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.