Asus Silent Knight:CPU Socket Support:
AMD 940 / 939 / 754 / AM2, Intel LGA775, Intel S478;
115mm x 140mm x 110mm
Price (as reviewed): £41.02 (inc VAT)
Asus' Silent Knight makes use of six heatpipes and uses a very similar design to the one used on Zalman's CNPS9500 and CNPS9700 series coolers. However, instead of having the fan mounted on an outside edge, Asus has opted to mount the fan in the middle of the cooling fins.
The mounting system is all-metal, and comprises of three parts for mounting on an LGA775 mobo. Instructions come in the form of a thick booklet, covering several languages. Although they are quite clear, with good pictures and diagrams, I found it slightly difficult to read due to its small size and thickness – I found that it kept closing itself while I tried to mount the heatsink.
There was also a small error, where it advised to use the four silver screws for LGA775 mounting. Unfortunately, there were actually eight silver screws, with a set of four short screws, and also four longer ones. I realised it was the shorter screws I needed to use, though only after partially mounting the heatsink. I had to completely re-attach the retention bracket to the baseplate with the correct screws in place, before successfully mounting the cooler.
In addition, I also found the retention clip to be slightly fiddly. Once mounted, the heatsink seemed to make reasonable contact, but I was able to rotate it quite easily. When I re-mounted the Silent Knight several times, the situation didn’t improve. I also consulted some of the other guys in the office to check that I was mounting it correctly – we all reached the same conclusion.
There were no clearance issues to mention during installation of the Silent Knight: its tall heatpipes raise the main portion of the heatsink well above all of the surrounding components. However, as a word of warning, the edges of the fins on this heatsink are quite sharp and I managed to slice my finger whilst handling it. I hope Asus can improve the situation here, as this kind of thing shouldn’t happen.
The Silent Knight was a less than stellar performer, at least when you take price for performance into account. It was less efficient than the Silent Square Pro, which costs much less, and only just outperformed Zalman's CNPS9500 by a mere 1.4°C. The one thing that the Silent Knight has in its favour is its noise output, as it's very quiet, giving off nothing more than a quiet whoosh.
Given the price of the Silent Knight, we expected much better performance from it. Having only just outperformed the CNPS9500 - a heatsink that is almost £15 cheaper - it represents pretty poor value for money. This is probably to do with the mounting pressure provided by the mounting mechanism - there just isn't enough pressure there to get the best possible performance.
In addition, the edges of the heatsink are incredibly sharp with three of us cutting ourselves on the copper fins. If you choose to buy this heatsink, take great care when you're installing it, as you're liable to cut yourself too. Asus needs to work on the mounting system and needs to make the heatsink a bit more user friendly before we can recommend it.