Swiftech H220-X CPU Liquid Cooling Kit Review

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Expandability, replaceable G1/4 fittings, and a transparent reservoir are terms not usually associated with all-in-one CPU water cooling kits. Swiftech aims to change the way you think when considering an all-in-one cooler and provides all those options and more with their newly released H220-X CPU liquid cooling kit. The Swiftech H220-X has a lot of innovative and unique features your standard re-branded Asetek units just can’t match, and we’ll explore these feature in detail today. The Swiftech H220-X aims to provide extreme thermal performance at an almost inaudible noise level, so let’s find out how they did!

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Specifications and Features

The table below shows the specifications for the H220-X as provided by the Swiftech website. One thing that immediately stands out is the break from traditional AIO units where the pump is built into the water block. Swiftech now has the pump integrated into the radiator, which is their own powerful MCP30. The pump is said to have plenty of power to handle expansion of your water cooling loop. Swiftech also decided to use their flagship Apogee XL water block, which is known to be one of the best water blocks currently available. Nice touch there! Another nice touch is the included PWM splitter, which we’ll have a closer look at later in the review.

Swiftech H220-X Specifications
Radiator with Integrated Pump (1 each)
Radiator Material Brass tubes, louvered copper fins
Radiator Body Dimensions 247mm x 126mm x 115mm
Radiator Fill-Port Thread Class G 1/4
Radiator Barb Fittings Integrated swivel 90° elbows, 3/8″ (10mm) OD
Radiator Installation Hardware
  • Standard: (8) coarse thread fans screws
  • Alternate: (8) 6-32 x 1 3/16 (30mm) Philips screws
Pump Speed Control PWM
Pump Speed Range 1200 ~ 3000 RPM
Pump Nominal Voltage 12 VDC
Pump Nominal Power 6W
Redundant Fail Safe Software current limiting fail-safe AND hardware shutoff built-into the pump power wires. The hardware fail safe is only triggered in case of a firmware malfunction.
Pump Bearing Type Ceramic shaft, PTFE bearing
Pump Power Connector SATA
Pump RPM & PWM connector Mini 4-pin
Pump MTBF 60,000 hours
ROHS Compliant
Pre-Installed Fan (2 each)
Dimensions 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
Speed Control PWM
Speed Range 800+/- 25% ~ 1800+/- 10% RPM
Airflow Range 24 ~ 55 CFM
Static Pressure Range 0.53 ~ 2.29 mmH20
Noise Level Range <16 ~ <33 dB/A
Nominal Voltage 12 v
Nominal Current 0.2 A
Bearing Type Z-axis
Connector Mini 4-pin
MTBF 60,000 hours
ROHS Compliant
Apogee XL Waterblock (1 each)
Base Plate Material C110 copper
Cooling Engine 0.25mm x 0.25mm micro-pin array
Barb Fittings Swivel elbows, 3/8″ (10mm) OD
Port Thread G1/4 standard
Installation Hardware
  • For Intel LGA 1150, 1155, 1156 (pre-installed by default)
    • Back-plate
    • (4) Spring loaded screws & washers
  • For Intel LGA 2011
    • (4) Spring loaded screws & washers
  • For AMD AM2, AM3, FM1,FM2, 939
    • (2) Pre-assembled brackets & spring loaded screws
    • Bracket installation screws
  • Optional back-plate available for Intel legacy socket 775 and 1366
Tubing & Coolant
Material PVC
Color Black
Dimensions 5/8″ x 3/8″ (16/10mm)
Coolant Pre-filled with non-toxic propylene glycol coolant mix
Clamps (4 each)
Material Black anodized aluminum
PWM Splitter (1 each)
PWM Ports 8
RPM signal port Channel 1
Power connector SATA
PWM/RPM connector Mini 4-pin
Installation hardware Peel-off sticker, mounting screws & nuts
ROHS Compliant
Tim-Mate 2, 1g syringe thermal compound
Quick Installation Guide

Swiftech did a god job of making the H220-X appealing to both the novice and enthusiast user. If you’re the type of user looking for simplicity, the unit is ready to install right out of the box. If you’re more of an enthusiast user, the H220-X can be used as the basis for a custom water cooling loop. You can change fittings, tubing, and even expand the loop to include GPU cooling if desired. In the very near future, Swiftech will have the special adapter needed for the pump’s output, so you can upgrade the tubing size to 1/2″. No special fittings or adapters are required on the water block as the Apogee XL comes standard with G1/4 threads. There really is no limit on how you can customize your water cooling loop by using the H220-X as your starting point. The benefits for both casual and enthusiast users listed below are courtesy of Swiftech.

