Review Index:

Operation: Water Cool - A Look at the Swiftech H2O-120 Compact

Manufacturer: Swiftech

Testing Design

Since I received this product there have been several improvements made to the design of the water-block itself.

I had the misfortune of having my fan bus die on me causing all fans to stop [I didn’t have auto shutdown enabled]. At the time I was running SETI on all four cores causing tremendous amounts of heat. It was close to a half hour before I realized what had happened and shut the system down. It was too late. The water blocks injection molded base had warped from the heat and caused a very slight leak.

I brought this up to Gabe at Swiftech who told me that Swiftech had just redesigned the block to prevent exactly that from happening.  The new molded base of the block [which looks almost identical to the old base except the new one has seven small ridges at the intake value] uses a new type of material which can withstand an extra ten degrees of heat I’m told. While it looks almost identical outside, once the blocks are opened up they do not.

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Original water block leak after fan failure.  The heat caused the coils to open up as well. Original block left, new block right

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New block left; note the extra screws and support ribs, old block right you can see the damage caused by the fan failure  as the plastic is warped New block left, you can see the extra supports and new design, old block right note the heat damage

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New block opened right up on left, old block on right note the design changes

There are extra ribbed supports throughout along with an extra screw that helps keep the shape and seal much better then before.

As well Gabe has informed me that the copper base which makes contact to the CPU has also been changed, it is slightly bowed now. While it is almost impossible to see this bow, once you take the base plate off the two water blocks you can tell as the redesigned one kind of pops up when the screws are removed while the original one does not.

This slight bow to the copper plate helps the block to make better contact with the CPU core and results in an extra 3-4 c better cooling the original design

The big question is how well Swiftech's latest offerings work: do they truly measure up to much more costly solutions? Is it worth while to water cool other heat source’s such as chipsets and video cards. To answer these questions let’s ask the patient.

The Patient:

Case: Thermaltake Mozart [a small pantry for your computer]

Motherboard: EVGA 680i SLI

Video card: 2 x EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320 meg

Ram: Patriot pc2 8500 enhanced latency 2x 1gig

Hard drives: 2 x 75 gig western digital raptors stripped

CPU: Intel q6600 2.4 GHZ @ 3 GHz 1333 FSB or higher


  • To reduce fan noise significantly as there are 11 120 case fans ,a 120 power supply fan, 2 video card fans ,a 120 CPU fan and a chipset fan installed on this computer. [The airflow through this case air-cooled is believe it or not, is quite inadequate and several grill cut outs have been made to improve airflow]
  • Reduce all temperatures significantly, case, CPU, chipset and video vs.  Stock and aftermarket air-cooled solutions
  • Achieve highest possible over-clock at complete stability while running bionic for 24 hrs with out crashing.
  • To run two separate water cooling systems one dedicated solely to the CPU while the other takes care of the two chipsets and the two video cards

Organ transplants:

Replace the stock heat pipe off the two chipsets with water cooling blocks

Replace stock video card heat sinks with water cooling

Replace Scythe ninja CPU heat sink with water cooling

The New Organs:

Loop one

For the CPU    : Swiftechs new h2o-120 compact water-cooling system

Loop two

For the chipset: Swiftech MCW-30 chipset water blocks x2

For the video   : Swiftech Stealth VGA water blocks x2

The pump for 2nd loop is the MCP-350 from Swiftech

The radiator for the 2nd loop is the MCR-120 QP from Swiftech

The reservoir for the 2nd loop is the MCRES micro reservoir also from Swiftech

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Chipset blocks with all the different mount hardware for a wide variety of motherboards Base of the new apogee drive water block

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All water blocks installed Stealth water block installed

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Full water block install

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