Xigmatek Dark Knight CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on July 27, 2011


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

The Dark Knight is a CPU cooler from Xigmatek, with a tower heatsink, three direct-touch heatpipes and a 120 mm fan. Check it out!

The Dark Knight box is small, with a transparent window in the front, which allows you to see the fan, as shown in Figure 1.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows what the box contains: the heatsink, fan, manual, installation hardware, and a small bag of thermal compound.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 2: Accessories

It seems to be different versions of the product. The manufacturer website presents only the S1283W model, but the sample we received is referred to as S1283V. We couldn’t find out what is the exact difference, but our sample didn’t come with the hardware necessary for installation on AMD processors (although the box says it is compatible with AMD sockets). So it is a good idea to check if it is compatible with your CPU before buying it.

Figure 3 presents the Xigmatek Dark Knight heatsink.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 3: The Dark Knight

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Xigmatek Dark Knight

Figure 4 reveals the front of the heatsink, which has a very conservative design.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 presents the side of the cooler. Only small parts of the side are closed.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 shows the back of the cooler.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 6: Rear view

The top of the cooler is shown in Figure 7, where you can see the shape of the fins. Notice that the dents where you attach the fan exist only at the front, which means that the Dark Knight doesn’t support two fans.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 7: Top view

The Xigmatek Dark Knight (Cont’d)

Figure 8 shows the base of the cooler. The three 8 mm heatpipes touch the CPU directly, and there is a gap between them. All the parts of the cooler, including the base, are nickel-plated for a dark, shiny look.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 8: Base

In Figure 9, you can see the 120 mm fan that comes with the Black Knight. It uses a four-pin connector, thus is compatible with PWM speed control. It also has white LEDs.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 9: Fan

The rubber fan holders are shown in Figure 10.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 10: Fan holders

Installation

Figure 11 shows the clips used to install the Dark Knight on Intel CPUs, which must be screwed to the base of the cooler.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 11: Holders

After that, put the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, put the cooler over the CPU, and fasten the four screws. Figure 12 reveals the Dark Knight installed in our computer.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 12: Cooler installed

Figure 13 shows the LEDs glowing in the fan.

Xigamatek Dark Knight
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Figure 13: Turned on

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all threads, 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 the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and 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 in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies 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 left panel of the case was open.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn't interfere with the results. 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 isn't 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 idle and 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 minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.

 

Idle Processor

Processor at Full Load

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.
Intel stock (socket LGA1156)14 °C44 dBA1700 rpm46 °C54 dBA2500 rpm90 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G114 °C47 dBA2050 rpm33 °C56 dBA2900 rpm62 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme14 °C45 dBA1400 rpm27 °C53 dBA1950 rpm51 °C
Thermaltake Silent 115614 °C44 dBA1200 rpm38 °C49 dBA1750 rpm69 °C
Noctua NH-D1414 °C49 dBA1250 rpm27 °C49 dBA 1250 rpm53 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Performa14 °C46 dBA1500 rpm28 °C52 dBA1950 rpm54 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems14 °C40 dBA750 rpm27 °C60 dBA2550 rpm50 °C
Thermaltake Frio14 °C46 dBA1450 rpm27 °C60 dBA2500 rpm50 °C
Prolimatech Samuel 1714 °C40 dBA750 rpm40 °C60 dBA2550 rpm63 °C
Zalman CNPS8000A18 °C43 dBA1400 rpm39 °C54 dBA2500 rpm70 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse II14 °C55 dBA2200 rpm28 °C55 dBA2200 rpm53 °C
Scythe Ninja317 °C39 dBA700 rpm32 °C55 dBA1800 rpm57 °C
Corsair A5018 °C52 dBA1900 rpm33 °C52 dBA1900 rpm60 °C
Thermaltake Jing18 °C44 dBA850 rpm34 °C49 dBA1300 rpm60 °C
GlacialTech Alaska18 °C43 dBA1150 rpm36 °C51 dBA1600 rpm60 °C
Deepcool Gamer Storm18 °C43 dBA1100 rpm35 °C48 dBA1600 rpm62 °C
Corsair A7026 °C56 dBA1900 rpm40 °C56 dBA1900 rpm65 °C
Deepcool Ice Blade Pro23 °C45 dBA1200 rpm38 °C52 dBA1500 rpm64 °C
AC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 223 °C47 dBA1750 rpm44 °C51 dBA2100 rpm77 °C
Corsair H7027 °C60 dBA1900 rpm37 °C60 dBA1900 rpm61 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max27 °C55 dBA1600 rpm38 °C58 dBA1750 rpm63 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP25 °C45 dBA1700 rpm51 °C49 dBA1950 rpm91 °C
CoolIT Vantage26 °C60 dBA2500 rpm37 °C60 dBA2500 rpm62 °C
Deepcool Ice Matrix 60025 °C46 dBA1100 rpm41 °C53 dBA1300 rpm69 °C
Titan Hati26 °C46 dBA1500 rpm40 °C57 dBA2450 rpm68 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 1327 °C49 dBA1950 rpm41 °C53 dBA2300 rpm70 °C
Noctua NH-C1426 °C52 dBA1300 rpm37 °C52 dBA1300 rpm61 °C
Intel XTS100H26 °C49 dBA1200 rpm42 °C64 dBA2600 rpm68 °C
Zalman CNPS5X SZ23 °C52 dBA2250 rpm38 °C57 dBA2950 rpm69 °C
Thermaltake SlimX321 °C50 dBA2700 rpm46 °C50 dBA2750 rpm99 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 10121 °C50 dBA2600 rpm38 °C57 dBA3300 rpm71 °C
Antec Kühler H2O 62019 °C52 dBA1400 rpm34 °C55 dBA1400 rpm58 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro20 °C46 dBA1100 rpm36 °C49 dBA1300 rpm62 °C
GlacialTech Siberia22 °C49 dBA1400 rpm34 °C49 dBA1400 rpm61 °C
Evercool Transformer 318 °C46 dBA1800 rpm33 °C51 dBA2250 rpm65 °C
Zalman CNPS11X Extreme20 °C51 dBA1850 rpm34 °C56 dBA2050 rpm61 °C
Thermaltake Frio OCK15 °C44 dBA1000 rpm27 °C64 dBA2200 rpm51 °C
Prolimatech Genesis18 °C49 dBA1050 rpm30 °C49 dBA1050 rpm54 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME Rev. 215 °C41 dBA1050 rpm32 °C44 dBA1400 rpm60 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14016 °C48 dBA1250 rpm29 °C49 dBA1250 rpm55 °C
Antec Kühler H2O 92018 °C41 dBA650 rpm29 °C64 dBA2500 rpm49 °C
Zalman CNP7X LED18 °C45 dBA1950 rpm33 °C48 dBA2150 rpm58 °C
EVGA Superclock14 °C43 dBA1300 rpm27 °C58 dBA2350 rpm47 °C
Evercool Transformer 415 °C46 dBA1500 rpm26 °C53 dBA1950 rpm52 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight18 °C47 dBA1700 rpm30 °C53 dBA2150 rpm57 °C

In the graph below, at full load 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.

 Xigamatek Dark Knight

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Xigmatek Dark Knight CPU cooler include:

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

Conclusions

The Xigmatek Dark Knight is an excellent CPU cooler, with a good cooling performance and a nice look.

The only issue we found on it is that, despite the box indicating it is compatible with Intel and AMD CPUs, our sample came only with the hardware for installation on Intel systems.

By its great look and good cooling performance with reasonable noise level, the Xigmatek Dark Knight CPU cooler receives our Silver Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Xigmatek-Dark-Knight-CPU-Cooler-Review/1346


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