Good, but not best-in-class cooling, quiet;
Frustrating install; requires low-profile RAM.
The Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E doesn’t lack for heat pipes: Eight of them rise from the heat exchanger up into the two sets of cooling fins. The entire thing, from aluminum fins to copper pipes and heat exchanger, is plated in a shiny nickel coat. The two sets of cooling fins are shiny and jagged, and much more stylized than the Noctua DH-14 or the Phanteks PH-TC14PE , its most obvious competitors of the coolers we’ve tested. The whole assemblage weighs two pounds, 7.6 ounces with both fans. Those fans—a 15cm TY-150 and 14cm TY-141—are both low-RPM 12V fans with 4-pin PWM connectors.
There’s something incongruous about mustard-and-olive fans with those edgy nickel-plated cooling fins.
The Silver Arrow includes mounting hardware for Intel LGA775, 1366, 1156, 1155, and 2011, as well as AMD FM1, AM2, AM2+, AM3, and AM3+. Unfortunately, all the mounting brackets are finicky and complicated. The anchor plate attaches to mounting posts—either mounted through to the backplate or (on LGA2011) mounted directly to the integrated backplate—with the use of tiny Philips-head screws. Then the mounting plate goes over the back of the heat exchanger and attaches to the anchor plate with two more tiny screws. The mounting plate doesn’t secure to the heatsink, so it slides around while you try to line up the screws. The fin stacks are close enough together that all but the longest, skinniest screwdrivers are too wide to fit between them. The fans attach to the cooler with wire clips, which are flimsy and difficult to secure compared to the much better clips found in the Phanteks and Noctua coolers. Like most dual-stack coolers we’ve tested, the Silver Arrow interferes with tall RAM heat spreaders, so you’ll need to use low-profile RAM.
Once installed onto our overclocked i7-3930K test bed, the Silver Arrow SB-E performed slightly behind the Noctua and a good 3 C behind the Phanteks. It was even slightly outperformed by the direct-contact Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo. For the price of the Silver Arrow you can get the Noctua, which has an easier install and slightly better temperatures, or for $5 more you can get the Phanteks, which performs even better, has a better install than the Thermalright, and comes in a variety of colors, but lacks PWM fans.
|Dimensions H x D x W (inches, with fans)||6.6 x 5.1 x 6.8|
|Weight ||2 lbs, 7.6 oz|
|Heat Pipes ||8|
|Stock Fans ||1x 15cm, 1x 14cm, PWM|
|Add’l Fan Support||1 (wire clips included)|
|Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E|| Noctua NH-D14 SE2011||Phanteks PH-TC14PE|
All temperatures in degrees Celsius. Best scores bolded. All tests performed using an Intel Core i7-3960X at 4.2GHz, on an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard with 16GB DDR3/1600, in a Thermaltake Level 10 GT with stock fans set to Low.