Swiftech H220 AIO Water Cooling Kit Review

Posted: January 27, 2013 in Kits, Radiators
Tags: , , , , ,

EXPANDABILITY/MODIFICATION

One of the big selling points of the H220 over your usual AIO kit’s is that it is intended for expansion. While ultimately there have been many demonstrations and user reports now to show the kit is indeed expandable and I’m the type that likes to measure things and understand how they work at a finer detail than just degrees.   That’s where the flow meter and digital manometer come in to test restriciton and pumping power and hopefully shed some light on the hydraulics.   DIY water cooling parts are generally designed for slightly higher flow rates than AIO units and typically seem to have lower restriction. That is good in terms of retaining higher flow rates for easy bleeding and filling, but it also means their thermal performance starts to drop off at lower flow rates. While we don’t have a lot of hard data to understand how really low flow rates impact performance for GPU blocks, we can look at that for CPU blocks.

Using Stren’s recent CPU block flow rate performance data here.

You can see that as you would expect, block performance does increase as flow rate increases. By 1.5 GPM flow performance increases become very small, usually less than a degree, but flow rates from 1GPM down to .5GPM do start adding up to 3 degrees or so. Using that I would say anything much lower than about .5GPM is going to really start suffering at performing well even with the relatively micro designs in CPU blocks. GPU blocks are generally not quite as micro in their fin structure, so I would assume that drop off in performance is even more pronounced. With that I will stick with the .5GPM minimum flow rate, 1GPM+ preferred.

Bleeding Performance

In addition to thermal performance dropping off as flow rates dip down low, even more important is how well a system self purges or bleeds itself. The 1GPM rule used in past DIY planning efforts was predominantly there to help ensure the system will self purge air bubbles from the tubes and parts, etc. This can be mitigated quite a bit by removing the system from the computer when filling and bleeding as it gives you an opportunity to shake parts and help encourage the trapped air around the loop, but it can take a considerable amount of work.  1GPM is however fairly conservative I think.  I did a few very simple tests with 1/2″ ID tubing coiled vertically to see at what point the flow rate was high enough to push the air pocket down and through the tubing.  At ~0.3GPM the pocket remained, and at approximately 0.4GPM the pocket finally pushed along and cleared, .5GPM had more than enough to move the air about.  Inverted double thickness radiators with large boxy plenum chambers mounted inverted at the top of the case probably have the greatest challenge as that’s a very large x-sectional area to move the air down, however in the context of value systems double thickness at twice the price for maybe 10% more performance certainly isn’t as likely as someone expanding with a slim radiator.  To give some room for bleeding radiators top mounted, I’m going to call 0.5GPM a good bare minimum although it is possible to have issues with premium thickness rads not wanting to push the air pockets clear in a top mounted setup.  You really should consider building the loop in the case, then removing is to bleed on the bench or at a minimum plan on turning the case around at different angles to help bleed the air out.

Power Consumption

Power consumption is actually a fairly decent measure of pumping power.  Not all are equal in terms of efficiency, but it can give you a general idea.  A D5 at full speed draws upwards of 21W and when dialed down to setting 1 as little as 3W.  Many of the smaller pumps range from about 6-8W.

Swiftech-H220-71

The H220 draws approximately 6.4W in my test loop with the valve wide open and reduces as restriction is increased.  It’s a good amount of power to meet the needs for less complex loops.

Pump/Block PQ Curve Testing

While not a typical pump test since the block restriction is also included in the result (giving an a lower result), a PQ curve test is the most complete picture at understanding hydraulic performance and necessary to predict flow rate performance.  I also did a pressure drop test below that shows the block restriction and radiator restriction so you have everything needed to evaluate additional components if you have their pressure drop.

Swiftech-H220-72

I’m working on the chart for the results but I got this:

Swiftech-H220-PQ01b
Max Head Pressure (0 GPM) = 2.97PSI

Head @ .50GPM = 1.20PSI

Head @ .77GPM = .29PSI

Speed remained constant at 101Hz or 3,030RPM

Voltage was held at 12.02-12.04V

Amperage ranges from .53 at low restriction to .36 at max restriction (0 GPM).

Max Flow Rate ~0.80GPM

So, with just the H220 radiator tested below, you should see around .62 GPM, adding a triple radiator does very little and reduces flow to about .59, adding an MCW82 on top of that and you should get around .53GPM.  Full cover GPU blocks as tested per Stren’s testing here measure very similarly to the lower restriction MCW82 so you should retain over .5GPM with most CPU + GPU + Radiator type loops.

