Swiftech Apex Ultra kit and MCW60 Review

by Matthew Harris on May 4, 2006 in Cooling

In computing we have many cooling options. Air, water and phase change being the most common in the enthusiast arena. Today we will be looking at a top grade kit from Swiftech and comparing it to a similarly configured kit from the competition and see if there is a clear winner or loser.


Now that I’ve gotten through the basic explanation of the kit lets get down to the compared systems:

  • Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe
  • AMD X2 4800+
  • 2 X BFG GeForce 7 7800GTX in SLI
  • Thermaltake Armor case with radiators front mounted and sealed to prevent warm air recirculating through the radiators
  • Windows MCE 2005

With these components I’ll be testing:

  • Danger Den TDX
  • Black Ice Extreme II
  • 2 X Maze4 GPU blocks
  • D. D. D5
  • 2 X Thermaltake 120mm Smartfan 2 LED fans set at roughly 75% each mounted to the BIE II

Which will be going up against the Swiftech Apex Ultra H2O-220 and 2 X MCW60 GPU blocks.

For testing I will be using Everest Ultimate Edition to monitor the CPU and GPU temps and the temps will be logged after the system is allowed to idle an hour. For loading I looped 3D Mark 2005 while doing a 32M PI calculation with Super PI Mod 1.4 which takes roughly 30 minutes to complete. This insured that I had a 100% load on the CPU and a heavy load on both GPUs.

I ran the fans included with the Swiftech kit at 12V as that was the same acoustic level as the Thermaltake fans set to roughly 75% on a rheobus. That was reached by matching the drone from the PSU fan so that the water cooling system in each case was not the loudest part of the overall system but instead did not stand out acoustically. Your PC will only be as quiet as the loudest part and in this case it was the PC Power & Cooling 850SSI PSU. The room temp was kept at a constant 19.1*C throughout the testing of both systems (Yes, I like living in a meat locker)

The results for the Danger Den setup:

The results for the Apex Ultra with MCW60 blocks:

As you can see, the Swiftech fared very well for itself. The CPU temps were exactly the same for both idle and load. The GPU temps were the same for idle but under load the Swiftech setup gained some ground.

The cost on both kits is basically the same as delivered and the Danger Den setup doesn’t have the added benefit of a reservoir which makes filling and bleeding the system decidedly more tedious. Also due to the radiator used in the Danger Den setup you’re penalized more for lowering the airflow through the radiator by higher temps. While I didn’t document this I did see the Danger den setup giving decidedly higher temps when the fans were set to very quiet settings of about 1000 RPM whereas the Swiftech kit only suffered by 2*C on the CPU and 3 or 4*C on the GPUs when running at 7V and at 7V you can’t (Or at least I can’t) hear the fans at all.