Xigmatek has kept me pretty busy with a trio of coolers they have recently submitted to our labs. Xigmatek has made quite a name for itself, since its inception in 2005. This name has really come from their patented H.D.T. (Heat-pipe Direct Touch) technology cooler line-up and today's sample fits into this category as well, but with just a bit of a twist. This "twist" is that Xigmatek is introducing a new use of their technology to improve on an already great idea.
Today's sample is the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384, a variation on their four heat-pipe cooling solution. The Thor's Hammer is a complete re-think of a bunch of the features of the previously released four-pipe coolers. Thor's Hammer introduces dual layered heat-pipe cooling, as well as a unique take on the fin design. The dual layered heat-pipes consist of a total of seven pipes of two varying dimensions. The fins (or body) of Thor's Hammer are black nickel coated and have an unusual stager and shape, both of which are to aid in airflow through the cooler which will reduce temperatures.
Thor's Hammer made its debut during CES 2009 and everyone had gotten their hands all over that sample. Our preview, however, didn't show what the cooler really has to offer. It was horribly tarnished from all the handling during the exhibition. That makes me really anxious to see what this cooler looks like fresh from the factory floor.
Enough with the introduction, let's turn on some lights, get the camera ready and see what Xigmatek has delivered to our labs.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Xigmatek shows off a few new tricks with the Thor's Hammer. This is the first of a kind from them with dual layered heat-pipes. They have the standard 8mm, H.D.T. pipes and this time there are four, doing the normal job of removing heat. Then, on top of that are three, 6mm, inner heat-pipes soldered into the aluminum base. Xigmatek also has the aluminum base extending into the three smaller aluminum alloy fins. The heat-pipes, all seven of them, on the other hand, rise past the initial three smaller fins and continue up into the unusual shaped 49 fins, but do not protrude through the top.
This cooler body is plated in black nickel coating, just like the Dark Knight which I will also soon test and review. With all this considered, finding that the Thor's Hammer weighs in at 800 grams is not a surprise. Remember, the overall size of this cooler may vary depending on the size of fans used. At minimum you need to add 50mm to the height measurement for a dual fan configuration, as Xigmatek recommends a 120 X 120 X 25mm fan to be used.
The second section of chart above is to show the specifics for the fans I actually tested with. I used the Yate Loon D12SH-12 as my choice of fans for three reasons. The first reason is that the Yate Loons have an air flow of 88 CFM at 2200 RPM and are on par with the ratings of most fans included on the premium coolers. Secondly, I happened to have a matched pair lying around to be able to use. Lastly and most importantly, they had the proper 3-pin connections to use in our testing rig. These fans are slightly on the loud side as I know firsthand from running them previously, but I feel they really fit the bill on all other aspects other than noise levels.
The Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 is not currently available on store shelves, but it has been publically released, so expect shipments to hit e-tailers soon. Through some conversations with a Xigmatek representative, I was told that the projected retail pricing should be right around the $70 U.S. dollar mark, plus shipping. Since the Thor's Hammer comes packaged without a fan, plan to add just a bit more to your order as you may need to include a fan or two. In the instance of my testing fans, they were an additional seven dollars to get the pair to me.
Xigmatek has gone all out with the premium packaging surrounding the Thor's Hammer S126384. This time they have enclosed it in a box covered in a prismatic, mirrored background, with a thick layer of black trim applied to embellish the package. You can see they have allowed for buyers to see the dual layered heat-pipes through this cut-away window.
Spinning the box to the right brings us to another cut-away window. This time it is to allow a good look at their H.D.T., four heat-pipe base. This window is surrounded by a couple of images of Thor's Hammer printed on the same backing.
The back of the package is where Xigmatek has listed the Thor's hammer S126384's specifications. To the right is their interpretation of Thor wielding his mighty hammer, just above a complete image of the CPU cooler itself.
The left side of the Thor's Hammer packaging shows a nice graphic image of the name above their hammer and the art is followed underneath with four lists of features, in languages other than English.
With Thor's Hammer being removed from the chest of sorts, we can see Xigmatek has done a nice job of keeping it safe for shipping. They cup both ends of the cooler in a thin plastic mold that keeps the cooler snug inside the box. You can see the hardware is shipped inside the top molded half and the instruction manual is slid behind the cooler for shipment. A bit of a surprise to me was the lack of a fan supplied with the Thor's Hammer.
The Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384
My first impressions of this cooler is that Xigmatek has broken the stereotypical rectangular shaped mould of tower coolers. They have taken time to engineer a unique layout and design of the fins on the Thor's Hammer and here is the result of their time and effort. Thor's Hammer has dual layered heat-pipes, found right on top of each other. Heat then travels into the fins which have an alternating design and shape.
The top of the Thor's Hammer gives a better idea of the fins shape with this cooler. You can see that the fans mount into wing-like fins, while the inner fins are more oval and aren't two pieced. Worth mentioning also is the black nickel plating's mirror-like shine and reflectivity.
From this angle the staggering of the fins is even more apparent. Xigmatek layered their cooler with two wing-like fins, then altering to the one complete fin. Rinse and repeat until you get to the top of the cooler. There is a good view of the first four, or outer heat-pipes. These do the initial and majority of the heat transfer.