CASUAL USERS ENTHUSIAST USERS
  • The kit is shipped factory pre-filled, ready for plug-and-play installation, and it is maintenance free during its warranty period.
  • Both Swiftech’s powerful MCP30 pump and high-pressure Helix fans are PWM compliant devices, allowing the H220-X to be recognized and speed-controlled by the motherboard depending on CPU temperature, just like a regular cooling fan.
  • As a bonus, the system also includes our PWM splitter allowing connection of up to 8 PWM devices which can then be controlled as one by the motherboard.
  • Finally, thanks to a clear and user-friendly pictorial installation guide, it could not be easier to install and setup!
  • The system can be entirely customized thanks to easily replaceable tubing and fittings.
  • Thanks to its powerful pump it can support additional liquid cooled components such as graphics cards and/or additional radiator(s).
  • The factory fittings can now be upgraded to any G1/4 compatible after-market fittings (an optional adapter is needed for the pump outlet and will be available shortly), which will allow enthusiast users to upgrade their system to 1/2″ ID tubing if they wish to.

The list of features Swiftech wants you to know about are pretty impressive as well. Ease of installation, the brass and copper radiator, and a pump that is more powerful than any other AIO unit on the market are the highlights here. I like that the radiator isn’t aluminum like most competitor AIO units. We all know mixing aluminum and copper isn’t an ideal situation, but that’s not a concern with the H220-X. Also worth noting is the 3-year warranty and that the unit requires no maintenance during the warranty period.

Virtually Silent to Comfortable Audible Noise Levels Our design objective for all Swiftech products is always to minimize the operating noise while preserving high thermal performance characteristics. At its lowest speed settings, the H220-X system is virtually inaudible. At its maximum speed, it remains within comfortable audible noise levels.
Plug-and-Play The H220-X is probably the easiest AIO liquid cooling kit to install bar none, and is even easier to setup than many high-end air coolers.
Superior Thermal Performance Thanks to its copper & brass dual 120mm radiator, high static pressure Helix 120mm fans, more powerful DC pump than any other AIO on the market, and because it uses the Award winning Apogee™ XL waterblock, the H220-X kit delivers superior thermal performance to any comparably sized system on the market.
Expandable/Customizable The H220-X differentiates itself from other AIO’s by its ability to be fully customized, and to support additional liquid cooled components such as graphics cards, chipset, and/or additional radiator(s).

  • From a practical standpoint, this is possible thanks to:
    • The presence of a reservoir including a fill-port built into the radiator so that the system can be easily emptied or refilled by the user at will,
    • Enthusiast grade 5/8” OD (3/8″ ID) black PVC tubing fastened to swivel fittings with an elegant clamping system that users can easily remove and safely re-install.
    • The factory tubing and fittings can be replaced by aftermarket G1/4 compatible offerings of your choice (an optional G1/4 adapter is needed for the pump outlet, and is scheduled for release on 8/15/2014).
  • From a thermal performance standpoint, this is made possible by:
    • The high thermal capacity of the dual 120mm copper and brass radiator
    • The powerful high-pressure pump capable of driving sufficient flow to cool multiple devices in the loop.
    • The award winning flagship Apogee XL waterblock
Out of Box Automatic Speed Control or Fine Tuning Both the pump and the fans are PWM compliant devices, allowing the H220-X to be recognized and speed-controlled by the motherboard depending on CPU temperature just like any standard CPU cooler. As a bonus, the system includes a PWM splitter allowing connection of up to 8 PWM devices which can then be controlled as one by the motherboard.
Maintenance Free As shipped from our factory and installed as directed, the H220-X CPU cooler requires no maintenance during its 3 year warranty period; a system refill is recommend at the end of 3 years. Under extreme ambient conditions, the system may need more frequent refills. If upgraded by the user, the interval of time between refills will depend on how users implement their customized loop.
Reliability Both fans and pump are rated for a 60,000 MTBF (Meantime Between Failures)
Support With over 10 years of experience designing, manufacturing and setting up liquid cooling systems, Swiftech® customer service can assist you in setting up and troubleshooting your system 6 days a week, 12 hours a day.

Some of you may be interested in the dimensions of the radiator/pump assembly, so here is a schematic with that information.

swiftech_h220x (1)Packaging/Accessories/First Look

The mostly black colored box does a good job of letting the customer know what the H220-X is all about. As you tour the box, you’ll find a picture of the unit, specifications, dimensions, and a few marketing blurbs here and there.

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Once inside the box, a foam sheet sits on top of the H220-X with all the included items sitting below. The custom fitted cardboard bed does a good job of keeping everything secured and protected during transportation. Tucked away in various locations are the following accessories:

  • User Manual/Install Guide
  • Mounting hardware for AMD and Intel Sockets
  • Mounting hardware for Fans
  • One Tube Swiftech TIM Mate
  • Three Pump LED Color Plates

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Looking at the Apogee XL water block, we can see it’s pre-assembled for use with Intel 1150/1155/1156 sockets. An optional back plate is available for Intel socket 1366 and 775 applications. AMD brackets and mounting hardware are included in the kit and allow installation on anything from as far back as socket 939 to the most recent socket FM2+. The Apogee XL has a contact surface that is highly polished, as witnessed by the picture below. The power cable attached to the water block is for the LED, which can be made to illuminate red, blue, green, or white by installing any of the four included colored plates.

