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Xigmatek Dark Knight II SD1283 Night Hawk Edition

100% Positive Reviews


Pros: nice black finish, cools well, easy to install on AM3

Cons: the fan mounts are a little tricky

I won th/is cooler during a promotional giveaway Xigmatek was doing. Part of the deal was to post up a review of the cooler... though I'm a little late, I guess better late than never. I've been using it for about 6 months without issues. I've a phenom ii x4 965 BE that's running at 3.8ghz. I hardly ever see temps over 50 even during benchmarks using OCCT and it usually runs around 30c during simple tasks such as surfing the web. I replaced a Cooler Master 212 EVO and comparing side by side benchmarks I think there was a .2 degree difference at the most. Close enough for me to consider the performance in my application identical, but I realize I'm not running an especially hot setup. I like how the positive mounting pressure is achieved using the brackets as springs rather than using actual coil springs. The cooler mounts were easy to install for my application. There would be clearance issues with tall heat sink RAM on the 4th slot on my motherboard. Low-profile would clear fine. There is about 5mm space between the cooler and the side cover of my Corsair Vengeance C70 case. The rubber fan mounts were a little tricky to work with but I like how they securely mount the fan as well as provide some isolation. I took off 1/2 a star because they were a bit frustrating. Overall I'm happy with the unit but I'm glad I didn't pay for it - I had the same result with a much cheaper product, though this one would do Batman proud.

Update 9/12/2014 I've upgraded to an AMD FX-8350 - running at stock clocks for now. I was running my CM 212evo on it push/pull and bought a NZXT Kraken X61. With a full 15min OCCT cycle the max temp was 60c with the push/pull 212evo. With the X61 the max temp was 51c when set to "performance" - fan speed 65%. I didnt' try it at 100% because one of the fans was bad and out of balance and vibrated like crazy. I RMA'd it and installed the dark knight II with it's original fan. 15min OCCT yields max temp of 61c. I'm not going to bother to add another fan, but I would guess it would drop one or two degrees.


Pros: Efficient cooling, looks, can do push pull if needed, does not interfere with tall ram sinks.

Cons: Plastic backplate, installation.

Reason why I bought this cooler over any of the closed loop water-coolers is due to a faulty H80 that I had purchased not too long ago (not taking anything away from Corsair, just my personal experience). I have always used air cooling over water since it's cheaper and easier to maintain/clean. I looked at many air-coolers prior to purchasing this one and it came down to the 212 EVO/NH-D14 and this cooler. The EVO is a nice cooler, the chrome/aluminum on the other hand is old school looking and the Noctua is just to big for my taste. This cooler comes in 3rd place when it comes to performance but since it is the smallest out of all 3 and it's black it was a no-brainer. The color of the cooler was a major factor, I wanted to make sure it would blend well with both the mobo tray and the mobo itself. The fan the comes with this cooler is top-notch, at low speeds you cannot hear anything, at 2200RPM it becomes audible but nothing to worry about.

The installation on the other hand is a pain unless you are going to use the AMD backplate. For intel users I recommend you-tubing the installation (also make sure you install the rubber fan grommets prior to installation or you will be forced to remove the cooler once you are done). The back-plate that comes with this cooler leaves much to be desired, it's plastic instead of steel/carbon. For $49.99 you would expect better. Regardless of the back-plate the end result is phenomenal taking into consideration that it only has 3 heat-pipes compared to other coolers that use 4 and above.

Here are a few numbers I would like to share :

i5 2500k @ 4.5GHz (1.3v) idle hovers between 28-34c (depending on ambient temp).

i5 2500k @ 4.5GHz (1.3v) LOAD (large FFT's) hovers between 66-74c (depending on ambient temp).

i5 2500k @ 1600MHz (.968v) hovers between 24-28c (depending on ambient temp).

My ambient temp normally is between 70-78F, all these tests were done using a Corsair 600T.

When it comes to gaming @ 4.5Ghz it normally sits around 62-65F (@ 4.2Ghz or lower it sits around 55c or lower).

