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Swiftech H240-X CPU Liquid Cooling Kit

The Swiftech H240-X is an interesting high-end open loop liquid CPU cooler that’s also pre-assembled/filled and plug-and-play like all-in-one units.

December 16, 2014 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Swiftech H240-X
CPU Liquid Cooling Kit
Manufacturer
Swiftech
Street Price
US$150

PC water cooling has traditionally been and expensive hobby reserved for the most adventurous of enthusiasts. Putting together an open loop system is an involved process requiring the purchase of several different components including a waterblock, pump, reservoir, radiator, fans, fittings, tubing, and coolant. Assembling and filling the system is also daunting compared to mounting a simple air-cooled heatsink. All this complexity creates a barrier to entry, making for a limited niche market and high component prices.

The advent of closed loop coolers brought liquid cooling to a wider audience. These cheaper pre-assembled units with simpler combined parts are much easier to install but they are limited in scope. Originally designed for CPUs only, some products have begun appear that adapting them for GPU use as well, like Arctic Accelero Hybrid II-120 and NZXT G10 GPU mounting kit. It’s now feasible for less sophisticated users to water cool both of the main heat-generating PC components without having to assemble an old school loop.

This represents somewhat of a problem for Swiftech, a manufacturer that has been supplying enthusiasts with individual water cooling components for years. While AIO units have brought the idea of liquid cooling into the mainstream, they offer a possible alternative to the custom solutions users have been building with Swiftech’s off-the-shelf parts. Their response to this is a series of liquid cooling kits that users can install just as easily as closed loop models, but also can be expanded into full water cooling systems.


The H240-X box.

Swiftech offers three models, the H140-X (1×140 mm radiator), the H220-X (2×120 mm radiators), and the flagship H240-X (2×140 mm radiator), all of which feature the same “enthusiast grade components” including their MCP30 pump, Apogee XL waterblock, and a revised version of the MCR-X20 series of radiators. To make things simpler, the pump and reservoir are integrated into the radiator, so you don’t need any external bays to house them; the structure is just as simple as an AIO unit. These pump and reservoir can’t be replaced but it does have standard G 1/4 tubing and fittings, making it an open loop cooler that can support additional components.


H240-X package conntents.

The H240-X sells for US$150, which sounds like a lot if you’re new to full water cooling systems. For perspective, just the waterblock and a comparable radiator sell for US$65 a piece. It ships with two 140 mm fans and a 8-way PWM splitter to control the pump and up to 7 additional devices altogether. Also included is illustrated assembly guide (with no written instructions), a tube of thermal compound, three additional colored nameplates, and all the necessary cables and mounting gear (except for LGA775 and 1366).

Swiftech H240-X: Specifications
(from the product
web page
)
Radiator with integrated pump (1 each)
Radiator Material
Brass tubes, louvered copper fins, 12~14 FPI
Radiator Body dimensions 290mm x 140mm x 115mm
Radiator Fill-port thread class G 1/4
Radiator Barb fittings Integrated swivel 90° elbows, 3/8″ (10mm) OD
Radiator Installation hardware Standard: (8) 6-32 x 1 3/16 (30mm) Philips screws
Pump speed control PWM
Pump Speed range 1200 ~ 3000 RPM
Pump nominal voltage 12 VDC
Pump nominal power 6W
Redundant fail safe Software current limiting fail-safe AND hardware shutoff built-into the pump power wires. The hardware fail safe is only triggered in case of a firmware malfunction.
Pump Bearing type Ceramic shaft, PTFE bearing
Pump Power connector SATA
Pump RPM & PWM connector Mini 4-pin
Pump MTBF 60,000 hours
ROHS Compliant
Pre-installed Fan (2 each)
Dimensions 140mm x 140mm x 25mm
Speed control PWM
Speed range 700+/- 25% ~ 1800+/- 10% RPM
Airflow range 35 ~ 90 CFM
Static pressure range 0.25 ~ 2.29 mmH20
Noise level range <8.3 ~ <28.8 dB/A
Nominal Voltage 12 V
Nominal current 0.25 A
Bearing Type Z-axis
Connector Mini 4-pin
MTBF 60,000 hours
ROHS Compliant
Apogee XL Waterblock (1 each)
Base plate material C110 copper
Cooling engine 0.25mm x 0.25mm micro-pin array
Barb fittings Swivel elbows, 3/8″ (10mm) OD
Port thread G1/4 standard
Installation hardware For Intel LGA 1150, 1155, 1156 (pre-installed by default)
Back-plate
(4) Spring loaded screws & washers

