Date: October 4th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Xigmatek
<--CLICK FOR PRICES ON A XIGMATEK CPU COOLER IN THE UNITED STATES
<--CLICK FOR PRICES ON A XIGMATEK CPU COOLER IN CANADA
PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
Like the Balder, the Dark Knight relies on three large 8mm heatpipes to help move heat away from the processor, but the fin array has been redesigned and the finished with black nickel plating. The Balder design also supported the addition of an optional second fan to improve performance. Curiously, the Dark Knight omits this feature.
The real work is done at the base, where all the heat transfer happens. Xigmatek, pioneers in heatpipe direct touch design, have now gone the extra step by giving the base a highly polished finish, which many enthusiasts claim will increase heat transfer and cooling performance. We'll find out during testing, but this is the best finish I've seen on a cooler like this, and the full nickel plating doesn't hurt either. Notice also that there is very little space between the heatpipes and their respective channels in the base. Many coolers we've tested in the past have had noticeably larger gaps in this area, requiring a lot of thermal paste and decreasing the useable surface area for the cooler to do its job. As you can see in the above photo, Xigmatek has managed to fill the vast majority of the available surface with heatpipe material while keeping the base surface dead flat and highly polished. Very nice, indeed.
The backplate for the Intel mounting solution is really quite ingenious. One side of the plate has four individual adhesive pads that can be used to hold the plate in place during installation, and is drilled and tapped to support either 1156 or 1366 sockets. Flipping the plate over reveals the 775 mounts. Coupled with the spring loaded mounting screws, this is a very clever, robust solution that should be relatively easy to get installed. AMD users will have even less work to do as the included bracket interfaces with the OEM retention bracket on the motherboard. It doesn't get much easier than this. Xigmatek also includes five rubber fan mounts and some thermal paste.
The included 120x25mm fan supports PWM control and has an RPM range of 1000 to 2200, with a maximum flow of almost 90 CFM. With a maximum pressure rating of 4.1mmH2O, this fan has identical specs to the fan provided with the Balder and should be more than up to the task. The clear/smoke colored blades and frame are complimented by four white LEDs for a bit of style to go with the performance.
I'm anxious to see how the Dark Knight performs, so let's proceed to the installation phase of this review.