In all this cooler was a great buy, I have no complaints other than the back-plate and the instructions. If you want a nice looking air cooler that rivals most top end coolers and wont break the bank then consider the Dark Knight II, you will not be disappointed.


Pros: Cools well, Doesn't obstruct RAM, Installation was rather simple

Cons: Included fan is rather loud

Not very much to say here. It installed easily and quickly with no fuss and keeps my 6300 nice and cool. However the included fan is really rather loud when it decides to rev up but is silent enough for me the rest of time.


Pros: Sexy black, mounted fine, good temps, clears RAM

Cons: Couldnt mount any fans on it due to the size constraints of my ITX board. Had to modify mounting bracket.

I bought this heatsink way back in August when I realized I wouldnt have time to watercool my ITX rig before I had to leave for school. I bought it because it was a reasonable price, it was black, and I got a free fan with it with a newegg deal. Mounting wasnt too confusing, although I had to cut off some of the plastic bracket that goes on the back of the mobo. Wasnt enough room to clear the MSATA connector on the back of my Z77E ITX. Honestly I expected this and it wasnt a big deal at all, just clipped it off with some tin snips. LIke another reviewer said, mount the rubber prices on the heatsink, then attach the heatsink to board, then attach fans. The problem I had was there wasnt enough room on either side of the heatsink to mount a fan. On one side, my video card was too close, and on the other side, my 8 pin power would have been covered up. Ok I thought, my 3570k is undervolted anyway (stock speeds, .95 volts), ill just buy one of those thin scythe fans. Well, I ran it fanless and found out it never goes above 45C or so when gaming (Far Cry 3) so I just left it fanless since thats really the most load I put on the CPU. I have been running it like this for like 5 months now and no problems whatsoever. Although my case is a little unique, as this wont fit in most ITX cases, it will still fit in the prodigy etc. Since I expected to have to do a little work to make it fit and nowhere did it say it was supported, I wont take off any 'flames'. Overall very happy with the purchase, I cant say I would recommend it to those using the Z77E ITX, it is working great for me, and would work with the 12mm scythe fans if you needed them. Definitely a 5 flamer for me! smile.gif

Specs: 3570k undervolted, Corsair LP ram, Fractal Array R2 case, Z77E ITX mobo.

update: ghetto rigged a high performace SP120 corsair fan with rubber bands, this thing is a beast and a half. Im at 4.6 GHz on my 3570k and it keeps it around 70C through 6 hours of prime. Another note, the bottom fin touches my Gskill trident X ram, even after I removed the heatsinks. It fits, but I put something in between so it wouldnt scratch the paint. Love this thing!


Pros: 120mm fan, quite, low cpu temps

Cons: Mounting bracket covers my CPUFAN plug so I had to use sysfan plug.

Installation - Installing this cooler was a little tricky for a first timer of installing an aftermarket cooler. Since I had never installed anything but stock coolers I had to take off the old mounting brackets on the motherboard. Which wasn't hard at all. Even with the instructions it wasn't that hard tho. When I was reading how to attach the fan to the heatsink, the instructions made it harder then the way I did it. It wanted you to put the silencers in the fan then attach the silencers to the heatsink. Which was almost impossible. Instead I put the silencers on the heatsink and then attached the fan. Which was 10X easier. When putting the new mounts on it was pretty easy. The only thing I suggest is putting the fan on after mounting the heatsink, as it was a task to tighten it to the board, because the fan was in the way.

This shouldn't be a problem for most people but on my case, I had a fan that got in the way. I couldn't put my side panel on. Luckily I could just flip the acrylic glass around and have that fan near the bottom of the case.

Usage - So far I am idling at 20C-25C which I think personally is pretty good. Even when gaming for a couple of hours it only maxed out at around 35C-40C.
Xigmatek Dark Knight II SD1283 Night Hawk Edition

The Xigmatek Dark Knight SD1283 is the world's first enthusiast cooler to utilize a modern ceramic coating and was the result of Xigmatek thermal engineers thinking outside the box. Xigmatek's innovative use of this space age material is not just for good looks - the ceramic coating along with Xigmatek's patented HDT technology greatly increases the efficiency of thermal transfer away from your CPU

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