Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V Review

Compxpert - 2009-06-24 20:15:00 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: July 29, 2009
Price: $44.98


A good heatsink is an essential part of any rig you build. Skimp on the heatsink and you have no overclock. Spend too much, and you just wasted money too. This is where Xigmatek comes in with Dark Knight. The Dark Knight is already an attractive offer at a price of around $40. And why is that? The Dark Knight features full nickel plating, 120mm fan with white LEDs and direct heatpipe touch. Most heatsinks don't even offer nickel plating until you get up into the higher price ranges. Xigmatek have proven themselves to be a company that produces quality heatsinks. With the epic performance of Thor's Hammer, how will the Dark Knight hold up?

Closer Look:

The Dark Knight has its good looks and quite a few features you wouldn't normally find in this price range. On the front, we are shown a down-sized view of the heatsink as well as the fan itself. Yes, the heatsink is yet another H.D.T. or Heat-Pipe Direct Touch design. This means that the heatpipes come in direct contact with the CPU, which with a perfectly flat surface, would be the most superior form of contact. However, this isn't a perfect world and H.D.T. designs are hard to get perfect as it is. On the one side of the box with the UPC symbol we are given a list of all the applications this heatsink can be used in. On the back side of the box is a list of exhaustive specifications. Finally, on the other side of the box we are shown some more specifics on the look of the heatsink. In the picture the bottom is shown to be both flat and nickel plated as well as the entire rest of the heatsink. We are also shown how the fan mounts to the heatsink.






Once out of the box you'll notice some similarities between the Dark Knight and Thor's Hammer. The first thing that stuck with it, was the black-plate design. The back-plate is reversable which makes it able to support both 1366 and 775 applications. Also unchanged is how this heatsink mounts on an AMD setup. We also have the same application for mounting the fan to the heatsink. Of course, you will notice other differences later between Dark Knight and Thor's Hammer, but another one you could name right now would be the fact that the Dark Knight actually comes with a fan. Now of course Thor's Hammer did pretty well without one, so the Dark Knight can't be far off its heels either.




Well what are we waiting for? Let's see more of the Dark Knight.

Closer Look:

So down to business. Well for starters, let's talk about the heatsink specifics. The heatsink itself is about the size of a ThermalRight Ultra Extreme. It's also nickel plated just like the TRUE Anniversary Edition. The heatsink is driven by 3 total heatpipes unlike Thor's Hammer, which featured 4 heatpipes externally and 3 on the inside. Compared to Thor's Hammer this heatsink is also way smaller. There may be fewer heatpipes than the competition, but the ones it has are also way thicker. Of course due to its smaller size, it also weighs a lot less too. If one were to sit and think as to how this heatsink works, one could conclude that the larger heatpipes quickly draw away the heat towards the fins, whilst the fan pushes air over the fins to cool them. This allows the heat to dissipate at a quicker rate.











There is also the fan to talk about. Xigmatek chose to use a translucent black fin design with white LEDs, which add an overall cool effect when running. The fan itself is a PWM fan that plugs right into the CPU header on the motherboard. The fan uses a Long Life Bearing which has a lifespan of over 50,000 hours. What is really notable about this fan, is how much CFM it pushes - almost 90CFM. If that isn't interesting enough, the fan only reaches a noise level of around 30.1dbA. On a slightly disappointing note however, is the fact that the heatsink is only capiable of mounting the fan it comes with. If you want another, you're going to have to zip-tie it to the other side.



Of course where would we be without the usual spectacle of my H.D.T. reviews and the heatsink base? In the case of the Dark Knight, we have a surface that's pretty close to being as gap-free as it can get, so it looks as though Xigmatek put some work into a process that gets those heatpipes as close together as possible. Also notable is the fact that unlike with Thor's Hammer showing copper, the bottom of Dark Knight is left with its black nickle coating.




Finally we move on to the installation. As far as installation goes, it's the same as Thor's Hammer with one positive exception. Since the heatsink is smaller, it does not eclipse the screws and now I can get my screwdriver in to tighten them down. Unlike on Thor's Hammer where it was necessary to tighten the screws with a miniture wrench provided in the packaging, this heatsink is a much easier installation. I am yet another heatsink that can't clear the PWM heatsink around my motherboard and was again forced into a verticle mount.




Now that we are finally installed and ready to go, let's get onto the testing part of the review.


Product Name
Dark Knight-S1283V
Product Number

120(W) x 50(D) x 159(H) mm

Heat Sink
Base Material         H.D.T. (Heat-pipe Direct Touch)

Fin Material           Aluminum Alloy


SPEC                     Φ8mm

Q´ty                       3 pcs.


Dimension             120(W) x 120(H) x 25(D) mm

Voltage Rating      12V

Speed                     1000~2200 R.P.M.

Bearing Type         Long Life Bearing

Air Flow                89.45 CFM (Max.)

Air Pressure          4.1 mmH2O (Max.)

Life Expectance    50,000 hrs

Noise Level           30.1 dBA (Max.)

Available color     4 white LED

Connector             4 Pin with PWM

600g (w/fan)
Thermal Resistance (°C/W)
0.13 °C/W (with 120mm fan at 1000RPM)






All information courtesy of Xigmatek @ http://www.xigmatek.com/product/air-dark-knight-s1283-v.php



When testing the Dark Knight, like any other heatisink I have reviewed, I used Prime 95 v25.9 to stress the CPU to its highest possible limit. When stressing both overclocked and stock, I stress for 1hr to get the best possible exposure and then record the temperature using RealTemp v1.00. For idle testing both stock and overclocked, I used a similar process, but I leave the system idle for a half hour and then record the temperatures.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsink:





Lower Temperatures = Better


Overall, the Dark Knight didn't fair too badly. It did lose out in most tests by one or two degrees, which isn't too bad either. For the price, the Dark Knight perfroms pretty well compared to some of the more expensive choices on the list. One thing to note, is that some of these heatsinks are able to take advantage of multiple fans, whilst the Dark Knight is not - at least not without some creativity when mounting the second fan. Duct tape, wire or zip ties can all make it become a reality.


The Xigmatek Dark Knight was a decent performer in the tests, but didn't quite hold out above the rest either. It did perform pretty well when overclocked with the idle test, but reaches 80 degrees when in full load. The fan Xigmatek includes pushes a decent amount of air and is rated at almost 90 CFM, so there is not a whole lot to be gained with many 25mm thick fans. Adding a second fan for a push/pull arrangement may pay some dividends with the close fin spacing. Even better, 38mm fans would most likely have a greater impact.

However, most heatsinks in its price range don't look as nice or have LED fans. Some of them don't even come with fans that push as much air as what is included with the Dark Knight. Mounting the heatsink was not much of a challenge like some I have had to tackle. I must say though, with as many heatsinks as there are on the market now, I am a bit disappointed that Xigmatek never gave you the option for a second fan on the heatsink. It's also the fact that in my heatsink reviews, I have only encountered one other heatsink not capable of having a second fan. This model from Xigmatek only uses 3 heatpipes in a U shaped configuration to remove the heat generated by the CPU. While this may suffice with a CPU that does not dump as large a heat load, it just did not have the ability to keep the i7 920 cool. As a stock replacement, it would do fine. But for the overclocker or enthusiast looking for temperatures much lower than the stock cooler, the S-1283V Dark Knight just did not deliver on that front. For the i7, I think it is not ideal, but for the PII X4 and socket 775 quads and dual cores from Intel, the S1283V fits the bill just fine. The Dark Knight is a good looking cooler that is easy to install and comes at an attractive price point for an after-market tower heatsink and is about 12 bucks more than the standard model.