Thermalright Silver Arrow Review

airman - 2010-08-03 19:18:39 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: August 10, 2010
Price: TBA

Introduction:

Thermalright has always been a well known manufacturer in the overclocking and cooling world. I remember when I began working with high performance and gaming computers almost ten years ago, Thermalright was still well established and a coveted brand for high end cooling products. Though slightly less common now, Thermalright still maintains some of the best products with a great reputation for CPU and GPU cooling solutions, along with solutions for RAM and motherboard chipsets. One of the latest products from Thermalright is the Silver Arrow. Nearly identical to the Cogage Arrow, the Thermalright Silver Arrow is a giant aluminum and copper cooler equipped with four massive heatpipes and room for three 120mm or 140mm fans. It has been several years since I've owned a Thermalright product, but I was extremely pleased with its performance back then and I expect just as much out of the Silver Arrow. In this review, I will perform a complete evaluation of the cooler from its unboxing, physical features, specifications, installation, and testing.

 

Closer Look:

Thermalright has always been very minimalistic in its packaging as far as graphics and flashy logos go on its boxes. Typically, a Thermalright product will arrive in a plain brown cardboard box with black lettering simply letting the new owner know what they have received - that is it. The Silver Arrow comes packaged this way in a brown cardboard box with the Thermalright logo across the top and the Silver Arrow text across the sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Silver Arrow is packaged very well and is snug in a block of styrofoam and wrapped in a plastic bag. The included fans are also protected in this block of styrofoam and the accessories box is located on the side. The accessories box includes all required mounting hardware, two sets of four rubber pads for vibration dampening on the fans, fan clips, a quickstart guide and a user's manual, and a small tube of Thermalright's "Chill Factor" thermal paste.

 

 

Even before the fans have been installed, the Silver Arrow is a noticeably large cooler. However, for its massive size, it is not terribly heavy. The next page will be a closer look of the Silver Arrow with an evaluation of its construction and installation.

Closer Look:

The Thermalright Silver Arrow uses four very large 8mm nickel-plated heat pipes and two stacks of closely-pressed aluminum fins. It is wide and tall enough to fit up to three 140mm fans securely. The heatsink does not have anything other than metal on its body, which is another example of Thermalright's focus on performance, rather than on plastic and other designs that only improve its looks - which I respect greatly. The front and rear of the cooler look the same, as well as the right and left sides. The only thing that is not symmetrical is the slight angle on the fins, which slopes upwards. I found this feature on another cooler; it said this was to improve airflow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The base of the Silver Arrow is protected with a clear sticker that alerts the user to remove it before installing the cooler. The massive 8mm heat pipes can be seen, as well as the cutout pattern of the fins. The fins are press-fit onto the heat pipes, and the way that the fins are manufactured allows plenty of surface area to come into contact with the heat pipes. The top of the heat pipes are capped with a small aesthetic detail, which seems to be the only place that Thermalright put extra resources to improve the looks of this cooler. To me, I would say this is more of an attention to detail rather than adding plastics and paint to make it look "cool," as the crimped ends of a heatpipe can be unattractive.

 

 

 

The base of the Silver Arrow is very smooth and has a nearly mirror finish. One thing that Thermalright has always paid a lot of attention to in all its CPU coolers is the finish of the contact point on the base, which has always been superior to many others.

The fans included are two 140mm fans that are rated at 12v and pull 0.2A, which operate between 700-1300RPM at 19dBA. The included fan clips secure them well and do not seem like they would become unfastened very easily. Both fans are equipped with a sleeved 3-pin connector.

 

 

Installing the Silver Arrow requires fastening the backplate to the anchoring mount through the motherboard, which the heatsink is clamped onto. Even though the cooler is specified to weigh over 825 grams without fans, the mounting hardware applies plenty of pressure to the motherboard and does not cause any noticeable warping. With the fans attached, the Silver Arrow towers over the motherboard, and I had to arrange the fans so that they would fit correctly. There is barely enough room on the I/O side of the motherboard to fit the fan on that side, and the tall memory modules do not allow the fan to be installed on that side. Even in a large case, once the motherboard is installed with the Silver Arrow attached, there is not much room to access screw holes and other parts of the motherboard. Plugging in the auxiliary 12v connector on the motherboard was difficult as well, but doable. The following page contains a manufacturer list of specifications and features, followed by the testing.

 

Specifications:

Cooler Dimension:
147mm x 123 x 160
Cooler weight:
825g (excluding fans)
Heat-pipe:
4x8mm Nickel plated
Cooler Base Material:
C1100 Pure Copper with Nickel Plating
Fan Dimension:
160mm x 26.5mm x 140mm
Fan Speed:
900~1300 RPM
Fan noise level:
19dBA
Fan Airflow:
69CFM

 

Features:

All information provided courtesy of Thermalright @ http://www.thermalright.com

Testing and Setup:

Testing of the heatsink will involve loading simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios. Both idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage after one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed on the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 25 °C throughout testing of the Silver Arrow, as well as the comparison heatsinks. All the data shown in the graphs is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Thermalright will be used during testing, and thermal pastes as packaged from the other coolers were used with each heatsink respectively. I will be running the included fans at full speed, which is 1300RPM.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

The Thermalright Silver Arrow won or tied in every test but one, where the Prolimatech Super Mega pulled ahead by only a few degrees. I will wrap this review up on the next page.

Conclusion:

With no release price received yet, I would guess the Thermalright Silver Arrow is probably going to launch around the $60 or $70 mark since the Silver Arrow is nearly identical to the Cogage Arrow, which is currently priced around $60. With the fans, the Silver Arrow is a huge cooler and is definitely the biggest cooler that I have ever tested. As I stated earlier, the 12v connector on the motherboard was difficult to access with the heatsink installed, and I almost had to unscrew the motherboard and tilt it out to get it to plug in. This is something that consumers will have to get used to either way, because as processors get hotter, the coolers will continue to increase in size unless a manufacturer has a mega breakthrough in cooling technology. Regardless, the Thermalright Silver Arrow is a significant contender to the current market of heatsinks and is a great choice for anyone searching for a new, high end heatsink and is not afraid of dealing with its massive size.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: