So you have built your new rig but it feels like it is missing something. Well you might be running the stock cooler or you might even have a decent air cooler installed. They might get the job done but when it comes to putting so much money into your computer it’s hard to know that you spent that much while still skimping on your cooling. You could just throw down and build a full custom water cooling loop, I know I’ve done that on a few of my builds. But things have gotten so much easier with all in one water cooling kits coming out from basically every manufacture. Well in the case of my LAN rig I had installed an AIO water cooler last year but recently is has been driving me crazy with water in the lines. Because of that I reach out to our old friends over at Swiftech about their new H220 X2 AIO kit. The difference between their kits and most other manufactures is they are basically an all in one custom kit that you can expand and upgrade later. The new models add in LED lighting, a visible reservoir, and many more features over past models. So not only does it give me a chance to check out what the new kits are all about, it also helps give the LAN rig an upgrade before I make it out to a few events over the summer.
Product Name: Swiftech H220 X2 Prestige
Review Sample Provided by: Swiftech
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Amazon Link: HERE
|Radiator with patent pending integrated pump and reservoir|
|Material||Brass tubes, louvered copper fins|
|Body dimensions||127 mm x 254 mm x 28 mm|
|Fill-port thread class||G 1/4|
|Compression fittings||Lok-Seal swivel for 5/8" tubing OD|
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|
|Max. Static Pressure||2.8 mH₂O|
|Max. discharge||11 l/mn|
|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|
|Pre-installed NB-eLoop™ Fan (2 each)|
|Dimensions||120 mm x 120 mm x 25 mm|
|Speed range||800 ~ 2000 RPM|
|Airflow range||57.3 ~ < 132.4 m3/h|
|Static pressure range||0.58 ~ <2.24 mmH₂O|
|Noise level range||7.83 ~ <28.4 dB/A|
|Nominal Voltage||12 v|
|Power Input||1.9 W|
|Apogee™ XL2 Waterblock (1 each)|
|Housing material||Clear acrylic|
|Base plate material||C110 copper|
|Cooling engine||0.25 mm x 0.25 mm micro-pin array|
|Port thread||G1/4 standard|
|Compression fittings||Lok-Seal swivel 45 degree elbows|
|Installation hardware & processor + socket compatibility||
For Intel LGA 1150/51/55/56
M4 to M3 Standoffs + Back-plate
For Intel LGA 2011
(4) Spring loaded screws with M4 thread
For AMD AM2, AM3, FM1,FM2, 939
(2) Pre-assembled brackets & spring loaded screws
Bracket installation screws
|Tubing & Coolant|
|Dimensions||5/8" x 3/8" (16/10mm)|
|Coolant||Pre-filled with non-toxic propylene glycol coolant mix|
|PWM splitter (1 each)|
|RPM signal port||Channel 1|
|2 pin connector||1|
|PWM/RPM connector||Mini 4-pin|
|Installation hardware||Peel-off sticker, mounting screws & nuts|
|Included in Box||
Tim-Mate 2, 1g syringe thermal compound
Quick Installation Guide
Tubing & Coolant
Apogee™ XL2 Waterblock
2x Pre-installed NB-eLoop™ Fan
Radiator with patent pending integrated pump and reservoir
The packaging for the H220 X2 Prestige is similar to the H220 X but a little different than the original H220. Specifically, the box size has changed due to the size of the kit changing. The top of the box starts right off with a photo of the kit with red coolant, red lighting, on a black background. Up in the top right they have distinguished the Prestige model and the photo has the fans and Swiftech Lok Seal compression fittings, both are what set the Prestige apart from the normal H220 X2 model. In the small details on the top we can see that this kit has a three-year warranty and is compatible with both Intel and AMD.
Moving around on the sides Swiftech did include a full box contents listing on one side. Another side has photos of the kit in six different colors of its LED lighting along with matching coolant as well. I know a few people will be happy to see colors like the green, purple, and even the yellow, all colors that sometimes get ignored. On the end they slipped in a listing of all of the sockets the kit is compatible with but honestly short of 1366 it looks like they have everything covered that has come out in years. On the bottom of the box they even break down a specifications listing as well as line drawings of the kit from two different angles along with measurements. Most of the time it feels like a company would prefer sell you on a product and ignore if it will even work for you but Swiftech has gone out of their way to make sure you know exactly what you are buying and to help make sure it’s going to fit in your build. In my case I knew it would fit already and that was cemented what Swiftech sent over pictures of three different D-Frame Mini builds they showed off at CES this year.
Inside the box is foam all around the outside and also dividing up things like the accessories and keeping the water block from banging on the radiator. All of the acrylic has a plastic film on it as well to keep it from getting scratched up. For accessories the H220 X2 kit comes with the required PWM splitter that helps sync your fans and also powers your pump and the LED lighting. It also has a small button on it that you use to flip through the different lighting modes. There are the AMD brackets as the kit ships with the Intel already installed and then there are all of the mounting screws for the kit. The one really unique thing that I’ve never seen before are the three Mayhem dies included with the kit for you to get your coolant to the exact color that matches your build.
The instruction manual is also slipped in the packaging. Swiftech kept things simple by printing the instructions on a large poster and also keeping everything to photos.
Photos and Features
Before diving into all of the individual features I did want to go over the different models that Swiftech has available. Specifically, because when getting in this kit I was a little confused and I would hate to see anyone else be as well. Typically, when looking at water cooling or radiators when I think of a 240 I think of a double 120mm fan radiator. This gets more complicated when you start going up in fan sizes and going with 3 fans as well. Well with the H220 X2 the sizing breads down a little differently. The H is consistent but the first number represents the number of fans. In this case it is 2 but they have a few available with three as well. Then from there the second and third number show us the fan size so for the H220 is uses 120mm fans and the H240 uses 140mm fans. The X2 at the end shows us that this is the latest model as they did have the H220 in the past as well as the H220 X. Then for our kit we are checking out the Prestige model, Prestige upgrades the kit with Swiftech’s Lok Seal black chrome compression fittings and upgrades the fans to Noiseblocker NB-eLoop fans.
So what is setting the H220 X2 Prestige apart from all of those other All in One kits you can get? Well Swiftech is actually using all of the normal individual parts that you would get for a custom water cooling loop and putting them all together for you as a bolt in kit. This means the kit is completely upgradeable and things like the pump aren’t integrated into the water block like all of the other AIO kits. The idea is to use higher quality components for quieter performance as well as having the custom look with clear tubing and lighting.
Anyhow let’s start with the waterblock on the H220 X2. Swiftech moved from the Apogee XL to the new Apogee XL2. This new design has a chrome plated copper base that if you look in the photos below is basically a mirror. This alone is a huge difference from most of the normal AIO kits because the finish on their waterblocks are rough and unfinished. The XL2 also now uses clear acrylic, it does still have the black center piece with the Swiftech logo backlit in the middle in RGB. The mounting brackets attached to the clear and chrome waterblock are flat black. I’m a little torn as I think this is a rare case where chrome would look better, but the black should blend in and keep the focus on the waterblock. In the pictures below of the Apogee XL2 we can also get a good look at two of the four compression fittings that going with the prestige kit gets us. Swiftech went with 45 degree angled fittings that look great. Other than how they look compression fittings are less likely to leak because of how they clamp onto your tubing and they allow for you to remove the line multiple times without having to replace clamps. I use the same on our fridge build and haven’t had leaks over the past few years.
Without having the pump built into the waterblock Swiftech had to find another place for it. I have seen some designs integrate the pump into the end of the radiator but their design is a little different. The radiator comes up and the half-moon reservoir attaches to it then the pump is mounted to that. The metal frame around the reservoir helps hold everything up off of the radiator as well. The design isn’t perfect though, there are two potential flaws. For one if you look down from the top the design does cover up a lot of the airflow room behind the radiator. There is a gap below them so it doesn’t completely block it but I would be shocked if there wasn’t a little restriction, especially when installed in a traditional case. The other issue that concerned me was the black plastic right angled connection for the top coolant line. It would be nice to see the prestige model use a right angle adapter.