Restriction Testing

While restriction is not related to thermal performance it does relate to how much pumping power remains for adding additional part. In very simplified terms, pressure differential is what makes the fluid move about, the pump adds pressure and the parts consume that pressure. When pump and loop planning for these smaller kits, I am most interested in the pressure added and dropped in the .5-1.5GPM range. First I started with the radiator pressure drop using my usual tools to measure flow rate (King Instruments 7520 250mm Acrylic Flow Meter) and pressure differential (Dwyer 477-5 Digital Manometer). It’s a pretty simple test, I simply vary the flow rate and record the flow vs pressure drop incrementally until the full curve is developed.

Swiftech-H220-69

Swiftech-H220-PD01b

Swiftech-H220-PD02

That’s a bit surprising to me as I expected the H220 radiator to test much lower than that since the radiator core and tube sizes look very similar to the MCR320. The H100i in contrast does visually look like it uses much thinner tubes which is also somewhat evident in the “Less Rounded” curvature. I’ve noticed this in testing the HWlabs GTX which uses more restrictive tubes that also produced a flatter curve. My only explanation for this is the flatter tubes expand as pressure increases. In the end, the H220 and H100i are both generally high restriction radiators compared to their DIY counterparts by about 5-6X. I’m not quite sure why the H220 measures higher in restriction, but I suspect it is the much lower profile end tanks and swivel fittings since the tubes look very similar to the MCR320-QP. While radiators are generally low in restriction compared to CPU blocks, the H220 radiator is not and measured on the high side compared to usual DIY rads. The H100i rad measured higher in restriction at .5GPM, where the H220 was higher at 1GPM and they were roughly equal at .7GPM.

I did the same test on the pump/block combo to get a sense of block restriction.

Swiftech-H220-70

Swiftech-H220-PD03

Swiftech-H220-PD04

While the H220 is considerably lower in restriction than the H100i by about 4X, it is still a bit on the higher side relative to other DIY blocks. It shares a very similar pin matrix to the the older Apogee XT2 except for the pump housing, impeller restriction, and swivel fittings. What this means is that even if the H220 pump could spin up to MCP35X speeds, the restriction of the block alone would limit flow rate to 1.1GPM. Now add in the radiator restriction and you are likely looking at flow rates between .5GPM and 1GPM as a guess. Generally the restriction is a bit higher than I would have liked, but thermal performance and pressure drop is always one of those balancing things. I’m pretty sure it will mean some planning is needed in regarding to what you add and you can expect flow rates below 1GPM.

Is Expansion possible, Yes. – You should have no trouble with most CPU + GPU + Radiator type loops.

Is it going to be super easy to fill and bleed, Maybe.  It is below the 1 GPM rule of thumb most use for DIY loop design, but that’s generally a high enough flow rate to ensure super easy fill it and turn it on bleeding.  If performance only drops a couple to a few degrees from 1GPM down to .5GPM, then running at .5GPM is a relatively minor performance loss.  The more notable difference will be how easy it is to get the air bled out.  If you are below 1GPM, I would recommend filling and bleeding with the loop outside of the case just to make sure you can rotate parts around and get the air out properly.

Will it perform as well as a full custom loop?  Close. – I would estimate 2-3C difference due to slightly lower flow rates, but that’s still very much a good performance.  You can also always add another pump to push in series if you wanted to step up pumping power and maximize flow rate, but your greater gains could probably be had with more radiator if you have the space.  Using something like a preimum quad radiator plus 35X2 pump could probably net you 7-8C as a guess but you are talking about a $200 pump plus a $100 for just the rad, not to mention fans, reservoir, block, etc.  The $140 H220 price point is very much a great value, you have to spend a LOT more on DIY custom cooling to get much more.

Overall, I would consider the H220 very expansion capable.  It certainly does have enough pumping power to push through the kit plus a couple of extra parts as long as you don’t mind giving a little more patience to fill and bleed outside the case and has been demonstrated to be capable of running multiple GPUs and radiators just fine.  I wouldn’t suggest stringing together an extremely complex loop, but it should be plenty for most users simply looking for a little expansion.

Regarding radiator capacity, that really depends on the heat level.  I would generally recommend at least adding an MCR120 or other 120 sized radiator if you add a GPU, but CPU + GPU could be very possible with just the H220 rad.  It just depend on heat level.  My extremely hot 180W 3930K as you’ll see in later testing does push the limits when dialing fan speeds way down, so a little extra rad would be encouraged depending on heat level.  About 100W per 120mm rad section is about max I would recommend for average fan speeds.

