Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX Review
Published: 16th December 2014 | Source: Thermalright | Price: TBC |
If you've read the full review, or at the very least the introduction, you'll already know that this version of the Silver Arrow is not intended by Thermalright to be a high performance giant slaying beast. Instead what we have here is more of a low fat or Thermalright “Lite” version of the original Silver Arrow. Low fat because it only has six 6mm heat pipes as opposed to eight, and only has to one large centrally mounted fan rather than two.
The plain brown nature of the external packaging might be low key, but it's apparent from the moment you open the box and extract the complimentary pair of white cotton gloves that quality and attention to detail are high on the agenda at Thermalright. The gloves if you haven't already guessed are to enable you to handle the cooler without leaving grubby finger marks all over the immaculate 51 element dark Nickel finish fin stack. For its part, the twin tower fin stack is also graduated, both to add aesthetic effect and to better suit the proportions of the 152x140x26.5mm red bladed fan, with each of the copper heat pipes exiting the all copper, Nickel plated contact plate and passing cleanly up the body of the stack terminating in black plastic end caps.
Thanks to the twin tower design, and a bit of thought from Thermalright, installing the ITX is a piece of cake, with fittings provided for all main AMD and Intel CPUs since Adam was a lad. All share the same back plate and mounting plate, meaning that you're not going to be wasting time sifting through the accessories box trying to work out which brackets go with which screws. The actual assembly and mounting method is also pretty much identical regardless of the hardware it's attached to, made easier by the clear multi language multi-platform instructions
In use the Silver Arrow ITX is near silent, even at the full 12 volts we test at. Stopping the fan down a few hundred RPM via the 4 pin PWM connection proves to make it practically inaudible even with the side panel off and your ear right up close. While not exactly stellar, the performance of the ITX was close to what we expected for a low RPM fan unit, beating a few comparable units and some that were engineered to be "performance coolers" at 4.0GHz only falling by the wayside at 4.4GHz and even then only being outclassed by 3 degrees by the bequiet Dark Rock3 and Pro3 and 4 degrees by the Noctua D-15 with the LNA fitted. But of course the real advantage of the ITX is that it achieves this level of cooling without causing any of the RAM encroachment issues that the other cooler mentioned generally create.
Pricing on the Silver Arrow ITX isn't clear yet as this product is very new to market, but when considering the cost of the full fat version we'd expect it to come in at around the £50-£55 mark, which isn't at all bad for a product of such evident high quality. Thing is though, that takes it right into entry level AIO territory which isn't a great thing. That said, it's going to be a damn site quieter than any AIO you're going to find, and as we've already established the Silver Arrow ITX isn't after the performance crown we have no qualms at all in recommending it for those who are looking for something special to put in a low noise build or "Silent" case.
So why hasn't the Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX achieved a higher award? Well there were a few things we didn't like, more niggles than anything else, but worthy of consideration. In no particular order these include the choice of a red bladed fan, we feel that an all black unit or something more in keeping with the Dark Nickel finish would have been better. We also didn't like the use of spring clips to secure the fan as we felt these detracted from the overall quality of the unit, as do the plastic heat pipe end caps. The only other thing we feel is of relevance is that our example sat ever-so-slightly off vertical. You have to look closely to see that it doesn't quite line up with the edges of the RAM. Having noticed this we dug a little deeper, in fact we took the whole thing apart and re mounted it and discovered that although all the mounting hardware sits square on the socket or back plate, and the bracket sits square on the mounting hardware, the cooler itself is actually on the skew and as such does not sit square on its own contact plate. As they say, once seen it can't be unseen, and it sure as hell bugged the crap out of us here at OC3D