If you look close the radiator side of the pump is also transparent giving us full view of the pump impeller. The other unique part of this design is the white strip just below the reservoir that has RGB LEDs behind it. This lighting runs in conjunction with the LED in the waterblock for a little extra lighting in your case.
Beyond the compression fittings, the Prestige model does also bring with different fans than past Swiftech kits. Basically Swiftech decided to go with Noiseblocker NB-eLoop fans. These fans are designed in Germany by a company called Blacknoise. Unlike almost every other fan manufacture, they ONLY make and manufacture fans. They are designed to be especially efficient and powerful while also running quiet. Seeing that both cooling performance and noise are big factors when upgrading to water cooling this is a nice addition to the H220 X2 Prestige. I haven’t had any personal experience with the fans but they do have a good reputation so I’m really looking forward to testing them. Aesthetically speaking they are a big departure from standard fans. The biggest part of that is that the blades all connect back together on the outside as well as on the inside portion of the fan rotor. They call this the bionic loop rotor. They also have rubber dampeners on each corner of the casing to help keep vibration down as vibration helps transmit noise as well.
The H220 has changed a lot from when I first saw the kit at CES years ago. A lot of the big changes came with the H220 X that moved to a design with a reservoir bolted to the radiator where the old design just had the reservoir as a taller part of the radiator. The reservoir design was still different with a squared off design. From past experience these tend to make a little noise and create air bubbles where the round design that they now use (and use in custom kits) doesn’t. The original H220 though had the pump on the water block and the big black plastic design. That design ended up causing issues with patent trolls so the new design moved the pump up on the radiator and lets us get a good look at the new waterblock.
The original H220 was considerably thinner without having the reservoir attached to the radiator but it was also a little thinner than the radiator itself on the new X2.
Before I can get into my testing I did have to get the H220 X2 Prestige installed first. Frankly the installation for the kit isn’t much different than a normal AIO water cooling kit but the kits design with normal custom water cooling parts and compression fittings did mean I could go above and beyond when installing everything. Specifically the whole point of getting the kit in was to give one of our LAN rigs an upgrade so with the build being a little smaller I wanted to make sure the kit fit perfectly and I also used the included Mayhem dyes to tint the coolant to match the rest of the build. First off this is what I was working with before, a standard AIO kit with four 120mm fans in a push pull configuration. The fans all have red lighting as well to match the build but in this case I really wanted to try out the Noiseblocker NB-eLoop fans included with the prestige kit. So I started off by pulling the old kit out.
Because I needed to install the fans into the fan tray of the D-Frame I had to remove them from the kit. Funny enough when I did this I actually found a pair of tweezers stuck to the magnet and hidden perfectly by the thin plastic mount. I dropped both fans into the tray making sure to line the cables up for the best wire management. From there I used the longer radiator screws to reach all the way through the fans to the radiator because the original screws were much shorter. Screwing the fans in was all it took to get the radiator/pump/reservoir combo of the H220 X2 installed. This just left me installing the Apogee XL2 waterblock. Basically I mounted the backplate using the four included nuts. Then the waterblock screws onto those four nuts with the preinstalled spring loaded screws. Of course in between that I also installed thermal paste as well.
With the kit installed from there I just had to get it wired up. This is the only part of the installation that is more complicated than a normal AIO water cooling kit. To power everything you have to find a place for the PWM fan splitter to mount, it uses double sided sticky tape on the back to stay in place. You power everything with a SATA power (there is a second SATA power needed for the pump itself as well) and then you have to hook up the splitter to the CPU fan header. Once hooked up you just have to run the two fan wires, the pump wire and the lighting wires. They all have to be in the correct spots as well so not only are you trying to keep a whole mess of wires clean but you need to get everything hooked up correctly.
Before powering everything up I noticed right away that the tubing length on the H220 X2, while perfect for a normal sized build, was going to need to get a little shorter for our ITX build. Shortening the lines would also help take a lot of the bind out of the tubes and take pressure off of everything. To do that I had to undo the compression fittings by unscrewing the cap and sliding it up the line. From there I put a towel down and pulled the first line off and drained the line.
To cut the line there are a few different types of tubing cutters, I normally use a larger model but because I was working in the case I used my trusty Danger Den razer cutter.
