AMD 6400+ X2 Black Ed.
Biostar TForce 570 SLI
2x1Gb OCZ Titanium 6400
The Black Edition AMD processors do not include a factory heatsink/fan as they are marketed for computer enthusiasts and overclockers who would more than likely not use a stock heatsink anyway. Therefore the only results I will be comparing to are those obtained using a "top of the line retail air cooler". The 6400+ runs at 3.2Ghz by default at 1.4v but in these tests I will only be looking at two different scenarios, a minimal overclock of 3.3Ghz at the same 1.4v and a slightly higher overclock of 3.4Ghz at 1.5v. Although higher frequencies can be obtained using more voltage, it is not feasible to generate load conditions with these settings for any extended amount of time as doing so quickly results in temperatures too extreme for either cooler to handle.
CoreTemp was used to log temperatures of each core and the results were averaged together. At the two settings that were tested the Swiftech H2O-220 Compact kit performed outstandingly. Load temps were kept in the low-40's or lower, depending on the voltage used. While this seems quite low, the amount of voltage required to run 3.5Ghz stable at load caused even the Swiftech kit to allow the system to reach unsafe temperatures, and so these results were not recorded. In comparison to the high-end air cooler, the temperatures ranged from low-40's to mid/upper-40's at load, depending on the fan speed setting used. Conversely, the Swiftech fan speed had no effect on temperatures, whether using the full +12v to power the fans or by reducing it to a near-silent +7v. In this manner the Swiftech H2O-220 managed to outperform the high-end air cooler by at least several degrees, and without all the noise associated with running fans at high speed.
The H2O-220 Compact makes for a great starter set for someone looking to branch into the world of water cooling. It includes all the basics you'll need to liquid cool a modern CPU, even high-end dual and quad core processors. The components are easy to set up and Swiftech has even included extra pieces in the event the user decides to add additional water blocks to the loop at some point in the future. In this way, single or dual video cards and even chipset or memory components can all be cooled by the same system, although performance is certain to drop as more heat-generating devices are added to the loop.
I ran into this issue with the memory in particular when using the Swiftech kit. With my previous top-down design air cooler, secondary airflow passed over the DIMM slots and mosfet area of the board, whereas when making the switch to water cooling, alternative airflow must be generated from somewhere. This is especially imperative given that I am pumping 2.4v through the memory modules and run the system at 100% cpu utilization 24/7.
As I mentioned, there was no difference observed when running the fans at full speed versus using the included 7v adapters. No difference in performance rather, the sound level was much reduced. I noticed a similar phenomenon with the Apogee pump itself, when run at a full 12v there was a discernible liquid gurgling noise that seemed to be caused by capitation in the water block. Reducing the voltage supplied to the pump quieted this considerably, with almost no effect on performance. Conversely, the high-end air cooler's performance was completely dependent on the noise level generated by the fan.
I had a little trouble fitting the tubing with the Smartcoils through the PCI riser slot, it kept wanting to get caught. If you've got a steel case with sharp edges I could see the possibility of cutting into the tubing and potentially causing a leak. And as I mentioned previously, care must be taken not to overtighten the radiator fittings or risk cracking the plastic. Other than these small watch items the quality of the kit is very good.
The Swiftech H2O-220 weighs in at around $180 retail, which puts it in line with other manufacturers water cooling kits. The difference being however that unlike many such kits, the Swiftech H2O-220 can be said to outperform nearly any other air-cooled product on the market. Not bad for a pre-assembled, easy to install kit.
A big OCIA.net Approval goes to the Swiftech H2O-220 Compact water cooling kit.