Swiftech H20-X20 Edge HD Water Cooling Kits Review

We looked at the original H20-320 Edge kit, but Swiftech took the radiator to Rev3 and introduced "HD" CPU blocks. Check out what these kits can do now.

@TweakTown
Published Thu, Jan 5 2012 7:43 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Swiftech

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 52 IMAGES

It seems when I reviewed the original H20-320 Edge water cooling kit from Swiftech, a lot of people didn't see the benefit of buying a water cooling loop that will limit leak points by combining major components all into one system. By that, Swiftech took the radiator and topped it with a small reservoir, and then, they attached a MCP35X pump right to it. With this arrangement Swiftech eliminated four points of potential leaks, and this also simplifies the tubing as it passes through your case. Now I am no water block professional, but I have had quite a few blocks over the years, not only can you tell quality in water blocks when you look at it, but you can also gauge it be the blocks heft, or the feel. The original kit not only gave me a much more simplified system, it offered the same performance as most other custom creations out today. Here a lot of the thought and shopping headaches are removed, and you are left with a system that has proven to do everything Swiftech claimed it could!

I'm not entirely sure if one day Gabe just had a vision of this, or if it was the more likely collaboration of emails and suggestions since the launch of the original kit that inspired a revision of the way the kit functions, and gives users more flexibility to cool more, and again, simplifies everything to make it easy to install - and great to look at. Most notably with the new "HD" kits is the option to run parallel loops off this one unit, negating the need for two of everything to add a second, or in this case, even a third loop to the mix. This will allow for less restriction in the flow to each of the loops. Versus the old method of running blocks in series, overcompensating for the restrictions with a pump supplying more pressure and flow was the way to deal with things. This system offers a very unique way of dealing with this and while doing so will offer that simplified look as the original system.

Today we will be delving into two, well actually three kits, and showing the sort of capabilities they can deliver. While D-I-Y guys will stick to their tried and true, I can build a loop for that kind of money attitude, I think Swiftech came up with a concept that should even make the elitists take notice. At this time I usually say get a drink and get comfy, but there is a lot to cover since we are looking at two systems here. If need be, grab a sandwich and let your dog out really fast before you continue on with finding out what the Swiftech H20-X20 Edge "HD", all inclusive, water cooling kits deliver this time around!

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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Breaking this information down a bit for you, we will jump right into the radiators. It is mostly made of a brass construction except for the copper fins of this 2-pass radiator. Encompassing the pump and the reservoir on the opposite end, the MCR220 measures 128mm wide, 325mm from end to end, and is 72mm thick without the fittings in the G1/4 threads. The MCR320 is the same width and thickness as the 220, but the length is increased to 445mm for the 320. The fans come attached to the radiator, but if you should need to change out the hardware, they are mounted with M3.5 thread screws. Without any water in them, the MCR220 and MCR320 weight in at 1079 grams and 1242 grams respectively. As shipped from Swiftech, the radiators are painted in a flat black acrylic paint finish to seal the brass and copper from oxidation, as well as making it much more attractive to look at.

Moving to the next chart we cover the MCP35X pump that is attached to the bottom of the MCRX20 radiators. This DC electric pump is a spherical brushless solution. While the nominal voltage is listed at 12V DC, the pump will operate between 9V and 13.4V DC, so there is some play to be had with the flow rates and pressure of the pump. The following specifications are assuming the pump is receiving 12V DC. The MCP35X will draw 18 watts of power and 1.5 amps worth of current. With this small amount of power, Swiftech is able to deliver 14.7 feet of head pressure and 4.75 GPM of flow at 22 PSI. To power the pump, you are given a 4-pin Molex connection, and to change the voltage supplied to it, there is a 4-pin fan connection with a RPM and Sense wire. Last things to note about the MCP35X are the G1/4 threads on it and the 50,000 hours of expected life.

To rid the reservoir, radiator, and pump combination, Swiftech has included a pair of RDM1225S fans. From doing a bit of research, this is a fan that Swiftech has gone to on many previous occasions. These fans will operate with voltages from 6V to 13.8 V DC. Since the kit includes 5V adapters for the fans, and I tested them, the fans will run with less voltage. At 12V the fans draw 0.23 amps of current, which is very little if you are thinking of using a fan controller. With an RPM of 2000 the RDM1225S will deliver 3.5mm H2O of static pressure and 76.9 CFM of air flow. These sleeve bearing fans will deliver 39 dBA of noise level and get connected with 3-pin connectors with a tach output. As mentioned there are a few extras here too. You get a pair of 7V fan adapters with the pair of 5V ones and both fans are attached to the radiator from Swiftech and have bulls eye fan grills applied to keep your fingers out of the fans.

