Xigmatek HDT-S1283 & SD964 "heatpipe direct-touch" CPU coolers

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FINAL THOUGHTS

As far as value goes, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is in a league of its own. It basically matched the performance of our current champion, the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme, even though it is smaller in every dimension, significantly lighter, and has a considerably lower price. It seems evident that the heatpipe direct-touch "technology" does indeed work, as the rest of the heatsink's design is not noticeably different from its competitors.

The HDT-SD964 is also a good performer, matching the best similar sized coolers tested in the past. If mass is an issue, it's an excellent choice. If it isn't, the Scythe Ninja Mini may be a better option. The Minja achieved equal performance, but with an 80mm fan, and it is shorter, making it more compatible with low profile cases.

The LGA775 stock mounting system is perfectly sufficient for the SD964, but it's not ideal for the S1283 due to its higher weight. This is probably not a big issue, however, the total mass with fan of 600g is quite modest, relatively speaking. It exceeds Intel's recommended 450g maximum for the 775 socket by only 150g.

With either heatsink on most AM2 motherboards, the one-way mounting clip will cause the fan into a position where it blows toward the power supply (in the typical ATX case). It means that instead of being blown mostly out the back by the case fan, the heated air from the CPU heatsink will be blown more into the PSU, which may cause its thermally-controlled fan to speed up and become noisy. Some way of allowing 90° rotation in the mounting orientation of the heatsink would be much preferred.

The stock fans that come with the Xigmatek coolers are not optimized for minimal noise. At the standard 12V, they simply spin too fast for our liking. On the other hand, overclockers and gamers in the DIY PC community expect to be able to reach maximum cooling performance, and a high speed fan is part and parcel of the maximum-performance-at-any-cost credo. Our testing showed that the S1283 fan did almost as well at 960 RPM as it did at its maximum 1400 RPM: There was only a 3°C hit in performance, but the noise level dropped from plainly audible down to near ambient. The SD964 fan was very loud at its maximum speed. While it will undoubtedly be judged better by review sites that deemphasize noise, 40 dBA at 1m, to us, is downright offensive. No one today expects a 92mm heatsink to provide penultimate cooling — they really should dial it down a notch or two.

Overall, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and HDT-S964 represent good value in high performance coolers that can be run very quietly. We recommend them with only a few caveats.

Xigmatek HDT-S1283
PROS

* Champion-level cooling peformance
* Light-weight
* Anti-vibration fan isolators
* Low price
CONS

* Stock fan is louder than necessary
* Can mount on AMD platforms in only one orientation
* LGA775 mounting could be improved

Xigmatek HDT-SD964
PROS

* Good cooling proficiency
* Anti-vibration fan isolators
* Weighs only 1lb w/ fan, within Intel and AMD spec for coolers
CONS

* Stock fan is much louder than necessary
* Can mount on AMD platforms in only one orientation

Our thanks to Xigmatek for the heatsink samples.

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Articles of Related Interest
Ninja Copper: Scythe's 5th Year Celebration
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme: Heir to the CPU Cooling Throne
Scythe Ninja Mini CPU heatsink
Thermalright SI-128: Evolution of a Past Master

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