Pump Comparison H100i

Here is a quick comparison of pump+block vs pump+block that I have so far.  Will add more as I get the others done:

Swiftech-H220-PQ02

The Corsair H100i is specifically designed as a sealed unit and operates at very low flow rates, where the H220 produces much higher flow rates.  If we hold .5GPM as the “DIY parts Minimum”, then the H220 is compatible with DIY expansion and the H100i is not.  The H220 produces roughly 3X the maximum pressure head and about 7X higher maximum flow rate.

 

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Comments
  1. Dalmeme says:

    hi martin, i have an h220 expanded with:

    ek cylindrical 200mm res
    rx360rad mounted on top of a swith 810
    and 2x 6970 waterblocks
    4x 45 degree and 1 90 degree angled fits on gpu block and pump to res

    i have bleeded the loop outside the case for an hour, and for me its so tiring
    im a former raystorm user (rx360 + rx240 + raystorm block and 5870 gpu blocks *2pcs)

    i wonder if this h220 is capable of handling JUST fine my loop whereareas in CES, they showed alot of res where they only used swiftech rads (i dunno about their flow restrictions)

    the meaning of fine will be ( it can handle simple OC operations such as my OC’ed 2600k to 4.5 ghz and 2x 6970 on stock) on 5-7hrs usage on a daily basis)

    and also im worried about the flow rate, restrictions + volume of the water made the flow less than that of 0.6gpm the highest that ive seen from the gpu is 48 degrees C where my ambient is 27 degrees C. Is the pump really sufficient at all

    im kinda worried, by the way thanks :)

    • Martinm210 says:

      in the end as long as your temps are good and there is no air noise, I’d say yes. Extra flow generally has little effect. If you bought a second pump and added it to the loop, I would expect maybe a 2 degree improvement.

      The bigger issue is the inconvenience of getting the air out. A high flow system can be bled out without much effort at all.

  2. Dalmeme says:

    also to add in additional info about the loob, 240 mcp rad was placed in front of the switch ( due to space restricions on the tubing valves when mounted below)

    and the gpu blocks are xspc razor 6970

    5-7 hrs will be a combination of gaming + small amounts of video editing + render

    cpu peak was at 62 degrees on 1 core with ambient of 27-29 degrees in Philippines

  3. Dalmeme says:

    oh you mean that i can use an ek dcp 4.0 pump alongside with the stock h220 pump?

    the flow rate will be different between the two (difference is quite big though)

    will the h220 be restricting the additional flow given by the new pump? i mean bottlenecking it when the water pass through the cpu (flow will slow down eventually?)

    my loop will be like this

    res>ekpump>mcprad>2×6970>rx360>cpublock>res

    thanks, now i know im still quite noobish though :))

    • Martinm210 says:

      Yes, you can run two different pumps together no problem. They don’t produce different flow rates, rather they add pressure differential. I have run different pumps together in series many times and under a normal loop it does not matter that they are different. Typically you will see around a 30% or so increase in flow rate is all.

  4. Gil says:

    Hi Martin,
    I’d like your recommendation / suggestion where and how to begin with what I’d like to do.
    So here is a short background:
    I have H100i but my 3770K gets to 99deg with load. It wasn’t like this, it started to be like this from some odd reason. The H100i is a 7th RMA because the pump used to fail all the time and now the LED’s are burnt out.

    What I wish to do:
    1. Replace the cheap Intel’s thermal paste with Liquid Pro
    2. Replace to Swiftech H220

    What I would like to know and can’t tell where to begin:
    1. What is bleed?
    2. How can I expend the H220 to cool a GPU or GPU’s?
    3. If I’d like to add extra 120x120mm rad for better cooling performance, how do I go about it?
    4. How can I tell which liquid I should use for refill?
    5. If I use the supplied PWM connector of Swiftech, how can I controll the speed of fan or pump with my motherbaord desktop utility? This tool monitors the motherboard PWM’s not Swiftech’s.
    6. If I want to use pipes with colour for effects, how do I do it?

    In all, I read your review but the terms and units are not something I know. Could you please help / guide me through this process?

    Thank you!!

