Articles: Cooling

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Cooling Efficiency

You can see the results in the following table and diagram:

The different coolers seem to be close to each other in performance. But delving into details, we can see that the Swiftech H220 delivers very high performance. It is obviously superior to the air super-cooler Phanteks equipped with two quiet fans, winning by 3-4°C at peak load except for the quietest mode (800 RPM). Moreover the Swiftech H220 is more efficient than the Corsair H100i which came out the winner of our previous roundup review of ready-made liquid cooling systems.

With its two fans working at the maximum speed of 2670 RPM, the Corsair still lags 2°C behind the Swiftech which runs its default Helix 120 fans at 1750 RPM. And if we compare them at the same speed of the fans, the Corsair looks even worse: the Swiftech is 7°C better at 1200 RPM, 6°C better at 1000 RPM and 7°C better at 800 RPM. That’s a large gap indeed. Well, we might have expected that from a manufacturer of professional components for liquid cooling systems!

Installing alternative fans (Corsair AF120) on the Swiftech H220 radiator helped reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees at every speed. So, the default Helix 120 fans seem to limit the potential of the H220 system.

Next we checked out the Swiftech H220 and its opponents again with the CPU overclocked to 4.5 GHz at a voltage of 1.435 volts. Here are the table and the diagram:

Despite the increased heat dissipation of the CPU, the Swiftech is still superior to the Corsair H100i as well as to the Phanteks. The H220 is 5°C better than the H100i at the same speed of the fans (1200 and 1000 RPM, the Corsair not coping with the overclocked CPU at 800 RPM). It is only by running its fans at higher speeds that the Corsair H100i can match the performance of the Swiftech H220 but that’s no consolation since these systems are incomparable in terms of noise at their top speeds.

Interestingly, installing two Corsair AF120 fans on the Swiftech radiator improves the cooler’s performance by 2°C at peak CPU load only at 1670 and 800 RPM. The performance remains the same at the medium speeds (1200 and 1000 RPM). The Phanteks PH-TC14PE is 2 to 4°C inferior to the Swiftech H220.

And finally, we wanted to check out if the H200 would be able to keep the CPU stable at even higher clock rate and voltage. So, we increased the voltage to 1.485 volts and overclocked our CPU to 4.625 GHz. The Swiftech H220 turned out to be capable of making the CPU stable at such settings but only at the maximum speed of its default or alternative fans:

Swiftech H220
+ 2 Helix 120 fans (1760 RPM)

Swiftech H220
+ 2 Corsair AF120 fans (1670 RPM)

The top CPU temperature is identical in both cases, so the default Helix 120 fans are as efficient as the alternative Corsair AF120 fans in this case.

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