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Swiftech’s dual-radiator Apex Ultra water-cooling kit is the current cooling record-holder (in our Lab, at least), so when the company told us it had a Micro kit that was designed to fit in tight, cramped cases, we were intrigued. Like most hardcore PC users, we assumed a small radiator couldn’t get the job done—at least without making a ton of noise. Boy, were we ever wrong.
The kit uses Swiftech’s best components, including the eerily quiet MCP350 12-volt pump, which pushes the water around like a schoolyard bully. It uses vinyl tubing with a 3/8-inch internal diameter and a tiny transparent reservoir. The cooler’s secret weapon is an 8cm radiator—an all-new “quiet performance” model optimized for low-flow fans.
The kit includes a 12V-to-7V fan adapter to quiet the fan a smidge more. Swiftech includes a small bottle of its Hydrx UV reactive anti-algae additive that you must combine with distilled water (water is not included). Every component in this kit is top-of-the-line, and they work extremely well together.
During testing, the teeny radiator/fan setup provided surprisingly good performance for such a small package. Some reservoirs make loud sloshing noises, but not this one—it is the quietest unit we’ve ever tested. Sure, 50 C might seem a bit hot under load, but it’s just a few degrees hotter than what we’re used to seeing on our FX-60. One very cool feature of the Micro is that, unlike other Swiftech kits, this one fits entirely within your case. Awesome!
Sure, the instructions are as dense as pound cake, but that’s par for the course with Swiftech. We don’t have any other gripes at all. If you’re looking for an all-internal kit, be sure to put the Micro on your shopping list.
Month Reviewed: November 2006