When assembling a loop, in my mind there are three components that will make or break a standard loop. First of all you need a strong pump with good head pressure to get through the loop, and then you need to have an efficient block for whatever you plan to cool. The last bit of the puzzle and likely one of the toughest decisions to make is what radiator to use to exchange the heat from the coolant out into the room. There are tons of solutions out there for any particular need, but today I am going to be looking at a dual 140mm radiator from Swiftech.
While the Quiet Power series has been around for some time, that doesn't mean that Swiftech is pushing the same design year after year. In fact, with the talks that we had, I was told that the MCR240-QP that we are about to look at today, is capable of taking on a triple 120mm as far as overall efficiency goes even if there is 4000mm squared less surface area. On top of that, this radiator boasts a low FPI and on the site it recommends fans of around 1500 RPM for the best noise to performance ratio. That all in mind, I say we dig right in and see what the Swiftech MCR320-QP has to offer.
I figured since you know what a white box looked like, and you really didn't need to see the plain black and white sticker with the MCR240-QP name and a bar code on it, I jumped right on ahead to looking in the box. You can see the box is form fit to the radiator with the paper insert and a bag of hardware sitting on top of it. The radiator sits inside of a bubble wrap sleeve for a bit of added protection for the paint and copper fins.
The paperwork that comes with the radiator doesn't explain much about the MCR320-QP at all. Rather there is a warning message to test the hardware provided with your fans before mounting them. The drawings are pointing out that while the screws should work, if the fan is a touch thin, the screws could go all the way to the fins and damage the radiator.
As for the included hardware, you get 16 screws in total. The smaller set are 6/32 screws that are only a quarter inch in length and are intended to mount the radiator to the chassis. The longer 6/32 screws are one and a quarter inch long and are intended to mount 25mm thick fans to the radiator with. All of the screws have pan heads on them and need a Phillips #2 screwdriver to install them.
Now we can actually get to the 34mm thick, 315mm long, 145.6mm wide, dual 140mm radiator. First impression of the satin black paint, the low FPI, the indented Swiftech name on the sides, and the dual plenum design is attractive. Let's see if it performs as well as it looks.
To protect the vital G1/4" threads in the radiator, you are given plastic caps in each of the plenums. You can see this design pushes the coolant through seven of the tubes, gets to the single plenum at the other end, and returns down the other side of the radiator, so the coolant makes two passes under the fans to cool the liquid inside the tubes.
I just picked a random spot of the MCR240-QP to assess the FPI count that was advertised. By my count there are seven V shaped fins in an inch, making the total fin count on this radiator closer to 14 FPI than the 12 FPI displayed on site. This is still a low fin count and will work very well with lower RPM fans to efficiently transfer heat.
What I also like is that when using even very large compression fittings such at the half inch ID, three quarter inch OD fittings that Swiftech sent along, there are no issues with clearance to the weld line or getting them in and the o-rings seated.
Swiftech did not provide me fans for testing, so I grabbed a relevant set of fans that many customers are leaning to these days. Corsair's Air Series AF140 QE fans seemed like the perfect choice with the 1150 RPMs and 0.84mmH2O of static pressure, it represents the average fan choice rather well.
As you can see with the choice of fans I made, and being 300+ RPM under spec, I am truly testing the efficiency of the MCR240-QP radiator and its ability to take the warm coolant, get the heat from the brass tubes, then into the copper fins, so that these averagely rated fans can blow that heat off of the radiator. Fans aren't the only thing to come into play here. If the pump is too slow, coolant in the radiator may be cool, but the parts will stew in their juices. If the pump is too strong, you don't allow enough time through the radiator to efficiently cool the liquid running through it.
For the purposes of testing I also used the Maelstrom reservoir, half inch tubing and the Swiftech Apogee Drive II CPU block and pump combination. This setup kept the coolant within five degrees of ambient temperatures in the reservoir, and that is after the CPU. As for the CPU temperatures, I don't want to give an actual number until I write up the Apogee Drive II, but I also tested the same block on the Edge HD radiator and pump I have on hand, and with one less pump, and a lot less surface area, even with average fans I was able to stay within two degrees of that setup.
With all things considered I for one am impressed. To think all I have to do is meet the recommended fan specifications and its likely both setups would be running toe to toe. Then add in that the MCR240-QP is only going to cost you $64.95, it just makes the deal that much sweeter.
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