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Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E CPU Cooler Review

After three months and a tedious battle, FrozenCPU.com stepped up and delivered the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E CPU cooler.

@TweakTown
Published Thu, May 3 2012 2:47 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Thermalright

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 40 IMAGES

I really thought with my review of the Thermalright Shaman I was making headway with Thermalright and was likely about to see what they were all about in cooling. I wasn't able to get to them during CES to show my face like I did with Fractal Design and get all of the issues out of the way. In January I was promised a CPU cooler then they never said a word afterwards, even with multiple requests over the last four months since that last email from Thermalright there was no action from them at all.

So one night a few weeks ago, Chris and I were on the phone, after a bit of listening to my story he said to me, "I got an idea." This idea was to try an e-tailer to see if they would mind helping out and be the better man and deliver me a cooler to test. The man and company to step up to the plate in this instance is Mark Friga Jr. from FrozenCPU.com. Chris went to him with our issues with Thermalright and took time out to help us, no questions asked.

Now, back to why we are here, the CPU cooler testing. Today we are going to be taking an in-depth look at the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E. This isn't a true revision of the original Silver Arrow; it's just some additional hardware for the LGA2011 or SB-E sockets. That's not to take anything away from this beast and while not physically the largest cooler we have tested, it offers the largest fan out of the box with the 150mm fan used in this design.

Even though this cooler isn't as large as some of the dual fin cooler arrangements, the cooling capabilities and aesthetics of the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E CPU cooler are what are going to make most Phanteks and Noctua cooler buyers take a real hard look at this cooler before they actually purchase any of them.

With all the hype currently on the D-14 and the PH-TC14PE, it is quite a feat to steal any thunder, but I think the Silver Arrow SB-E just might be "that cooler" that buyers really want, they just don't know it yet.

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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The Silver Arrow SB-E is a dual tower design that uses a pair of fans to keep temperatures in check. The heat is delivered from the CPU into the finely polished copper base plate, this is where the eight 6mm heat pipes come into play and both the base and the pipes are nickel plated. The pipes deliver the heat into two towers consisting of fifty-three fins in each of the sections. These fins are shaped and a few on the top and bottom are shorter to stay inside the confines of the fans included with this Thermalright cooler. The whole assembly weighs in at 1124 grams and stands a full 170mm tall with the fans strapped to it.

The fans cooling the towers in the Silver Arrow SB-E are the TY-150 and TY-140 fans. The TY-150 is capable of speeds from 500-1100 RPM delivering 38-84 CFM of airflow with a rating of 21dBA maximum noise level. The TY-141 offers just a bit less with higher speeds of 900-1300 RPM delivering 28-74 CFM with a louder rating of 25 dBA of noise.

I think there is a dimensional typo on the TY141 fan in this chart. I can't verify it with the site info, but I can tell you one of these fans is bigger than the other. This comes in handy if there is any memory clearance issues, as the smaller of the two can go on the front.

The Silver Arrow from Thermalright is pretty easy to find and the pricing varies with every location. On the high-end of the scale I saw a place charging in excess of $110. The cheapest location I could find and just so happens to be our supplier of this cooler, you can get the Silver Arrow SB-E at FrozenCPU.com for $86.99 before shipping. This even beats out the Amazon deal by a few cents as long as you don't need the cooler shipped overnight.

While it may seem a bit pricey, it comes under the MSRP of either of the impressive coolers I mentioned earlier. At this point we just need to get the results to see just what sort of results we obtain so I can see which of the three is the "dual tower cooler" to have.

So let's get to the images so I can bolt this to my board and put it through its paces so I can see what the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E is really worth.

Packaging

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This is the top of the outer packaging and only one of the few sides of the plain cardboard packaging that has anything printed on it. Here we get just the name of the company next to their logo.

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Both sides of the packaging are the same and offer the name of the included cooler with some of the socket support listed with it. At the bottom they give you the web address to either investigate the product a little more or to show where to go if you have any issues.

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I took this image to show you I wasn't kidding around. Very little goes into the outer packaging so that Thermalright can take that money and put it into the cooler, where it matters.

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Opening the packaging you are given the paperwork and a sticker to remove before pulling out the dense foam inner packaging.

