Swiftech Apogee XT rev2 Review

Conclusion

The Swiftech Apogee XT rev2 is almost a foil to the kryos HF and Supreme HF. With those two blocks, the line was “great performance but…” With the Apogee XT rev2, it’s “great performance and…” The Apogee XT rev2 has great performance and usability. It doesn’t require any sort of slick maneuver to be assembled, the mounting system takes just seconds to go from the box to fully mounted, and it has great performance. Its performance doesn’t stand out, but at this point it doesn’t look like any block stands out.

The reality of the Apogee XT rev2 is that it’s on the level of the Koolance CPU-370.  The CPU-370 is just slightly a better performer but the Apogee XT rev2 is just slightly easier to use. When you factor in ease of use, both stand well above the cuplex kryos’s and Supremes. Ease of use means a lot when the thermal performance difference is so small.

The Apogee XT rev2 has other things on its side too, like pricing and availability. No other block I’ve tested is available on Newegg or available in so many stores. Of the all-metal blocks, the Apogee XT rev2 is also the least expensive. If you shop around a bit (hint: Newegg), you can find it for less than $70. Yes, the kryos’s and Supremes have plastic-top variants that cost less, but so does the Apogee XT. In time, all the variants will hopefully be tested. Another bonus the Apogee XT rev2 has is that it includes 1/2″ barbs and clamps, which lowers the total purchase cost if buying a whole loop at once.

However, the Apogee XT rev2 isn’t doing any favors with its included thermal paste. Arctic Silver Ceramique is a middling performer. I’m assuming Ceramique has been EOL’d with the introduction of Ceramique 2, so I think we’ll see an improvement sooner or later. Whether that’s an improvement to Ceramique 2 or something better, like MX-2, or even something great, like PK-1, remains to be seen.

I would like to see a slight tweak to the mounting system to help position and orient the thumbscrews to point directly outward, rather than being allowed to dangle around and point wherever gravity takes them. It is costing some mounting consistency–something that should be the hallmark of such a simple and effective mounting system. But overall the mounting system is great and is the easiest to use of any on the market right now.

The only real bugaboo with the Apogee XT rev2 is compatibility. I couldn’t get it to perform well on my old eVGA E758 motherboard due to capacitor clearance and I bet there are a lot of LGA1156 and LGA1155 boards with even worse capacitor positions. With AMD systems, the usability advantage of the mounting system evaporates into a piece-wise mounting system that isn’t nearly as easy to use.

Of the Big Four blocks I’ve tested so far, the Apogee XT rev2 is the first to not have some scenario where it’s the best performer. CPU-370 is the best performer with MX-2 level TIM and high pumping power or with any subpar TIM and most flowrates. AC kryos HF is the best with MX-2 and normal flowrates or with stock pastes and all flowrates. EK Supreme HF Full-Ni is the best with premium TIM (Indigo Xtreme, liquid metals, PK-1, possibly Shin-Etsu X23-7783D) and all flowrates. Best case for the Apogee XT rev2 in any scenario is third best, but te differences in performance are tiny. Of course, there are people who want the best in performance, everything else be damned. The Apogee XT rev2 doesn’t seem like it will satisfy them, but for anybody who cares about ease of use or saving a bit of money, the Apogee XT rev2 is a great, if not the best, option.

So if you’re looking to buy the Swiftech Apogee XT rev2, what do you get?  Why should you buy it?  Why shouldn’t you buy it?  You get a block that is a great performer with all TIMs and at all pumping powers. You get a block with the best mounting system on the market. It has an adjustable inlet plate if you want to exchange some performance for fitting compatibility. The Apogee XT rev2 also includes 1/2″ barbs and clamps, reducing total loop cost.

As for why you shouldn’t buy it? It’s not the absolute best performer I’ve tested, but it’s close. If you have an AMD system, the mounting system is an extra expense and much more difficult in use. While restriction with the inlet plate in the stock configuration is medium-high, it is appropriate; but with the inlet plate in the compatibility position, restriction creeps up and can be an issue, depending on the rest of your loop. If you don’t plan on using anything but the stock TIM, there are some options that are noticeably better.

In all, the Swiftech Apogee XT rev2 is a combination of great performance, a great mounting system, and good value. There are a lot of good reasons to pick the Apogee XT rev2 over the competition, starting with ease of use.

A big thanks goes out to Enerdyne for the Indigo Xtreme ETIs used in this review and to Swiftech for providing the Apogee XT rev2.

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Comments

Posted On
May 20, 2011
Posted By
elior77

I must say that all swiftech products that use the same base with the so called “micropins” share the same problem…

I had the GTZ and the problem is, it is TOO MICRO ! meaning that any debris in the liquid will get caught in those micro channels and eventually the base will lose the micropins performance level and will perform much worse…

I sold my GTZ after I saw that happen a few times and I could NOT clean it.

I got the heatkiller v3.0 – the liquid I use is never debris free but the heat killer is MUCH easier to clean.

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