Swiftech SKF TR4 Heirloom CPU Block Review: Threadripping Excellence

Swiftech has long been a major influencer in the liquid cooling industry. Known for custom watercooling blocks and being at the forefront of providing complete, boxed liquid cooling kits for overclockers and enthusiasts in the early 2000’s, Swiftech continues to provide high-end cooling solutions for the latest PC hardware.

Fast-forward to 2017 to the release of AMD’s highly anticipated Threadripper CPU platform.  Aimed at the performance desktop and enthusiast PC power user, Threadripper chips and their server-side counterparts, Epyc, both utilize a socket larger than any the PC industry had yet seen. Waterblocks--which were originally designed to fit both Intel and AMD CPUs--had to be re-engineered to provide adequate coverage and cooling capability for Threadripper.

Swiftech took its new Apogee SKF CPU block, designed a version specifically to meet the size and cooling demands for AMD’s Threadripper CPUs in the Apogee SKF-TR4, and slapped on a not-inexpensive (but reasonable) $108 price tag, which is a fair bit less than the $140 competing EK-FB MSI X399 Monoblock, which is only designed for a few specific boards.

As you'll see below in our specs chart, the Swiftech block weighs almost a pound, if we’re going by Imperial measurements. Making extensive use of copper and nickel, Swiftech built a purpose-designed block here, and brought over its signature design accent markings and contrasting metals. Our version is part of the “Heirloom Series” limited edition blocks, which can be customized upon order from the Swiftech product website, including optional laser engraving along the block’s side.

The Apogee SKF-TR4 Heirloom block comes shipped in a wooden box, bundled within a crushed-velvet, logo-adorned drawstring bag.Clearly the company wants you to know you're getting something special with this product.

Tucked underneath the block, inside the box, sit a few additional bundled components: a syringe of Swiftech thermal compound and a controller/distrubution block for managing LED lighting within the block itself. An extension cable is also provided to reach from the CPU block’s LED header to the remotely mounted controller.

Within the Apogee SKF-TR4 block, Swiftech utilizes its new copper cooling engine, comprised cooling fins that are reportedly only 125 microns thick (we didn't break out the microscope to measure). Looking through the standard G1/4 threaded ports and the acrylic window, you can easily see the scale and breadth to which the copper fin array covers the pure copper base below it.

The copper base of the Apogee SKF-TR4 is mirror-smooth, and while it doesn't exactly appear so in the above photo, let us assure you that the contact base is as smooth as anything we’ve seen on a waterblock. The copper base fully covers the Threadripper CPU IHS, while the integrated threaded spring studs and powder-coated steel plate hold the block firmly over the processor using the motherboard’s integrated socket mounts.

We mentioned LED lighting a bit earlier on, and while the Apogee SKF-TR4 does have lighting and some minimal control from the power block, the lighting is very subtle and accent-oriented, rather than offering up a visually aggressive color statement. While many manufacturers are seemingly hanging RGB LEDs off of every surface, Swiftech have opted for a subtle approach, allowing the design of its waterblock to be the center of attention, rather than squint-inducing lights.

Mounted to our MSI X399 Gaming Prod Carbon AC motherboard, the Apogee SKF-TR4 block fits the color scheme of the surrounding hardware, and offers the kind of bold design watercooling enthusiasts are often after. Because the CPU block is designed only for cooling AMD's Threadripper chips, there are absolutely no clearance problems or obstructions, which we often encounter while installing other cooling solutions.

Specifications

MaterialsCopper, Nickel, Brass, Acetal
Block Width2.37 in /60mm (2.94 in / 75mm w/ mount brackets)
Block Length2.76 in / 70mm (4.57in / 116mm w/ mount brackets)
Block Height0.73 in / 18.5mm (1.12in / 28.4mm w/ mount brackets)
AMD SocketsTR4, SP3
Intel Sockets
Connectors3pin RGB, Proprietary
Weight15.87oz / 450g
PortsG1/4 (x2)
Warranty1 year

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