For Intel LGA 2011
(4) Spring loaded screws & washers

For AMD AM2, AM3, FM1,FM2, 939
(2) Pre-assembled brackets & spring loaded screws
Bracket installation screws

Optional back-plate available for Intel legacy socket 775 and 1366

Clamps (4 each)
Material Black anodized aluminum
PWM splitter (1 each)
PWM Ports 8
RPM signal port Channel 1
Power connector SATA
PWM/RPM connector Mini 4-pin
Installation hardware Peel-off sticker, mounting screws & nuts
ROHS Compliant
Tim-Mate 2, 1g syringe thermal compound
Quick Installation Guide

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The H240-X is composed of the Apogee XL copper waterblock, 1.6 cm thick EPDM rubber tubing, the MCP30 pump, a windowed reservoir, and a copper radiator with dimensions of 28.7 x 14.1 x 2.9 cm according to my measurements.


The unit is designed to mount to a case ceiling (the short 29/24 cm tubing prevents it from being installed any where else). Unlike AIO coolers, the radiator is rather compact, barely expanding past the fans.


The reservoir has an illuminated side window to gauge the coolant level.


The pump is encapsulated in a thick square block that is much larger than AIO models and the use of proper metal fittings is obviously a more robust and versatile solution.


The radiator uses the typical thin coil design but they are spaced further apart than previous units I’ve encountered. There’s approximately 1.80 mm separating each coil turn, making the array about 70% looser than is typical. It’s also manufactured out of copper instead of aluminum.


The included PWM splitter allows up to eight devices to be controlled at once. It’s powered via a SATA connector, as is the pump.


The copper waterblock is a 6.0 cm square with rounded corners while the raised portion that contacts the CPU is 4.6 cm across. The surface is convex and has been sanded down to a fine reflective finish.


The stock 140 mm fan is a high speed (1800 RPM) model equipped with well-curved blades with straight tips.

INSTALLATION

The most critical aspect of installation is firm, maximum contact
between the base and the CPU heatspreader for efficient heat conduction. Ideally
it should also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces
of hardware as possible. The H240-X definitely qualifies as it utilizes a simple bolt-thru design that pushes down on the waterblock and easily adjustable screws for correct positioning on Intel boards. Connecting all the cables is more difficult than the actual mounting.


The pump is powered via a SATA connector with the reservoir LEDs piggybacking off a small 2-pin header. The PWM splitter is also powered via SATA and the PWM signal is relayed via a 4-pin cable to the motherboard. The waterblock also requires a 3-pin connector to power its lighting.


Out of the box, our test motherboard isn’t compatible with the H240-X. This optional backplate is required for LGA775 and LGA1366 installations.


A basic bolt-thru system is used to mount the waterblock. The LED lights up the name plate which is blue in this image but red, green, and white plates are included to spice things up.


White LEDs light up the reservoir window.


The fans are oriented such that they suck hot air off the radiator and out the case ceiling. On our open testbed, I have it setup approximately in the same position with some foam acting as a cushion.


The convex shape of the base is clearly illustrated by the thermal compound imprint left behind. There’s reasonably good contact at the center (where it counts most) but less so off the sides.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements of the radiator for comparison.

