Xigmatek Prime SD1484 Review

airman - 2011-12-20 09:26:17 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: February 2, 2012
Price: $64.99

Introduction:

Xigmatek, to me, has always been somewhat of a mystery because I have never owned any of its products nor have they ever been wildly popular. Founded in 2005, Xigmatek has been around for a little bit of time but is by no means an elder in the "community". Not only known for its heatsinks, Xigmatek is also noted for its cases and power supplies as well. When it comes to other cooling products, Xigmatek has everything covered. On top of CPU coolers, you can find aftermarket coolers for VGA cards, memory, hard drives, and even ones for chipsets that possess the Xigmatek name. When it comes to manufacturers that I haven't had a chance to previously evaluate, I always pay special attention to what is offered and any creative or innovative things that I have not seen before. I like to see what's different between manufacturers because every one always has an individual style of its own — no matter how subtle.

The Xigmatek Prime SD1484 is a slim tower cooler that uses four 8mm direct contact copper heapipes and has room for two 140mm fans. Out of the box, only one is included but additional components required to mount an additional fan are already included. Simply looking at pictures that are on the box, I like what I see with the design and layout of the cooler. When it comes down to heatsinks, and really anything else for that matter, I am generally not impressed by flashy plastic and pretty lights to make something look "sweet". To me, the way I view elegance is in something's simplicity and subtle details that improve its functionality. I have been continually blessed to see most if not all manufactures slowly move out of the flashy realm away from form over function and focusing on what truly matters: performance. In this review, I will perform an in-depth evaluation of the Xigmatek SD1484 from its unboxing to a close-up look at its features, followed by a rigorous testing session where its performance will be compared to other recent competitors on the market. Without further ado, let's get started.

 

Closer Look:

The box of the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 has a clean look and is efficient for its size - it's rather thin compared to other heatsinks of its size. This may be due to their only being one packaged fan, but regardless, it's small. The front of the box has a front view of the cooler with the fan in place. Beneath this picture is the text "Prime / SD1484" and has the Xigmatek "X" logo in the upper right corner. The left side of the package has a 3/4 picture of the cooler with a view of the direct contact heatpipes at the bottom. Beneath this picture is a table containing pertinent information and specifications such as materials used, weights, dimensions, fan specifications such as speed, airflow and noise, and other figures shown in the picture below.

The rear of the box has different close-up pictures of certain features that the cooler offers. Such things include the knife-edged fin design, direct contact heatpipes, anti-vibration rubber pads for the included and optional, additional fan, and the all-in-one (universal) mounting solution. The right side of the box has a similar 3/4 view of the bottom of the heatsink and the message "H.D.T. Heat-pipe Direct Touch Technology" in 12 different languages. The top of the box (not shown) has a handle built into its construction and has compatibility icons which include all recent AMD and Intel CPUs and sockets including Intel's Socket 2011.

 

 

 

Out of the box, I find all of the mounting hardware, fan, and other accessories. Included is the universal backplate and AMD spacer, through-screws, nuts, mounting strips, other screws, Socket 2011 standoffs and the hold-down clamp. Included is only one 140mm fan and four rubber fan straps (not shown) for fastening the fans to the cooler along with a tube of thermal paste and installation instructions. The fan is a 140mm fan branded as a Xigmatek, has a 4-pin PWM connector and is black in color. The mounting method is straight forward and uses a 2-point sprung clamping style mechanism which is proven effective and is widely used across many manufacturers and heatsink models. The fan attaches to the heatsink using two of the provided rubber straps which grab onto a channel on each side of the heatsink made by the fins' geometry.

 

 

Just recently, I took a look at the Havik 120 from NZXT, and my first impression of this cooler and its accessories is that these two coolers share some very, VERY similar qualities. When I first opened and set out the contents of the mounting hardware for the Xigmatek Prime SD1484, I thought I had re-opened the mounting components for the Havik 120 somehow. The components are identical even down to the casting marks on the plastic pieces along with bolt and nut lengths and thread pitches. On top of this, both share the same knife-edged quality of the fins which I have not previously seen and heatpipe layout. I can't say that this is because Xigmatek may be together with NZXT, but it's possible that third party suppliers are shared between the two companies. I am not the first person to see these similarities but nowhere can I find anything that says the companies are not independent.

With everything out of the box, it's time to get started on taking a closer look at the cooler and its features.

Closer Look:

Looking at the cooler in its bare form, its size and shape is of typical dimension for a single/double fan tower cooler. It has four (4) 8mm nickel plated copper direct contact heatpipes that are symmetric in pattern on both sides of the cooler. Since there is plenty of clearance between the bottom of the fins and the bottom of the cooler, clearing motherboard components and tall memory shouldn't be much trouble. Taking a close look at the heatpipe terminations at the top of the cooler, you can get a close look at the fins' geometry and their construction. Each long edge of the fins have been shaved down from 0.5mm to 0.3mm which is said to improve airflow produced by the fan through the cooler. The difference in thickness can be seen with a close eye by comparing the thickness of the fins on the short edge versus the thickness along the long edge. Underneath the cooler where the heatpipes enter the fins, we can see a tight, press-fit between the outside heatpipes and fins versus oversized holes on the inside heatpipes for the first few fins. The oversized holes are to make sure the final bend in the heatpipes clear the holes before ending into a straight line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down on the top of the cooler, the fin geometry and heatpipe layout can be clearly seen. On the short sides, the small cutouts are for holding onto the rubber fan straps while I am not sure (other than for cosmetic reasons) what the purpose is of the larger cutouts on the the long sides. In the middle of the top fin is the Xigmatek "X" logo etched into the surface. Turning the heatsink around and checking out the bottom will give us a look at the direct contact heatpipe setup and heatpipe routing out of the base and into the fins. There is a nice little protective film on the base that alerts the user to remove it before installing the cooler. From this view we can see what gaps are present in the base between the heatpipes. While not staggeringly large, they don't appear to be surprisingly minimal either.

