Swiftech "Q-Power" Water Cooled Case

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First look at a “turnkey” case — Joe

SUMMARY: First look at this case – very positive.

Swiftech Case

Picture courtesy of Swiftech – I’m using this one because I tore the case apart as soon as I got it!

Swiftech was nice enough to send a sample of their water cooled case called QPOWER to test out. As soon as I received it, I tore it apart to see what’s inside and how it’s put together (alert readers identify it as a modified Lite-On FS020). The first part of looking at this case will be a “photo tour”. I am in the process of testing it “live” and will report results shortly.

What’s Underneath the Skin

I proceeded to disassemble the case by taking off everything that unscrews or unplugs. The front view

Front

shows a 120 mm fan, a Mechatronics G1225S12B. This model is rated at 55 cfm @ 1500 rpm – with a noise rating of 25 dBA. I have tried to find a source for these fans and came up short – based on specs, these are some of the finest fans around.

Note that there is no metal grill impeding airflow – a nice, clean cut that enhances flow through the case and cuts down on noise.

Swiftech uses four of these – two on the radiator, one in the front and one on the side. Without getting into a lot of detail, let me state that these units are quiet – more on this when I post the performance tests.

Swiftech Case

The back shows the externally mounted radiator. This is not a “slap-on” job; the radiator mounts on a foam gasket which serves to keep airflow from leaking off the sides of the radiator. The radiator is constructed like the one you have in your car – there is a top and bottom plenum chamber with tubes running between them. The fins are placed between the tubes for cooling. It has a nice, substantial feel to it.

On the back side of the case, you’ll find these two valves:

Valves

This is how you charge the system (the unit I have came with fluid in it already). Hook up tubing (included) to each valve – one serves as intake, one as outake. Place them in a container of fluid and charge the system. Detailed instruction and pictures are included with the case. Looking down into the case

Case Top

shows the power supply tray (top) and CDROM drive bays. You can also see that this is a wide case – lots of room. Opening the side of the case reveals a spacious interior:

Swiftech Case

Size: 21″ x 18¼ x 9″ deep; Weight: 40 pounds

Note that the waterblock is bolted to the motherboard tray for shipping. You can put a LOT of drives in this case – there are two drive cages, one at the upper left top

Cage Top

and one completely removable for hard drives and floppy:

Cage

You could probably squeeze 6 drives in the case, which means you could run a RAID stripe with spares. Towards the bottom is a reinforcing bar

Base

that is completely removable. This makes for unfettered access, and unless you’re going to somehow stress this case in ways I can’t imagine, I think it’s safe to leave these off.


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Stripping the case of everything removable

Swiftech Case

reveals my favorite waterpump – an EHEIM 1048. I like this pump because it’s warranteed for two years (compared to one for most others) and you can buy SPARE PARTS for it. If you want to overhaul it every two years or so, you can easily replace the rotor. It’s silent – not virtually silent, but silent. To make sure it’s running, you have to feel it – a slight vibration.

Swiftech Case

Swiftech mounts it with a nylon tie on a velcro pad – enough sound insulation so that the case does not pick up any vibration. The pump is turned on by a relay

Relay

at the bottom left side of the case. This has now been relocated next to the power supply. The relay is actuated by the two fans on the radiator,

Fans

so that when the motherboard is powered up, the pump kicks in; you can hear a “click” as the relay closes. Note that this case requires two power cords, one for the pump and one for the power supply. If you look closely at the tubing, you will note that rubber grommets are used to protect the tubing from chafing due to metal contact.

The waterblock is typical Swiftech:

Swiftech Block

Beefy, well finished and with a flat base:

Base

The waterblock can be mounted on either a Socket A board, using the four mounting holes, a Socket 423 board or PIV – the latter with adapter flanges which bolt to the waterblock – they are removed in the picture above. Swiftech gives you all the various hardware, including a little plastic wrench

Tools

to do whatever needed to get it up and running. The waterblock is spring loaded, similar the the 462A.

Finally, I disassembled the front bezel as well:

Case Front

I did this because I like unobstructed airflow into the case. In the testing I’m doing, I’ll see how much of a difference it makes to leave the front fully open and with the front “as is”.

The front piece easily pulls off by grasping the bottom and pulling out. However, make sure you remove one small screw that secures the front onto the case – it’s about 5″ above the bottom and easily removable.

Last, this case is no lightweight – it weighs 40 pounds, one of the heaviest I’ve seen. The metal is heavy gauge and I found no sharp edges anywhere – a very nice chassis.

Thanks again to Swiftech for sending this our way. Stay tuned for performance tests.

Email Joe

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