 

Large Heatsink Comparison:
Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
SilverStone Heligon HE02
0.52 mm
3.30 mm
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
0.34 mm
3.12 mm
Thermalright HR-22
0.53 mm
2.74 mm
Scythe Ninja 3
0.39 mm
2.64 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
LEPA LV12
0.51 mm
2.38 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Thermalright Archon SB-E
0.49 mm
2.33 mm
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
0.39 mm
2.30 mm
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
0.40 mm
2.30 mm
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
0.31 mm
2.25 mm
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
0.38 mm
2.22 mm
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
0.40 mm
2.21 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Cryorig R1 Ultimate/Universal
0.42 mm
1.78 / 2.37 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Ashura
0.43 mm
1.97 mm
NZXT Havik 140
0.41 mm
1.91 mm
Scythe Mugen-2
0.31 mm
1.89 mm
SilverStone Tundra TD03 (radiator)
0.43 mm
1.86 mm
SilverStone Argon AR01
0.30 mm
1.85 mm
Thermalright Venomous X
0.53 mm
1.84 mm
Scythe Mugen 4
0.30 mm
1.82 mm
Noctua NH-C14
0.38 mm
1.79 mm
Enermax ETS-T40
0.40 mm
1.79 mm
Noctua NH-D15
0.46 mm
1.79 mm
Scythe Yasya
0.32 mm
1.78 mm
Enermax Liqtech 120X (radiator)
0.46 mm
1.76 mm
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
0.42 mm
1.73 mm
SilverStone Argon AR03
0.42 mm
1.72 mm
Noctua NH-U14S
0.42 mm
1.72 mm
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
0.40 mm
1.70 mm
Scythe Kotetsu
0.35 mm
1.66 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
0.16 mm
1.59 mm
Thermalright Silver Arrow
0.32 mm
1.57 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
0.56 mm
1.52 mm
Swiftech H240-X (radiator)
0.13 mm
1.80 mm
NZXT Kraken X31/X41 (radiator)
0.15 mm
1.07 mm
NZXT Kraken X61 (radiator)
0.13 mm
1.02 mm

Testing on larger heatsinks like this one is done on our
LGA1366 heatsink testing platform
. A summary of the test system and
procedure follows.

Key Components in LGA1366 Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme
    Nehalem core, LGA1366, 3.2GHz, 45nm, 130W TDP.
  • Asus
    P6X58D Premium
    ATX motherboard. X58 chipset.
  • Asus
    EAH3450 Silent
    graphics card.
  • Intel
    X25-M
    80GB 2.5″ solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 3GB QiMonda
    DDR3 memory. 3 x 1GB DDR3-1066 in triple channel.
  • Seasonic X-650 SS-650KM
    650W ATX power supply. This PSU is semi-passively cooled. At the power levels
    of our test platform, its fan does not spin.
  • Arctic Silver
    Lumière
    : Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed
    specifically for test labs.
  • Noctua 140 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 140x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 120 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 92 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 92x25mm
    fans)

The systems are silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling
fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details
of which are shown below.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
9V
990 RPM
21 dBA
8V
880 RPM
18 dBA
7V
770 RPM
15~16 dBA
6V
660 RPM
13 dBA

 

Reference Nexus 120 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1080 RPM
16 dBA
9V
880 RPM
13 dBA
7V
720 RPM
12 dBA

 

Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1470 RPM
17 dBA
9V
1280 RPM
14 dBA
7V
1010 RPM
12 dBA

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system
    power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate
    the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer:
    SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital
    audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber
    with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our
    standard fan testing methodology
    .
  • SpeedFan,
    used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated,
    so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95,
    used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications.
    All instances are used to ensure full stress.
  • CPU-Z,used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.
  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform
    and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from the lab’s variable DC
power supply while the rest of the system is off to ensure that system noise
do not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor, and the
graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable
for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core
reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good
cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.