Apogee XL Water Block - Intel Ready

Apogee XL Water Block – Intel Ready

Highly Polished Water Block

Highly Polished Water Block

Blue LED Lighting in Action

Blue LED Lighting in Action

Turning our attention to the radiator/pump assembly, we find Swiftech already has the fans installed to make installation that much easier. If you mount the H220-X under the top deck of your case, the fans will draw air in from outside the case and exhaust inside the case. Theoretically, you could flip the fans and draw air from inside the case and exhaust out the top. I personally wouldn’t recommend doing that because the pump/reservoir area would block a good portion of the radiator’s air flow if the air is flowing in that direction. The fans are Swiftech’s high-pressure PWM Helix fans and operate anywhere from 800 to 1800 RPM. The fans can push up to 55 CFM at full speed. You’ll find the power cables are nicely braided as well.

Fans Pre-Installed

Fans Pre-Installed

The front portion of the radiator area is where the MCP30 Pump and reservoir are mounted. There is a sight glass over the reservoir portion, so you can keep an eye on the fluid level. A fluid level indicator is printed off to the side of the sight glass, so you’ll know when fluid needs to be added. Swiftech also installed a white LED light in the reservoir, which makes seeing the fluid level very easy, as well as adding some aesthetic value. The fill port can be found on the side of the front area, which could be a chore to access depending on where you install the unit. The rear section of the radiator is wide open and just has one of the fans mounted on top.

Radiator Front Area

Radiator Front Area

Sight Glass Illuminated

Sight Glass Illuminated

Fill Port

Fill Port

Radiator Rear Area

Radiator Rear Area

The next series of pictures are of the MCP30 Pump and how it’s mounted. The first picture below will better illustrate why I don’t recommend turning the fans around to reverse the airflow. The MCP30 pump is PWM compatible and is powered with a SATA power cable. Kudos to Swiftech for using a SATA power connector here as you’re likely to have SATA power leads close by if the unit gets installed under the top deck. The last picture below is a bottom-up view through the copper radiator fins. The fins are not so densely packed as to impede air flow, but there is an adequate number of them to effectively dissipate heat.

MCP30 Pump Mounting Area

MCP30 Pump Mounting Area

MCP30 Pump - Alternate View

MCP30 Pump – Alternate View

SATA Power and PWM Cables

SATA Power and PWM Cables

Radiator Fins Up Close

Radiator Fins Up Close

Another item worth mentioning is the length of the 3/8″ tubing… it’s only about 10″ long. Even though it’s possible for the H220-X to be mounted in the front of a case, I think the best place will be under the top deck, especially if you want to install the unit in its out-of-box condition. Given the length of the tubing, I think Swiftech would prefer it be installed there too, and chances are that’s where the vast majority of people will install it anyway. If you have a large case with designs on putting this unit at the front, be prepared to swap out the tubing for longer pieces. On the plus side, Swiftech has made changing out the tubing very easy to do.

Included in the accessory stack is a great little device called the 8-Way PWM Splitter. The splitter allows you to to connect up to 8 PWM devices (fans and/or pumps) to a single PWM fan connector on your motherboard. This will enable speed-control for all connected PWM devices concurrently. The PWM splitter is powered by a SATA connector and has another two-wire RPM/PWM signal cable that gets connected to the motherboard’s CPU Fan header.

8-Way PWM Fan Splitter

8-Way PWM Fan Splitter

Installation

Before I show the Intel installation, I want to let the AMD crowd know that installation is just as easy on that platform too. All you have to do is attach the AMD brackets to the water block, remove the stock AMD retention bracket, and fasten the block to the existing AMD back plate. Then, simply mount the radiator and fans to your desired location… done! If you want to use the 8-Way PWM Splitter, now is the time to wire that up too.

Intel socket 1150/1155/1156 installation is an easy task to accomplish, and the instruction manual is easy to follow. First thing to do is set the back plate on the back of the motherboard. If you look closely at the second picture below, you see the back plate is notched to clear the rivets on the back of the CPU socket. There are four adhesive pads on the back plate that can be used for holding it in place as you work through the installation.

Back Plate

Back Plate

Back Plate Installed

Back Plate Installed

With the back plate installed, turn the motherboard over, apply thermal paste to the CPU, and mount the water block. As a side note, there is no reason to run out and grab an expensive tube of TIM. The tube of Swiftech TIM Mate provided in the kit is a very good product and works great. It’s not too often I feel comfortable recommending the use of TIM packed with a cooler, but I have no problem doing so here. Below are a few pictures of the Apogee XL water block attached to a spare Z97 motherboard I have.

