Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme CPU Cooler Review
The performance of the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme CPU cooler is second to none in the air-based cooling arena. The cooler works so well as dissipating processor heat that its performance even rivals mid-tier water cooled kits. However, the performance does come at the price of its fans. While they are not annoying like the "old school" vacuum-cleaner fans, they remain discernible even over the stock graphics card fan.
As of October 07, the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme CPU cooler was available at Performance-PCs.com for $89.95, as well as FrozenCPU.com for $89.99 and Amazon.com for $99.90 with Prime shipping.
Before continuing with our parting sentiments on the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme cooler, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at Thermalright a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the pleasure and opportunity to review their flagship cooler. As a long time water cooling enthusiast, I had mixed feelings going into this review with memories of the "hair dryer" coolers of old spinning through my mind. I was pleasantly surprised with this unit. The craftsmanship is first-class with nickel plating covering the copper base plate and heat pipes, giving the entire unit a slick chromed appearance. Nickel plating is a trick that the water cooler manufacturer's use to reduce corrosion while not impacting the heat dissipation of the plated copper underneath, so I was very surprised to see this method so nicely applied to the Silver Arrow cooler. The construction of the cooler is flawless, with no flux, solder or weld marks, nor machining marks present anywhere on the cooler. And performance-wise, this massive hunk of nickel-plated copper outperforms even the higher-tier water cooling systems.
The cooler is not without its challenges. The CPU mounting mechanism can be challenging to install because of the pieces that need to be matched through the bottom and top of the board. Additionally, the cooler hold-down plate can be quite a challenge to fix in place because of the screws required on opposite sides of the plate. You have to hold the cooler and hold-down plate in place while screwing in the hold-down screws which are towards the outer ends in between the dual cooling towers. This is easier with the board horizontal, but still can be rather challenging. The only other mentionable point is the fan noise when you run the units at full speed. This is not required and can be remedied using PWM, but will result in cooler performance loss and higher CPU temperatures.
- Performance under stock and overclocking conditions
- Sleek chromed appearance
- Build and machining quality of the cooler
- Well written manual
- Fan noise
- Complex cooler mounting mechanism
- Inability to mount cooler in multiple orientations
- Possible space contention issues using front fan and memory modules with larger heat sinks
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