NOISE MEASUREMENTS

Specifications: Swiftech H240-X Stock Fan
Manufacturer Swiftech Power Rating 3.0 W
Model Number Helix-140-PWM Airflow Rating 35 ~ 90 CFM
Bearing Type Z-axis (sleeve) Speed Rating 700 +/- 25% ~ 1800 +/- 10% RPM
Frame Size 140 x 140 x 25 mm Noise Rating < 8.3 ~ 28. 8 dBA
Hub Size 45 mm Header Type 4-pin PWM
Blade Diameter 121 mm Starting Voltage < 4.0 V
Cable Length 35 cm Weight 180 g
Corner Type Open Retail Availability Yes

Additional notes:

The H240-X ships with a pair of Swiftech’s Helix 140 PWM fans which feature sleeve bearings. The hub is quite large for a 140 mm model and there’s also a considerable gap between the blade tips and the surrounding housing. The heavy curvature helps somewhat, but the blades are still rather short.


The stock fan’s range on PWM (above) and DC (below) control according to Fan Xpert2.

According to ASUS’ Fan Xpert2 utility, its effective PWM control range bottoms out at just under 1000 RPM which is rather dismal if you’re trying to achieve some semblance of silence (though on our test motherboard it can go about 100 RPM slower). On voltage control, the floor is much lower but if you’re coming off a cold start, it has difficulty spinning up if set below ~650 RPM.

Noise Measurements: Swiftech H240-X
PWM Setting
Pump Speed
Avg. Fan Speed
SPL @1m
100%
2910 RPM
1780 RPM
39 dBA
70%
2600 RPM
1530 RPM
34~35 dBA
40%
1980 RPM
1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
30%
1790 RPM
1110 RPM
25 dBA
20%
1520 RPM
1020 RPM
23 dBA
10%
1320 RPM
970 RPM
22 dBA
0%
1180 RPM
860 RPM
21 dBA
0%
(fans on DC control)
1180 RPM
790 RPM
20 dBA
600 RPM
18 dBA
off
17 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of CPU.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

All devices connected to the included PWM splitter are controlled by the same signal, so the pump and fan speeds cannot be adjusted separately using this method. As there’s only one PWM header connected to the motherboard, only the speed of the pump is reported. Also, if the PWM signal is not detected, a fail-safe kicks in, automatically bringing the pump speed up to 100%, so it can’t be run any slower (unless the SATA connector powering it is modified).

Using PWM, the cooler produces between 21 and 39 dBA@1m with pump speeds between 1180 and 2910 RPM and average fan speeds of 860 to 1780 RPM. These minimum speeds aren’t low enough for our standards but with DC control, a reduction of 2~3 dB can be achieved. The pump on its own, with the minimal PWM setting emits 17 dBA@1m, so there’s no easy way to quiet it further than that.

The H240-X’s pump produces a grating, mostly low frequency buzz, even at minimum speed. The best thing I can say about it is the movement of the liquid inside isn’t audible, so there’s none of the sloshing or occasional gurgling you might hear from a typical AIO cooler. The fans on the other hand are surprisingly benign despite the aggressive shape of their blades. The stock fan has a mostly smooth, broadband profile, but at closer distances it hums somewhat, and this effect is amplified when mounted compared to in free air. As water coolers go, it sounds above average at lower PWM speeds, but only because the fans drown out the pump. The pump becomes more noticeable at about 1800 RPM and above, generating a harsh tone at ~300 Hz.

TEST RESULTS

Test Results: Swiftech H240-X
PWM Setting
Pump/Fan Speed
SPL @1m
Thermal Rise
100%
2910/1780 RPM
39 dBA
29°C
70%
2600/1530 RPM
34~35 dBA
30°C
40%
1980/1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
31°C
30%
1790/1110 RPM
25 dBA
31°C
20%
1520/1020 RPM
23 dBA
32°C
10%
1320/970 RPM
22 dBA
33°C
0%
1180/860 RPM
21 dBA
35°C
0%
(fans on DC control)
1180/790 RPM
20 dBA
36°C
1180/600 RPM
18 dBA
39°C
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of CPU.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The H240-X is an excellent cooling solution, producing a thermal rise of less than 40°C throughout its full range. At top speed the H240-X generates a rise of less than 30°C, a feat previously accomplished by only two coolers, the NZXT Kraken X61 and X41. However, there’s little differentiation in temperature at higher pump/fan speeds with only a spread of 4°C between the 10% and 100% PWM setting.

