It seems like forever since Tony from Xigmatek and I have had any sort of conversation. If I recall it correctly, the last conversation we had was around the time of the Elysium release, so I am eager to see what Xigmatek has been up to lately. Looking back at the coolers I have seen from Xigmatek in the past, it does bring up some of my all time favorite coolers that I used for a long time in my own personal computers around the house. Coolers like the Dark Knight and Thor's Hammer, which were great coolers in their day with Nickel plated sexiness in my opinion. It seems at that point the urge to build larger coolers was out the window and Xigmatek paid more attention to the fins and how shapes and different designs can benefit airflow with the Balder.
Now, I have tested and used some of the largest CPU air coolers ever built with the exception of a very select few. I will always look for a cooler that doesn't have to encroach on other components room in either operation or installation. I am a fan of what the road taken that brought us in the Balder, and it makes me even more interested with what I have seen from our latest submission from Xigmatek. My reference to the Balder up to this point was that it showed Xigmatek is willing to think outside the box and deliver us coolers; that while they may look small, it proves that maybe size doesn't matter as much as we think.
The cooler we are going to be getting up close and personal with this time is the Xigmatek Prime SD1484 H.D.T. CPU cooler. While using a thin tower design is all that really is similar to the Balder, the Prime takes an unusual approach for Xigmatek. While arranging fins in the Thor was cool, the Prime takes a whole new approach to designing a fin while using leading edge shaping and profiling to attempt to attain maximum efficiency of the 140mm fan that cools this tower.
There is a lot to see with this newest submission; not only do the fins get a full re-work, but even the hardware has improved to solve one of the longest running issues with Xigmatek coolers, which is now on AMD where the cooler can be positioned as a tower cooler is intended to be. Without spilling all of the beans too early, I say we dig into the Prime SD1484 and see just what makes Xigmatek proud enough to label this cooler a "legend"!
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Xigmatek Prime SD1484 consists of 710 grams of aluminum fins, the base plate and the four 8mm diameter heat pipes. The aluminum base allows the four pipes to be exposed with slim strips of aluminum between each pipe comprising the H.D.T surface that Xigmatek is known for. The base of the pipes are exposed copper, but as they make the bends out of the base and travel through forty-six pressed on fins, the pipes are coated in Nickel plating all the way to the tips at the top. The fins arrangement is something I have never seen done from Xigmatek before. Using a 0.5mm fin, they have profiled the edge of each fin so that at the leading edge, there is a taper and the fin is only 0.3mm thick at this edge. On top of this, they use shaping on each fin to allow for cavitations in the design to aid in disturbing the airflow for more efficient cooling performance. Let me just say this, a picture is worth a thousand words and I have an image waiting that shows all of this for you.
There is one 140mm A1425L12PS fan shipped inside, but another can be ordered for a dual fan configuration as there is supplied fan hardware to do so in the box. This fan is specified to run at 1200 RPM maximum with twelve volts supplied to the fan. At this speed the fan is capable of delivering just more than 90 CFM while only registering in with 18 dB noise levels. The static pressure of these fans isn't all that great with a 1.08mm H2O rating, and using the PWM feature of the 4-pin connector, that rating is also a maximum value. With my cooler, Xigmatek also sent a second fan matching the one shipped in the SD1484 package, so I will do a bit of push/pull fan testing as well. The fan gets mounted to the cooler with rubber straps much like those of the NZXT Havik 140, and as I mentioned, there are four straps included, so I am all ready to go with both fans and the Prime.
The Prime SD1484 has released enough for a few sites to get samples, but expect a couple of weeks for this to actually fill the shelves at your favorite retailer or online shops. I know it's a bit of a downer to have to wait to have your own look at the Prime SD1484, but there is a silver lining. From what I can gather, Xigmatek is placing a MSRP of $55 US Dollars on the Prime! Considering with the economy the way it has been, I had to raise that "magic pricing" from our older assessment of $50 and moved it closer to the $60-65 range; the Xigmatek is fairly priced with these tougher times on our wallets. Is the wait for the "legend" that is the Prime SD1484 worth it? See for yourself over the next few pages as we dissect the Prime and see what it offers!
Xigmatek went with a simple packaging theme with just shades of grey and white as the backdrop. Over the backdrop is an image of the Prime SD1484 with the fan installed looking right back at you. In the fine print at the bottom you find "the legend of silent gaming cooling system" is what Xigmatek has to say about it.
The Heat-pipe Direct Touch technology is used with the Prime as well. You can see the four 8mm diameter heat pipes separated by parts of the base plate. The pipes are then milled once they are installed, exposing the copper under the Nickel plating.