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With a protective thin layer at the top and bottom and the two piece foam packaging to surround the cooler and fans, Thermalright makes sure your product arrives unmolested.

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All of the components are kept in separated compartments - the fans on the outside and the cooler body in the middle.

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The hardware box is shipped in the body of the cooler.

Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E CPU Cooler

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Looking into the fin array on the Silver Arrow SB-E makes me want to point out the stepping in the fins at the top and the bottom of the cooler and secondly the decent of each fin from the center to the outer edge of all fifty-three fins in this and the second tower.

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From the side you can see angles are in play here as well. While the middle of the fins of both towers is pretty level, the leading and following edges are bent to allow the larger 150mm fan in the middle to do all it can to draw in and force air through every fin in this cooler.

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The fin ends are shaped a bit like feathers on the end of an arrow shaft and the longest of those fins have notches cut in the sides to allow for the metal fan clips. The tops of all eight of the heat pipes get capped with these brushed metal caps that have been ground with odd angles on the sides of them.

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Just because it was there it made me want to take this picture. Between the towers, on the top of the base plate, is this holographic sticker that contains the serial number of the cooler.

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Eight 6mm heat pipes make for a pretty wide base and the outer two pipes don't make contact above the IHS of the CPU. This is why Thermalright uses a copper block with the sintered pipes soldered into it. Then once assembled the entirety of the base and pipes get a nickel plating to fight oxidation.

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To give you an idea of how well polished this surface is, you are seeing the reflection of the sticker you are warned to remove before installation. There is a bit of roundness near the edges of the base, but the area covering the CPU was dead level against the edge of my razer.

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Before I show the cooler with the fans strapped to it, I had to dig into the hardware box to get the pads. There are eight triangular pads in total and they are to be stuck to the fins for ant-vibration purposes.

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With the TY-141 fan strapped to the front of the cooler body, it makes the entire fin array disappear behind it. There is very little left of the fins isn't blocked by the fans frame allowing almost complete coverage and this should deliver great results.

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With the TY-141 blowing into the Silver Arrow and the TY-150 working the middle, you can see much better how the fin design works to swallow up all air that passes through and after it's installed, it will draw air from the memory and blow air at the PWM on the motherboard.

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This cooler is no slouch when it comes to weight and size in its completed form, but it sure does give you a large attractive cooler to peer in at through the window on your chassis.

Accessories and Documentation

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As we saw when I first opened the box, here again is the user guide and case sticker. The guide takes you through every step of the installation of the Silver Arrow SB-E for both Intel and AMD. There are renderings to go along with the written instructions that make the guide very easy to follow and get it installed to your board of choice.

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Inside of the white hardware box is a sealed plastic bag that contains all the hardware you will need to get the Silver Arrow SB-E up and running.

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The universal components are what I grouped here. There is the Y-adapter to power two fans off one header with 4-pin connections. There are six wire fan clips for up to three fans to be installed and the tube of CFIII thermal paste. That leaves us with the little wrench that will aid in the socket hardware.

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For some Intel installations , you are required to insert the square spacer on the left, it goes into the back plate. In the middle is the sheets that hold the anti-vibration pads I used on the cooler. That leaves us with eight plastic washers on the right to be used during the mounting of the socket hardware.

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The four screws at the top go through the back plate and into the motherboard. Then you grab the risers on the left and screw them down with the plastic washer down (Intel). Once the top plate is installed, you mount it with the shorter screws at the bottom. The thumbscrews on the right are used for AMD installations in place of the other four.

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This plate is what mounts the cooler to the hardware you install on the motherboard. It sets across the top of the base plate and gets screwed into a plate with the holes on the right and left sides.

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Here we have the universal top mounting plate that the plate from the last image gets mounted to, to secure the cooler. The black plate on the right is the universal back plate and uses those white washers to isolate this from the motherboard.

Installation and Finished Product

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Here is the first stage of the installation completed. With plastic washers on both sides of the board and the hardware tightened down, the socket mounting part of this hardware is very solid.

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After applying some TIM to the IHS, you then set the Silver Arrow on the CPU and align the top plate so you can screw both sides of it into the socket hardware. A screwdriver got all of these in without issue, but the wrench is handy to make sure they are secure without running risk of stripping a screw head.

