SwiftTech Apogee GT CPU Water Block Page: 1
Introduction

When you're choosing the various parts for your watercooling setup you look at a number of factors: cost, performance, suitability and flowrate among others. When SwiftTech launched the Apogee block enthusiasts slated it for it's simple design with lack of jet impingement.

However after a while it soon came to light that the Apogee was one of the top performing blocks out there, especially when you took into account the price. Never a company to lay back on it's laurels, SwiftTech made the Apogee GT, which we're taking a look at today.

Packaging

SwiftTech have chosen to go with the blister-pack style of packaging. This is a good way to go as CPU blocks don't tend to be too fragile and the pack protects the contact area whilst showing off the looks of the block.


swifttech apogee gt swifttech apogee gt pack

This arrived wrapped up nicely in a cardboard box so not a scratch was on the packaging. I think this style of packaging would be fine with most couriers, but unprotected there is a possibility of damage.

Package

The package includes:

* Water-block,
* Hold-down plates,
* Retention hardware for Intel socket 478 (Intel® Pentium® 4), socket 775 (Pentium® 4, Celeron, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme), socket 603-604 (Intel® Xeon™ 400, 533 FSB), socket 462 (AMD® Athlon®, Duron®, XP, MP), socket 754, 939, 940, AM2(AMD® 64 bit processors), Socket F
* Three sets of hose barbs (1/4", 3/8" & 1/2") & washers
* Arctic Céramique thermal paste
* Installation guide

An impressive and most importantly complete bundle accompanies the Apogee GT. SwiftTech are always very good at providing what you need in the box and it's all there.

swifttech apogee gt bundle swifttech apogee gt barbs

swifttech apogee gt clips

The bundle goes that extra mile with clips of all sizes and barbs of all sizes so no matter what your setup is like, you should be catered for here. Good stuff from SwiftTech and I am impressed at all they have included.

Specification

The specification of the Apogee GT is pretty impressive for such a well-priced block.

* Internal structure: the CNC machined C110 copper base plate is at the heart of Apogee™ GT cooling efficiency. Designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics, the Patent Pending Diamond Pin Matrix was further optimized in the "GT" version resulting in increased surface area and coolant velocity. The thickness remains at 3mm to promote a high compliance factor with its mating surface (i.e. the CPU heat spreader) thanks to the base plate flexing ability. This particular feature allows additional "tweaks" to the Apogee™ generation of water-blocks and may yield substantial performance gains as described in the tweaking guide HERE.


Patent Pending Diamond Pin Matrix Copper base plate
of the Apogee™ GT

The Diamond Pin Matrix requires proper base-plate orientation in relation to the intlet and outlet ports as shown below:

* The housing is injection molded out of Black Acetal. This process is key to allow mass production of the water-block, and thus economies of scale.


Patent Pending Housing

* The universal hold-down plate features mounting holes for all current Desktop and midrange server processors (Xeon™, Opteron™). Optional hardware is available for high-end server processors (Itanium™).


Hold-down plate - Click to enlarge

* Nylon Fittings: 1/4" NPSM to 3/8" and/or 1/2" barbs
* Fitting O-ring: (2) EPDM O-ring AS568A Dash Number 112
* Base plate dimensions: 2" x 2" (50.5 x 50.5 mm)
* Assembly weight: : 6.7 oz (190 g)

Now we've seen the numbers let's look at the block.


SwiftTech Apogee GT CPU Water Block Page: 2
The Waterblock - close up

The Apogee GT is very much a brother of the Apogee block. The looks are almost exactly the same and the classic design hasn't changed much externally.

swifttech apogee gt swifttech apogee gt top

swifttech apogee gt side

I like the look of the Apogee GT. The styling is plain and functional whilst remaining stylish. The block looks good installed as we will see later on.

swifttech apogee gt apart swifttech apogee gt top

Taking the block apart we see what is involved in the flow. The Apogee GT is quite a free-flowing block with a large inlet and outlet and a diamond matrix copper base.


swifttech apogee gt swifttech apogee gt base

The improvement in thermal performance scales from a minimum of 1°C and up to 3°C (at 100W) depending on the CPU's, with Intel's latest QX6700 quad core processors benefiting the most from the revised structure.

With boasts like this we really have to take the old Apogee GT and see exactly what difference we see from the new internal diamond matrix. For some reason my pictures of the internals of the old block went missing so here's the only one I have left:

swifttech apogee gt

If you can see - the matrix of the old Apogee was quite a lot chunkier. Flowrate stays almost the same and I do not have the equipment to test this fine detail as of now, but SwiftTech's tests have shown only a slight drop in flow.

swifttech apogee gt base 1 swifttech apogee gt base no wrapping

swifttech apogee gt block

The base comes wrapped in plastic to make sure it doesn't get scratched at all. Once this is peeled off the surface of the block is actually very very flat. I tested this with a piece of glass and it is very good. There are some marks from milling but these are very fine. This shows that the block has been finely lapped down - good stuff.