I cut the lines shorter one at a time and reconnected them. As you can see below the difference was night and day. The shorter lines took all of the pressure off of the fittings and looked like a completely custom kit. Once I had everything together I turned everything back on and leak tested.
As you can see I did lose a lot of coolant when doing this. I replaced the coolant with distilled water by removing the fill port on the end of the radiator and topping everything off. It is important to note that the fill port is a little finicky because there is a radiator wall basically just inside of it so when filling it you need to make sure the system is turned off and you have to hold your funnel up slightly so the wall doesn’t block the end of the funnel. Doing all of this inside of our case was a lot tighter than I would have liked as you can see from the photo below. I ended up pulling the radiator out of the case slighting to speed things up. Once filled you will still have to fight with getting all of the air bubbles out as well. Let me be clear, the kit when shipped had no air bubbles, digging into everything did open up the loop to having air in it. I had to turn the case every which way and work most of the bubbles out.
Last but least with it all together I pulled out the three pack of tiny Mayhems dyes that Swiftech includes and dyed the coolant red to match our build. You just put drops into the fill port until the coolant matches what you are looking for. This means you can mix all three colors to get the perfect color.
For my performance testing I wanted to take a look at cooling performance from a few different angles as well as noise performance. Both are important but each is more important to different people. For me in my office I’m concerned about noise performance because a noisy PC can drive you insane when you don’t have background music on or aren’t in game. But cooling performance is just as important, especially at ALN events where temperatures can get a little warm in the crowded rooms.
For cooling performance, I used Asus’s AISuite 3 software to pick up CPU temperatures and I used Prime95 set to blended performance to warm things up. Given that both the kit I had installed previously and the H220 X2 are both water cooling kits I wasn’t expecting too much. The three degree lower idle result for the H220 X2 most likely came from its wider and smoother contact surface. That’s good but idle temps don’t really translate into anything in real world use. So I cranked things up in Prime95 and let the kits warm up. With the fans set to Asus’s “Standard” setting the Thermaltake AIO kit warmed up quickly to an uncomfortable 72 degrees where the H220 X2 ran stable at 51 degrees. For both being water cooling kits this difference was huge. I should also say that it is possible that the AIO kit wasn’t performing at its best considering the sound of a little air in its lines (what prompted the swap in the first place), but even so the H220 X2 performed out of this world.
My last cooling test was to run the same test under load again, but this time with the fans turned all the way up. The AIO kit had a push pull configuration where the H220 X2 just has the two NoiseBlockers. In this test the AIO cooled down a few degrees to 67.2 degrees and the H220 X2 cooled down to 49 degrees. This test shows us that the H220 X2 is well above the standard AIO in overall cooling potential. It also means we have room to add a video card into the loop in the future (I wonder if Swiftech has a nice Titan X water block).
Next for noise testing I used our trusty decibel meter and tested the kits both at idle and at 100% fan speed. What I found did surprise me. First the H220 X2 runs much quieter at idle with a reading of 64.2 vs the AIO’s 67.2. But with the fan and pumps turned all the way up the H220 X2 did get to be a bit louder at 70.1 decibels vs 69.2. The funny thing is I would have never thought this just listening to them, the AIO kits pump is noticeable at all speeds where the H220 X2 I had to look at the coolant flow to check to see if the pump was even on at all. I think having the pump and reservoir blocking some of the radiators airflow isn’t really helping with the noise as well. All said in done though, the AIO kit 100% fan and pump speed in normal use where the H220 X2 didn’t even have to speed up at all in all of my testing.
To make things easier to see, here are all of my results together as well
|Standard 240mm AIO||Swiftech H220 X2 Prestige|
|Load Temp w/ Fans at 100%||65||49|
|Idle Fan Noise||67.2||64.2|
|100% Fan Speed Noise||69.2||70.1|
With most water cooling kits those numbers would be all there is to performance testing but the H220 X2 has lighting as well. Because of that I spent a little time toying around with it. So the splitter that the kit uses to power everything also has a tiny button on it for you to be able to flip through the different lighting settings. This is because the kit has RGB lighting. You can turn everything off or flip through 8 different lighting colors. They have the standard red, green and blue as well as the not so normal purple, yellow, orange and an aqua bleu for some reason. Then there is also a white for people who don’t need a specific color. They even give you a rainbow mode as well if you can’t pick. The light bar across the front of the radiator has LED lights behind it and the Swiftech logo on the waterblock is backlit as well. With just one button for all of the controls you basically switch colors and then flip through three different brightness settings then move on to the next color so if you miss what you want you have to push the button a lot to get back to what you want.
