Recently at Tech-Reviews, we have a reviewed a few budget coolers. So today we have gone to the other end of the spectrum, right in at the top, and we have ourselves a high end CPU cooler up for review. Let’s see whether this increase in cost leads to big benefits in the cooling department. Time to introduce the product itself; I give you the ASUS Silent Knight II, kindly sampled by QuietPC.
ASUS, a technology-oriented company blessed with one of the world’s top R&D teams, is well known for high-quality and innovative technology. As a leading company in the new digital era, ASUS offers a complete product portfolio to compete in the new millennium.
The philosophy of ASUS product development is to do the fundamentals well first before moving forward. Started with computer components such as motherboards, graphic cards, and optical storage devices, ASUS now has now over 16 product lines, including desktop bare-bone systems, servers, notebooks, handhelds, network devices, broadband communications, LCD monitors, TVs, wireless applications, and CPT (chassis, power supply and thermal) products.
- Excellent Performance for Overclockers
100% copper materials and six copper heat pipes ensure excellent heat dissipation for maximum cooling performance
- Universal Application
The Silent Knight II supports the Intel® Core™2 Extreme/ Core™2 Quad (Quad-Core) CPU, Intel® Pentium® 4 LGA775 & AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core CPU, AMD Athlon™ 64(-FX) (939/940/AM2)
- Best Balance between Performance and Acoustic
PWM function automatically adjusts rotation speed according to CPU temperature and delivers a quiet cooling at a mere 25dBA
The fan positioned inside the frame and VRM shield guides cool air to critical components around the CPU for stable operation
Intel® Core™2 Extreme/ Core™2 Quad (Quad-Core)
Intel LGA 775
Dimensions (L x W x H)
115 (L) x 110 (W) x 140 (H) mm
Net Weight (g)
Cu. Base + Cu. Fins + 6 x 6mm Copper Heat Pipes
92 x 92 x 25
4 Pin with PWM Control
2300 rpm ± 10%
Max. Air Pressure
The front of the packaging entails a large close up of the of the shiny copper-orange metal fins which surround a small cut out of the box allowing the enclosed product to be seen. The orange image slowly fades to black at the bottom with the product name in stand-out white font.
In the bottom corner, in the middle of what looks to be an old fashioned seal, the words ‘Supports PWM’ are visible.
The back has a fill black background with a full list of specifications and a small product image that catches the eye due to the orange colour. Also, listed at the bottom are a number of symbols relating to the usual recycling and packaging information.
The sides show an image of the cooler attached to a motherboard with a series of arrows, colour coded to show hot and cold air, which display how the air is dissipated. On the other side, the specifications are translated into a number of other languages.
Including is of course the trusty manual and all the different mounting mechanisms. All the bits needed for each type of motherboard are bagged individually which is useful so that you don’t have to search through the vast number of brackets and screws for the ones you need.
The ASUS Silent Knight II
The design for the Silent Knight II is somewhat unlike most CPU coolers in that the fan is mounted in between the two heat-sinks with three heat pipes per heat-sink as opposed to having the fan mounted in front of one main heat-sink.
The advantage of this design is that a higher maximum efficiency can be achieved as air can be drawn through the first heat-sink and then dissipated more effectively through the second as the fan draws air through.
The heat-pipes are split evenly with three on each side. Each set conjoins to 64 fins, so there are a total of 128 fins spanning outwards from the centre. Therefore, the fins are not all parallel but are inside angled so that the heat is emitted all around the heat-sink, including the top, not just the sides.
The pipes form a loop as they bend around; however they do not join the bottom base again but end just below the lowest fin. Also, they bend outwards from the base to allow room for the white 92mm fan to be located in the centre.
The ends of the heat-pipes are rounded off to give a smooth and professional finish and are held in place between two plates.
The fan located in the middle is a 92mm PWM fan and according to ASUS has an RPM of approximately 2300. The fan has translucent fins so as not to clash with orange heat-sink and is supposed to create 52.25CFM of airflow.
Surrounding the 92mm fan is a black aluminium strip which bends around keeping it in shape with the cooler and attached to the main heat-sink via a number of screws. At the top there is a slit to allow air to escape and lower down there is a silver sword with ‘Silent Knight’ next to it.