All in all the Apogee GT is just a good improvement on the Apogee. Nothing ground-breaking but then the Apogee was a pretty great block in the first place.


SwiftTech Apogee GT CPU Water Block Page: 3
Installation

Installation was pretty simple on the Apogee GT, as it was on the normal Apogee. Provided are four screws with washers, tensioning springs and caps

swifttech apogee gt installed swifttech apogee gt installed screws

Installation as I said is simple and the springs and caps do the business of holding the block in place neatly. Good contact was achieved first time, although I have some experience of mounting the Apogee block before. Shown is test mounting on the IN9 32x Max.

Note that both the Apogee and the Apogee GT did not fit on the DFI iCFX3200 without taking off the stock PWM heatsink and replacing this with some SwiftTech VGA RAMsinks.

swifttech apogee installed

Another slight concern from someone who likes to be "in control" is that the caps on top of the tensioning springs don't allow over-tightening. Personallly I have found that a little extra turn can do wonders for temps on other blocks and maybe SwiftTech should provide some different screws to tighten it up a bit more. Having said this at least this means that over-tightening is never found and you aren't as likely to break anything on the motherboard by being over-zealous.

Test Setup

For the tests I used the following test setup:

CPU: Intel Core2Duo E6600 @ 3.33Ghz
Motherboard: DFI iCFX3200 RD600 motherboard
RAM: Mushkin XP2-6400 4-4-4-12
VGA: MSI 8800GTX 768mb
Sound: Creative Labs X-Fi fatal1ty FPS
HDD: OS - 160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
Power: OCZ GameXtream 850w
Case: Lian Li PC71b customised

Water Loop:

SwiftTech Mcp655 Pump
Aquacomputer Evo 360 RAD (3 x 65cfm 120mm SilenX fans)
DangerDen Acrylic Bay Res
1/2" ClearFlex Tubing
De-ionised Water + Zerex Coolant + UV Green Dye - exact same mixes were used for each block

Blocks tested:
SwiftTech Apogee Waterblock

SwiftTech Apogee GT Waterblock

The Tests were conducted at the following Ambient Temps (thermal probe):

Apogee: 21.3-5°C
Apogee GT: 21.6-9°C

Arctic Silver 5 was used as the TIM and was given more than the 200 Hours setting in time on each block.

Core Temperatures were measured using CoreTemp beta 0.95. These were double checked using a thermal probe and found to be consistant.

Idle Temperatures were measured after power up for 1/2 an hour and recorded over another 1/2 hour period to gain an average.

Load Temperatures were taken after 1/2 hours load with Orthos Stress Test using small FFT's. Again this was recorded over a 1/2 hour period and average results obtained.



SwiftTech Apogee GT CPU Water Block Page: 4
Test Results

Stock - 2.4GHz

First of all I set the clock speed to stock and the voltage to 1.35v (BIOS set) and saw what the blocks would record. I've found that the CPU I'm using (e6600 Retail stepping B1) runs pretty hot as a general rule and so it's a good test of the blocks.

swifttec apogee gt vs apogee

With a difference of only 1°C at idle but a more significant 2°C at load, the GT shows it's worth over the older block. Note also that the ambient temps of the Apogee testing were about 0.5°C higher.

Overclocked - 3.33GHz

At 3.33Ghz this e6600 needs 1.568v set in the BIOS to keep it stable. Not really recommended for those of you who like to keep your CPU's going for a few years! Still this is an excellent test of the blocks coping with high load.

apogee gt vs apogee overclocked

Again at idle the blocks were whithin 1°C of each other with the Apogee GT edging ahead. However again at load the Apogee GT gained a more significant temperature drop on it's older rival of 3°C. That's not too shabby for a small revision on an already well-performing block.


SwiftTech Apogee GT CPU Water Block Page: 5
Conclusion

The Apogee GT is a block that sits squarely on the good side of expensive. Priced at around £35 on the web you are getting a great bundle combined with a very sweet performing block. The design and build quality are 100% solid and everything you should get with a CPU block is included...and more. Beating the older Apogee by a few °C the Apogee GT is a very nice performing block and will do you well.

Recommended Retailers

There are a few blocks out there that do compete with the Apogee GT such as the D-Tek Fuzion and indeed the slightly more expensive SwiftTech Apogee GTX block. However the Apogee GT seems to hussle it's way among them and is great value for money.

As such we're awarding the Apogee GT the "Value for Money" Award and "Recommended"

Value For $$ Award Recommended Award

Pro's
+ Decent pricing
+ Excellent bundle
+ Good looks
+ Good performance
+ Great for multi-block setups

Con's
- Possibly worth a little extra for the GTX model
- A little boring looking for some tastes
- The "caps" are a little restricting to tighten

Thanks to SwiftTech for providing the review sample. Discuss in our Forums