Thermalright Archon SB-E 15cm Fan CPU Cooler

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Thermalright Archon SB-E 15cm Fan CPU Cooler

June 18, 2012 by Mike Chin & Lawrence Lee

Thermalright Archon SB-E
CPU Cooler
Street Price

For the past few years there has been a lack of real innovation in the field of performance CPU heatsinks. The market is mature, to the point where we can often tell without even testing a heatsink how well it will perform. Standard designs have been well established and success can be almost guaranteed by adhering to them: As many heatpipes as possible through as large a fin stack as possible, as large a fan as can be fitted, and a mounting system that applies high pressure to a slightly convex base, to make as much contact as possible with the CPU heatspreader, which almost invariably has a slight concave shape.

Until something revolutionary comes along, heatsink makers seem content to follow these guidelines and just play with the shapes and forms of their coolers, trying to figure out the optimal design for their purposes. For example, Noctua, Prolimatech and Thermalright took their thick fin-stack towers coolers and split them up into two sections, giving each one its own fan, which resulted in the NH-D14, Genesis, and Silver Arrow coolers. The Thermalright Archon SB-E is another variation on the theme.


Box contents.

The Archon SB-E is the second version of a model that is actually a two years old, and its design isn't unique. A few months before its original release, Prolimatech came out with a similar product, the Armageddon. Both heatsinks were meant for use with 14 cm fans, but the new version of the Archon adds two extra heatpipes, a bigger fan, and LGA2011 support out of the box (SB-E stands for Sandy Bridge Extreme). These updates may give it an edge over the Armageddon.

The Archon SB-E looks like another imposing, shiny metallic tower, difficult to differentiate from say an Ultra-120 eXtreme, at least not at first glance. Upon closer inspection, you'll notice the side of the heatsink fin stack that faces the fan is unusually large. The fin stack is also substantially thinner than normal and there eight heatpipes hidden in its lanky mass, a total of twelve heatpipe paths running between base and fin stack. The distance from the "intake" side of the fin stack to the "exhaust" side is just 53 mm at its maximum, about 20% less than the highest performance 120mm fan heatsinks. This translates to lower impedance to airflow, which is a good thing, especially when a fan is spinning very slowly.

The stock fan looks similar to the model found on the Silver Arrow, but not quite. This fan is larger, an unusual 17 x 15 cm to cover more of that big mating surface presented by the fin stack.

Important Note: the Archon SB-E is not yet listed on Thermalright's website. Below are the details of the Archon Rev.A, which is very similar except it is 2 mm shorter, along with the differences noted above. Most of the remaining features and specifications are identical.

Thermalright Archon Rev.A: Key Features
(from the product web page)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
Armor style heatsink fin array, with mirrored copper base, elevates heatsinks overall quality. All of Thermalright's heatsinks are well constructed and most importantly, very shiny.
Large heatsink fin array provides dissipating area of up to 150*125mm, making complete use of the airflow, with 150mm 140mm or 120mm fan. A big, nonstandard sized fan is included to complement the heatsink's large area. 14/12 cm fans likely do not perform as well.
With the max width of 55mm, tall memory heat spreaders are avoided. The shorter width makes DIMM interference less likely.

Six sintered heatpipe design, all heatpipes are nickel plated, to slow the oxidation deterioration to the heatpipe, to ensure longer usage and performance of the heatsink for the CPU.
Nothing new here. Various Thermalright heatsinks are equipped with the same. Note that the SB-E adds two more heatpipes.
Supports Multiple-Platforms, and can be used on Socket 1366/1156/775 (Socket 2011 optional) Platform, and AM2/AM3 Socket. For Intel sockets pressure is adjustable (40~70 lbs.) Previous Thermalright heatsinks have had multiple socket support, but this is the first time using a single backplate for both Intel and AMD mounts.
Includes one Thermalright TY-150 PWM fan, Ultra low noise at 23 dBA at max rpm (50cm testing distance) A fan similar to the 14 cm models included with the Silver Arrow and the Shaman.
Fan-clips are compatible with TY-150/TY-140 140mm and 120mm fan. If you find the stock fan unsuitable for whatever reason, both 14 and 12 cm fans are supported.
The Archon package includes a tube of CF III Thermal paste, to provide the best combination for use with Archon. We can't comment on the quality of Thermalright's thermal compound as we use our own as a control. Most TIMs perform within a few degrees of each other.

Thermalright Archon Rev.A: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Dimension: Length 155mm x Width 53mm x Height 170mm (175mm with TY-150)
Weight: 806g (excluding fan and mounting brackets)
Heatpipe: 6mm heatpipe*6 units
Copper Base: C1100 Pure copper nickel plated with mirror shine
Dimension: L170mm x H150mm x W26.5mm
Weight: 180g
Fan speed: 500~1100RPM (PWM controlled)
Fan noise: 19~23dBA
Airflow: 38~84CFM
Connector: 4 Pin (PWM Fan connector)

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