We measured the noise level of each cooler’s fans throughout the entire speed range. The results are shown below:
The Swiftech H220 is just as good as in the performance tests, proving to be the quietest among the four tested coolers, even though its advantage over the Corsair H100i isn’t large in this respect. Swiftech’s default Helix 120 fans are so quiet that replacing them with the expensive and high-quality Corsair AF120 fans doesn’t make any difference. On the other hand, we must confess that we could hear the electrical sound of the fan’s motor at low speeds of the Helix 120 PWM fans (up to 1000 RPM). It was not irritating, yet the fans would be better without it.
We can also note the dramatic difference in noise between the Phanteks super-cooler with its default fans and with the Corsair AF140 fans. While Phanteks’s own fans are only comfortable at 750 RPM, the AF140 fans reach the same noise level of 36 dBA at 1010 RPM only. In the quiet mode (33 dBA), the Phanteks fans are worse by about 270 RPM. Corsair’s AF140 fans are much better subjectively, too.
We singled out the Corsair H100i for its high performance in our previous liquid cooling systems roundup but the Swiftech H220 sets an ultimate reference point for an ideal liquid cooling solution. After today we have every right to state that any system that yields to Swiftech H220 in cooling efficiency and acoustic performance should not be considered as a potential alternative to a high-performance air-cooler. Now the only thing left to do is drop the price of Swiftech H220 by $30-40, so that it could really start competing against such super-coolers as Phanteks PH-TC14PE or Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E. However, in our opinion a price cut like that is highly unlikely.
Assembled only with high-quality professional components developed exclusively by Swiftech, the Swiftech H220 is an etalon for liquid cooling systems. It demonstrates unrivalled performance in terms of CPU cooling at minimum level of noise. The advantages of the Swiftech H220 include solid copper radiator, serviceability (you can add more coolant to the contour), expandability (you can add more water blocks to the contour), support for all modern CPU platforms, ease of installation, reliable water block fastening, and flexibility in terms of the radiator placement. We should also specifically point out unique 8-channel PWM controller, which you will not find by any other makers. All these combined make Swiftech H220 an indisputable Editor’s Choice from X-bit labs: