The Sum of the Parts A
ny water-cooling system is only as effective as its weakest link. The other side of that coin is that a water-cooling system (or the whole) is greater than the sum of its parts. The latter is where mating components become a design element in its own right. For example, pump flow rates should compliment water block characteristics and in turn tube sizes must compliment both. Where the radiator is concerned choosing the correct fan/s will have a major impact on that radiator’s performance and flow rates will also affect performance, the rule being higher flow rates generate lower temps. If there is an imbalance anywhere in the loop then one or more of the components isn't used efficiently and temps will suffer, not to mention noise levels.
Once a system is properly balanced similar components can be juxtaposed or simply tuned for better results based on End-user preferences. Swiftech has given the End-user a large degree of tune-ability in the Apex Ultra offering fan and pump voltage(speed) adjustability. The pump is very powerful and for this reason other water blocks can be added to the system without negating performance.
On that note let’s begin with the water-block. Swiftech's APOGEE
is based on the extruded pin design and they have machined the base producing quadrilateral polygon shaped pins.
As the close-up below indicates, there are 17-rows with 12-pins per row for 204 copper pins. This is a substantial amount of area for heat to dissipate into the water as it's forced through the block.
The pump used by Swiftech, dubbed their MCP655
, is made by LAING Thermotech and is most likely the D5-38 Vario DC Pump
. The MCP55 has a 10ft ceiling at 12V and also moves 1200Lph at that voltage. The pump offers a variable flow rate via a red screw on the rear of the unit.
During testing I tried several settings and found 12V to be ideal for a single block water-cooling loop. This pump is also very silent and was barely audible unless you place your ear near it.
The reservoir provided holds enough fluid to allow a proper bleed and fill, but not too large so as to create more ergonomic issues. The unit is made of high quality well fitted Plexiglas.
Last and certainly not least is the radiator. Swiftech took a pragmatist approach to reduce noise while increasing cooling potential with the inclusion of their MCR220
radiator equipped with two Delta
120mm fans. The part number WFB1212M
is no longer listed at Delta's site, however; specifications at 12V are as follows: 2100RPM, moving 72CFM, at 34dB(A). Mounting options for this radiator are numerous thanks to the MCB120 Radbox Rev.2
included in this kit.
The radiator included with this kit is where Swiftech has made a substantial impact. The dual 120mm radiator is not only capable of removing more heat than a single 120mm model, the fans used can easily be ran at different voltages for those seeking silent cooling or extreme performance. The fans chosen are relatively quiet which is where this system has been well thought through for those who prefer a minimum of tweaking.
The fan/radiator combination offers great cooling potential with minimum noise.
The Delta fans used have a unique "lip" on the blade edges. Whether or not this may account for their silence and ability to move 72CFM of air (of which I'm skeptical) this is one quiet fan for sure. Thumbnails below show the radiator from within the case and a fan close-up of label and blade shape.
In the thumbnail/photo above of the radiator from within the case, two additional case fans are mounted for a push/pull effect. During testing these fans were not installed, this is simply to exemplify the number of options available whether your case has one or two 120mm fan exhausts on the rear panel.
Onto Testing and results -->