Thermalright Archon SB-E 15cm Fan CPU Cooler

Cooling
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Heatsink Comparison Tables

CPU Coolers (ref. 120mm fan): °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
38
40
43
Thermalright Venomous X
38
41
43
Prolimatech Megahalems
38
41
44
Noctua NH-U12P
39
42
44
Scythe Mugen-2
39
42
45
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
40
42
45
Prolimatech Armageddon
40
42
46
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
43
46
Noctua NH-C14
39
42
48
Scythe Yasya
41
43
47
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
40
43
48
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
41
44
48
Thermalright Archon SB-E
42
43
49
Thermalright Ultra-120
42
45
49
Titan Fenrir
43
46
50
Scythe Ninja 3
44
47
49
Noctua NH-C12P
43
47
51
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
43
47
53
Swiftech Polaris 120
46
49
54
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
Cooler Master V8
46
50
54
Antec Kühler H20 620
(pump at 7V, almost inaudible)
52
52
53
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
45
52
57
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
49
52
58
Scythe Kabuto
51
53
60

When paired with a 120 mm fan, not all of the Archon's cooling fin surface receives airflow, making it fairly ineffective for an US$80 heatsink. Compared to other performance CPU coolers using the same fan, the Archon's performance was middling.

CPU Coolers (ref. 140mm fan): °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m*
9V
7V
6V
18~21 dBA
13~16 dBA
11~13 dBA
Thermalright Archon SB-E
37
40
42
Prolimatech Armageddon
39
42
45
Thermalright Venomous X Silent Edition
40
43
44
NZXT Havik 140
40
43
47
Noctua NH-C14 (top mounted)
40
44
48
Noctua NH-C14
40
44
49
Thermalright Silver Arrow
39
45
49
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

The Archon is a completely different cooler when using a bigger 140 mm fan, topping our chart with a clear margin of victory over the Prolimatech Armageddon, another lanky tower deisnged for a large fan. Heavyweights like the NZXT Havik 140 and Noctua NH-C14 don't match up either, but to be fair, they are optimized for dual fan operation.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Though not marketed as such, the Thermalright Archon SB-E is an exceptional CPU heatsink for low noise operation. Most top tier heatsinks have bulky fin stacks with tight spacing, making it difficult for fans running at low speed to expel the heat. A high pressure fan is best for such heatsink. The Archon employs a somewhat different strategy to great success. Its surface area is very large, and the tall, wide dimensions allows the output of a large fan to reach all of the fins surface area even at very low speed. 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, which lowers airflow impedance. When tested with our reference Noctua 140 mm fan, the Archon SB-E beat out all comers. The larger stock 150 mm fan had similar effectiveness.

Still, our main caution is about size. At 172 mm, it's one of the tallest heatsinks on the market, too tall for even for fairly big ATX cases. By our measurements, its height exceeds the clearance limit of popular noise-conscious cases like the Corsair Obsidian 550D, Fractal Define Mini, SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E, and Cooler Master Silencio 450/550. Its US$80 street price is hefty, though it isn't unreasonable given its superb performance. Still, there are countless heatsinks that offer good cooling proficiency for much lower cost; the law of diminishing returns is evident in this case. We also are slightly peeved with the tweaked mounting system — specifically the removal of the thumbscrews which made assembling the mounting bracket on the Silver Arrow incredibly easy. There was no reason to meddle with a system that was almost perfect.

Our thanks to Thermalright for the Archon SB-E CPU cooler sample.


Thermalright Archon SB-E wins the SPCR Editor's Choice

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Antec Kühler H20 620 & 920 CPU Water Cooling Units
Havik 140: NZXT's First CPU Heatsink
Thermalright Venomous X Silent Edition CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Genesis CPU Heatsink: Retaking the Crown
Swiftech Polaris 120 CPU Heatsink
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX & CNPS5X CPU Coolers

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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