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I just happened to have my taller Patriot RAM installed on the board and as you can plainly see, this cooler has no intention of bowing in the fight for room with the memory. You can run any memory without a spreader and of course low-profile RAM without any issues aside from easy removal.

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I could just run the fan a little higher on the cooler, but that just won't do for me, but then again I could just move this TY-141 fan to the back of the cooler.

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See, it's just that easy. While I work on removing some heat spreaders from a set of G.Skill RAM I have, I just moved the fan and continued with the images. As for what the results will show, the fan will be moved back to the front, blowing into the Silver Arrow.

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I tied up the wiring, because I am that particular about things, the splitter allows me to still use the motherboard controls offered from the CPU header and not have to try to match two different headers to get the best out of the Silver Arrow SB-E.

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I just figured I would get one last look at the Silver Arrow and since the fan is on the back it shows everything included without blocking off what is truly an attractive looking fin design.

Test System and Thermal Results

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I would like to thank HIS for supplying the video card in the test system.

Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows.

For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. For the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans.

For the sound testing results, I obtain those while I am controlling the voltage at 7.5V and 12V as well. Sorry for the change in the charts again, but I got the full effect of AVX support and 104 Gflops now, so the older results don't directly apply to the results I get now.

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At idle the Silver Arrow is right where most coolers are, but the overclocked results are pretty darn close to what the triple radiator was capable of. Of course Speed Step is involved, but there is still an increase in voltage at 1600MHz.

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Dumping all the heat I could into this cooler leaves it just two degrees behind the custom water cooling setup - not bad, not bad at all. With the overclock in play, the gap gets wider between the Silver Arrow and water cooling, but it slaughtered the Enermax I have listed.

Noise Level Results

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With 7.5V going through both the TY-141 and the TY150 I took a measurement from a foot behind the cooler and the 32 dB reading is what I saw on the meter. Not a chart topper, but very low in the noise you are going to have to be subjected to.

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Once I got 12V going through the fans, I was a bit surprised to see just how well they did. With all the fins and dual fans I would have expected a bit more noise from behind the cooler, but I got a reading of 47 dB and that is really good.

Final Thoughts

Thermalright does a great job on the Silver Arrow SB-E as far as temperatures and sound levels are concerned. I do need to go back and retest a few of the older coolers I have around here, to give a more full look at the temperatures with a few more comparisons on the list. I have the advantage of knowing the results of a few other tower coolers soon to be reviewed and with what I have seen and you soon will see in future reviews, Thermalright is at the top of the coolers in thermal performance.

As for the noise levels, well there isn't much of it to discuss. I really enjoyed the lack of noise from the cooler as I tested with it in my open air configuration. For those using this in a chassis, you will be hard pressed to hear it running.

Overall I liked the look of the cooler in the installed configuration. The green and tan fans on the aluminum fins are different, but still are pleasing to look at. The way the fins are shaped to take advantage of every bit of air flowing out of the fans helps the Silver Arrow deliver those great results and looks good doing it. I liked the Y-adapter for the fans and I liked the combination of 140mm and 150mm fans to cool this dual tower and I loved that they include a set of fan clips for a third fan if you want to drop these results a bit more. In almost every way this cooler is just full of win.

Really nit-picking for issues, as most users will run across this, the encroachment into the memory area will be an issue. I had to take a set of G.Skill Ripjaws I had laying around and peel the heat spreaders to allow me to be able to use the first two slot nearest the cooler without having to raise the front fan un-naturally high on the cooler. As long as you have bare memory or something low-profile, you are not able to use the first slot and using the second slot will make the cooler just look funny, or you have to go with moving the front intake fan to the back of the cooler, if the chassis allows for that.

In the beginning of this review, I compared this cooler to both the Noctua and Phanteks twin-tower coolers. To me this is the best looking of the three options and even before I do the retest, I will venture to say this performs a bit better as well. What is even the best out of the deal, it at the pricing when I reviewed each of the aforementioned coolers, the $86.99 listing at FrozenCPU.com is also cheaper than the previous two coolers.

So in my mind, memory allowing, it makes no sense to ignore the much better looking, more affordable and dare I just say it, the better performing cooler of the group. Once again a big thanks goes to Mark Friga Jr. Without his help I would not be here right now recommending the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E CPU cooler over buying the D-14 or the PH-TC14PE.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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