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Core i7 CPU Water Block Roundup

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Posted May 4, 2010 by Jake in Cooling

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by Jake
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Introduction

One of the most critical core cooling components in a modern PC is undoubtedly the processor and its cooling.  Typically, most systems rely on an air cooling solution for the CPU heatsink, as they’re generally the most cost efficient and easy to install and operate.  But oftem there is the desire to push a CPU further to improve performance, and the resulting heat must be tamed; air cooling can only take you so far, and then better cooling is required.  Water cooling becomes the next obvious solution.

Intel Core i7 processors are phenomenal overclockers, but they also produce a massive amount of heat, so they are prime candidates for water cooling.  And with the Core i7 having penetrated deeply into the market, the CPU water block selection is far more robust than it used to be.  There is great debate among enthusiasts as to which CPU water block is the best.  Our first response is usually, “The best at what?”.  Best price?  Best aesthetics? Best performance?  There are several criteria that factor into determining what block is the “best”, and while it may mean different things to different people, usually the top criterion is the performance results.  Does a certain block bring the best temperature?  While we do agree that performance is king, there are the other considerations that may spell the difference between a good CPU block and an awesome one.

As a result, we decided to set out with a mission in mind to take several of the “best” CPU water blocks on the market and evaluate them after close inspection.  Aesthetics, cost, quality, and performance are all important criteria, so we’ll pit them head to head and see which is victorious.  And for the record, before we hear the complaints that we didn’t include Block X or Block Y, we’ll address that right off the bat by saying that there are reasonable limits as to what products can be procured and tested in a short time frame.  Further, the intent here isn’t to test every block on the market; it is to test the popular, heavy hitters that garner much of the attention and marketshare. So we apologize in advance if your favorite block isn’t included here.

With that out of the way, today we’ll be comparing the following contenders: EK Water Blocks Supreme HF, Swiftech Apogee XT Extreme Performance, Watercool Heatkiller 3.0,  and the Koolance CPU-360.

We would like to thank EK Water Blocks, Swiftech, Koolance, and Sidewinder Computers for their support in this roundup review.

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