For the more experienced builder of custom water cooling systems, there is a checklist of things you need to complete a loop that automatically comes to mind when you go to get the parts list together. For those not so wise to what it takes, let me go over the general bits you must have to make a loop work.
You need a radiator, fans, tubing, fittings, reservoir (not a must have) a pump, and the blocks to cool the devices you want to cool. Now if you have basic plumbing knowledge, are literate enough to read instructions, and are also mechanically inclined, building a loop takes very little effort to do correctly. For others there are worries about leaks and most are shocked by the price you have to pay to acquire a great custom loop from various retail markets.
That being said, Swiftech is improving its game while also alleviating some of the worries that new builders have, as well as giving the more experienced builders something they can really appreciate. Not only does this new addition to their water cooling lineup look really good, but it mates the pump and CPU block much like what you see in an AIO, but this time with serious intentions, not just enough to get the job done as an AIO would do. This also takes four possible leak points away and makes it now only two. On top of that, you can save all sorts of headaches now in trying to find a way to mod a case to accept the usual suspects for pump solutions. So not only do you have less worry, but you are also saving tons of room, which makes this a perfect candidate for m-ITX builds in the BitFenix Prodigy like I have seen so much lately.
The product we are going to be looking at, tearing apart and testing today is the Apogee Drive II, an integrated pump, CPU block and heatsink combination piece. Now looking at what I could find on the site, and also from talks with Gabe from Swiftech, I have a good feeling that the Apogee Drive II will win your heart as it did mine, by the time I am done here. While this concept has been done before, the performance numbers show that this is more efficient than the HD block I received with the Edge HD kit. Those results were really impressive, so I can only imagine I will be happy with the results here.
As always though, you can't believe everything you read on the internet, so I am going to be bringing you my findings with the bits of kit I was sent recently, as well as strapping the Edge HD kit to this block to see what those results will be, just to keep things on an apples to apples level of testing. Stick with me here, there is a lot to cover with the Apogee Drive II from Swiftech, but I definitely think this product is well worth your time.