Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on March 5, 2013


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Bronze Award

Let’s test the Thermalright Archon SB-E X2, a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, eight U-shaped heatpipes, and two 140 mm fans.

Figure 1 shows the minimalist designed cardboard box of the Archon SB-E X2.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: heatsink, fans, a syringe of thermal compound, a manual, a Y-harness for the fans, a wrench, a case sticker, and installation hardware.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the heatsink of the Archon SB-E X2.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 3: The Archon SB-E X2 heatsink

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Archon SB-E X2

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the Archon SB-E X2. Notice that the eight U-shaped heatpipes are distributed on six rows (three rows at each side) inside the radiator.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 unveils the top of the heatsink, where the tips of the eight heatpipes are visible.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 6: Top view

The Archon SB-E X2 (Cont’d)

Figure 7 shows the view of the base of the Archon SB-E X2. There is a plate of nickel-plated copper soldered to the heatpipes, and the surface has a mirror-like look.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 7: Base

The Archon SB-E X2 comes with two 140 mm PWM fans, shown in Figure 8.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 8: Fan

Figure 9 presents the Archon SB-E X2 with the fans installed. There are four rubber pads to help absorb vibration.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 9: Fans installed

Installation

Figure 10 shows the backplate for use with AMD processors (on the left), the backplate for Intel systems (at the center), and the frame that goes on the component side of the motherboard (on the right). At the bottom of the picture, you can see the transversal bar that goes over the cooler base and attaches to the frame. This bar has a screw at the center that allows the user to adjust the pressure over the CPU.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 10: Backplates and holders

Figure 11 reveals the four spacers on the solder side of the motherboard. Those spacers are fastened to the backplate’s screws.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 11: Spacers installed

Over the spacers goes the frame, shown in Figure 12.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 12: Frame

Put the cooler in place, and attach it to the frame using the transversal bar with two screws. Use the included wrench to fasten the center screws that increases the pressure between the cooler and the CPU.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 13: Heatsink installed

The last step is to install the fans, as shown in Figure 14.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2
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Figure 14: Installation finished

How we tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX318 °C50 dBA2850 rpm69 ºC51 °C
Corsair A7023 °C51 dBA2000 rpm66 ºC43 °C
Corsair H10026 °C62 dBA2000 rpm64 ºC38 °C
EVGA Superclock26 °C57 dBA2550 rpm67 ºC41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14020 °C46 dBA 1250 rpm65 ºC45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 12026 °C42 dBA1500 rpm82 °C56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X26 °C43 dBA1200 rpm71 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max20 °C51 dBA1700 rpm62 °C42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition22 °C50 dBA2400 rpm65 °C43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA518 °C44 dBA1500 rpm70 °C52 °C
Noctua NH-L1220 °C44 dBA1450 rpm70 °C50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme21 °C53 dBA2550 rpm71 °C50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin15 °C48 dBA1450 rpm58 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 40015 °C44 dBA1500 rpm60 °C45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 81223 °C51 dBA2350 rpm66 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 30018 °C43 dBA1650 rpm74 °C56 °C
Intel stock cooler18 °C41 dBA2000 rpm97 °C79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton19 °C52 dBA2900 rpm83 °C64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE218 °C42 dBA1300 rpm69 °C51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin24 °C46 dBA1650 rpm78 °C54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced13 °C56 dBA2000 rpm62 °C49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition9 °C48 dBA2100 rpm53 °C44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme21 °C53 dBA1750 rpm59 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE212 °C44 dBA1700 rpm64 °C52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro15 °C54 dBA2000 rpm52 °C37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark18 °C45 dBA1500 rpm74 °C56 °C
Arctic Freezer i3013 °C42 dBA1350 rpm63 °C50 °C
Spire TME III8 °C46 dBA1700 rpm70 °C62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer11 °C54 dBA2000 rpm49 °C38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS11 °C45 dBA2000 rpm82 °C71 °C
be quiet! Dark Rock 210 °C41 dBA1300 rpm58 °C48 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14CS16 °C47 dBA1300 rpm58 °C42 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14PE16 °C48 dBA1300 rpm57 °C41 °C
SilverStone HE01 (Q)19 °C44 dBA1150 rpm63 °C44 °C
SilverStone HE01 (P)20 °C57 dBA2050 rpm62 °C42 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (S)17 °C44 dBA1250 rpm52 °C35 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (E)17 °C53 dBA1900 rpm50 °C33 °C
Deepcool Neptwin11 °C46 dBA1500 rpm56 °C45 °C
SilverStone HE0219 °C49 dBA2000 rpm64 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900DF23 °C45 dBA1400 rpm68 °C45 °C
Deepcool ICE BLADE PRO V2.022 °C43 dBA1500 rpm67 °C45 °C
Phanteks PH-TC90LS24 °C47 dBA2600 rpm95 °C71 °C
Rosewill AIOLOS20 °C40 dBA1600 rpm94 °C74 °C
Corsair H6020 °C49 dBA2000 rpm64 °C44 °C
Zalman LQ31027 °C51 dBA2050 rpm65 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-L9i24 °C44 dBA2500 rpm95 °C71 °C
NZXT Respire T4020 °C45 dBA1850 rpm76 °C56 °C
NZXT Respire T2021 °C45 dBA1900 rpm77 °C56 °C
Zalman LQ31520 °C52 dBA1950 rpm57 °C37 °C
Corsair H80i (Quiet)19 °C44 dBA1100 rpm61 °C42 °C
Corsair H80i (Maximum)19 °C57 dBA2500 rpm55 °C36 °C
NZXT Kraken X40 (Silent)25 °C44 dBA1050 rpm66 °C41 °C
NZXT Kraken X40 (Extreme)25 °C53 dBA1650 rpm62 °C37 °C
Zalman LQ32020 °C52 dBA2100 rpm57 °C37 °C
Corsair H100i (Quiet)22 °C45 dBA1150 rpm58 °C36 °C
Corsair H100i (Maximum)22 °C61 dBA2500 rpm54 °C32 °C
NZXT Kraken X60 (Silent)26 °C46 dBA1000 rpm62 °C36 °C
NZXT Kraken X60 (Extreme)26 °C60 dBA1650 rpm60 °C34 °C
Prolimatech Genesis Black Series25 °C46 dBA1150 rpm69 °C44 °C
Phanteks PH-TC12DX25 °C51 dBA1850 rpm74 °C49 °C
Corsair H9023 °C51 dBA1550 rpm61 °C38 °C
Corsair H11027 °C58 dBA1500 rpm60 °C33 °C
Evercool Venti23 °C49 dBA2250 rpm72 °C49 °C
Thermalright Archon SB-E X222 °C45 dBA1400 rpm68 °C46 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 CPU cooler include:

* Researched at Amazon.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 is impressive in its construction. Eight heatpipes (actually working as if there were 16, since they are U-shaped) is not a common feature, and two 140 mm fans is the current standard for high-end air coolers.

Unfortunately, the cooling performance was good, but not at the level we expected in light of its excellent specifications. On the other hand, the Archon SB-E X2 is very quiet, which is nice.

Being a good cooler, with good cooling performance, but not a good buy due to its relatively high price, the Archon SB-E X2 receives our Bronze Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermalright-Archon-SB-E-X2-CPU-Cooler-Review/1741


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