Around to the back, Xigmatek gives you some close up images on some of the more predominant features. They cover the universal mounting system, the new edge design of the fins, the dual fan option and another shot of the H.D.T. base.
Here we get yet another angle to gaze at the SD1484. Below the image of the Prime is a full specifications chart to inform those who are buying this off the shelf.
The top of the packaging covers most of the things we have already discussed, but since they took the time to place the information here, it is worthy of the image.
Something lost with a lot of packaging is the support system inside that keeps the cooler in good shape even if the box takes a tumble or two. Opening the front of the package, I was greeted with thick foam snugly holding the 140mm fan in the box.
Removing the contents, you find the Prime cooler in the bottom surrounded on all sides, but the top with dense foam to ensure the safety of the included components. The cooler body is also wrapped in plastic and has a desiccant package between the pipes. That leaves us the dark grey hardware box on the right side.
The Xigmatek Prime SD1484 H.D.T. CPU Cooler
The Prime uses an aluminum base to surround the four 8mm heat pipes with the tops of it cut to accept the mounting hardware. From there the pipes take two different bends as they arrive at the forty-six fin stack that gets pressed over these pipes. At the top the tips of the pipes are exposed and surround an "X" logo in the middle.
The fins are supported with the sections of raised aluminum that surround the heat pipes. The side is left open and allows air to escape. At the bottom, you can see the outer two pipes make the tight bends and move to the inside of the fins, where the middle two bend outward and are positioned nearest the edge of the cooler.
Here is where Xigmatek put in some hard labour. Looking at the top fin you can see what appears to be a knife-like edging, and essentially it is, but with a 0.3mm thickness, where the rest of the fins is 0.5mm thick. They also added a pattern of full sized fins mixed with sets of five fins that are cut away to enhance airflow. I have seen cavitations in many forms before, but I don't recall edges like this ever!
The top of the base has four tabs on the top and the cut-away on the sides to support the "cross-bar" in the mounting system. The top tabs keep the wide bar centred, while tabs in the bar will grab the cut-away edges to center the cooler on the CPU.
As you can see, the aluminum of the base plate separates the 8mm pipes and once the pipes and base are combined, both surfaces are milled at the same time. The surface across the pipes is level, but there are gaps that may "absorb" the thermal paste depending on your application method. I advise a line of interface material down each pipe for the best results.
The 140mm included fan is very reminiscent of the NZXT Havik fans, but these have not only wavy blades, but an attractive double stripe of chrome on the leading edges, and the blades are black along with the frame. The included fan is connected to a 4-pin PWM connector for powering it.
The second fan they have sent me for testing has the same model number on the fan, so we have to assume the specifications are the same, but this fan uses a 3-pin connection for power. On top of that, PWM is now out the door, as there isn't an adapter and I have to now use two separate headers to make the fans function.
Accessories, Documentation, and Fit
The hardware kit included with the Prime is top notch and easy to use. They send you a tube of TIM along with the thumbscrews, LGA775 insert plate, mounting screws, AMD isolator stickers for the back plate, black plastic risers, and a bag with eight screws in it to use with the AMD mounting hardware.
The second half of the hardware kit includes four rubber fan mounts, the Intel mounting plates, the universal back plate, the "cross-bar", and part of the AMD mounting system.
Using the holes for the Intel mounting to pass through, you grab the eight screws and assemble the AMD mounting system as you see here. Doing it like this seems strange at first, but then you realize that you now have north and south as well as east and west orientations for AMD. No more does your cooler have to blow up at the top of your cases!
The instructions come all folded up and consist of a single sheet printed on both sides. I found it was very easy to follow the images. The text included is sufficient to get the Prime on both AMD and Intel sockets without any hassle.
With this set up for Intel, the black plastic spacers on the Intel legs are sufficient to isolate the plate from the board. To mount both AMD and Intel, it's just a matter of putting the mounting screws in the correct holes, and as you see in the AMD holes, it isn't completely circular to keep the screw from spinning. Don't forget, if you are using this for AMD; add the plastic stickers to isolate the back plate.
Once the back plate and screws are through the board, you install the black plastic risers and the appropriate hardware above it for either AMD or in this case, Intel. Once the top plates are on, you use the thumbscrews to lock the top mounting hardware onto the board.
With the Prime installed and read to go to work, I find that even though I lost the slot with the cooler assembled, at least if I was to use that slot. The cooler works fine with my configuration, but I do now there are people that like to fill all the memory slots.
It doesn't encroach on too much else on my motherboard. By this I mean that I can still get to the 8-pin EPS plug, memory and install expansion cards without any issues; at least for my configuration.