The pricing of these kits is reasonable in my opinion. I have spent near $400 a few times building a triple radiator loop with all individual parts and then assembling it all. Along that road are many routing decisions to be made from component to component, which parts work best together, and then waiting for three separate orders to arrive so you can assemble it all. Swiftech is offering the H20-220 Edge HD kit for $229.95, and the H20-320 Edge HD kit for $269.95 buying directly from their store. To me, for the results you are about to see, and the simplicity in the way this is installed and utilized, the HD Edge kits are definitely a step above the previous solution, and I already liked that kit at a similar price point! For those of you thinking I forgot about the blocks, well I have to save something, and it is much better explained with images, and is about to be showcased very soon.

The Packaging

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The H2O-X20 kits come in a cardboard box with this sleeve with the dragster on it implying the raw power to be found in these kits. For delivery, the box and sleeve are sealed in plastic.

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The side of both kits shows the H20-220 and H2O-320 Edge in original form still, but most of the features listed below them are still relevant.

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Getting a little closer you can see it covers things such as the radiators, and the CFM rating is close enough, they still have PWM fans and pump, but the water block has been changed. Lastly compatibility has now been increased to include Socket 2011.

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Under the image of the H20-320 kit, the same features list is written, but this time in French.

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On the end of the box is a sticker applied right to the cardboard that shows the included parts list. Between the two kits, what will differ is the 320 gets a larger radiator included, an extra fan, a radbox, and another bottle of coolant mix.

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On the back of the sleeve are twenty four renderings of possible configurations for both the 220 version and the H20-320 Edge kits. This information can also be found on a CD included in the box.

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On the other end of the box, the included parts list is again applied, but as the back had, this time it's in French.

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Removing the sleeve allows you to finally open the box and see what's included in the kit. A little bit of bubble wrap and snug fitting boxes on the inside made for a flawless delivery of both of my kits.

The Swiftech H2O-220 Edge HD Unboxing

The Swiftech H20-220 Edge HD Unboxing

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The top half of the box has what you see here packed in pretty well. What you won't see in images again are the manual and installation CD, the funnel, and the two meters of clear half inch ID tubing, at least until the build process.

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The bottom is filled with another box containing the pre-assembled fans, reservoir/radiator combination, and the MCP35X. The black box on top contains the Apogee HD CPU block, and if you look closely, this box contains a white one!

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Back to the bags that we couldn't quite read what was contained in them before. There is a fill-port case grommet and cap; there is alternate fan and radiator mounting hardware to make these systems friendlier in any case with the room to mount it. You then also get wiring in the form of fan voltage reducers, both 7V and 5V versions.

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The bottle of UV reactive coolant is a pre-mixed, ready to go formula containing small amounts of Ethylene glycol, and trace amounts of a couple other things I don't need to type out. The other 95% of the contents are distilled water.

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The other half of the sticker displays the HydrX-PM name of the coolant and list four features of this 16 ounce bottles contents.

The Apogee HD CPU Water Block

The apogee HD CPU Water Block

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I figured I better show what else I found in the black box before I allow you to drool on the images of the block and lose track of what is going on here. You get a set of instructions, some PK-1 thermal paste, and a LGA775 and LGA1366 back plate - my kit shipped LGA1155/1156 ready and AMD hardware is shipped separately if needed.

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For those who have installed any cooler with thumbscrews, you have what it takes to mount the Apogee HD. All you do is align the correct back plate, add some TIM, then insert the thumbscrews in the block hardware and screw it in until the threads stop.

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Here we get our first look at one of two, well now three if you count the limited edition gold version they just released. What separates the two I have is that this one is of course made of white polyacetal copolymer (POM), and the other is black.

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With the high contrast of the white POM version it is much easier to see the four ports on the top of this block. While the two with fittings installed are the standard in and out of the block, the other two can be fitted to allow for two more outgoing tubes to deliver to another loop.

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I don't remember these on my original kit, but I do like the added touch of the Swiftech logo applied to the side of the fittings.

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Each of the four thumbscrews surrounding the block are hollowed out to allow the use of a #2 Phillips head screw driver to make certain the screws are set all the way.

The Apogee HD CPU Water Block Continued

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Allen head screws secure to the top of the mounting block directly into threaded holes in the POM. If you do have to disassemble this block, keep in mind these threads are much softer than metal, so don't go cranking these down too much.

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Just as an added layer of protection, Swiftech ships the Apogee HD with a protective layer of plastic. The message here is pretty simple, peel the plastic off before usage!

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The base is really flat and polished to the point that there are no issues seeing the clamp in the reflection shown in the copper. The discolorations are simply the result of a bit of the coolant from the pre-testing that got on there and oxidized. A few minutes with some NeverDull took care of this and returned the full mirror polish.

