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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Let’s test the Thermalright Archon SB-E X2, a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, eight U-shaped heatpipes, and two 140 mm fans.

Figure 1 shows the minimalist designed cardboard box of the Archon SB-E X2.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: heatsink, fans, a syringe of thermal compound, a manual, a Y-harness for the fans, a wrench, a case sticker, and installation hardware.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the heatsink of the Archon SB-E X2.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 3: The Archon SB-E X2 heatsink

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

[nextpage title=”The Archon SB-E X2″]

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the Archon SB-E X2. Notice that the eight U-shaped heatpipes are distributed on six rows (three rows at each side) inside the radiator.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 unveils the top of the heatsink, where the tips of the eight heatpipes are visible.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 6: Top view

[nextpage title=”The Archon SB-E X2 (Cont’d)”]

Figure 7 shows the view of the base of the Archon SB-E X2. There is a plate of nickel-plated copper soldered to the heatpipes, and the surface has a mirror-like look.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 7: Base

The Archon SB-E X2 comes with two 140 mm PWM fans, shown in Figure 8.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 8: Fan

Figure 9 presents the Archon SB-E X2 with the fans installed. There are four rubber pads to help absorb vibration.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 9: Fans installed

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

Figure 10 shows the backplate for use with AMD processors (on the left), the backplate for Intel systems (at the center), and the frame that goes on the component side of the motherboard (on the right). At the bottom of the picture, you can see the transversal bar that goes over the cooler base and attaches to the frame. This bar has a screw at the center that allows the user to adjust the pressure over the CPU.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 10: Backplates and holders

Figure 11 reveals the four spacers on the solder side of the motherboard. Those spacers are fastened to the backplate’s screws.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 11: Spacers installed

Over the spacers goes the frame, shown in Figure 12.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 12: Frame

Put the cooler in place, and attach it to the frame using the transversal bar with two screws. Use the included wrench to fasten the center screws that increases the pressure between the cooler and the CPU.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 13: Heatsink installed

The last step is to install the fans, as shown in Figure 14.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2Figure 14: Installation finished

[nextpage title=”How we tested”]

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature
measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 18 °C 50 dBA 2850 rpm 69 ºC 51 °C
Corsair A70 23 °C 51 dBA 2000 rpm 66 ºC 43 °C
Corsair H100 26 °C 62 dBA 2000 rpm 64 ºC 38 °C
EVGA Superclock 26 °C 57 dBA 2550 rpm 67 ºC 41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 140 20 °C 46 dBA 1250 rpm 65 ºC 45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 120 26 °C 42 dBA 1500 rpm 82 °C 56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X 26 °C 43 dBA 1200 rpm 71 °C 45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max 20 °C 51 dBA 1700 rpm 62 °C 42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition 22 °C 50 dBA 2400 rpm 65 °C 43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA5 18 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 70 °C 52 °C
Noctua NH-L12 20 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 70 °C 50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 2550 rpm 71 °C 50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin 15 °C 48 dBA 1450 rpm 58 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 400 15 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 60 °C 45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 812 23 °C 51 dBA 2350 rpm 66 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 300 18 °C 43 dBA 1650 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Intel stock cooler 18 °C 41 dBA 2000 rpm 97 °C 79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton 19 °C 52 dBA 2900 rpm 83 °C 64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE2 18 °C 42 dBA 1300 rpm 69 °C 51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin 24 °C 46 dBA 1650 rpm 78 °C 54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced 13 °C 56 dBA 2000 rpm 62 °C 49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition 9 °C 48 dBA 2100 rpm 53 °C 44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 1750 rpm 59 °C 38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE2 12 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 64 °C 52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro 15 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 52 °C 37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark 18 °C 45 dBA 1500 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Arctic Freezer i30 13 °C 42 dBA 1350 rpm 63 °C 50 °C
Spire TME III 8 °C 46 dBA 1700 rpm 70 °C 62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer 11 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 49 °C 38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS 11 °C 45 dBA 2000 rpm 82 °C 71 °C
be quiet! Dark Rock 2 10 °C 41 dBA 1300 rpm 58 °C 48 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14CS 16 °C 47 dBA 1300 rpm 58 °C 42 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14PE 16 °C 48 dBA 1300 rpm 57 °C 41 °C
SilverStone HE01 (Q) 19 °C 44 dBA 1150 rpm 63 °C 44 °C
SilverStone HE01 (P) 20 °C 57 dBA 2050 rpm 62 °C 42 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (S) 17 °C 44 dBA 1250 rpm 52 °C 35 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (E) 17 °C 53 dBA 1900 rpm 50 °C 33 °C
Deepcool Neptwin 11 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 56 °C 45 °C
SilverStone HE02 19 °C 49 dBA 2000 rpm 64 °C 45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900DF 23 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 68 °C 45 °C
Deepcool ICE BLADE PRO V2.0 22 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 67 °C 45 °C
Phanteks PH-TC90LS 24 °C 47 dBA 2600 rpm 95 °C 71 °C
Rosewill AIOLOS 20 °C 40 dBA 1600 rpm 94 °C 74 °C
Corsair H60 20 °C 49 dBA 2000 rpm 64 °C 44 °C
Zalman LQ310

