Conclusion

Performance

While all water blocks performed well with both the stock and overclocked Haswell-E configurations, the Koolance blocks had the best overall performance with the previous generation CPU-360 block outperforming everything. The Swiftech Apogee HD's performance during the overclocking tests fell short most likely because of it single outlet port configuration. Swiftech designed the block to work optimally in a parallel loop configuration where all of its outlet ports are put to use.

Pricing

Unfortunately, the neither the Koolance CPU-360 nor the Swiftech Apogee HD water blocks are currently offered for sale in retail channels.

As of September 08, the Koolance CPU-380i water block was available at Amazon.com for $78.49, at Koolance.com for $74.99, and at PerformancePCs.com for $74.95.

As of September 08, the Swiftech Apogee XL water block was available at Amazon.com for $66.99, at Swiftech.com for $64.95, and at PerformancePCs.com for $64.95.

As of September 08, the XSPC Raystorm water block was available at Amazon.com for $54.99 with Prime shipping and at PerformancePCs.com for $49.99.

*Note from Allyn*

Just popping in here with a more technical theory as to why the Koolance blocks with micro channels are outperforming competing blocks with a pin or crosshatch channel design. The straight and narrow channels of the Koolance blocks are more likely to promote laminar flow. While the competing designs may have more surface area, the structure yields a more disruptive and turbulent path for the water to traverse, which may be resulting in a higher pressure drop across the block. Higher differential pressures mean less flow through the block, which likely outweigh the greater surface area present. Nickel plating may also be helping the Koolance blocks a bit, as the oxide layer of copper is less thermally conductive. Moving onto the smaller differences, the reason for the 360 outperforming the 380I is likely the shorter channel lengths (less surface area) resulting from Koolance's design change on the newer model, machining the U-shaped return channel into the block itself as opposed to the cover like it was on the former design.

*End note*

Conclusion

While all the tested water blocks performed well, the two Koolance blocks seemed to pull ahead of the others. The offset outlet port of the CPU-360 cooler seemed to give it an edge over the other tested blocks, but the CPU-380i was able to maintain a close second to its previous gen sibling. From the performance numbers alone, the jet impingement fed micro-channel design seems to work more efficiently at cooling the Haswell-E than the Swiftech preferred micro-pin design. However, any of the tested water blocks will be more than adequate to cool any processor load thrown its way as shown in with the provided results. The XSPC Raystorm's performance was middle of the road in comparison to the Koolance blocks, but its price makes up some ground.

Koolance CPU-360 water block

Strengths

  • Superior Performance under stock and overclocking conditions
  • Build quality of the cooler
  • Nickel plating on all surfaces
  • All metal construction
  • Non-linear outlet port

Weaknesses

  • Lack of availability

Koolance CPU-380 water block

Strengths

  • Superior Performance under stock and overclocking conditions
  • Build quality of the cooler
  • Nickel plating on base plate

Weaknesses

  • Acrylic top
  • Linear outlet port

XSPC Raystorm water block

Strengths

  • Performance under stock and overclocking conditions
  • Build quality of the cooler
  • Removable block mounting bracket
  • Price

Weaknesses

  • Acrylic block mounting bracket (default configuration)
  • Acrylic top
  • Linear outlet port

Swiftech water blocks

Strengths

  • Performance under stock conditions
  • Build quality of the cooler

Weaknesses

  • Micro-pin design
  • Acrylic top
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