Overall I love the idea of the LED lighting and being RGB is great because it will work with any build. After spending time with it I’m not a huge fan of the way the light bar ends up looking because you can see each LED with gaps in between. Ideally there would be more diffusing of the light to give the light bar the effect of glowing but I’m not sure what would be the best way to do this. I think another good option would be to stick with this setup but have the lighting facing up into the reservoir, this would light up your coolant and give some cool effects. The water block on the other hand looks amazing, I wouldn’t change that at all.
For my build I stuck with the red lighting that matches the trim and motherboard but I did turn it down to the half brightness setting to cut down on the not even glowing on the front of the radiator. Here are a few of the pictures with everything together including a shot showing the rainbow setting.
Overall and Final Verdict
As someone with experience building custom water cooling kits in multiple builds it hurts a little when I settle and just go with an air cooler or an all in one water cooling kit. When I built our D-Frame Mini build a little over a year ago initially built it with a stock cooler with the plan to build something custom. After a little time, I settled with an off the shelf 240mm all in one kit and that was a big improvement over the stock cooler. Using that kit was enough to keep things cooler and quieter than the stock cooler but it just didn’t fit with the build. With such an open design it is just begging for something a little flashier. So again I started thinking about building a custom loop but it wasn’t until that AIO kit started to make a little noise with air in its lines that I was motivated enough to do anything about It. I had just seen Swiftech’s new H220 X2 at CES and it looked like a perfect solution, custom enough to have the look but still a kit where I didn’t have to dedicate too much time getting everything picked out.
Well I can say that so far the decision has been good. I did run into a problem with a crack starting to develop around the pump and Swiftech was quick to RMA it. I will also say that in the end I’m not a big fan of the NoiseBlacker fans. They performed well but both the original it and its replacement had a bit of a wobble and this led to the fans touching the D-Frame’s fan casing a few times before I figured it out. I also look forward to Swiftech continuing to perfect the design as the lighting that I initially loved started to turn me off a little with the diffuser on the front of the radiator not diffusing the LEDs enough, leading to light dots across the front.
Even with those issues I have been extremely happy with the kit. Why is that? Well for starters the performance numbers in both cooling and noise were very impressive. I also like that even if you are buying the base H220 X2 it is completely customizable. You have your choice in lighting colors both on the radiator and waterblock and like past H220’s you can also change the loop without having to start all over. In my case I dyed the coolant red to match my build with the included dyes, set the lighting to red, and I shortened the lines to better fit the ITX build that I used it in. I also know that in the future I can add a block for the Titan X in the build with very little work (seriously considering doing this and going with a pastel coolant). That customization is really what sets the H220 X2 apart. Swiftech makes that even more obvious by having the Prestige option that I tested with that adds the NoiseBlocker fans and compression fittings. The compression fittings alone would cost about $32 to get and the black chrome looks amazing.
So what about the price? Well if you are only concerned about the price you are going to end up with a basic All in One kit like what I tested against the H220 X2. Custom water cooling isn’t cheap and that translates over to the H220 X2 a little. But with that said the base H220 X2 is about $30 more than some of the AIO kits and that is going to get you a big jump in performance. The Prestige kit is a great value on top of that if you plan on using the NoiseBlocker fans, the fans alone account for the price difference in the Prestige. I would love to see an option with the compression fittings and no fans at all for even more customization, but I think that is asking a lot.
All in all, I know the H220 X2 will be staying in the D-Frame Mini for as long as we are using that build and I have already been recommending the kit to people looking to add a little flash in their build. It’s not perfect but it is a great way to get custom loop looks and performance in an all in one kit.
Live Pricing: HERE