    • Martinm210 says:

      I would check the mounting. Switching to H220 isn’t going to make more than a couple of degrees difference if both are mounted correctly and both have good fan air flow with cool ambient air running through the radiator. Also make sure the fans are running full speed and you are getting cool air into the raditor. You don’t want a hot PSU or graphics card exhausting hot air into the radiator etc.

      Liquid pro or a better compound might also help a couple of degrees but 99 sound like a bad mount or fans not running right or something else.

      Bleed just means getting the air out of the system. Expanding isn’t something I can describe quickly and not something I tried on the h220 either but it takes a lot of work on these kits because the flow rate is very low.

      • gil80 says:

        Hi Martin,

        The mounting is ok since when I first installed it, the CPU never went above 75 deg on load.
        I use 2 noctua NF-14F fans on the H100i Rad. I only want to replace it since I didn’t get my money’s worth for the 7th time (LEDs died, pump died in the past, buzzing sound in the past).
        I use Asus AI Suite 2 with fan control so when the CPU is on load the fans spins up. My case’s fans are mounted to create positive air pressure in the case. The rad fans are in pull config.

        As for expending, do you have a guide or a link you can direct me to?

        Thanks
        Gil

  5. Hello Martin, has been a while, hope you are doing well and everything is going fine :)

    Just read about a new AIO from Cooler Master partnered up with Swiftech on a unit called the Glacer 240L here:
    http://www.techpowerup.com/192997/cooler-master-announces-the-glacer-240l-cpu-liquid-cooler.html

    Was wondering what your thoughts about it are and if you may be doing a review sometime later on it.

    Thanks,
    Steven

    • Martinm210 says:

      Yeah, been busy with my new job is all. Lots of projects at the moment so working late evenings and weekends is pretty common and will continue for the next few months. It’s all good though, finally have a job I enjoy so the overtime feels more like a hobby than work and one I actually get paid for…:)

      No near term plans with the site or testing, but maybe later this winter or spring when things slow down a bit.

      • Great to hear you have found a good job that you enjoy, that makes life worth living, your a luck guy :)

        No big deal on that AIO, just wondering if you had heard of it and how closely it matches the H220, found no info at all on Swiftech and very little on CM, too new I guess for anyone to have taken it apart yet. If I read any good stuff on it I’ll drop a note here.

        Take care
        Steven

        • it’s basically the same as the H220 except the pump max out at 3500rpm instead of 3000rpm like the H220 and it comes with 2400rpm blademaster fans. swiftech teamed up with CM so they cool sell it in the US again.

  6. Welsh Jester says:

    I have the original 320 Drive with pump built into the rad, needless to say it is fairly noisy. I have 3 Scythe GT 1150rpm fans on it, with a Swiftech XT waterblock, which by the way was very easy to install, i don’t think it’s that great at cooling though i could be wrong (have it on an original i7 920)

    It appears the pump is noisy because it’s stuck to the rad, but after watching and listening to some youtube video’s it seems the pump in this h220 kit is also somewhat noisy, not a constant noise and sounds a bit like an engine revving.. Is this typical because again the pump is not separate but built into the block this time?

    Noises irritate me, it makes me want to just get a NHD14 or something like that for my next build because i know there will only be a quiet fan on it with no possibility of annoying noises.

    • Martinm210 says:

      No personal experience with the h2o series where the pump is radiator integrated, but I know they use the higher speed 35x motors in those. Very tue that any time you hard mount a pump the noise levels go up since vibration transfer created noise is possible. Decoupling the pump from the case will always be your best bet if you are after ultimate silence. With that said both options offer PWM speed controllable pumps that allow auto speed regulation. Most users have found reducing speeds to the minimum settings to provide the silence they are after. A HSF may eliminate pump noise, but it does not provide enough heat exchange to run silent fan speeds. If ultimate silence is your goal, a larger radiator along with an independent and properly decoupled pump is going to provide the best silence. D5 series pumps like the MCP655PWM are also a bit better than DDC types for noise. The H220 depends a bit on the sample you get and your motherboard/case. The samples I had were pretty good on noise and not really audible at normal fan speeds and plenty quite when dialed down to the minimum via PWM. I personally can’t stand the HSF noise levels under the overclocks I like to run, just not enough heat exchange surface area and I don’t like running fans much higher than 1000 RPM.

