Swiftech H220 Liquid Cooling System Review (Part 3)

5/11/2013 11:17:54 AM


Cooling performance

Other 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, Swiftech H220 is more effective than Corsair H100i which was considered to be the winner in our previous reviews of ready-made liquid cooling systems.

Diagram of results

Diagram of results

Its two fans work at the maximum speed of 2,670 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 fan speed, the Corsair looks even worse: Swiftech is better 7 at 1,200 RPM, 6 at 1,000 RPM and 7 at 800 RPM. That’s a large distance. We could have expected that from a manufacturer of professional components for liquid cooling systems!

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

Next, we checked Swiftech H220 and its competitors with the CPU overclocked to 4.5 GHz at a voltage of 1.435 volts.

Diagram of result

Diagram of result

Despite the increased heat dissipation of the CPU, Swiftech is still better than Corsair H100i as well as Phanteks. The H220 is 5°C better than H100i at the same speed of fans (1,200 and 1,000 RPM, the Corsair not coping with the overclocked CPU at 800 RPM). Only by running its fans at higher speed 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.

The interesting point is, installing Corsair AF120 fans on the Swiftech radiator improved the cooler’s performance by 20C at peak CPU load only at 1,670 and 800 RPM. The performance remains unchanged at medium speeds (1,200 and 1,000 RPM). The Phanteks PH-TC14PE is 2 to 40C inferior to the Swiftech H220.

Finally, we wanted to check whether the H220 can keep the CPU stable at 7 higher clock rate and voltage or not. So we increased the voltage to 1.485 volts and overclocked our CPU to 4.625 GHz. The Swiftech H220 turned out to be able to keep the CPU stable at such settings but only at the maximum speed of its default or alternative fans.

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

Noise level

We measured the noise level of each cooler’s fans throughout the entire speed range. And below is the result:

Noise level of cooler’s fans

Noise level of cooler’s fans

Swiftech H220 still works well in this test, proving to be the fastest among the four tested device, though its advantage over the Corsair H100i isn’t large in this respect. The Swiftech’s default Helix 120 fans run so quiet that replacing them with the high quality and expensive Corsair AF120 fans doesn’t make any difference. Otherwise, we must confess that we could hear the electrical sound of the fan’s motor at low speed of the Helix 120 PWM fans (up to 1,000 RPM). It was not too irritating, yet the fans would be better without it.

We can see the significant difference in noise level between the Phanteks super cooler with its default fans and the Corsair AF140 fans. While Phanteks’s default fans are only quiet at 750 RPM, the AF140 fans reach the same noise level of 36 dBA at 1010 RPM. The quiet mode (33 dBA), the Phanteks fans are worse by about 270 RPM. Corsair’s AF140 fans are much better subjectively, too.


We separated the Corsair H100i with its high performance in our previous liquid cooling systems reviews but the Swiftech H220 sets an ultimate reference point for an ideal liquid cooling solution. After this review, 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 to do is dropping 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 unlikely.

Assembled only with high quality professional components developed exclusively by Swiftech, the Swiftech H220 is an etalon for liquid cooling systems. It certifies unrivalled performance in terms of CPU cooling at minimum noise level. The advantages of the Swiftech H220 include solid copper radiator, serviceability (you can add more coolant to the contour), expandability (you can add more waterblocks to the contour), support for all modern CPU platforms, ease of installation, reliable water block fastening and flexible in terms of the radiator placement. We should also 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.


Swiftech H220 Liquid Cooling System specs


·         Material: Brass tubes, louvered copper fins

·         Body dimensions: 269x128x29 mm

·         Fill-port thread class: G ¼

·         Reservoir capacity: 90cc

·         Barb fittings: Integrated 900 elbows, 3/8’’ (10mm) OD

Default fan

·         Dimension: 120x120x25 mm

·         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 v

·         Bearing Type: Z-axis

·         Connector: Mini 4-pin

·         MTBF: 60,000 hours

·         ROHS: Compliant

Waterblock with integrated pump

·         Cold plate material: C110 copper

·         Cooling engine: 0.25mm x 0.25mm micro-pin array

·         Barb fittings: Integrated swivel 900 elbows, 3/8’’ (10mm)OD

·         Speed control: PWM

·         Speed range: 1200~3000 RP,

·         Nominal voltage: 12 v

·         Nominal power: 6W

·         Bearing Type: Ceramic shaft, PTFE bearing

·         Connector: Mini 4-pin

·         MTBF: 60,000 hours

PWM splitter

·         PWM Ports: 8

·         RPM signal port: Channel 1

·         Power connector: Molex 4-pin

·         PWM/RPM connector: Mini 4-pin

·         Installation hardware: Peel-off sticker, mounting screws & nuts


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