Xigmatek is better known for its cases and fans than its CPU coolers, but it's hoping to change all that with the Dark Knight. The cooler gets off to a good start too, as it's solidly made and, like the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Advanced, sports a large stack of reinforced heatsink fins.
However, the Dark Knight has only three heatpipes, compared to the six of the Dark Rock Advanced, although they’re 8mm rather than 6mm in diameter. These heatpipes make direct contact with the CPU heatspreader too and, like the rest of the contact plate, have been accurately machined into a flat, nearly seamless surface. This is in stark contrast to some of the other direct contact CPU coolers we’ve seen, which needed to be caked in thermal paste to fill the gaps between the heatpipes and the contact plate.
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Meanwhile, a single PWM-controlled Xigmatek 120mm fan is supplied to deal with the business of moving air through the heatsink. This can spin at up to 2,200 rpm, though, and it's not quiet when it gets going. The fan is also illuminated with white LEDs, which gave off a pleasant rather than intrusive glow. The fan secures to the heatsink using rubber clips that are far easier to fix in place than the metal type and should dampen vibrations.
Unfortunately for owners of AMD CPUs, the Dark Knight uses the standard AMD retention bracket. This isn’t an instantly awful feature, but we've found the standard mounting system to be hit-and-miss in the past.
In contrast, the mounting mechanism for Intel motherboards is superb. Plates secure to either side of the contact plate with sprung screws passing through them and securing to a backplate on the other side of the motherboard. It’s quick and easy to fit, and provides an excellent, firm mount onto the CPU. As the heatsink is fairly slim, there's also ample room to get your fingers or a screwdriver to the screws with the cooler mounted to your motherboard, so you probably won’t have to remove the motherboard to remove or reinstall the Dark Knight. There are also some useful spare parts in the box, including additional fan clips, springs and screws.