Thermalright Silver Arrow Heatsink and Fan Unit Review

Thermalright's new processor air cooler is surely a no-compromise unit that will not be for everyone, much less every enthusiast. It is bigger than Texas, or Alaska for that matter. The Silver Arrow is destined to be displayed in many a chassis' clear side panel. Does it have what it takes when it comes to performance?

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Thermalright Silver Arrow

As mentioned before the Silver Arrow is a large cooler that attempts to tackle both cooling and low noise signature. Thermalright is pulling out all the stops with the Silver Arrow even going as far as to include 8mm heat pipes where most companies prefer 6mm. It appears, at least on paper, that the Silver Arrow is not being targeted at mainstream users but rather the enthusiasts out there who want the very best there is.

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Package & Specs

Thermalright continues to stick with its signature brown box packaging which is great in my book. As seen in the pictures there is loads of foam padding to protect the contents. My sample arrived in perfect condition and ready for duty.

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Dimensions: (L) 147mm x (W) 123mm x (H) 160mm

Weight: 825g without fans

Heat Pipes: 4 full length 8mm pipes

Material: Aluminum fins with nickel plated heat pipes and base

Compatibility:

    Intel

  • LGA 1366
  • LGA 1156
  • LGA 775

    AMD

  • AM2
  • AM2+
  • AM3

Fan:

  • Size: 140mm x 26.5mm
  • Speed: 900 ~ 1300 RPM
  • Max Air Flow: 69 CFM
  • Noise: 19 dBA

Contents & Flatness

Thermalright includes mounting hardware and accessories for all major platforms. It even includes some foam pads to reduce vibration noise, two sets of fan clips and detailed instructions for installing the Silver Arrow.

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The base of the Silver Arrow is free from scratches or dents but upon closer inspection is not truly flat. It is concave. Thermalright does this on purpose in connection with its mounting system to apply more pressure to the center of the CPU. Its mounting system uses a pressure bolt in the middle which can be tightened or loosened to adjust the pressure on the CPU and in turn adjust cooling performance. The pressure ranges from forty pounds up to seventy pounds. For our tests we leave the bolt set to seventy pounds and observed no ill affects from doing so.

Photos

Some various photos of the Silver Arrow...

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Installation & Contact

The Silver Arrow is big. I mean really big. This is a high end cooler geared towards large cases with no compromises to be seen. Installing the actual cooler was straightforward and I was able to accomplish this with the motherboard inside the case. As long as you have an access panel on the side of the case behind the motherboard you should be fine. But as you can see this cooler takes up as much room as possible. It sits very low to the motherboard so our RAM can’t fit underneath it and it sits wide enough that it almost reaches into our rear exhaust fan.

We do lose our first DIMM slot on the board and if you use low profile RAM you may be able to slip it underneath the Silver Arrow but only barely.

The fans were plugged into our 3-pin headers on the board to allow for maximum speed which as you’ll see is remarkably quiet. Because of this there was truly no need to engage the PWM function of the fans.

Finally, because of the size of this cooler I could not place the fans on the side of the RAM pointing towards the rear of the case as is normally the situation. Rather, I pointed them into the case pulling air from the outside and blowing it across the fins. To be thorough, I then turned the fans around and pointed them towards the rear but they were not pushing the air through the fins. They were pulling the air through the fins which usually results in decreased performance. This was done to demonstrate a more normal configuration where the fans help exhaust the air out of the case.

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When all is said and done the mounting system for the Silver Arrow did its job and did it well. Strong even pressure across the entire base is observed and this will translate into maximum cooling performance.