Test System & Thermal Results
The testing done on the CPU coolers is done using the system in the chart above. Keeping the room between temperatures of 24.5°C and 25.2°C is done for all coolers tested. There is a slight variance due to the heat of the CPU and its effect on the ambient temperature during the testing phases. To ascertain temperature readings, I use RealTemp 3.60 as it has proven itself to be very good when it comes to Intel thermal readings.
Verifying the speed in the screen shots you will soon see, I used the latest version of CPU-Z, which is version 1.58 at the moment. To load the processor to deliver the abuse to all of the coolers I am currently testing, I selected Intel Burn Test version 2.52 to deliver the most heat out of the processor and memory controller as possible to gain realistic results for the enthusiasts who really like to push their hardware.
There are runs at both stock, which in the case of the GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 is 3.8GHz with 1.25V to the CPU, and overclocked to 4.513GHz with 1.35V to the CPU. To add a bit more pressure to the situation, for the stock runs the RAM is tuned to 1600MHz with CAS 6 timings, and for the overclocked runs I set 2133MHz at CAS 9 to utilize the memory controller in the CPU.
The single fan testing results with IBT running for almost two hours; you can see we take the amount of usable RAM as far as we can to ensure we are pulling every last drop of heat that the processor can push to the cooler.
This shot shows the two fan testing results. At this time I must mention that the fans had to be run at 12V to even out the air flow between them, so these are the best results I was able to get from the Prime SD1484.
Compared with the other three coolers we have tested in this manner, the idle temperatures with the PWM function active is right where I would expect them to be, so no real surprises to be found here.
At stock the Prime SD1484 comes in with a 60°C result which is pretty good. The 70°C result for the single fan testing wasn't the greatest on the list, but reasonable considering it matches the performance of the Polaris 120. With two fans on the Prime and as much power as I could supply, the temperatures dropped another 2°C; but running your hand around the cooler, you feel more air out the sides than you feel going through the cooler with one fan on it. It just seems slightly wasteful for such a well thought out fin arrangement.
Noise Level Results
The sound level at idle, or really the lack of it, is music to my ears. I know I am spoiled when it comes to things like this, but I do much prefer a cooler capable of its basic function of removing heat without being a distraction to my ears. I mentioned that the fans looked similar to the ones found on the Havik 140, and imagine that, the results are spot on as well.
Loaded up, and with what AIDA64 showed as 1316 RPMs, the fan is still near silent. With the open air configuration of the test system, I could hear both the PSU and the cards over the Prime SD1484. I will say this; Xigmatek has finally broken the noise barrier that earlier had me looking to other manufacturers. It looks like Xigmatek has stepped up the game and did a great job with the noise levels!
Sitting here thinking about what it is that I like about the Prime SD1484, there really isn't much not to like. On the basic level, it handled my processor just fine and did so with very little noise to the environment. The hardware is the best kit I have seen released from Xigmatek. Not only do you receive a simple to use system, there is the consideration of the AMD socket orientations, leaving any AMD user the option of using the cooler and blowing the air out the back of the case, versus the top. On a more advanced level, I have to say that Xigmatek delivered us a cooler with an ingenious fin design, but what kills me is why on earth should more air come out the sides of the cooler than the rear? In my humble opinion, I do believe this cooler design would greatly benefit from a closed side design, but then again, it would likely raise the price as well.
As for the cooling, I did like the selection of 140mm fan for the Prime. Typically that is the easiest way to reduce noise levels on a 120mm style tower cooler, but Xigmatek made sure to use silent ones. I'm not sure if my motherboard sensor is off, if it was a bad report from AIDA64, or a typo in the specifications, but I am left wondering how a 1200 RPM fan is capable of 1300 RPM. But I will go with the fact that it is likely very close to that 90CFM rating. With two fans on the Prime, I felt it was more at home, as in this cooler is really designed to have two fans on it. Not only did it decrease the amount of air flow lost out the sides of the cooler, I was able to reduce the overall CPU temperature by an additional two degrees. The one major thing lacking in this push/pull setup is an adapter of some sort to control both fans off of one header so that PWM could still be used.
With the minor issues that I could come up with, it still wasn't enough for me to not recommend you to buy this cooler. I used to recommend the Swiftech Polaris 120 as a cooler in this price range, but the fan on that cooler is much louder. With the MSRP set at $55, the pricing goes head to head with Swiftech again, so with the same results, I will opt for the more silent cooler of the two, which in this case is the Prime SD1484. It will be a couple weeks until you can get your own, but I do think the wait is worth it. Xigmatek has delivered me a cooler that could go down as a legend in gaming in silence, especially for Xigmatek. This is definitely a big step forward for them and I can't wait to see what they come up with next!