Enthusiasts take great pride in the aesthetics of their components and for me this cooler really looks stunning. The contrast of this black metal strip against the bright orange looks great and the added image of the sword really look stylish.
Finally, there is an arrow to show the direction of airflow.
Unfortunately there was a blemish on the base, where the cooler contacts the CPU, in the form of a black smear which wouldn’t rub off. This does slightly ruin the bottom as without it, the base is very smooth and flat so should create a good contact with the central processing unit.
|Processor||Intel C2D E5550 Dual Core 2.33GHz|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte S-Series GA-73PVM-S2H|
|Graphics Card||XFX 8600GT|
|Memory||Corsair XMS2 PC6400 (2x 1GB)|
|Hard Drive||Hitachi HDT7250 (250GB)|
|OS||Windows XP Pro 32bit|
*The rig displayed above is the one used for testing.
My motherboard supports the LGA 775 mounting clip and therefore the installation involves the standard 775 back-plate.
Upon removing the motherboard, the back-plate slides behind it. Then the retention bracket is attached to the four stand-offs using the provided screws which then have just enough length to screw into the back-plate and ensure the bracket is well secured.
Then the cooler simply sits onto the CPU and the universal clip attaches onto the bracket.
By simply pushing the lever down the Silent Knight II is safely docked surely in place.
Upon powering the Silent Knight II up the fan emits a blue glow.
To test CPU Coolers we simply boot the PC up into Windows Vista and measure temperatures under idle and load states. The temperature is recorded from the CPU’s own diode using SpeedFan.
For idle testing, we leave the PC doing nothing for half an hour and take 3 temperature readings at 10 second intervals after 30mins. We then use the average score from these as the result.
When testing at load temperatures, we use a similar method but load both cores of our CPU right to 100% by loading two processes of ‘CPU Burn-In’.
Ambient (testing environment) temperature was 20 degrees Celsius.
We’ll be comparing the ASUS Silent Knight II to the stock Intel Cooler (copper base model). The included Asus compound is the thermal paste which will be used when testing both of the coolers.
The processor will be tested at stock clock.
|Intel Stock Cooler||ASUS Silent Knight II|
*All temperatures taken in Degrees Celsius.
As expected the ASUS Silent Knight II outperformed the Stock Cooler by a big margin in both states; it is almost 10 degrees lower at load. Moreover, the temperatures scored are really very impressive as the cooler dissipates the heat effectively to keep it very cool indeed. These temperatures would rival many of the high-end CPU Coolers and in this regard the ASUS is very good.
You might expect the centrally installed 92mm fan to be rather noisy. However, in actual fact the noise is not bad; there is a faint increase in noise output but it’s you have to listen hard to notice the difference especially with the case side panels on.
The price point is where the ASUS Silent Knight II is really let down though. Although the results for cooling and noise are impressive, £40 for a cooler is a high price for a minor component like this. However like all things in life, for supreme quality, this is a price you’ve got to pay.
The ASUS Silent Knight II really is a great cooler. In terms of aesthetics it looks stunning – the orange cooper colour giving this product a distinct image. The cooper pipes, fins and the base are all very smooth and shiny making it look very professional. Finally, the blue LED fan in the middle, despite clashing a little with the orange Heatsink, gives style. Certainly this CPU cooler will stand out in any case.
The cooling too is not bad as the temperatures show, the clever airflow technology working well with the spanned out heatsink to give great performance.
On the down side, all of this style and performance comes with a hefty price tag. QuietPC are currently retailing it for £52.99; other vendors selling for similar prices. This for any cooler, however good, is a very high price and I’m sure most enthusiasts would rather spend a little less on this less glamorous component so that they can afford a higher spec graphics card or such like.
Overall, if you’re an enthusiasts or gamer looking for ultimate style and ‘bling’ to show off at a LAN party, this cooler would be a great choice. Also, it gives the user something different that’s a little extra special. So, if you’ve got the money to spend, buy one! I would.
- Great style
- Good performance
- Low noise output
- Easy installation
- High quality
- High price point
- Slight clash of colours – orange heat-sink/blue fan