DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation

Given its name, it is no surprise the DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S looks very similar to the ASSASSIN IV. This means we have the same cube-like shape, although immediately you can see how this one has gone on a diet. The top part shows off both the solid and perforated areas. This grid area covers the fan that sits in the middle of the cooler. At the leading edge, we have the same grid pattern on the fins we saw on other DeepCool coolers, which alternates slightly indented squares for a unique grid effect. Otherwise, you can see we have the all-black version. Indeed, everything is black, including the stack of fins, heatpipes, and the plastic frame around the cooler. The only exception here is the translucent DeepCool logo on the corner. This logo glows a bright teal when it is plugged in to match the rest of the manufacturer's colors.

With the top grid panel open and the middle fan removed, you can see how DeepCool has reused the same heatsink from the original ASSASSIN IV. As such, we have the same grid panel on the top, holding to the rest of the heatsink with magnets. It holds securely, but it also can be easily removed if need be. We have a dual-stack tower design, albeit at a taller profile than some other coolers. It should still fit inside most mid-tower ATX cases. The fins are a bit tricky to see from this vantage point, but we have a total of fifty-three fins on each stack with an even spacing of 2.0mm between each fin. The front stack of fins is not as wide as the back stack of fins. From my calculations, the total surface area of the dual stack cooling fins is approximately 1.2m², which is quite a bit. The "S" in the name may stand for slim, but in terms of mass, the total weight of the heatsink and fan is still a hefty 1.380kg. Of course, this includes the plastic frame and the frames that keep everything in place, but it is still quite a large number. For some perspective, a typical AMD Wraith Prism stock cooler weighs 582g.

In terms of dimensions, the DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S is a slimmer cooler, but it is by no means compact. With a height of 164mm, width of 147mm, and depth of 116mm, this unit still takes up quite a bit of space. It still has the same height and width, with the only difference being the removal of a back fan. By default, the single fan is installed in between the stack of fins, so there is no part of the cooler that will sit over your memory. Unfortunately, DeepCool has not included any way to add a second fan on the back, as there is no included mechanism to mount or connect second fan. There is approximately 4.3cm of space between the bottom of the base and the bottom of the fins. In terms of compatibility, the interference issues I had with the original ASSASSIN IV still exist here, which is not too surprising given we have the same heatsink. The primary interference comes from the heatpipes that spread out wide enough to catch onto the VRM heatsinks.

From the base where the metal contacts the processor, seven continuous U-shaped heatpipes lead away from the CPU contact and split into the two stacks of fins. This effectively makes fourteen heatpipes in total. The 6mm diameter heatpipes are supposed to efficiently lead the heat away from its source due to the low heat of vaporization, or phase change energy, of alcohol. The heatpipes are aligned in a manner to spread out the heat in the array of radiating fins. The 1.2m² of surface area, combined with the single DeepCool fan, should be able to deliver very good heat dissipation performance, but we will see if this statement is true on the next page.

As for the single fan in question, we have one 140mm fan in the middle of the two heatsink fin stacks. This fan has slightly modified specifications from the 140mm fan included with the ASSASSIN IV. This includes a maximum airflow and air pressure of 61.25CFM and 3.76mm H2O. This produces an overall noise level of 29.3dBA. As we have the same heatsink, we also have the same built-in fan mode switch to choose between performance and quiet mode. In quiet mode, the aforementioned numbers reduce to 48.55CFM, 2.46mm H2O, and 22.6dBA. Otherwise, the fan is PWM-controlled with fluid dynamic bearings and a six-pole fan motor. The middle fan attaches in between the stacks with metal brackets on each side to attach it in place. The clips push to the outer edge, which means it will slot and stay in place. I found this clip mechanism to be a bit finicky at times, requiring much more force than I would think is necessary to pop the fan out of place.

The photo above shows the bottom of the DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S and how the heatpipes lead out of the base and into the fin array. The base is very flat, which should translate into the entire base pressing evenly on top of the processor. A quick inspection also reveals there is one notable mark on the bottom. While it feels flat, I am a bit annoyed to see an imperfection like this. The whole heatsink is composed of different materials. The base and heatpipes are composed of copper with nickel plating on the outside. Copper is used because it has one of the best heat transfer abilities with a thermal conductivity of 401W/mK. Meanwhile, the fins are made out of aluminum as it is quite a bit lighter in comparison to copper. This reduction in weight will reduce stress on the motherboard, although aluminum has a lower conductivity of 237W/mK, which is not as optimal for heat transfer, but the trade-off is understandable.

In terms of appearance, the copper base is concealed with an electroplated nickel. While nickel has a notably lower conductivity of 90.9W/mK, this layer is very thin and should not adversely affect the performance to a significant degree. Instead, nickel and nickel-base alloys are used here because of their properties in withstanding corrosive environments and high temperatures, which is especially beneficial for a heat dissipation device. The reason why nickel has these properties is because of its ductility and toughness all the way up to the melting point of 1455c, measured at non-standard pressure. Nickel's face-centered cube crystal structure is highly resistant to corrosion, so corroded material will not build up on the surface in the long run. As a result, the DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S will be less prone to losing its cooling performance over time as juxtaposed to a corroded copper surface.

At the base, all of the joints are soldered to the base, but the fins are pressed to the heatpipes. Pressed fins are pretty typical, but this may lead to degradation over time as contact between metals decreases due to thermal expansion and contraption. It also means the fins can slightly slide about easier. Even so, everything is well put together on the DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S with a solid choice of materials around the heatsink and fins. The black finish also makes everything look uniform in color despite differences in materials.

Installation of the DeepCool ASSASSIN 4S is straightforward and imitates other competition's system in how it works. While this might be seen as copying, it is one of the most seamless mounting experiences, and this is great for the end user. With Intel systems, you will use the included backplate. This comes with bolts for installation of the entire unit, and it can be moved around depending on the socket you are using. For AMD systems, you can use the backplate that comes with your motherboard. You can start by screwing in the four bolts to secure the backplate.

Once the backplate is fixed in place, you can use two mounting bars to attach on the CPU side. DeepCool again has separate bars for AMD and Intel motherboards, so be sure to use the correct ones. It is important to note the bars should be oriented so that the arrows on them point towards the processor. From here, you can tighten the thumb bolts on the bars before you mount the larger heatsink. I would also advise squeezing out some thermal paste on your CPU. DeepCool has provided sufficient amount of paste for multiple installations.

Afterwards, with the fans removed from the fin stack, you can place the whole ASSASSIN 4S on top and screw the unit onto the mounting bars. You will probably need an L-shaped screwdriver that is long enough to reach, which is why I am glad they have provided one in the box. Be sure to tighten these two screws in an alternating fashion to evenly attach the heatsink to the metal bars. Next, you can install the middle fan in between the two towers by sliding it into place and seeing the metal bars clip in place. As I have pointed out before, the ASSASSIN 4S does not hover over my memory slots. The slimmer appearance does make a slight difference as there was also no back fan hovering over the VRM heatsinks.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion