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Swiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima

Radiator: Swiftech MCR220-QP

The MCR220-QP is one of Swiftech's oldest products, and can be found in kits dating back many years. As it's a self-purging radiator it's designed to bleed air from itself automatically.

As a result it can be mounted vertically or horizontally, although if you mount it vertically its best to position it so that the inlet and outlet are at the top, not the bottom. That way air won't build up in the plenun chambers at the end of the radiator, restricting the flow of coolant through the radiator.

The MCR220-QP is supplied with two 120mm fans, described in detail below, which are pre-fitted to blow air through the radiator. However, there are mounting holes on both sides of the frame, so you could mount another pair of fans to pull air through the radiator to improve its performance.

Swiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessories
Swiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessories

As you can see from the amount of light shining through in the lower shot, the fins on the MCR220-QP are fairly widely spaced apart, so you don't have to use monster fans to force air through it. This is in direct contrast to many other radiators, such as the Black Ice GTX480 which has incredibly dense fins.

Fans: 2 x 120mm Xinruilian RDM1225S

Swiftech used to supply noisy Delta fans with its water-cooling kits, but a couple of years switched over to much quieter Xinruilian fans. In the case of the Apex Ultima this is a pair of 120mm RDM1225S fans. At their default 12V input voltage the RDM1225S are rated to spin at 2,000rpm, producing 81.3cfm at 36dBA.

Swiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessoriesSwiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessories

However, because the fans are pretty noisy at 12V, Swiftech thoughtfully includes two different pairs of cables to slow them down. The first pair of cables use resistors to slow down the fans by reducing their input voltage from 12V to 7V. This dramatically reduces the noise the fans make, and is the setting we'd recommend for most readers.

The other set of cables converts the fan's input voltage from 12V to 5V by connecting them to a Molex pass-through rather than the 3-pin headers on your motherboard. At 5V, the fans are incredibly quiet - you need to put your ear right up the radiator to hear them at all, so if you're particularly sensitive to PC noise you may want to use this setting.

Accessories

As the Apex Ultima is a fully comprehensive kit it also includes everything else you will need to watercool your Core i7 CPU. The Apogee GTZ waterblock for example is supplied with a pair of 1/2in ID metal barbs while all the other components are supplied with plastic 1/2in ID plastic barbs. Also included is eight feet of 7/16in ID clear PVC tubing. Swiftech claims that although this has a fractionally smaller inner diamater than traditional 1/2in ID tubing its smaller outer dimensions make it easier to position inside your case.

Swiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessoriesSwiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessories

Also supplied are a couple of feet of blue Smartcoils. These should be wrapped around the outside of the tubing to prevent kinks occuring where the tubing angles round tight bends.

Although you'll still need to go and buy some distilled/deionised water from your local DIY shop/garage the Apex Ultima also includes a small bottle of Swiftech Hydrx. This grim smelling green liquid should be mixed with the distilled/deionised water and acts as a corrosion inhibitor, algae killer and heat transfer enhancer. The Apex Ultima also thoughtfully includes a small plastic funnel in the box, helping to make the filling process and splatter free process.

Swiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessoriesSwiftech H2O-220 Apex Ultima Radiator, fans and accessories

The final component of the Apex Ultima is the MCB-120 Radbox. This ingenious frame allows you to mount the radiator on the outside of practically any case with a rear 120mm exhaust fan. It's a great way of mounting the radiator to small cases, but we'd stil prefer to mount the radiator inside the case if possible.