Today we’re reviewing the Swiftech Apogee XT rev2, which is a revision of the great Apogee XT we reviewed in late 2009. The rev2 differentiates itself from the original Apogee XT by modifying the top to reduce restriction (which also alters the flowpath). Aside from that, it’s still the same block; same base, same great mounting system, same configurable inlet position (centered for maximum performance or offset for maximum fitting compatibility), and the same looks. Because the rest of the block is exactly the same, swapping the top is easy and possible; Swiftech is selling revision 2 tops.
Regarding the revision 2 change, it can (and likely will) impact more than just restriction. But first, let’s detail what the actual change was. If you turn the top upside-down and look at it, it has a platform, a moat, and an outer platform (where the six structural screws go); the outer platform can be ignored. When assembled, the platform contacts the micropins and the moat is the collection chamber for the outlet. With the original revision, the platform was large and nearly square, forcing the flow through the majority of the micropins on the base. With revision 2, the platform is made a lot narrower, with a straight taper into the moat. The result is that a bypass is created and a lot less of the flow is forced through the micropins.
By allowing the flow to partially bypass a lot of the micropins (flow only bypasses the micropins that are not directly above the hottest spots of the CPU), you exchange a little bit of cooling for a significant drop in restriction. However, considering our CPUs have such high thermal densities (and the integrated heatspreaders aren’t hugely effective at spreading the heat) and also considering the bump in flowrate, overall thermal performance should be mostly unchanged. However, at low pumping power (i.e., low flowrates), there may be a noticeable drop in performance and at high pumping power there may be a noticeable gain in performance. We won’t be able to test the original Apogee XT for another couple of weeks to verify, but when we do, we’ll revisit this.
We really liked the Apogee XT when it came out and since the rev2 is basically the same block, there’s still a lot to like about it. There’s no convoluted assembly process (for the mounting system or the block itself), the mounting system is the easiest to use of any block today, and barb compatibility is great. On top of that, it’s an all-metal block that has all visible parts plated but doesn’t cost as much as the rest of the plated blocks out there (if you shop around, at least). On top of the lower price, the Apogee XT rev2 includes 1/2″ barbs and fittings, saving a secondary expense. The Apogee XT rev2 gets a lot of the little things right and that’s really important.
But as much as we like the Apogee XT rev2, we have to point out some flaws. The biggest annoyance, of all things, is with the mounting system; the four thumbscrews don’t point straight into the mounting holes. Instead they slide in their mounting plate slot and lean and point wherever gravity takes them. May sound like a trivial point, but it’s hard to get all four thumbscrews into the backplate holes without getting a couple in and partially tightened and then maneuvering the last couple into position. More on this in the mounting section.
The other issue I have with it is actually with another one of its features: the adjustable inlet plate. I understand the function it brings: either you get maximum performance or maximum fitting compatibility. The feature is a free alternative to expensive 45 degree rotary fittings, I just wish there were a way to get both good qualities instead of having to choose. Also related to the plate, the six small screws holding it in place are kind of easy to lose or strip–so changing the plate is something you want to do as little as possible.
The last flaw is compatibility. The Apogee XT was not tested in the last roundup because it is not fully compatible with the eVGA E758 motherboard. It worked, but not well (it was degrees behind similar competition, the smaller Apogee GTZ performed better in quick, unofficial testing). I have to doubt the eVGA E758 has capacitors closest to the center of the socket of any motherboard out there (especially LGA1156 and LGA1155 boards with the smaller socket areas), so compatibility is a concern I have for more users than just those using that old eVGA board. Then there’s also the issue of AMD users. No mounting hardware is included for them and the optional adapter kit uses a significantly inferior mounting system and adds an expense.
So while it’s a great block, in use it’s not perfect, but no block is. I’d say the flaws, aside from compatibility concerns, are on the side of nitpicking and are not usability showstoppers at all. If you were considering the Apogee XT rev2 and no longer are because the thumbscrews don’t point straight into the mounting holes or because the adjustable inlet plate can’t do max performance and max fitting compatibility at once, you’re walking away from the block for the wrong reasons. With all of that said, how does it perform? How does the mounting system work? Hopefully we’ll be able to answer all the questions in the rest of the review.
A big thanks goes out to Swiftech for providing the Apogee XT rev2 in today’s review.