With their Silent Square Pro and the Silent Square series coolers previously sporting a boorish design, ASUS has finally broken out of its shell to introduce a radically designed behemoth, the Silent Knight. Targeted firmly at enthusiasts, this cooler sparkles with all the bling and zing of today’s high-end processor coolers, but does it perform?
The 0.61kg pure copper cooler resembles a mini turbine jet engine shrouded with rows after rows of fins entwined by six heat pipes. Cooler enthusiasts will also note its similarities to Zalman designs. Upon closer inspection, the fins are all polished with a near mirror surface, sending sparkles of copper-red glints all around. The heat-pipes too are very well made, with both ends of the heat-pipe sealed, filed down and polished to perfection. Along its waist, an ornamental sliver of black aluminum with a slit in between runs across the fins. This slit we suspect, is to allow more air to be injected and pushed through the fins. Emblazoned upon the black aluminum is an intricate illustration of a sword as well as an inscription of the cooler's namesake. Overall, the Silent Knight gave a very good first impression, with the only exception of the copper base, which we noticed wasn't mirror surface standard as enthusiasts have come to expect their coolers to be.
With so many sockets bombarding enthusiasts in the market now, ASUS seems to be taking neither chances nor sides and made the Silent Knight compatible with almost every imaginable socket out there: Intel sockets 478/LGA775 and AMD sockets 939/940/AM2. The solution is in the form of one back plate for each socket mount, and is certainly a plus factor to those who often switch camps to whoever offers the best processor respectively as they don’t have to get a new cooler each time round.
This feature however, has a trade off and coolers that typically support multiple sockets will require users to dismount their motherboards from their casings to change their back plates during initial installation. Regardless of which socket users are using, installation is quite straightforward although we were slightly concerned with the fragile looking lever that secures the heatsink in place. For a large cooler such as the Silent Knight, ASUS could perhaps reinforce the lever with stronger joints in future revisions.
When turned on, air rushed through the chambers and was quickly purged from the other side, typically towards the exhaust area found above the CPU where casing fans normally take care of the heat.
Ironically for all its namesake is worth, the Silent Knight isn't big on silent cooling options as ASUS has left out an all essential fan speed controller from its packaging. Because of this, its 92mm fan spins constantly at 2200rpm, and while it will not be considered loud, the cooler isn't exactly silent either as a slight whirling can still be heard. Critical users however, might want to consider investing in a third party fan speed controller. When turned on, the cooler also lights up in a flood of blue LED highlights, which will certainly complement its bling factor.
The ASUS Silent Knight is not without imperfections and could have been made better by including a fan speed controller for good measures - especially with its cool retail price of US$59.99 (~SG$99). The copper base could also have been polished to a mirror surface for better contact, and not clumsily filled with contours. Even so, we still feel that the ASUS Silent Knight is by all means one of the better coolers out there with its premium looks as well as large support for almost every socket out there and effortlessly takes its place amongst the heavyweights such as Zalman and Cooler Master.