Swiftech Polaris 120 CPU Heatsink

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Swiftech Polaris 120 CPU Heatsink

April 2, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Polaris 120
CPU Cooler
Street Price

Swiftech was once one of the biggest names in air cooling but eventually stopped designing new products for the retail market, shifting their focus to watercooling. This happened so long ago that the last last Swiftech heatsink SPCR reviewed was the MCX462-V for socket A! Swiftech continued to quietly produce the MCX series with its easily recognizable helicoid aluminum pin design for newer sockets, but the company has not been in the air cooling game for many years.

The box.

The Polaris 120 CPU cooler is Swiftech's re-entry into CPU air cooling. The Polaris has the form of a typical tower heatsink with a 120 mm PWM fan and significant mass of aluminum fins, but what makes it unique are five 8 mm diameter direct touch heatpipes made famous by Xigmatek and other manufacturers.

Package contents.

The Polaris 120 ships with a black and white 120 mm fan, fan clips, mounting hardware, and thermal compound. The only thing notable about the package is that an extra of every screw, bolt, and nut is included in case you happen to lose one. It's a small gesture but very much appreciated.

Swiftech Polaris 120: Key Features
(from the product web page)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
(5) 8mm heat pipes – the hottest heat pipes (directly above the CPU) are arranged to receive the maximum amount of airflow for optimized thermal performance. Overkill as 40 mm is larger than the heatspreaders of modern desktop processors, and the actual die is even smaller.
Fins form wind tunnels for optimum airflow, resulting in more efficient use of the fan, therefore better cooling. Okay.
Direct-touch base technology provides an optimized transfer of the heat to the pipes. Heat is transferred directly from the CPU heatspreader to the heatpipes via the thermal compound, a more efficient process than having a baseplate acting as a go-between.
A single high Power (84CFM) PWM controlled 120mm fan is included:

*Being PWM controlled, the fan plugs into the motherboard CPU fan header, and users can either let the motherboard manage the fan speed, or tune it to their own specifications; the speed ranges from 750 to 2500 RPM allowing a wide range of operations: from ultra-quiet all the way to extreme cooling for seriously overclocked processors.
Should be very loud at full speed.
Relatively compact footprint (Width 135 mm x Depth 91 mm x Height 152 mm including fan). The heatsink is shorter than most towers which may be to its detriment.
Mounting system includes retention brackets for all popular processors:

*Intel Socket 775, 1155, 1156, 1366
*AMD Socket 754, 939, 940, F, AM2, AM3
As it should.
Competitively priced, yet with a broader range of operations compared to other high-end coolers. The MSRP of US$60 is competitive if it is truly a high performance heatsink (i.e. one of the best).

Swiftech Polaris 120: Specifications
(from the product web page)
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

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