27 °C 51 dBA 2050 rpm 65 °C 38 °C
Noctua NH-L9i 24 °C 44 dBA 2500 rpm 95 °C 71 °C
NZXT Respire T40 20 °C 45 dBA 1850 rpm 76 °C 56 °C
NZXT Respire T20 21 °C 45 dBA 1900 rpm 77 °C 56 °C
Zalman LQ315 20 °C 52 dBA 1950 rpm 57 °C 37 °C
Corsair H80i (Quiet) 19 °C 44 dBA 1100 rpm 61 °C 42 °C
Corsair H80i (Maximum) 19 °C 57 dBA 2500 rpm 55 °C 36 °C
NZXT Kraken X40 (Silent) 25 °C 44 dBA 1050 rpm 66 °C 41 °C
NZXT Kraken X40 (Extreme) 25 °C 53 dBA 1650 rpm 62 °C 37 °C
Zalman LQ320 20 °C 52 dBA 2100 rpm 57 °C 37 °C
Corsair H100i (Quiet) 22 °C 45 dBA 1150 rpm 58 °C 36 °C
Corsair H100i (Maximum) 22 °C 61 dBA 2500 rpm 54 °C 32 °C
NZXT Kraken X60 (Silent) 26 °C 46 dBA 1000 rpm 62 °C 36 °C
NZXT Kraken X60 (Extreme) 26 °C 60 dBA 1650 rpm 60 °C 34 °C
Prolimatech Genesis Black Series 25 °C 46 dBA 1150 rpm 69 °C 44 °C
Phanteks PH-TC12DX 25 °C 51 dBA 1850 rpm 74 °C 49 °C
Corsair H90 23 °C 51 dBA 1550 rpm 61 °C 38 °C
Corsair H110 27 °C 58 dBA 1500 rpm 60 °C 33 °C
Evercool Venti 23 °C 49 dBA 2250 rpm 72 °C 49 °C
Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 22 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 68 °C 46 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Sockets LGA775, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA2011, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, and FM2
  • Dimensions: 6.1 x 2.1 x 6.7 inches (155 x 53 x 170 mm) (W x L x H)
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Nickel-plated copper
  • Heat-pipes: Eight 6 mm copper heatpipes
  • Fans: 2 x 140 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 1,300 rpm
  • Fan air flow: 73.6 cfm
  • Power consumption: 2 x 2.4 W
  • Nominal noise level: 21 dBA
  • Weight: 1.65 lb (750 g)
  • More information: https://www.thermalright.com
  • Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 90.00

* Researched at Amazon.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 is impressive in its construction. Eight heatpipes (actually working as if there were 16, since they are U-shaped) is not a common feature, and two 140 mm fans is the current standard for high-end air coolers.

Unfortunately, the cooling performance was good, but not at th
e level we expected in light of its excellent specifications. On the other hand, the Archon SB-E X2 is very quiet, which is nice.

Being a good cooler, with good cooling performance, but not a good buy due to its relatively high price, the Archon SB-E X2 receives our Bronze Award.