 

 

The base's reflectivity isn't all too impressive, but it's not poor either. With direct contact bases it is rare to see a finely polished surface. Whether it's difficult to do from a manufacturing perspective or the return on "investment" for polishing these bases produce little improvement, it's uncommon to see direct contact heatpipe bases that look differently than this. The main objective of offering a good direct contact base is minimizing the gaps between the base material and the individual heatpipes. These gaps are much more of a concern than the microscopic ones left behind from the machining process and are always the focus of evaluating the base of a direct contact heatpipe cooler. As far as the base goes on the Xigmatek Prime SD1484, I am not blown away because I have certainly seen better examples, but I have also seen worse ones. In an attempt to fill these gaps, there is a small amount of epoxy that is visible which is probably also used help hold the heatpipes in place and assist in the heat transfer between the small areas of the base that aren't occupied by heatpipes and the heatpipes themselves.

 

 

The 140mm fan included with the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 is branded as Xigmatek is black in color and round in shape. The edges of the blades have a silvery/chrome paint which accents the fan nicely and removes the plain look — also helped by the waves in their shape. I have seen the wavey design of fan blades before.  The blade geometry supposedly reduces the overall noise, but at such low rotational speeds I doubt the noise decrease is anywhere over "negligible". The fan uses a 4-pin PWM connector and is listed to pull 0.3A at 12V while operating between 800-1200RPM and moving 62.2-90.3 CFM at a maximum of 18dBA. 18dBA is practically silent and being able to move 90.3 CFM at that sound level is very reasonable. The front of the fan has a sticker in the center of the propeller with the text "Xigmatek" written thrice in a circular pattern.

 

 

Installing the cooler is simple and follows a common procedure and components. For Intel LGA 1366, the four through-screws are placed in the appropriate positions on the backplate which is fed through the mounting holes on the motherboard. A plastic spacer is placed around each of the screws and their snug fit helps hold the backplate temporarily in place. The two Intel mounting strips are placed over the ends of the through-screws and secured into place by each of the four thumb nuts. Once the lower mounting components are in place, the heatsink is set into position and the hold-down clamp is screwed onto the two threaded posts on the mounting strips until they bottom out. At this point the fan(s) can be installed and the computer may be powered up!

 

 

 

Now that I have the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 properly installed in the testbed, it's nearing time to get the computer fired up and check out what kind of results that this cooler produces. It will be compared to some of the latest heatsinks on the market along with some older heatsinks that still sit atop the performance latter. However, let's check out a list of the heatsink's specifications and features as provided by the manufacturer, Xigmatek.

Specifications:

Dimensions
145(W) x 60(D) x 159(H) mm
Base Material
Copper H.D.T. (Heat-pipes Direct Touch)
Fin Material
Aluminum Alloy
Heatpipe Spec
4x8mm
Fan Dimensions
140(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm
Fan Voltage
12V
Fan Speed
800~1200 RPM
Fan Airflow
90.3 CFM (Max.)
Fan Air Pressure
1.08 mmH2O (Max.)
Life expectancy
40,000 hrs
Fan Noise Level
18 dBA (Max.)
Weight
710g (Heat Sink Only)
Thermal Resistance
0.14 °C/W

 

Features

 

Information provided courtesy of Xigmatek @ http://www.xigmatek.com

Testing:

Testing of this heatsink will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios, where 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 during a period of one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed in the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 23 °C throughout testing of the Xigmatek Prim SD1484 as well as the comparison units. All the data shown in the graphs below is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Xigmatek will be used during testing and thermal pastes on other heatsinks from their respective manufacturers will be used. The fans on each cooler will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

Conclusion:

Between the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 and the recently reviewed NZXT Havik 120, two very similar coolers, it seems that we have determined that the numbers are more of a mixed bag than anything else. In both idle tests, we have a match on performance but we see a clear indication that the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 performs a little bit better under load in comparison to the previously-tested NZXT Havik 120. This may be due to the direct-contact heatpipes being a little more efficient than a solid base, or maybe 140mm fans versus 120mm ones. Nevertheless, the results are clear — even if its only by a couple of degrees C — though this is where the extra cost for the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 is justified.

One thing that I did want to point out is that even though there are a lot of similar features between this cooler and the NZXT Havik 120, the designs are not connected. After speaking with NZXT at CES this year, I had a chance to bring up my observations. Coincidentally, Xigmatek and NZXT chose the same OEM/vendors for certain components which explains a lot of the similarities.

Out of the box, the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 is a cooler that offers very good performance at a pretty good price point. In a 2-fan configuration, the performance from this cooler came close to the Noctua NH-D14 which is and will be a good benchmark for quite a long time. Of course, adding an additional fan will cost some extra money but it will help the performance even more. For a price of $64.99, this cooler is a great option for an upper-middle end solution that can handle just about any heat load at even "more than modest" overclocks.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: