Conclusion

Performance

While the performance across all radiator configurations was good, the real surprise here is the minimal difference in performance between the single Swiftech MCR 320-QP radiator configuration and both the dual Swiftech and XSPC RX360 radiator configurations. The fans used for testing were mid-range CFM fans that are rated for everyday use. Higher speed fans may have changed the performance deltas, but the noise trade-off is not worth the gains for 24-by-7 use.

Pricing

As of May 17, the XSPC RX360 radiator was available at Performance PCs.com for $84.95 and Amazon.com for $103.99.

The Swiftech MCR 320-QP was available at Performance PCs.com for $67.95 and Amazon.com for $69.99.

Conclusion

Before continuing with our final thoughts on the the radiator configurations, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at both XSPC and Swiftech a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the pleasure and opportunity to review their triple 120mm fan radiators. Both the XSPC and Swiftech radiators are designed well, both featuring powder coated black surfaces. The XSPC RX360 is less shiny than than the Swiftech radiator. As far as functional design, both radiators take different paths to solving the heat dissipation issues. The XSPC RX360 leverages its thickness, almost that of the Swiftech MCR 320-QP radiator, to give the coolant more surface area for cooling. The Swiftech MCR 320-QP uses fin density to increase its heat dissipation capacity, offering 50% more fpi count compared with the XSPC RX360 radiator.

Which route is better – thickness or fin density? There are tradeoffs for both. The greater the radiator thickness, the less capable the radiator may be with case placement and the more restrictive the coolant flow may become. As coolant flow slows because of restrictions, the heat dissipation capacity of the system will be negatively impacted. To maintain flow speeds, a more powerful pump may be required. The fin density has simliar concerns, but for different reasons. As you increase fin density, it becomes harder for the fan to push air through the radiator. This requires a fan that can push more air volume, normally meaning a noisier fan.

In this case, the XSPC RX360 does outperform the thinner Swiftech MCR 320-QP, but not by the expected margins. The thickness of the RX360 does help it to more efficiently transfer heat from the coolant, but its ability to transfer that away from the system is hampered by its lower fpi count. Conversely, the higher fpi count of the Swiftech MCR 320-QP actually helps the radiator to effectively dissipate heat from the system, but the amount internal surface volume for transfer works against its design.

In either case, you are getting a solidly designed radiator capable of handling your system in any configuration. The choice really comes down to thickness – will your case support the XSPC RX 360 radiator with the additional fans required for heat transfer. If not, than the Swiftech MCR 320-QP is a fine choice.

XSPC RX360 Radiator

Strengths

  • Flat black appearance and outer coating
  • Build quality
  • Performance under stock and overclocking conditions
  • Radiator Thickness

Weaknesses

  • Lower than expected FPI (fins per inch) count inhibits performance potential
  • Mounting issues with certain cases because of thickness

Swiftech MCR 320-QP Radiator

Strengths

  • Outer coating
  • Build quality
  • Performance under stock and overclocking conditions
  • Radiator FPI (fins per inch) count

Weaknesses

  • Radiator thickness inhibits performance potential

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