Swiftech Polaris 120
Swiftech’s jump back into the air cooling arena is a welcome sight. They have done a wonderful job for some time in water cooling and their quality is always noteworthy but as we see, the Polaris 120 was respectable at stock settings but was a tad higher than the competition at our overclock of 3.8GHz with 1.325V. Most air cooling does not achieve high overclocks as water cooling. Top performing air coolers do come at a premium price tag.
The design is much different from other massive heatsinks we have tested and doesn’t take a large chunk of space inside your case which will appeal to many. The curved front sides offer a different sexy look but unfortunately, only one fan attaches to the Polaris 120. Push/pull configuration with two fans is not an option and as we know, push/pull always provides best cooling and air flow. The fins were tightly spaced so we did expected better results. The fully finished sides created a wind tunnel effect and perhaps did not help. PWM was a welcome sight as the fan adjusted with the increase of heat. As a bright spot, the Polaris ran rather quiet and didn’t sound like a wind tunnel as we often hear from top heatsink designs.
The recommended installation direction of this heatsink does not allow all memory slots to be populated on the motherboard. This was very confusing to us as Swiftech should have taken this into consideration. The fix was easy with a 180 degree turn to the unit and the fan run in pull position but the temperatures will be slightly higher.
The retail price point of the Polaris 120 is $60 USD, which is not the most or least expensive cooler out there. There are many heatsinks for the same price or even less with equal performance or slightly better performance. The key to the Polaris 120 is size and looks. It is not terribly big, but it is very attractive in our opinion. It does have a few quirks, and the conlfict with one of the memory slots was evident (though it may depend on your particular motherboard). It’s great to see Switech jump back into the air cooling arena, and they’ve brought their sharp sense of design style to the Polaris. If you’re looking for a sexy air cooling solution that will handle some mild-to-moderate overclocking, the Swiftech Polaris 120 is a good choice.