Apogee XL Mounted

Apogee XL Water Block Mounted

Apogee XL Mounted

Apogee XL Water Block Mounted

Apogee XL Water Block Mounted

Apogee XL Water Block Mounted

From here, it’s just a matter of installing the radiator/pump assembly whereever your case supports a 240 mm radiator. The below drawing depicts acceptable orientations of the radiator/pump assembly.

swiftech_h220x (32)

Testing

System Components

Here is a list of the components used in the test bed, including all the comparison samples listed under “Cooling.”

System Components
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Formula
CPU Intel i7 4770K Haswell
Memory G.SKill TridentX DD3-2400 MHz 2x8GB
SSD Samsung EVO 500 GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair HX1050 Professional Series
Video Card EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified
Cooling

 

I’ll be comparing the Swiftech H220-X to the three other units listed above. Included in that list is the original H220, so we should be able to ascertain if improvements have been made between the two models. Comparing against a custom loop is always a good thing to see as well. It can help you determine if the cost difference between the H220-X and a custom loop is worth it to you.

All testing was done in a room at 74 °F (25 °C), and we chose Arctic Silver Ceramique 2 as the thermal interface material. Each comparison cooler was used with the fans that came packaged with it. For the load testing, AIDA64 System stability test was used to load the CPU 100% for 30 minutes, and the highest average temperature of all four cores was recorded. For the idle results, I let the system sit idle for 30 minutes and again recorded highest average temperature of all four cores. Testing was done twice – once with the fans set to 50% speed and again with the fans running at 100%. The pump speed was set to run at 100% for all the comparison samples. Testing was performed with the CPU at stock speed and again at 4.5 GHz using 1.3 V.

Looking at the charts below, you’ll notice very little difference between all the comparison samples when the CPU is in an idle state. It’s when you put a load on the CPU that the differences begin to appear. The H220-X was the best performing AIO unit of the bunch and held darn close to the custom loop. Keep in mind, the custom loop is using a 360 mm radiator, so it has a big advantage there. With the fans set to 100%, the H220-X was within 4 °C of the custom loop… that’s impressive stuff. I think it might be tough to justify the cost of a custom loop that uses a 240 mm radiator with the cooling performance the H220-X provides.

50% Fan Speed Temperature Testing Results

50% Fan Speed Temperature Testing Results

100%

100% Fan Speed Temperature Testing Results

Conclusion

The Swiftech H220-X is an impressive piece of hardware, make no mistake about it. It’s unquestionably the best performing AIO cooler I’ve ever had my hands on. From the moment you take the H220-X out of the box, you’ll be impressed with the build quality and the enthusiast level components that make it up. From their flagship Apogee XL water block, high performance MCP30 pump, to the expandability the unit offers, it’s easy to see Swiftech didn’t cut any corners here. They even enhanced the aesthetic value by lighting up the reservoir’s sight glass and providing the option to change the LED color on the pump.

If you’ve been looking into water cooling your system for the first time, this is the perfect place to start for the beginner. As your knowledge grows, the H220-X can grow with you and be expanded to water cool additional components in your system. If you’re an old hat at water cooling, the quality components Swiftech uses would be a good place to start a simple water cooling loop or as a basis for a more elaborate setup.

The Swiftech H220-X is selling for $139.99 directly from Swiftech’s web site. That’s an absolute bargain for everything you get with the kit. Heck, just the Apogee XL water block alone will cost you half of that. Add a pump, radiator, reservoir, tubing… yea, you get the picture!

If you’re searching for the best all-in-one water cooler with a 240 mm radiator, the search stops here. Overclockers approved!

Overclockers_clear_approvedClick the stamp for an explanation of what this menas.

Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

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Discussion
  1. Not too shabby for an AIO, wouldn't be surprised if it would match your loop with some stronger fans. Darn good right out of the box though.
    Thanks guys!
    If i ever get caught up I might swap out the 360mm radiator in my custom loop with a 240mm radiator. The H220-X would probably come darn close to matching it then I suppose.
    I keep saying I'll try watercooling someday and most assuredly I'll buy a Swiftech cooler. When, if, Swiftech makes a 360mm version of this product, I intend to take the plunge. It MUST be a high quality cooler with excellent cooling potential before I'll risk the possibility of leaking, something I don't worry about (obviously) with air cooling. A larger version of this product might just let me sleep at night without worrying about what I'll find in the morning.
    I just installed mines today :) Now i just need to find a program to play around with fan speeds/profiles. after a few minutes of running, the pump/radiator fans are pretty much inaudible compared to the rest of everything around it, even under heavy load.