Xigmatek Dark Knight SD1283 and Loki SD963 Reviewairman - September 10, 2012
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Each cooler is very similar in size and shape; however, they are much different in physical appearance. The Dark Knight SD1283 Night Hawk Edition is pitch black all around and the Loki SD963 is silver and copper colored. Both use three direct contact heatpipes, although the Dark Knight has three 8mm heatpipes and the Loki has only three 6mm heatpipes. The Dark Knight SD1283 is robust in appearance; the Loki SD963 has the OEM look without any coatings or color.
Each cooler is similar in construction and may even share lanes on the production floor. Each of the three heatpipes are bent into a U-shape that extend through the fins and end just above the final fin for a total of six caps. Three channels are part of the aluminum base in which the heatpipes are pressed and the base further shaved into a flat surface.
The base of each cooler uses a direct-contact heatpipe style. With this type of coolers we want to make sure the base is flat overall and has minimal gaps between the heatpipe and base materials. These style bases are generally not polished, so I don't really grade them on reflectiveness/shininess.
The fan of the Dark Knight SD1283 is a 120mm fan while the fan belonging to the Loki SD963 is 92mm. This is the first time I've seen a 92mm fan in a while! The Dark Knight's fan runs on 12V and operates between 1000~2200 RPM at 89.45 CFM with a maximum noise level of 30.1 dBA. The Loki SD963 uses a 12V that operates between 1200~2800 RPM, moves 52 CFM and generates only 20~28 dBA. Both fans use a 4-pin PWM connection.
The installation of these coolers is rather simple. The Dark Knight SD1283 uses a universal backplate that is fastened to the motherboard. Standoffs hold the backplate in place and support bars are fastened to these standoffs. Finally, the heatsink is moved into position and a cross brace sits on the back of the heatsink's base and is attached to the posts coming off of the support bars. The installation of the Loki SD963 is a little bit different, where screws and nuts are used to hold the backplate in place. Two "legs" are attached to the base and these legs are attached to the screws holding the backplate in place.
Now the coolers have been fully explored and are ready to get loaded up in the test bed. First, we'll check out each cooler's specifications and features.