      • Welsh Jester says:

        Hi Martin, thanks for the reply. The pump in my 320 Drive (rev 1) is not speed adjustable in any way. Plus i have read that modding it, or altering it’s voltages is not really recommended. So i am stuck with it at full speed, which seems to be around 3800rpm. It is a bit loud for my liking, especially over the 1150RPM GT’s. If i could run it half speed i’m guessing it’d be almost inaudible. Of course, it’s also mounted on the back of my case.. so it is going to be a bit noisier since it’s not inside. It does sound like the RPM’s fluctuate a bit on the pump, as in it doesn’t sound like a constant noise for some reason.

        It is a bit annoying that it seems not all pumps are made equally then, since noise seems to differ between multiple ones of the same model. But i have not heard for myself what they sound like at lower RPM to see if they are acceptable in a realistic environment, would it be possible with any one of those pumps to get the sound level below a 1000rpm fan’s noise, with RPM adjustments? Or even lower? I listened to your video testing the H220′s pump, only 2 decibels over ambient? Very quiet, though it doesn’t sound like a smooth noise (a bit like low ticking?) but i would assume this would be difficult to hear outside of the case? Or even be inaudible?

        I asked Bryan at Swiftech myself and he also said that the Apogee Drive II pump/block combo would likely be quieter over the rads with built in pumps. What do you think noise quality is like on the H220/Apogee Drive II pump vs a decoupled pump, or vs a D5 at setting 1-2?

        I know it would be simple to say to just build a custom loop. But i really much prefer a 2 part loop over a 3 part with a reservoir, less clutter in the case and looks much cleaner, and easier to put together. Only issue is this limits me to Swiftech stuff, since they are the only ones who make rads with built in reservoir’s, and pumps built into the water block. It would mean i’d have to ditch all my current cooler, since the apogee XT water block would be useless.

        So options would be, pay less for a H320 (though i don’t know how good sound quality would be) or build a loop around a Apogee Drive II block/pump combo, both present issues with upgradability though as the water block can’t be changed, and i’d have to stick with Swiftech rads for the built in reservoirs. It seems like i’m looking for something that’s not possible to have.

        Just a couple more questions though, how do you think a H320 would compare to a full custom loop with good low speed fans on each? Would there literally be little point in going custom over it?

        And adding a graphics card to a loop, would the pump also be able to run at the lowest speed and only have minimal impact on temps, say 1-2c like a cpu only loop?.

        Sorry for such a long post here, hopefully you can answer my questions. Thanks.

        • Martinm210 says:

          If I understand the drive system you have, it is probably a normal DDC 3.25 or non PWM DDC pump. These can be speed controlled by lowering voltage. A Koolance CTR SPD-10 is perfect for that. As a test you could try a normal good fan controller that is capable of handling 30W to see if you like the noise level. You just have to be careful about a normal fan controller because you can go too low a voltage for it to start. They typically need around 8V minimum and you want no more than 12v max.

          The Koolance pump controllers are designed to do just that and also use a transformer instead of resistance so you can maintain a full 12v. Try that first, I bet you can get noise down to a level you would like with what you have via voltage reduction.

          • Welsh Jester says:

            I only managed to find the SPD-10 in a netherland store, there is a Koolance pump controller in a UK store but it’s not that model. Though they’re almost the same price.

            Regarding your H220 review, did that pump vibration noise go away when mounted inside your case? It seemed just about inaudible when you had your hand on it.

            You should try and get review samples of the Drive kits, and the Elite kit from Swiftech, i’d like to see your comparisons of noise. I wonder if it’s possible for them to get pump noise down to as good as being decoupled on those kits? I wonder which one would offer the best upgrade path, with the pump being stuck in the rad it would mean the waterblock would be upgradeable.. but it has that issue with noise, maybe you can get them to make a new revision that would get pump noise as low as being decoupled? Worth a thought.. You could even suggest how they do it. Surely it wouldn’t be that hard?

            Needs to be attached to the radiator, but somehow isolated and padded to stop noise? Is that possible? or will the best results always be from the pump on the water block?

          • Martinm210 says:

            I don’t think you can even match fully decoupled unless you change the pump. Coupled noise inherited by the impeller lack of balance and quality and unfortunately there is quite a variance in impeller balance with DDC and D5 pumps which are manufactured by a different company. The H220 is their first pump they manufactured in-house and it is balanced via small holes filled with material, but even with that it has some vibration noise. PWM is really the cheapest way to control noise; that or go with separated components. I was hoping they would sell the h220 pumps as a separate component by now. If you made a nice 35x style top for it, dialed speeds up a bit, and could sell it for $50, they would be a VERY interesting DIY part that you could fully decouple.

