We measured the noise level of our coolers throughout the entire speed range of their fans, as described in the chapter on testing methodology. Here are the results:
No wonder that Thermalright SilverArrow SB-E Extreme turned out much noisier than Phanteks PH-TC14PЕ. However, if we compare these two coolers at identical fan speeds, Thermalright will win. For example, two TY-143 fans on SilverArrow SB-E Extreme at 1550 RPM generate the same noise as two PH-F140TS fans on PH-TC14PЕ but only at 1280 RPM. Thermalright cooler also looks better at the subjective acoustic comfort threshold: 1000 RPM vs. 700 RPM, which is a substantial advantage in our opinion.
Thermalright’s “all in” move was a definite success, since SilverArrow SB-E Extreme cooler turned out the most efficient CPU cooler in its default configuration. However, it is important to keep in mind that SilverArrow SB-E Extreme wasn’t designed for quiet systems, but is primarily targeted for those overclockers who need the most efficient cooling regardless of the noisiness. Those who need efficient and quiet cooling from Thermalright should consider the regular SilverArrow SB-E or Archon. Moreover, the new cooler is universal, has reliable retention and is very easy to install, comes with efficient thermal paste and can accommodate a third fan. On top of that it will always arrive in excellent condition due to very secure packaging.
At the same time we remember that SilverArrow SB-E Extreme is simply an updated revision of the SilverArrow SB-E from the early 2012, which in its turn could be considered an upgrade from the regular SilverArrow from 2010, while the latter came as a successor to IFX-14 from 2008. No, we are not trying to accuse Thermalright in deliberate stalling of their cooling technology, because they have been among the leaders of the industry all these years. However, we would really love to see not an upgrade of their existing solutions including new retention kits or fans, but implementation of some really cool innovative ideas. For example, Noctua demonstrated a few prototypes of very promising coolers back at Computex 2012, and even though the Austrians take them time, at least there is hope.
However, we are optimistic that Thermalright will eventually change this state of things. And hopefully 2013 will bring overclockers a lot of efficient yet quiet surprises.