UK Price (as reviewed):£97.58 (inc VAT) US Price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable
Antec's Kühler H2O 920 did very well when we first saw it almost two years ago. It's had some minor revisions since then, but the latest edition still does very well when it comes to cooling your CPU, as our latest benchmarks demonstrate. The larger H2O 1220 that we have with us today bares the same relationship to the 920 as Corsair's H100i does to the smaller H80i. At £100 it's a very costly cooler, especially given that its main competitor, the H100i, can be had for under £85, and that cooler currently tops our cooling charts, at least for the time being.
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The design of the 1220 is run of the mill for a closed loop cooler, and Antec has chosen to stick with Asetek for manufacturing duties (so at least it won't getsued). The flat, circular copper baseplate, which comes with pre-applied thermal paste, is attached to the pump unit. This is then connected via two rubber tubes to a half height 240mm radiator which completes the loop. The tubing itself is similar to that on the H100i, as it's solid and thick yet still flexible. The dense set of fins on the radiator provides a healthy amount of surface area for cooling too.
Emerging from the pump unit is also the 1220's series of cables. A standard three pin connector provides power to the unit, while a separate fan cable allows you to connect up to four fans. Antec supplies two fans with the 1220, but the fan cable has an extra three pin connection should you wish to add a second pair. Finally, a USB header can be used to hook up the cooler to your motherboard, allowing you to control it via supplied software. None of the cables are modular, unlike with the H100i, but Antec does provide a bag of zip ties to help with tidying the wiring.
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Compatible with all the usual Intel and AMD sockets, the 1220 sports the regular clip and screw based Asetek mounting system. While we've gotten used to this, if only through repeated exposure, it can be a little fiddly at first as there are initially quite a few bits and pieces to deal with. The plastic parts of it, like the backplate and clip for the mounting plate, also feel a little flimsy, but we can't deny that it provides a secure mount. Corsair's latest installation method is preferred, however, as the magnetic mounting plate really speeds things up, so it's a shame Antec hasn't upped its game in this arena.
Double radiators are less versatile than the single ones found in the H80i and Kühler 920, but support for half height 240mm radiators is something common now in even budget ATX chassis, so this is becoming less of an issue. The sharply angled fan blades should be capable of pushing a lot of air, but you wouldn't want to catch your finger in one unless you want a chunk of it removed. Oddly, the cables on the fans themselves are very short, although we had no trouble reaching the long fan cable connected to the pump.
Click to enlarge - Chill Control VI provides users with a good degree of control over the H2O 1220
The software provided is Antec's Chill Control VI. We did encounter a few stability issues in use, but we imagine these will be ironed out in the full release. The software provides all the functionality you'd expect, with pre-made fan control curves (including the ability to create your own), a host of system monitoring and control of the pump's LED colour. Corsair's Link software, which we haven't experienced any performance issues with, provides much the same functionality, but is better laid out and also has the benefit of being able to control other Link capable devices such as power supplies.