i7-2600K CPU Swiftech Apogee XT (Revision 2) Upgrade

Posted: May 16, 2011 in Blocks
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Thermal Testing

Getting to the meat of the performance side of things, thermal testing.


For thermal testing I decided to use  a 5 mount method of logging temperatures at a fixed ambient measuring core, water, and air temperatures very carefully. Here are some of the specifics in my testing method:

  • Intel i7 2600K Processor – Overclocked to 4800 MHz, 32nm, Vcore = 1.392 under load. Motherboard is an MSI P67A-GD65 with 8GB of Corsair Vengance memory. Everything else is on air at the moment. Test bench is a Danger Den Torture Rack
  • 5 separate TIM applications and mounts, more if needed.
  • Logging temperatures over a 45 minute test, 10 minute warmup is removed from the results, and the entire logged run is provided for review.
  • Temperature Probes Deployed – I kept my sensors fairly basic, but I did run a few extra’s just for interesting information. This includes a sensor for:
    • 2 ea Water sensors (After radiator and pump, just before CPU block) Dallas DS18B20 Digital one-wire sensors, and CrystalFontz CFA-633
    • 4 ea Air In Dallas DS18B20 Digital one-wire sensors, and CrystalFontz CFA-633
    • 4 ea i7 2600K DTS sensors these were logged using Real Temp 3.67 .
    • Crystal Fontz logging is accomplished through the use of their Cyrstalfonts 633 WinTest b1.9. Only special settings are turning off all packet debugger check boxes to avoid paging the processor.
    • The Dallas DS18B20 Digital one-wire sensors that were used as noted above have a specified absolute accuracy of .5C with a .2C accuracy between 20 -30C temperature range. They also have resolution down to .0625C which is very good, and because they are digital they are not affected by the wiring or length of wire like thermocouples are.
  • Pump – Swiftech MCP-35X with reservoir. I think this pump represents the pumping power available to many users and gives a fair amount of strong pumping power and the PWM capability makes for easy variable pumping power levels
  • Radiator – The Feser Company (TFC) 480 ER radiator with Yate loon D12SL12 slow speed fans at 12V.  No longer in production, but a good strong quad radiator provide roughly a 3C water/air delta when under load with the fans I’m using.  The small delta means warm up time is kept to a minimum.  The system will normally stabilize in under 10 minutes so there is little waste in warm up and air water variability is kept to a minimum.  Users with 240 rads with similar fans should expect results to be roughly 3 degrees higher than what I have recorded.
  • TIM Material – I used Arctic Cooling MX-2 for this test in a cross application method. It is considered a paste that requires very little cure and commonly enough that I felt it represent general use fairly well.
  • Prime 95 Load – I used Prime 95, torture test, Custom, Min FTT 8K, Max FTT 8K, Run FFTs in place checked ON. This is an easy to use and constently loading program. It provided the most consistent loading I could find for quad cores. OCCT wasn’t capable of maintaining a full 100% load and so I feel Prime 95 is a more consistent loading routine and seems to work fine.  It creates 8 100% load working threads and an extreme load.
  • Stock IHS – I chose to leave the IHS alone this time since it would be more representative of what most people do.
Block Orientation
I did…again experiment with block orientation testing on this one.  Mount #1 was per the recommended line up the bolts with the retention lever, Mounts 2 through 5 were 90 degrees to that recommendation.  While there really isn’t enough mounts completed to show any significant difference, my stronger mounting results were contradictory to the recommended which I believe is due to my convex IHS shape.  I would suggest using whichever orientation suits your build tubing routing best…I couldn’t really measure a difference.
Individual Mounting Runs
Mounting Comparison
The mounting consistency was much much better this time, apparently I’m getting better as a user in producing more consistent and near optimal mounts.  This is how the new test compares to the previous 5 mount runs:
If you take the mean of the 5 mounts, you would get a net thermal improvement over revision 1, however I believe that is more a result of my own personal improvement and increased experience with this mounting mechanism more so than anything.  The “best mount” between the two XT 5 mount runs does seem to be a more firm result than taking averages of many mounts. For the longest time I’ve been assuming the mean of the many mounts would be a more firm number, but what about extreme users who are willing to mount a block several times in an effort to squeeze the best out of the block?  I also question how representative the mean is to the mass.  Mounting variations will depend not only on the TIM materials used, but also the user, weather or not tubing is pulling on the block, and also the shape of the CPU IHS.  It appears best of the many mounts may actually have some benefit in duplicating results than taking the average.
So….To compliment the 5 mounts of data (provided above) I figured I’d throw in this “Best of 5 mounts” bar chart to present the data to users willing to mount multiple times to get an ideal or optimal mount in a more simplified and easier to read format:

Using the “Best of 5 Mounts Approach” nets an identical result to the XT Rev1.  That’s very good considering there has been a pressure drop improvement.

It should also be noted that the XT was designed with the larger 45nm 1366 platform in mind, so my results on the smaller 32nm core 1155 may or may not be representative of other platforms or future platforms.  Like radiators being optimized for certain fan speeds, I believe certain blocks and nozzle orientations may be optimized for specific CPUs and sockets. This is just my result on one i7-2600K processor which seems to have a vertically oriented convex IHS when mounted in the MSI 1155 retention socket.

Moving on…how about some eye candy..

I couldn’t help myself with my camera, the XT happens to be very photogenic..:)


Swapping out the housing from the original Apogee XT revision 1 housing to the revision 2 was an easy way to improve pressure drop while retaining the same great thermal performance. While it may not be as dramatic in reduction as I had hoped for, it is still a good improvement and definitely a worthwhile change in revisions overall considering there was no loss in thermal performance.

The Apogee XT Revision 1 is a top end performance block, it has the best mounting system tested so far, and subjectively one of the best looking blocks as well.  The XT Rev 1 is also one of the most complete Intel CPU block packages available, being the only block tested so far to also include quality metal barbs and clamps.  The Swiftech Apogee XT Revision 2 builds upon the excellent XT Revision 1 by offering the same great block package and thermal performance while reducing restriction….excellent!

Where to Buy

I would recommend the following places for purchase of the XT Rev 2 housing or block:


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