Swiftech, one of the watercooling world's most popular manufacturers has released the replacement for the highly successful Apogee GTZ waterblock. The new Apogee XT looks much the same on the outside with the same great mounting mechanism but has a very different pin layout on the copper baseplate. It still utilises the awesome looking 225 µm (0.009") micro pin matrix but in a different shape, covering the whole of the baseplate rather than using the cross shape of the GTZ.

The changes in design are in response to hundreds of hours spent trying to improve performance on the latest Core i5 and Core i7 processors, according to Swifttech - who also state that the improvements will benefit other Intel chips and those from AMD too. To accomodate the popular compression fittings which are all the rage at the moment, the Apogee XT has a detachable inlet plate which can be rotated 180°, moving the inlet port to the edge of the block in a similar configuration to the Apogee GTZ.

Performance appears to be much improved with the Apogee XT bettering the current king of the hill, the Watercool Heatkiller 3.0 LT by nearly 2°C. It also shaves 3°C off the Apogee GTZ. Testing was done with an Intel Core i7-920 overclocked to 4.095 MHz with a Vcore of 1.392V. Restriction is also reduced out of the box compared to the Apogee GTZ although rotating the inlet plate will see slightly higher restriction and fractionally higher (0.1°C) temperatures. Still, it's a tiny compromise to be able to use some sexy compression fittings.

The Apogee XT uses 1/4in fittings, so is compatible with a vast majority of barbs out there. As for compatibility with sockets, LGA1366 is supported out of the box with LGA1156 and LGA775 backplates available free of charge to those who buy the block prior to these being available (which will be in a few weeks time). AMD and server motherboard kits will also be available.

The only downside we can see is the need for specific orientation of the block on the CPU socket due to a topographically mapped cooling plate providing an optimized TIM joint. For standard ATX cases this will be fine as the inlet and outlets will be the right way round for bleeding air from the block. However, with inverted ATX cases from the likes of Lian Li, using this orientation will mean the inlet is above the outlet - not ideal but the Apogee GTZ had the same issue.

Price-wise, Swiftech has stated $79.95 for the Apogee GT. Looking at Sidewinder Computers this seems to be roughly on the money although we'll have to see how this translates into UK moneys. For more information see Swiftech's product page here. We'll have a sample to play with soon too so watch this space. Are you after a new CPU waterblock? Which one do you have at the moment? Let us know in the comments.
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