The workhorses of the Thor's Hammer are these four flat, milled, 8mm heat-pipes. Again, unlike the predecessors, Thor's Hammer has the base milled level with the heat-pipes and this should decrease the amount of TIM needed to apply these coolers, as did the older versions.
I had to get an image to show specifically what all this "dual layered heat-pipes" business is all about. Xigmatek has the usual suspect lined up on the outside to take care of removing the majority of the heat load from the CPU. They then take that a step further with the addition of a second grouping of heat-pipes soldered into the base. This allows a second chance to eliminate residual heat that the bases usually retain on other coolers. They haven't left out the AMD crowd and as you can see Thor's Hammer has the slots to use the cross bar lock down mechanism as well. The aluminium bit above the base only continues to transfer heat to the smallest three fins of the base, then, it is up to the fans to do their job.
Strapping on one 120mm Yate Loon, 88CFM fan leaves the cooler looking like this. The fans are simple to install with Xigmatek's rubber anti-vibration fan mounts.
Here we have a look at the two fan configuration. This version of setting up the Thor's Hammer makes it 144mm wide from fan edge to fan edge.
One last look at the Thor's Hammer as it would appear in your case with the dual fan configuration.
Accessories and Documentation
The Thor's Hammer S126384 comes with quite an assortment of pieces. This is due to their universally designed mounting system. Let's start with the LGA 1366 / LGA775 back plate and 3M double sided, foam tape. Sitting between the two is the supplied packet of thermal interface material. From the middle left, is a supplied wrench for securing the screws located in the middle. Next to the screws are the tension springs that slip over the screws. Flanking both sides are the universal legs that attach to the base with the two Phillip's head screws on the right. Xigmatek also supplies the AMD locking bracket and eight anti-vibration fan mounts, even though this cooler ships fan-less.
Xigmatek supplies a very comprehensive set of instructions and they have a clearly labelled parts list as well to simplify things as you go. There isn't really anything new about this cooler as far as how to get things mounted and running over other crossbow kits. The instructions are also in a total of six languages to make things easier to read, depending on your location around the globe.
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
Thor's Hammer did an impressive job of cooling our T.E.C.C., especially considering I used some three dollar fans to get my results. As I explained earlier, they should give you a good idea of what an average fan will produce for you. Xigmatek's Thor's Hammer idled at a cool 52.3 Celsius in the single fan configuration and with the dual fan set-up it was 0.6 cooler at 51.7 Celsius.
Moving over to the load testing, you can see both the one fan and the two fan set-ups report only a 5 overall increase of temperatures. Testing results for the single fan was 57.3 Celsius, while the dual fan set-up reads at 56.6 Celsius. Considering there are much better fans available to the consumer than my 88CFM Yate Loons, this should give a good perspective on what to expect.
The sound pressure level testing done on the Thor's Hammer is no way reflective of the cooler itself, as Xigmatek ships this cooler without an accompanying fan. These were just the results I got from the fans used. Idle noise started with one fan at 55 dB and it gets a bit of a bump with dual fans running to 59 dB.
Load testing wasn't too great for these fans. The single fan reported in at 66dB and the dual configuration was a bit louder at 68dB. Again, your results will vary depending on what fan or fans you choose to use with Xigmateks Thor's Hammer.
The Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 is one sexy cooler out of the box and also comes well packed inside a really innovative package that will be a real standout on store shelves. Personally, one look at this box had me looking wide eyed and anxious to see what it has to offer. They really took their technology they have on hand and did an impressive job of getting all these improvements into one package. This is a good direction of design to follow and I can only see it getting better as they go.
The projected price versus performance leaves the Thor's Hammer almost dead even with the Z600R we reviewed earlier. They are in about the same price range too, but the Z600R does come with a fan. So the question is really down to which design you like better. To me personally I would take the sexiness of the mirror-like, black nickel over the big "X" Z600R, myself. Overall fan noise and performance can also be better in one or both aspects of my testing, which have a twofold benefit. First, being silence of the room you keep your computer in and the second may be even better temperature results.
After all the testing and the writing is about to finish, I can only find two negatives. I really would have liked a nice white LED, black housed 80-90 CFM fan included with the Thor's Hammer. I realize that they are available to purchase separately, but the cooler just screams to have one or two of them installed. The other thing I found is that when using the AMD lock down bracket, it is a touch too high and interferes with mounting a fan on that side of the Thor's Hammer. It is only 3-4mm at maximum that it shifts the fan toward the top of the cooler, but it breaks the overall sleek look when the fan is noticeably higher than the top of the cooler.
I have to say Xigmatek has done it again and really show what they can offer to the PC cooling market. Not only is this cooler drop dead gorgeous in my opinion, but it performs really well. Would I buy this cooler? - Based on looks alone I would ponder it! Seeing what I have, against the latest trio of coolers I have tested from Xigmatek, this is the coolest solution both in looks and dual fan performance. I can only imagine what this cooler would do if noise isn't an issue and you decide to use some really high CFM fans. The results can only get better!
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