          • Welsh Jester says:

            Martin, get on to Swiftech and have them make a new Drive revision with a different pump, and have it noise dampened from the radiator. :D

            I’m honestly not sure which one presents the best upgrade path, pump in rad or pump in block? Hmm.. I’ve been checking my 320 Drive, and it is only mountable standing up straight.. so even if the pump controller brings noise down a lot, it will limit me to having it mounted outside the case still.

            Vibration or other noises would annoy me most, and that comes with either product :/.

            Do you think you’d be able to hear a Drive pump (in a rad) or the pump on the block at low rpm’s, over 1150rpm GT’s? Would either pumps at low speed still produce vibration or amplified noises or whine? One option could be to buy the new Drive revision 3 with rpm control and just swap that out so i can keep my XT waterblock, only problem is i can’t find that anywhere in europe. Stores only have the H220/320.. I wish i knew the difference in noise levels between the pumps of the Drive and H220/320 though.

            There must be a way to combine stuff while making it easily upgradeable & very quiet, only the Drive’s really have that option since there wouldn’t be a need for me to change the rad or pump.. but has more noise. ugh.

          • Martinm210 says:

            lol, Not sure..what you end with really depends too much on the individual sample variance. I have generally been pretty happy with most DDC or D5 pumps when dialed down but I have also seen my share of complaints from folks with unusually unbalanced impellers. I also had two D5 strong pumps that varied so much that one vibrated bad when installed in a pump top while the other worked fine.

  7. Welsh Jester says:

    Martin, i looked up the spd10 pump controller, someone on the Xtreme Systems forum says that he also had the MCP350 pump in his 320 Drive and it was loud and the spd10 made it silent. But looking on youtube there’s a user complaining of noise with the MCP35x in his 320 Edge with PWM set to 50% or so.. and it does sound fairly loud. But that basically means these 2 are contradicting eachother. At 8v with the spd10 the MCP350 is almost the same RPM as the 35x @ 50% speed.

    I was about to buy the pump controller, now i’m not so sure with conflicting reports.. don’t want to waste money if its not really going to make a big difference.

    Only option i can think of is swapping out the mcp350 in the radiator for the mcp35x and setting it to the lowest possible speed, but apparently the 35x is slightly different from the 350? So would only work in rev 2-3 of the Drive and not in my rev 1.

    Annoying trying to get a compact system with easy maintenance & low noise, would be so much easier to get an XSPC kit with a D5 shove it on setting one and done, except it goes from a simple compact loop to a full more complex loop which i didn’t really want to do.

    • Welsh Jester says:

      Martin, any opinion on the above? I’m not sure the pump controller putting the MCP350 to 8v would be enough to get noise below that of 3 Scythe GT’s running @ 1150rpm being hard mounted to the rad, i’ve heard an MCP35x @ 40% or so and it is still fairly audible, but i don’t know if an MCP350 being undervolted to 8v would be quieter than an MCP35x @ 40%.. since they’re different pumps.

      Other than that i could try getting an MCP35X (if it fits) or just scrap the whole idea. If the pump controller would actually silence it, i’ll order one, but i’m skeptical. if the MCP35x and 350 are similar, in your charts there’s only a couple of db difference between what would be max speed of the MCP350 and being undervolted to 8v.

      • Martinm210 says:

        Not sure, but some trial and error testing with any bigger fan controller should give you the idea. Fan placement and pump placement/decoupling has such a huge effect on muffling that it’s pretty hard to guess. All I can say is most people with a blue impeller mcp350 are pretty happy with noise. An 18w 355 can be a bit whiny Nd some complain about D5s at full speed. Generally most are pretty happy with a D5 setting 3 or and mcp350 (blue impeller). The only complaint I hear at that pumping speed is the older black impeller DDC1s which have a buzzy motor controller compared to the newer Blue or blue/orange DDC3s.

        Try undervolting and see is all I can suggest.

        • Welsh Jester says:

          Martin, thanks for all the helpful advice, i messaged Swiftech and they said an MCP35x would work in a Drive (rev1) radiator. It only costs a little more than the Koolance pump controller, so i may as well buy the MCP35x instead.

          Some guy shows noise levels here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WZ_G9_IAew on his Edge kit, from what i can hear it seems inaudible at 20% speeds, but audible with high pitch at higher speeds. Maybe i’ll just order that then, i guess that’s pretty much as silent as it’s going to get.. hopefully quieter than my fans. I’ll likely be ordering it soon.