Just because closed loop CPU water coolers, like the Corsair Hydro 105, are popular nowadays it doesn’t mean that air cooling are obsolete or a thing of the past. Air coolers are still effective in cooling your CPU and they are far safer than water cooling as well. Today, let’s take a look at one of Thermalright’s high performing CPU cooler, redesigned to fit and be compatible with most setup – the Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 CPU cooler. I thank Thermalright for supplying the review sample. Do you still fancy an air cooler for your system? Check out my review of the Archon IB-E X2 below and find out if this is the CPU cooler you are looking for.
Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 Features
The Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 is a single tower CPU air cooler but with dual fans for a push and pull setup. The large heatsink is cooled by two TY-141 140mm PWM fans. These are very silent fans (around 21dB), but at the same time powerful enough with a maximum 73.6CFM. There are eight sintered copper heatpipies that delivers the heat from the base to the heatsink. The whole cooler itself is nickel plated with a mirror-like finish.
Thermalright has two versions of the Archon; the Archon SB-E X2 and the Archon IB-E X2. The first model which is the SB-E X2 has compatibility issues specially when you install a graphics card on the first PCI slot. The heatsink is so big that it will get in the way of the graphics card. That’s why they released the Archon IB-E X2 to answer this issue. The company adjusted the heatsink, slightly moving the heatsink (or base) towards the other direction. This way, it creates a gap or clearance so that you can freely install a graphics card on the first PCI-E slot.
Now let’s take a closer look on the Archon IB-E X2 after the specifications below.
Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 Specifications
- Dimension: L155 mm x W53.66 mm x H165.2 mm
- Weight: 750g
- Heat pipes: Eight 6mm Copper Heatpipes
- Copper Base: C1100 Pure copper nickel plated
TY-141 FAN Specs:
- Dimension: L152 mm x W140 mm x H26.5 mm
- Rated Speed: 900~1300RPM±15%
- Weight: 175g
- Noise Level: 17~21 dBA
- Air Flow: 28.3 – 73.6CFM
Packaging and Closer Look
Thermalright’s packaging is plain and simple. But you can be assured that the product is safely tucked inside. The foam protecting the CPU cooler is thick and all the accessories have their own box inside.
Here are the two Thermalright TY-141 140mm PWN fans. These fans can go from 700RPM up to 1300RPM. It’s not really a fast or high performance fan, but it’s silent. It has a noise level of around 21dB and a maximum air flow of 73.6CFM.
The fans have a light brown/green color combination which some users may find inappropriate for their system’s cooler scheme. Remember Noctua’s?
Here we have a 360 view of the heatsink. As you can see, the heatpipes are not evenly aligned. The heatsink itself is aligned in a way that it won’t be in the way of the graphics card installed on the first PCIE slot. The aluminum fins also feels thicker compared to the other heatsink I have tested before. Probably it’s because of the nickel plating and mirror finish.
Above you see the eight sexy 6mm heatpipes of the Thermalright Archon IB-E X2. According to the company these are sintered copper heatpipes and are also nickel plated.
Above you can see the top view of the Archon IB-E X2. Notice that there are four tiny holes on each side. Those holes are for the mounting clips for the 140mm fans. Once you insert the mounting clips into those holes, they don’t come off easily, unless you intentionally remove them.
Thermalright uses a C1100 pure copper nickel plated base. The base also has a nice mirror finish, too bad you won’t be seeing this portion once installed.
Before you install the fans on both sides, make sure to use the rubber pads included in the package. These triangular rubber pads are removable and reusable. The other side is somewhat adhesive, but what annoys me is that they come off easily.
Below you have a 360 view of the Thermalright Archon IB-E X2, with the two TY-141 140mm fans installed.
Looks pretty cool huh? The colors are a bit off from the photos above. That’s probably because the light was too bright when I took those photos. I didn’t have my usual mini studio when I took the photos. The actual colors are a bit darker and it gives you that feeling of a military-like theme.
Here are more photos from the top and bottom view. Notice that the fans have arrows that points to which direction the fans will rotate as well as the direction of the air flow.
Now it’s time to test the Thermalright Archon IB-E X2. In testing the Archon IB-E X2, I used my Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 WiFi BK Black Edition powered with an Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell processor. I’m also using Thermalright’s Chill Factor III thermal paste. The package comes with a CF III, but just enough for 2 to 3 applications, I think.
Below are the rest of the specifications of the test unit.
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 WiFi BK
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.9GHz – 4.4GHz
CPU Cooler: Thermalright Archon IB-E X2
Memory: Kingston HyperX Savage DDR3 2400MHz 16GB
Graphics card: Club 3D Radeon R9 285 royal Queen
Hard Drive: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
Power Supply: Seasonic 1050W Platinum
Chassis: Dimastech Easy Bench V3.0
The room temperature during the test is around 22°C to 24°C, and the Noctua Industrial fan you see from above was not running when the test was conducted.
Below are the results I got during my test.
I almost forgot to mention, I use Prime95 while stressing the CPU. The configuration I used was “In-place large FFTs”. I used both AIDA64 and HWMonitor to monitor the CPU temperature, clock speed, voltage and fan speeds. Each result was recorded 10 minutes later when temperature becomes consistent.
The results were actually not bad for a single tower air cooler. But it didn’t perform as good as the Noctua NH-D14 or some of the AIO water cooler I have tried before. The system remained cool at stock to medium load, and even at full load at 3.9GHz.
The real challenge for the heatsink is when you push the clock speed and the voltage higher. The 4.4GHz at 1.4v seems to be the limit of the Archon IB-E X2. Temperature fluctuates + or – 5 degrees already, and it’s already hitting 100°C at those settings. Lowering down the voltage to 1.3v seems to help in lowering down the temperature a little bit.
When it comes to noise level, the TY-141 were pretty silent for me. Not dead silent, but whisper quite silent, and very much acceptable even at maximum 1300RPM rotational speed. The fans of the Enermax LiqTech 240 go up to 2500RPM. At 2500RPM rotational speed, it’s really noisy and sound like a jet engine.
Price and Availability
The Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 is available in some local and online retail stores. It’s not widely available, at the time I posted this review. But there’s a third party seller from Amazon selling it for around $83-85 USD.
Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 Review: Conclusion
Despite its size, I don’t consider the Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 as a top of the line high performance CPU air cooler. Dual tower heatsink still performs better, but I think the Archon is not really built to compete with those types of CPU air cooler. Performance wise, the Archon IB-E X2 can cool your CPU and does the job very well if your system runs somewhere from idle up to a slightly overclock settings. And without going crazy on the voltage. It’s definitely not designed for extreme overclockers as well.
In terms of build quality, I have no questions about it. Thermalright built the Archon IB-E X2 rock solid. However, I find its mounting mechanism really tedious. There are lots of screws and other parts involved just to mount the heatsink. The positive side about its mounting mechanism is that the heatsink is pretty much securely mounted on the motherboard. The fans’ color scheme is also hard to match, but if you don’t have a particular color theme for your system (usually it’s black and red), then it won’t be a problem at all. Also if you plan to go with this CPU cooler, make sure that your casing supports large CPU coolers. You need to have at least a 165mm-170mm of clearance. Otherwise, you won’t be able to close your side panel.
Overall, I find the Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 to be a great CPU air cooler that does the job well. It’s great for systems running on moderate to maximum load, but not for heavy overclocking. You also get two 140mm fans which are very silent, and you can do either a push-pull or push only setup. Finally, the Archon IB-E X2 gets the Highly Recommended award.