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Removing the POM top required removing the eight screws seen on the right. This breaks the block up into the mounting hardware, the transfer plate, and the white top.

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At the top right is the marked inlet to the top. From here the water can be channeled to either of the outgoing ports that are capped currently. If left capped, the water is forced straight through the transfer plate, and the water that fills the channels to the capped outlets is also forced through the block. If these are opened, there is a free flow of water delivered in each channel to supply other loops.

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In the copper transfer plate the sides that are cut deeper are where the inlet and outlets align with the top. You can see the water is forced through the fine grid to the other side. The optional outlets are set above the raised sections, so that when open, they deliver good flow, but when closed are still used to flow into the sides of this transfer plates grid. To get good performance, this block is pretty restrictive, and the optional outlet is a better flowing solution than daisy-chaining blocks.

MCR220 Drive, MCP35X, and RDM1225S Fans

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The box I showed you long ago that I said had the radiator, pump, reservoir, and fans, well I finally got around to opening it and find that the kit is shipped inside of a cloth bag to keep minor scratches at bay, and to help contain the wiring.

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With everything unpacked you get the 220 radiator with the reservoir at the left and pump at the right ends. The fans and grills come pre-installed, and you also find a bag with the fittings and clamps for this end of the installation.

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To power the system, the pump uses a combination of a 4-pin Molex connection to power the pump, and a four pin fan connection with only RPM and Sense wires for control via the motherboard. The fans use 3-pin connections and are controllable with a controller with the 7V and 5V adapters.

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The reservoir end of the 220 and 320 radiators have a plastic plug in the top fill-port. On the face, or the top as it would hang in the top of a chassis, there is another hole with a metal plug that can be used with the fill-port kit to make filling the loop inside the chassis much easier.

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The MCP35X is bolted directly to the bottom of the radiator as if it were a pump. Swiftech also plainly labels the flow of this system, and the outgoing side of the radiator is on the pump. Just something to point out too - the pump has moved sides from the original version, as it's on the right side of my older kit.

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Since the Apogee HD CPU block has three outlets, it only makes sense that the MCR220 has three inlets with the Rev3 of this radiator. This means that if you run the GPUs and memory loops off the CPU block, they can all have their own returns into the radiator as well, but remember hardware for this is not included.

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This was just so that you can actually see the FPI of this radiator and get a sense that it's more in the middle of the spectrum with its 14 FPI count. I will say that the fan choice does lend well to this fin density.

What Sets the H2O-320 Edge HD kit Apart

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At first glance, with the box now open, the most obvious things are the inclusion of a second bottle of HydrX coolant and the Apogee HD block is moved up to the top to accommodate the MCR320 in this kit.

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Digging a little deeper, along with the green twins, there is a radbox and its hardware included, and even though slightly out of focus, you can make out the word black on the Apogee HD box. There is of course an increase in the wiring adapters for the extra fan, and also more screws and optional hardware for the same reason.

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Just a little side by side shot so you could more easily compare which of these to buy with your kit.

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Just because the POM that the top is cut from is now black, that doesn't make it any lesser in the form of options as the white top has.

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Even on the black version, the fittings still have the white painted logo on them. With the clear tubing, it would be cool to see them, but the clamps provided will soon cover these from view.

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Set side by side, you can get a better feel for the size increase with the MCR320. Since you need to also add in the additional length of the reservoir ends and the pump at the other, it may restrict the use of the 320 in some cases that will allow just a triple radiator and not much more.

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All three kits are now assembled and from here I need to fill and bleed the pair on the left. The older version on the right is running the older mix that was shipped with it, but the hose has long since been replaced and is now sporting some 3/8-inch ID Fesser tubing.

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With both loops filled with the UV reactive green coolant, all that is left is to take these upstairs, bleed both loops, then get to the reason we are here, to see how they perform.

Test System and Thermal Results

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With the system listed above I apply Arctic Cooling MX-2 to all the coolers I have tested on the Gigabyte motherboard to even things out with all the cooler manufacturers. To gauge the idle temperatures I allow the PC to run for a few minutes from the fresh reboot. I then open RealTemp and let things again settle as the reading spikes until the processor is again fully idle. At this point I get the reading and report it to the charts. For the load testing, both stock and overclocked, we use Intel Burn Test to supply the system load. In this application I set it to work eight threads for 50 passes, and maximize the memory tested to over 3000MB to generate as much load as possible to the coolers. With RealTemp open for the entire run, I report the highest temperature seen during the test run. All cooler testing is done open air on a test bench with an ambient temperature of 24.5 - 25C.

