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Five Premium CPU Coolers In Tests

From ASUS, Noctua, Scythe, Thermalright and Thermaltake.

June 26, 2009



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Today we are going to examine five premium coolers: ASUS Royal Knight, Noctua NH-C12P, Scythe Mugen 2, Thermalright IFX-14, and Thermaltake BigTyp14Pro. They are the best there is. Although only Scythe Mugen 2 is a new model here (taking the first steps on our market), all of them, including the true veterans Noctua NH-C12P and Thermalright IFX-14, are leading their series.

ASUS Royal Knight

This product comes in a cardboard box with a plastic blister inside. The package has all necessary information about bundled components -- illustrations and a multi-language list of specifications.





The bundle includes the cooler itself, a multi-platform retention module (supporting Intel LGA775 and AMD Socket 754/939/AM2), a small syringe with thermal grease and a brief manual.



The cooler has an all-copper 'horizontal' heatsink with an 'integrated' fan (120x120x25mm). Dimensions -- 131x140x138mm. Weight -- 765g (without a retention module).



The working medium of the cooler is formed by a copper heatsink (40x30x7mm), six copper heat pipes (6mm in diameter), and copper fins (38 fins of a complex shape with the total heat exchange surface area of about 4500cm2).





Here are the key advantages of Royal Knight:

  • Wide fin step (3mm) to facilitate ventilation of the heatsink (especially in case of weak airflows typical of slow and quiet fans).
  • High quality of contacts between elements (soldering provides effective thermal contacts between the base plate and heat pipes as well as between the pipes and fins).
  • Well thought-out distribution of heat pipes in the fin stack (fins connected to the hottest pipes are placed in the most ventilated areas).

The only questionable feature is projections in the lower part of the fin stack, which play a decorative rather than purely practical role. In other respects it's an optimized and balanced thermal system promising High-End performance.



Heatsink technical rating: excellent.

The cooler is equipped with an Everflow T121225SL fan (Model AF8J5bR, 'open' impeller, nominal speed -- 1300rpm). Strong points of the fan include moderately aggressive aerodynamics (with a decent combination of performance and noise of the Royal Knight) as well as good electro-mechanics (enter bearing, Sanyo LB11961 driver, spiced up with stabilizing capacitors).



The weak spot of the T121225SL is serious deficit of pressure in low-speed modes. However, judging by results of the Royal Knight, this aspect has no noticeable effect on its efficiency. Fan technical rating: good.

The installation of this cooler is extremely simple. There are two mounting brackets with the reference latches for the Intel LGA775 platform; and the standard clip with a lever is used to mount the heatsink on AMD sockets.



That is, the installation of the Royal Knight is similar to that of typical boxed coolers.





Additional advantages are PWM control of fan speed (the speed varies within 500-1300rpm) and bundled thermal grease (enough for several installations). Besides, the fan comes with three white LEDs for bright spectacular illumination.

Usability rating: excellent.


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