Xigmatek Dark Knight SD1283 and Loki SD963 Reviewairman - September 10, 2012
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With these two coolers tested, I can tack up another tally on the "performed as expected" in my records. At a $50 price tag, the Xigmatek Dark Knight SD1283 hangs onto the performance bracket of mid-range coolers. The Loki SD963 is a little more difficult to put it in a bracket since it only costs $20, but nevertheless it performs better than stock cooling and should work in a pinch. The SD963 would also be a great choice for someone who wanted a little better than stock and who may even want to overclock a little bit. Both coolers give me a good vibe on the price to performance ratio, so in my opinion they're both a good buy. The gaps between the heatpipes in both coolers are expected for their price range. The surface finish is also acceptable on both and I can't complain. As for the fans, I am satisfied by the noise produced by each as well as the cooling capability (CFM). I will say that I don't like the utilization of rubber fan clips because of how difficult they can be to snap in and out of the fan — I like wire fan clips much better. I do wish that the Loki SD963 used the same mounting components as the Dark Knight SD1283, as I like the 2-point mounting method far more than the 4-corner method.
Overall, I like both of these coolers and I really like that Xigmatek has introduced an ultra-budget cooler to the market. The Xigmatek Loki SD963 can be purchased for $20 or less and will perform well enough for the average power user and gamer, even if there's a little bit of overclocking. Looking up to the Xigmatek Dark Knight SD1283 I see similar performance to slightly higher-end coolers (up to $65) all while using only a single fan. I think anyone who's looking for a $20 or a $50 cooler would do well with the Loki SD963 or the Dark Knight SD1283 respectively. Take an extra fan you have laying around and wire it up on the other side of the heatsink and you've just gained yourself a couple of extra degrees of performance! To conclude, I like both of the coolers and they perform well. With an extra fan you'd have even better performance, too!
- Good price-to-performance ratio
- Quiet operation
- Inexpensive (SD963)
- Good looks (SD1283)
- Rubber fan clips hard to use
- 4-point mounting of the Loki SD963 can cause uneven CPU pressure