In addition with these tests, I incorporated the use of a fan controller and voltages were verified with a digital multi-meter at the fans 3-pin connection. Also prior to any testing, both of the new loops were run for a total of 2 hours each to be sure they were complete void of air in the loop to ensure the best results for the testing.

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With all three kits, at idle, all three kits equaled out at the same levels. With only 0.9V running through the processor at idle, the results of twenty-five degrees with 12V to the fans and twenty-six degrees when supplying 7.5V, there isn't anything to complain about at this level as all three kits top the chart.

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With the fans running at 12V, both of the Edge HD's beat the best air cooler by a minimum of five degrees, at stock levels. I moved the EPIC 180 up on purpose to show it right next to a custom loop versus the best AIO I have tested. The old Edge kit still beat the other air coolers, but fell to third behind both of the newer kits. That's right, even the new H20-220 Edge HD is more capable than its larger forerunner.

Once we overclocked the system, the gap between kits got a bit larger, but even here it was only a four degree spread across the three Swiftech entries. At 12V the 320 HD just edges out the 220HD by a degree, and both are three degrees cooler than the original. What I really like to see here is that the radiators are almost as efficient for just a CPU loop to handle everything at 7.5V to the fans. Once you add the additional loops to the HD system, the 12V may show more advantage, but for just a CPU, turn the fans down and enjoy the low noise, much cooler CPU cooling solution.

Noise Level Results

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Not the greatest results on the chart, but from my experience with the previous Edge kit, and it using the same fans, you can see the old mark of 47dB with only 5V going through the fans. Today I ran them at 7.5V which is more along the lines of what the PWM control will bottom out a standard coolers fan. Here the HD kits, registering in at 50dB for the 220 HD and 51dB for the 320 HD, both a shade more silent than my original kits reading of 54dB.

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Once 12V gets delivered to the fans, more realistically 11.83V through the fan controller I was using, I retested the original H2O-320 and again got a 72dB reading as you see it on the chart. The newer kits, while using the same fans have improved flow through the radiator to allow a slight drop in the readings I got with both of the HD kits. While not terrific results, it is still a step forward from the original and a welcomed drop in noise.

Final Thoughts

I do have plans to go back and do some additional testing with these systems using the parallel loop design to at least feed a GPU, or if I can get a hold of one, even a memory cooling loop as well. I am very interested to see how this will do compared to what I was used to with the GTX 470 and the LGA1156 chip I used to run daily on my original H20-320 Edge system.

As for the new DH kits, the options are really endless. You now have the potential for three loops with their own less restrictive flow stemming off of the CPU block, and doing away with the old method of "Y" connectors to achieve this configuration. The Rev3 radiator now having three return ports will also help to keep the flow evenly distributed from CPU block to radiator, and again keeps adapters from needing to be used at this point. On top of the triple loop concept, you have to now think of the cost savings for what can be accomplished here with just a single system versus the cost and room associated with three individual loops in one chassis. Just when I thought I really liked my old kit, Swiftech turned things on their ear and I really like what this kit has become.

I sort of like the idea that Gabe had this vision and he came into work with it all scribbled on a napkin, but from what I can see, a lot of time went into the design and configuration of the new Apogee HD CPU blocks and the REV3 radiator. The thing that really strikes me on top of everything else, and I almost thought Gabe was kidding when he said don't be surprised if the new 220 beats your old 320 kit. At that point I sort of laughed it off and figured I would find out soon enough. In every way he was spot on! Not only did the 320-220 Edge HD outperform my previous loop, it did it with less noise, the same attention to detail, and now with more options on top of it. I really don't see how anyone, novice builder, or even the experienced builders, wouldn't want to put these kits through their paces.

The kits are ordered to spec, that is to say that if you have an AMD rig, you need to mention that up front, as the hardware isn't included in the kit. The other options that are going to make you really think is that you have to pick white or black for the block, and you need to decide if the 220 or the 320 is going to fit both your demands and your case. With the performance I have seen up to this point, I feel that for the CPU only testing I did, the H20-220 Edge HD is the better buy at $229.95, but that is slightly limiting to some. The kit is designed to take on the CPU, your GPU or pair of them, and even a memory cooling loop or a hard drive cooler, you are the captain of that ship.

I really feel if you plan to use this kit to its full potential, the increased surface area of the H20-320 Edge HD kit is the wisest buy for those that plan to maximize it potential. This kit will cost you $269.95, and both are readily available from Swiftech's store. If you are in the market for a loop that offers a much easier installation and plenty of room to grow as your cooling needs or block purchases progress, the new H20-X20 Edge HD kits are well worth the money, and I don't see these kits leaving my hands anytime soon!

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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