Test Results: Swiftech H240-X vs. NZXT Kraken X61
Swiftech H240-X
NZXT Kraken X61
SPL@1m
Thermal Rise
SPL@1m
34~35 dBA
30°C
29°C
36~37 dBA
25 dBA
31°C
31°C
25 dBA
21 dBA
35°C
33°C
21 dBA
20 dBA
36°C
35°C
19 dBA
18 dBA
39°C
37°C
17 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

Compared to the NZXT X61, an AIO cooler with a similar radiator size, the results are quite close, but the X61 does pull ahead slightly at lower noise levels.

COMPARISON TABLES

°C Rise Comparison: CPU Coolers with Dual Fans
SPL (dBA@1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
NZXT Kraken X61
33
34
35
37
Prolimatech Genesis*
(reference fans)
35
36
37
39
Thermalright Silver Arrow
35
38
40
Noctua NH-C14
36
37
39
41
Thermalright HR-22*
(reference fans)
37
38
39
Swiftech H240-X
33
35
36
39
Noctua NH-D15
38
39
40
Thermalright HR-02 Macho*
(reference fans)
36
37
40
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
38
39
41
 
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
37
 
41
42
Scythe Mugen 4*
(reference fans)
39
40
42
NZXT Havik 140
39
41
Cryorig R1 Universal
39
 
41
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
41
 
44
Cooler Master Seidon 240M
40
43
53
SilverStone Tundra TD03
40
SilverStone Heligon HE02*
(reference fans)
44
 
46
Enermax Liqtech 120X
44
45
Zalman CNPS9900DF
48
 
50
53
 
SPL (dBA@1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Air-cooled heatsinks in dark green, liquid coolers in dark blue
*Models lacking dual stock fans tested with dual reference Noctua NF-P14 fans.

As silence is an important factor in my final judgment, our overall comparison charts only take into account noise levels of 22 dB@1m and lower. Against competing dual fan coolers, even though the H240-X trails the X61 by only 2°C, it lands five rungs down. It’s still an elite cooler and a much better performer than most of the AIO units we’ve tested in the past, but it trails some of the larger air-cooled heatsinks.

°C Rise Comparison: CPU Coolers with Single/Dual Stock Fan(s)
SPL (dBA@1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
NZXT Kraken X61
33
34
35
37
Prolimatech Genesis*
(reference fans)
35
36
37
39
Thermalright Silver Arrow
35
38
40
Noctua NH-C14
36
37
39
41
Scythe Kotetsu
35
38
41
42
Thermalright HR-22*
(reference fans)
37
38
39
Swiftech H240-X
33
35
36
39
Noctua NH-D15
38
39
40
Thermalright Archon SB-E
39
40
43
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
38
39
41
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
38
39
40
41
43
Scythe Mugen 4
40
42
45
Noctua NH-U14S
38
40
43
NZXT Kraken X41
38
NZXT Havik 140
39
41
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
40
41
42
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
37
 
41
42
Scythe Yasya
40
43
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
41
43
46
Cryorig R1 Universal
39
 
41
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
42
47
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
40
41
44
49
Scythe Ashura
42
44
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
41
44
54
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
41
 
44
Silverstone Argon AR03
41
43
48
Scythe Ninja 3
44
46
SilverStone Argon AR01
42
44
50
Titan Fenrir
43
45
47
Cooler Master Seidon 240M
40
43
53
SilverStone Tundra TD03
40
SilverStone Heligon HE02*
(reference fans)
44
 
