Testing Methodology

If you've been keeping up with our case reviews, our testing methodology for the fans here is going to seem relatively similar in some ways. Our test system may seem a bit unusual in more than a few ways, but stick with me and I'll explain why I put it together and tested it the way I did.

Fan and Radiator Testing Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2700K overclocked to 4.4GHz @ 1.4V
Motherboard Zotac Z77-ITX WiFi
Graphics Intel HD 3000 IGP
Memory 2x4GB Corsair Value Select DDR3-1333
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair CX430
Enclosure BitFenix Shinobi XL Window

The processor, with its healthy voltage boost and overclock, throws a pretty substantial amount of heat at our cooling system. Testing with an i7-2700K at stock speeds would defeat the purpose; Intel's own stock cooler can handle that, we want to "separate the men from the boys" so to speak.

I needed a case that could produce adequate airflow, handle all of the different cooling systems without much trouble, and did not include any sound dampening features. You might be surprised at just how difficult that was to find, but BitFenix came to the rescue and sent over a Shinobi XL. BitFenix's enclosure didn't get the best review when I tested it, but it's actually ideal for this testbed. I removed every case fan but the front intake, which I ran at 5V to prevent it from affecting acoustics while still providing adequate airflow.

Since a dedicated GPU wasn't needed, one wasn't used. This prevents a graphics card from generating additional heat or noise or deflecting airflow.

Thermal and acoustic test cycles were done the same way as our case reviews. First, the system is left powered and idle for fifteen minutes. At this point the sound level is tested, room ambient temperature is recorded, and idle temperatures are recorded. Then eight threads of small FFTs in Prime95 are run for fifteen minutes, and load temperatures are recorded.

Each cooler was tested using its available presets; the PWM-controlled coolers were tested at 30% and 100% using motherboard control.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our roundup.

  • Thank you to iBuyPower for providing us with the Intel Core i7-2700K.
  • Thank you to Zotac for providing us with the Z77-ITX WiFi motherboard.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to Corsair for providing us with the CX430 power supply.
  • Thank you to BitFenix for providing us with the Shinobi XL Window enclosure.
Ease of Installation Performance Results
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • landerf - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Does the H110 come with a Y connector for the fans?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

  • landerf - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    So for most the cost is actually +5 after a quick trip to ebay. Not that I mind. My last Corsair Y connector disintegrated.
  • krutou - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    In a future review, I'd like to see entry level (similarly priced) custom loops included.

    Primarily, I'd like to see the XSPC Raystorm 750 RS240 (~$150) reviewed. XSPC is known for their excellent performance and I'd like to see it compared to an upgradable AIO like the Swiftech H220.
  • aguilpa1 - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    I have been looking intently at the Kraken 60 because of it's performance, and ability to hold 4 fans in push/pull as well as what appears to be longer tubing than a standard closed loop. I have a full tower Lian Li the P80 I believe and it has an old school design of the power supply above the motherboard tray. I am not sure I could work those really short tube lengths that are the norm for these systems, assuming everyone has clear space right above the motherboard.

    I wish reviewers would test these units in a case and not just the glossy brochure model. I have seen them even worse set up on a test bench where installation is not even considered just raw performance numbers with no real world basis for installation and use.
  • Kepe - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Dustin tested these inside a case?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    Uh...I tested these inside a case, yes. All of this information is readily available on the conspicuously named page "Testing Methodology."
  • yohanus - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Swiftech has been a great company. I have built multiple water cooling setups using their products and have been nothing but pleased when dealing with them on the internet or, more importantly, on the phone.

    I must admit that these closed loop systems look really nice compared to taking a Buick A/C condenser and heater core, a pump, some cpu coolers and building a single cooling system that runs two computers. The benefit of a closed loop system is that it just works while a homebrew system allows you the satisfaction of tinkering.
  • Sabresiberian - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    Yah the Swiftech system here looks like it might be the choice for someone looking to get into watercooling of more than just the CPU at a relatively low cost. (that being said - GPU waterblocks are expensive, heh).

    I'm wondering though if starting off with a better pump, fans, and radiator might be worth the extra cost, especially if you plan on cooling 3 GTX 680s or the like.
  • ggathagan - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    It comes down to whether or not it's more expensive to buy the H220 and modify the loop with additional water blocks and radiators, or to build from scratch.

    From what all I've read on this particular system, the pump is easily the match to Swiftech's premier pump, the MCP35X.
    That is the basis for their other waterblock/pump combo, the Apogee II.

    If you already know that you want to cool a triple GPU system, the H220's components aside from the waterblock/pump might be wasted if you have a full tower case that can accommodate larger radiators and fans.

    Further, starting from scratch gives you the flexibility to pick-and-choose each individual component.
    In that scenario, you might find that there are other brands that provide you with a better waterblock, fan or radiator than the ones offered by Swiftech.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now