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Nine Big Air Coolers For Intel's Haswell CPUs, Reviewed

Xigmatek Dark Knight-Series Night Hawk Frostbourne Edition

If you like Xigmatek’s latest cooler, we wish you the best of luck finding it. After all, the company isn't big on model names, and online vendors are labeling this cooler by various versions of its extra-long name. What we have here today isn’t a failure to communicate, but instead a limited-edition white version of its Dark Knight II.

Xigmatek favors direct contact between its heat pipes and the CPU's heat spreader. It uses three fat pipes to achieve good coverage across the Haswell-based CPU's fairly small spreader. Its sanded finish is far smoother than it appears, and fills nicely with the tiny particles of silver-based thermal compounds.

A universal plastic support plate rotates into various positions to line up with Intel’s three LGA bolt patterns (775, 1150/1155/1156, 1366), and flips over to replace AMD’s four-bolt rectangular retainer. The wide tabs of this design work with most motherboards, though we’ve seen exceptions.

  • Madn3ss795
    No NH D14?
    Reply
  • 016ive
    Thermalright Archon SB-E X2, That's one big as* cooler!
    Reply
  • jk_ventolero
    The CM H212 Evo has been a crowd favorite for quite some time now. :) I wonder how that might have performed. :D
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    Water cooling is the best way forward: less noise, energy efficient and low maintenance.
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    I hate to say it but all this article demonstrated to me is that Haswell is in no way better than Ivy Bridge. Even Ivy Bridge used 25% less energy with a 10% boost when compared to Sandy Bridge, and I can still get IB to 4.8 GHz on air.

    Haswell= 10% more power for 10% more energy and 10% less headroom. Oh and it costs more...

    Man I hope AMD can whip them back into shape with Steam Roller...
    Reply
  • s3anister
    I can't even fathom why one would spend this much time to write an article like this and still leave the NH-D14 out.
    Reply
  • spazoid
    It's funny how some of you guys still think Intel made Haswell with desktops in mind. This is a CPU architecture made for mobile. It's quite sufficient for desktops in every regard. Yes, it might not outperform IB by much, and it might run a bit hotter, but in a laptop, there is nothing that compares to Haswell.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    11158600 said:
    No NH D14?
    Noctua picked the NH-U14S instead of the D14. Please feel free to ask them why.

    Since Noctua chose not to feature the NH-D14 this time, you might want to look at its closest competitor. The article links a comparison of Phanteks TCP14E and NH-D14. Since Phanteks chose to keep its big cooler in the running but Noctua chose otherwise, this was the closest "frame of reference" available.

    11159094 said:
    I can't even fathom why one would spend this much time to write an article like this and still leave the NH-D14 out.
    I can't even fathom why you would repeat the first post without regard to any response. And speaking of a response, please read above.
    Reply
  • Shneiky
    Really disappointed that there was no be quiet! and Cooler Master representatives. I would enjoy seeing how a Dark Rock Pro 2 or a V8 GTS/V6 GT.
    Reply
  • flong777
    The comments are correct concerning the omission of the NH-D14 from this testing. It really doesn't matter a damn what "Noctua picked," that is not the issue. The FACT is the D14 is legendary for its cooling and to leave it out of any major test is just plain stupid. Don't forget that it won your last competition for best cooler.

    To say compare it's performance with the Plantek's performance is lame. Use some common sense when you do these reviews.
    Reply