Swiftech has not been a major player in the market, but over the years they started producing high-quality cooling products. Today we are looking at the Swiftech Polaris 120 cooler, which immediately caught our eyes as it is a CPU cooler of very high standards of construction.
Swiftech was founded in 1994. After 2001, the company’s sales dramatically increased with the releases of high-performance coolers. Since then, the company has been producing mainly PC cooling products of high-quality standards and craftmanship.
Let’s take a quick look at the Swiftech Polaris 120 main specs and features:
· Speed control: Via Motherboard PWM (4 pin)
· Nominal Voltage: 12v
· Max Current: 0.32A
· Airflow range 26 ~ 84 CFM
· Noise range 13.2 ~ 41.5 dBA
· Speed range 750 ~ 2500 RPM ±250RPM
· Bearing: Hydraumatic
· Life 30,000 Hours
· Fin material: aluminum
· Heat pipes: 8mm sintered copper
· Direct-touch patented base technology
A Closer Look – The Package
The Swiftech Polaris 120 came in a black box with the Swiftech logo on the top. There is a transparent window so that we can see the fan. There is also a useful handle at the top of the box that helps when carrying the cooler.
At the back side of the box we find detailed specs of the fan and the heatsink.
Inside the box, we found the fan that the heatsink uses. Its body is in black colour and its blades in white, which is a nice colour combination. It promises 84CFM at 2500RPM, and we wonder about the noise levels, but more on that later.
Furthermore, inside the box we find a small box that contains everything you will need to install the cooler, as well as a user’s manual with schematics giving detailed information on the cooler’s installation.
We were surprised with the contents of the small box, as it contained everything we needed to install the cooler either on AMD or Intel platform. A nice addition is that a thermal paste compound is also included. More specifically, the box included wire fan clips,universal back plate, thumbscrews, screws, syringe of thermal grease, wrench for the thumb screws, washers, nuts, and AM2/AM3 mounting components.
A Closer Look – The Heatsink
The cooler isn’t that big and tall compared to other heatshinks. The unique fin design aims for optimum cooling performance while eliminating noise caused by air turbulence. The emphasis is on the staggered, interleaved design of the fins and heatpipes to maximize even distribution of heat and airflow through the structure.
At the top of the heatsink we find a nice Swiftech logo. The top of the heatsink is beautifully finished in black colour. We can also notice the ends of the pipes and the little holes through that go through all of the aluminum fins which should improve the overall airflow between them.
A unique system that we found here is that the sides of the heatsink are closed off. That helps the airflow because no air is lost during operation.
The base of the Polaris 120 is not as reflective as many coolers but Swiftech has done an excellent job at making sure the base is near perfectly flat. There is no curve to the cooler’s base and no imperfections could be noted. The 5 heat pipes are very close to the base of the cooler and their assymetrical design should make for optimal heat transfer.
A Closer Look – The Heatsink, Continued
A big hole at the bottom of the fins gives the heatsink a better airflow channel.
The base of the heatsink is nickel plated, very smooth and flat. The overall workmanship looks excellent.
The heatpipes aren’t alligned to each other in a row which is quite usual for heatpipe coolers. Swiftech is doing this is to maximize the thermal distribution effects with its efficient heatpipes arrangement; some sort like zing-zang arrangement.
The wire fan clips are very easy to install and the fan’s 84 CFM at 2500 RPM do a tremendous job.
The fan fits very well in the heatsink and it can move up and down so that it will not intrefere with large memory heatsinks.
Installation, Test Setup and Procedures
We did not encounter any problems installing the Swiftech Polaris 120. Using the supplied accessories and the helpful instruction manual, we were able to fit the Polaris 120 in our system within minutes.
We can clearly see that the cooler is of logical size and will fit the majority of the PC cases without problems.
The machine’s specs on which we tested the cooler are:
Processor: Intel Core i7 920
Motherboard: Asus P6X85D
RAM: 6 GB Mushkin 6-7-6-18
VGA: Gigabyte GTX480 1536MB
HDD: Velocity Raptor 150GB
PSU: Nexus 1000W
Case: Thermaltake Armor VA8003BWS
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
We ran temperatures tests in two system states:
- Idle, i7 920 overclocked to 4GHz
- Full load, i7 920 overclocked to 4GHz-under prime 95
- Noise measurement under load system conditions
(CPU Voltage at 1.32V)
We tested the Polaris 120 against:
- Coolermaster V10
- Noctua NH-C14
- Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro
- Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
- Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283
- Evercool Transformer 4
- Antec H20 620
- Scythe Zypang 2
- Nexus Low 7000
- Thermaltake Jinq
- Glaciatech UFO V51 Silent
- Prolimatech Megahalems
- Tuniq Tower 120
- Scythe Kabuto
- Thermalright Venomous X
- Scythe Ninja 3
- Alpefohn Mattehorn
- Titan Hati
- Scythe Mine 2
- Thermalright Archon
- Zaward Vapor 120
- Glaciatech Siberia
- Titan Fenrir Evo
In idle system state, the Swiftech Polaris 120 proved to achive the lowest temperature of 30 degrees celsius, along with the Noctua NH-C14. Quite a good start for the Swiftech Polaris 120.
At full system load, the Polaris 120 we were impressed by Swiftech’s cooler, as it achieved the best temperature of 60 degrees celsius. It seems that the sophisticated design and fan really make a difference here.
In our noise test, we found out that the Swiftech Polaris 120 is not exactly the most silent fan. This is due to its powerful 84CFM fan, which however gave maximum airflow in the temperature tests.
The Swiftech Polaris 120 surely does not look as mass or impressive as some other coolers out in the market, but it surely is a fantastic CPU cooler with such outstanding performance that we could easily say it is one of the best single 120mm fan CPU coolers that we have tested so far. It managed to outperform giants like the Noctua NH-C14. MSRP of Polaris 120 is around 59USD and it is not expensive at all for a complete set of a tower CPU cooler. Furthermore it comes with high quality PWM intelligent fan which helps to gain performance and low temps, but do not expect it to be silent. Due to its logical size, we would highly recommend this tower cooler for you if you have any height compatibility issue. We think that the closest thing that the Swiftech Polaris 120 has right now is only water cooling, which is currently priced high. Overall we can surely say that the Swiftech Polaris 120 is a new must have cooling product for high-end users.
(+) Class leading performance and efficiency
(+) Very easy to install
(+) Not big and tall
(+) Complete packaging
(-) Noisy under full load
Thus, we surely can give the Swiftech Polaris 120 our Performance Award.