sunnuntai 15. toukokuuta 2011

Thermalright Silver Arrow in a Nexus Version1 with Asus P7P55D-E LX

In November when I bought a new computer I wrote that I should've also bought a proper CPU cooler instead of going with the boxed heat sink and fan. Now with the summer and warmer weather coming I finally did that. After reading some reviews I chose the Thermalright Silver Arrow which had received some favorable reviews. I checked the specs for the thing and saw that it was 163 mm tall. Well, good! There is approximately 168 mm of space above the motherboard in my Nexus Version1 case, so there's plenty of room (well, 5 mm!) for the cooler. At most I'd have to rip some of the noise absorbing material out.

The installation would have been easy with a brand new computer. However, as I had already once assembled it, I now had to remove almost all of the components so that I could install the supporting prop thing under the motherboard. Without it, the heavy cooler would most likely just bend the entire CPU socket out of the motherboard, destroying it.

Now I had finally disassembled and assembled my computer again. But d'oh! It turns out that the cooler is indeed 163 mm tall, but it is installed to the top of the CPU, about 10 mm above the motherboard! So, now the case cannot be closed as the heat sink extends out 5 mm too much. :(

You wouldn't think a normal case would pose a problem to any heat sink, but the Silver Arrow is just huge! I was more concerned that it wouldn't fit on the motherboard as there are many components that might be too tall and prevent the cooler from being installed. I looked up some random Thermalright Silver Arrow Motherboard Compatible List which said my motherboard, an Asus P7P55D-E LX, would be compatible with the cooler. Turns out, that list was slightly optimistic. In theory the Silver Arrow can be installed in two ways and in those two ways the two fans can have two different configurations. However, it appears that only one fan can be used with the motherboard! The fan would fit above the heat sink but the metal rods that secure it tightly in its place would make a contact with the bottom of the graphics card. The fan cannot face the back side of the case as the Ethernet, USB and other connectors don't leave any room for it. The bottom side is out of question as well because of the interestingly placed hard disk holder of the case, and the fan cannot be placed towards the front of the case either because that's were the RAM modules are.

Luckily the cooler works fine with only one fan that's installed in the middle of it. With the boxed cooler running the system at a 25 percent load would bring the CPU temperature up to 75 to 80 °C. With the Silver Arrow and just one fan the same temperature isn't achieved even at a 50 percent load and even then the noise is much more bearable than with the boxed cooler. The system idle temperature is also 10 to 20 °C cooler than with the boxed heat sink and fan.

Bottom line: the cooler works very well but now I have to use my computer without the side panel of the case. Because of this I unfortunately cannot recommend the Silver Arrow if you happen to have a Nexus Version1 case or any other case thinner than 210 mm or so. With a sufficiently large case, however, it is undoubtedly one of the best coolers out there.

Finally, here are some photos. The first photo shows the boxed heat sink and fan, right there in the middle:

The second photo shows the system with the boxed cooler replaced with the Silver Arrow:

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