 3.64 – to monitor the processor cores temperature;
- CPU-Tweaker 1.5 – to visually monitor temperatures and frequencies of the Intel CPU using graphics;
- Gigabyte Easy Tune 6 B11.2303.1 – to monitor voltages.
So, the complete screenshot during the test session looks as follows:
The CPU was loaded with two consecutive CST test runs with the settings as indicated above. The stabilization period for the CPU temperature between the two test cycles was about 8-10 minutes. We took the maximum temperature of the hottest CPU core for the results charts. Moreover, we will also provide a table with the temperature readings for all cores including their average values. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1 °C precision that allows hourly monitoring of the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. The room temperature during our test session varied between 27.6-28.0 °C.
The noise level of each cooler was measured between 1:00 and 3:00 AM in a closed room about 20 m2 big using CENTER-321 electronic noise meter. The noise level for each cooler was tested outside the system case when the only noise sources in the lab were the cooler and its fan. The noise meter was installed on a tripod and was always at a 150 mm distance from the cooler fan rotor. The tested cooling systems were placed at the edge of the desk on a sheet of polyurethane foam. The lowest noise reading our noise meter device can register is 29.8 dBA and the subjectively comfortable noise level in these testing conditions was around 36 dBA (do not mix it up with low noise level). The fan(s) rotation speed was adjusted in the entire supported range using our in-house controller by changing the voltage with 0.5 V increment.
We are going to compare Swiftech liquid-cooling system against the best air cooler – Thermalright Archon. It was tested with one default Thermalright TY-140 fan, with two fans like that as well as with two powerful Scythe Slip Stream 140 fans:
Swiftech H2O-X20 Edge, however, was tested only with default fans, but in three different speed modes: at quiet 950 RPM, medium 1450 RPM and maximum speed of 2140 RPM. Besides, we also tested the efficiency of the new cooling system in three pump modes: at almost noiseless 2150 RPM, acoustically comfortable 3100 RPM and maximum 4500 RPM.