46
Antec Kühler H20 620
42
44
47
LEPA LV12
45
48
52
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
45
47
49
NZXT Kraken X31
43
44
47
Enermax Liqtech 120X
44
45
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
48
49
50
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
48
52
55
61
Zalman CNPS9900DF
48
50
53
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
49
51
56
Core i7-980X Stock Cooler
53
62
Enermax ETS-T40
49
55
64
Core i7-920 Stock Cooler
64
FAIL
SPL (dBA@1m)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Single/Dual fan air-cooled heatsinks in light/dark green.
Single/dual fan liquid coolers in light/dark blue.
*Fanless models tested with dual reference Noctua NF-P14 fans.

Adding single fan models into the mix illustrates how little difference there is between the behemoths and some of the smaller, more efficient solutions like the Scythe Kotetsu.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system
inside SPCR’s
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber
, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We’ve listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn’t hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn’t record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan
at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that
the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don’t change the volume
setting again.

  • Swiftech H240-X stock fans at 1m
    — pump at 1180 RPM (17 dBA@1m)
    — pump at 1180 RPM, fans at 600 RPM (18 dBA@1m)
    — pump at 1180 RPM, fans at 790 RPM (20 dBA@1m)
    — pump at 1180 RPM, fans at 860 RPM (21 dBA@1m)
    — pump at 1520 RPM, fans at 1020 RPM (23 dBA@1m)
    — pump at 1980 RPM, fans at 1250 RPM (28~29 dBA@1m)
    — pump at 2910 RPM, fans at 1780 RPM (39 dBA@1m)

FINAL THOUGHTS

As a CPU cooler, the Swiftech H240-X is definitely a top tier product, though the low noise performance it provides is not commensurate with its US$150 price-tag. On our open-air LGA 1366 test platform, the H240-X is not quite as effective as the more affordable NZXT X61 AIO cooler and the short tube length restricts it to ceiling mounting only. It’s possible that with a hotter overclocked CPU, or perhaps inside a hot PC case, the Swiftec’s higher volume of liquid and larger pump would provide superior performance. Once the install is completed, it’s not as user friendly as the X61, as NZXT provides software pump/fan control, monitoring capabilities, and LED color manipulation. There are also a few air-cooled heatsinks that are slightly more proficient and much cheaper for low noise cooling.

Like many liquid coolers, the noise of the pump is somewhat of an issue, though the fans have a pleasant acoustic profile, and at lower PWM speeds, they can drown out the pump’s negative qualities. However, the way the system relies on PWM restricts how quiet it can get if you lack more than one PWM-capable header, something that applies to many motherboards. For most, a noise level of 20 dBA@1m or below isn’t possible without taking the fans off PWM control but this makes the provided 8-way PWM splitter redundant.

This as more than just a humble CPU cooler though, as it’s really a hybrid product that bridges the gap between closed and open loop water cooling systems. The unit is completely pre-assembled and pre-filled like an AIO model and has a simple mounting system so even an inexperienced DIYer can use it without much trepidation. However, the real audience for this product is the more sophisticated enthusiast who may feel uneasy about taking the plunge directly into assembling a full custom loop watercooling. The H240-X’s standard fittings and tubing make it a good jumping-off point to a more complex water cooling system that can take care of additional components like a graphics card. It could be a clever attempt to up-sell you on more Swiftech gear later on while also capturing some of the current revenue going to competing AIO cooling manufacturers. Only time will tell whether this is an effective strategy.

Our thanks to Swiftech
for the H240-X CPU liquid cooling kit sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Arctic Accelero Hybrid II-120 Liquid GPU Cooler
Cryorig R1 Ultimate & Universal CPU Coolers
NZXT Kraken G10 Graphics Adapter
NZXT Kraken X61 28cm Liquid Cooler
Enermax Liqtech 120X AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
LEPA LV12 Direct-Touch Heatsink
Recommended Heatsinks

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