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Deepcool Assassin III CPU Air Cooler Review

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Introduction

Deepcool was founded in 1996 with its headquarters in Beijing with the focus on providing the best and personalized thermal solutions for customers around the world. When it comes to the enthusiast-grade PC components, Deepcool is a well-established and recognized brand that is gaining more popularity. The company is focused on providing better thermal solutions in the form of the air and liquid coolers. Their Captain Ex is a high-end AIO CPU Cooler that has form and function in a single package. The company is offering PC Chassis, Power supplies, Case Fans, Laptop Coolers, desks for PC, Lighting solution. Gamer Storm is the brand of Deepcool under which enthusiast-grade PC Components are offered to the market. Tri-Stellar, Quad-Stellar, Genome/II, New Ark 90 are some of their popular and highly customizable PC Chassis in the market.

About time that Deepcool has released its monstrous CPU air cooler challenging the big dog aka Noctua NH-D15. Meet Deepcool Assassin III a cold, quiet, efficient and stylish, with a TDP of 280W, the ASSASSIN III is the fiercest heat killer. Definitely a bold tag line put forward by the Deepcool. There are prominent differences when it comes to the Assassin III vs the Assassin II. Deepcool has used 7x sinter heat pipes which gives them the benefit of more inner surface area for effective heat dissipation. The heatsink has fins and heat pipes soldered which increases the lifespan of the cooler. This is a dual-tower cooler using 2x 140mm fans which are TF-140s variants customized for high airflow and air pressure. The copper base is nickel coated in the mirror finish. Here are salient features of the cooler:

  • 7 heat pipes, dual 140mm performance fans, 280W TDP.
  • Minimalistic style, mirror-finish nickel cover and obsidian-like spoiler.
  • 54mm RAM clearance, 138mm wide and 165mm tall.
  • New sinter heat pipe technology that extensively increased the heat transfer efficiency.
  • Heatpipes and fins are assembled by a solder reflow process, long-lasting deformation resistance.
  • Patented two-layer fan blades that amplify the airflow up to 2.5m³/minute.
  • Unique fan frame design that elevates air pressure and lower noise.
  • Item:                              Assassin III
  • Manufacturer:                  DEEPCOOL
  • Brand:                            Gamer Storm
  • Price:                             $89.99 [at the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped inside a paperboard outer packing with inner stuff packed inside a cardboard box.

There is a picture of the cooler printed on the main section. GamerStorm brand logo and name are printed up top on the left. TDP rating of up to 280W is prominently printed. The name of the cooler is printed at the bottom.

The salient feature highlights are printed at the bottom. Assassin III is printed in the center.

Dimensions of the cooler are printed on the bottom pictorially. Assassin III is printed in the center.

Feature highlights are printed in 8 languages. The specifications are printed in the tabular format on the bottom right.

There are GamerStorm brand logo and name printed in the center.

Accessories

Following are included in the box:

  • 2x 140mm fans
  • 1x Heatsink
  • 1x Intel/AMD backplate
  • 2x Intel Brackets
  • 2x AMD Brackets
  • 6x Fan Clips
  • 4x Intel LGA 20XX standoffs
  • 4x Screw Bolt
  • 4x Metal Nuts
  • 4x Intel/AMD Screws
  • 1x Thermal Paste
  • 1x Thermal Paste Applicator
  • 1x Cleaner
  • 1x Metal Logo Sticker
  • 1x Philips Screwdriver
  • 2x Low Noise Adapters
  • 1x Y-Cable
  • 1x User Manual

Closer Look

Assassin III is the successor of the Assassin II. Deepcool seems confident with this cooler as they are challenging the big dog of the arena. The Assassin III has nickel-coated aluminum fins and copper heat pipes soldered. The copper base is finished in mirror style nickel coating. There are 7x heat pipes that are sintered which give more inner surface area to increase their efficacy. There are two customized variants from TF series fans which are designed to generate more airflow while sustaining the air pressure. Question is will this cooler be able to take the yard from the current king? We shall see shortly. Let’ start.

The overall dimension of the assemble cooler is 161x140x165mm (LxWxH). The dimension of the heat sink is 135x138x165mm (LxWxH). The net weight of the cooler is 1464 gm. I have mentioned the weight as many people take this into consideration seriously. This is a U shape dual-tower cooler with two 140mm fans. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1366/115X/20XX and AMD FMx/AMx sockets.

Taking a peek over the top we can spot two shiny and highly reflective covers in the black color which gives obsidian-like spoiler look to the cooler. The cooler with these covers looks that good in person. Pictures are not doing any justice. These covers are not fully covering the top fin plate as the certain portion is exposed. The top plate is finished in a mirror-like effect and is nickel coated. This when combined with the black shiny covers, gives one heck of a killer looks to the cooler. Kudos to their design team as this is a portion that will be visible to the user after installation in the chassis. With aesthetically designed TF140S fans sides the overall looks are bold, aggressive and definitely a killer. Deepcool has provided two GamerStorm transparent stickers that are to be pasted on the top covers (optional).

Looking at the sides of the heatsink, it is obvious that the heatsink is done in steps. This side actually reminds me of the Noctua NH-D15 as the design and looks are almost similar. The fins have grooves on the edges. This is where the fan clips are inserted to secure the fans with the heatsink. The fins are joined together on the sides. The complete heatsink is nickel coated.

Looking at the main side of a tower, there are two black color brackets going down from the top to the upper bottom of the main section. The black cover is a single body design running across the surface of a tower and secured to each tower at the bottom. There is a total of 44 aluminum fins. 41 fins are on the main front section whereas 3 are in the stepped down portion. The stepped design has given this cooler the RAM clearance of 54mm. Keep in mind that this clearance is with respect to the heatsink without the fan. With 54mm RAM, the fan’s height will need to be increased.

The fin stack is not dense which will help in airflow through the heatsink. The bundled fans pack high airflow and air pressure. So far, the Deepcool is right on the point.

The nickel-coated copper base of the cooler has a dimension of 43.5x40mm. There is a warning sticker pasted on it cautioning the user to remove it before the installation. The sticker is to protect the base from scratch. The copper base is slightly convex and is polished in 0.1mm class. This helps to make better contact with the IHS of the CPU.

Looking at the base, we can spot 7 copper heat pipes coming out of the base area and going in the heatsink equidistance. These are 6mm thick pipes.

These heat pipes are sintered meaning they have a more inner surface area which will increase their heat transfer capability.

The mounting plate is already fixed on the base. The above picture also shows the thicker base on the sides. The upper side of the base has cutouts making it act like a heat-spreader.

It has two spring-loaded screws pre-mounted on the corners.

It is time to take a look at the fans. Deepcool has bundled two 140mm versions of TF series fans. The dimension of each fan is 140x140x25mm. Here are the specifications of the fans:

Speed (RPM) 400 ~ 1400 RPM
Airflow (CFM) 90.37
Air Pressure (mmAq) 1.79
Noise dB(A) ≤ 34.2
Speed (RPM) With LSP 450 ~ 1000
Airflow (CFM) With LSP 64.33
Air Pressure (mmAq) With LSP 0.81
Noise dB(A) With LSP ≤ 26.8
Connector 4-pin PWM
Bearing Type Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Rated Voltage (V) 12
Rated Current (A) 0.21
Rated Power Consumption (W) 2.52

 

The fans are in black color. The frame is made of plastic. The fan body is quite rigid. There are 9 blades in each fan. These blades have a dual-layer design which is mentioned to increase the airflow up to 2.5m³/minute. There are shiny textures on the outer edges of the blades. These seem to be for the reason of aesthetics only though I am not sure. There is a sticker pasted on the center with silver color GamerStorm logo and textured pattern on the outer portion. The noise-canceling teeth are distributed unevenly to avoid sympathetic vibration and thereby keeping the operation inaudible.

There is a 4-arm assembly holding the motor and blades to the mainframe. One arm is widened to form a passage for the wires. There is a catcher as well to make sure that cables don’t fall off. There is a black color sticker pasted on the center. TF 140S is the model of the fan. The fans are made in China.

GAMERSTORM is embossed on two opposite sides on the frame. Two arrows can be seen as well. These are there to provide a visual aid to the user in determining the direction of the airflow and blade spin direction.

The frame is narrow in the middle but wide around the outer rim. Hence the airflow gains higher pressure passing through the frame.

Here are the pictures of the cooler after assembled.

Installation

We have tested the cooler on the X99 platform using the 2011-3 socket. Installation mechanism is straight forward on this socket:

  • Install the 4x Intel LGA-2011 standoffs on the holes of the pre-mounted backplate of the socket area.
  • Place the 2x Intel Mounting Brackets/Bars such as the arrow directions are pointing inward.
  • Secure the brackets using the metal thumb nuts.
  • Clean the IHS of the CPU using the bundled cleaner.
  • Apply the thermal paste. Deepcool has provided an applicator so that the user can evenly spread the bundled thermal paste. This will lower the cure time.
  • Peel off the warning sticker from the base of the heatsink.
  • Place the heatsink on the CPU by aligning the spring-loaded screws to the holes on the mounting brackets.
  • Using the bundled Philips screwdriver start screwing the heatsink.
  • Install the fans on the heatsink.
  • Connect the power cables of the fan to the Y-splitter cable bundled in the box.
  • Connect the 4-pin PWM connector of the Y-splitter cable to the 4-pin header on the motherboard.
  • This will complete the installation.

Clearance

This is a massive heatsink so one would need to check for the compatibility and the clearance with respect to the DIMMs, first PCIe slot and chassis. The height of the cooler is 165mm. Any chassis with a CPU height clearance of 165mm will support this cooler. There is enough clearance from the first PCIe slot with this cooler.

This cooler has a RAM clearance of up to 54mm. Please, keep in mind that this clearance is coming from the heatsink only and not the fan. If you want to install the fan on its default position then there is approximately 30-31mm of clearance for the RAM. The fan’s height can be adjusted accordingly but increasing the fans’ height will increase the overall height of the cooler which may result in incompatibility with the PC Chassis. In my case, the overall height of the cooler was 190mm as I had to adjust the fan’s height to make room for the CORSAIR Vengeance RAM. It would be better to use chassis with more than 165mm clearance for the air cooler if you are going to use high profile RAM.

Testing Methodology

Testbeds configuration is:

Intel Test Bench

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • CORSAIR Vengeance 2x8GB @ 2666MHz
  • Gigabyte GTX 1060 6GB
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Thermaltake TP iRGB 1250W PSU
  • Primochill Praxis Wetbench

AMD Test Bench

  • Asus Strix X470-F Gaming
  • AMD Ryzen 2700X
  • Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Colorful GeForce GTX 1050Ti Vulkan
  • HyperX 120GB SSD
  • Antec HCP1300

The following software were used for testing and monitoring.

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.44 (Intel)
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70 (Intel)
  • AIDA64 6.0 (AMD)

Here is the settings table for testing:

Intel Stock Voltage (V) 1.130
Stock Clock (MHz) 3600
OC Voltage (V) 1.350
OC Clock (MHz) 4300
AMD Stock Voltage (V) 1.1125
Stock Clock (MHz) 3700
OC Voltage (V) 1.3250
OC Clock (MHz) 4100
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
XFR Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 60 minutes
Idling Time 15 minutes
Fan Speed Manually set to run at 100% speed

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 on our test benches for all the coolers testing. This will ensure the standardization and mitigate any performance benefit that may come using the supplied thermal paste. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. Delta Temperature = Average of all cores’ maximum temperature – ambient temperature. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

For this particular review, we have retested the Noctua NH-D15 using the same methodology. Let’s take a look at the results.

Results

Woah! Deepcool Assassin III has managed to take the first slot on 3 graphs except 1 though the thermal performance margin is less than 1°C.

Noise

The Noctua NH-D15 was shown on the sound meter to be at 43 dB(A) whereas the Deepcool Assassin III was doing 47 dB(A). There is a difference of 4 dB(A) between both. The ambient sound level was 35~36 dB(A).

Conclusion

Deepcool has released Assassin III recently and is confident enough to challenge the current high-performance CPU air cooler. The Assassin III is a massive dual-tower 140mm cooling solution. The overall dimension of the assembled cooler is 161x140x165mm (LxWxH). The dimension of the heat sink is 135x138x165mm (LxWxH). The net weight of the cooler is 1464 gm. Deepcool has not only focused on the thermal performance but the overall outlook of the cooler as well. The cooler is rated for TDP of up to 280W which is impressive. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1366/115X/20XX and AMD FMx/AMx sockets.

The heatsink comprises of two fin stacks. Each stack has 44 aluminum fins. The stack has a stepped design at the bottom which makes more room for the high profile RAM (up to 54mm). The stepped-down portion has 3 more fins as compared to the stepped-up portion with 41 fins. The fins and copper heat pipes are soldered which helps to increase the lifespan of the cooler. The sides of the fin stack have grooves where the fan clips are inserted to secure the fans to the heatsink. This cooler has 7x nickel-coated copper heat pipes each having 6mm thickness. These are sintered design meaning they have a more inner surface area which is expected to help in better heat transfer.

The top fin plate is polished and finished in the mirror style. It is highly reflective. There are two black color top covers that actually run across the entire outer border of the towers and are secured with the heatsinks at the bottom. The top side of these covers is shiny black and it is a fingerprint magnet. You have been cautioned here! XD. This shiny reflective black cover coupled with a reflective mirror-polished top plate gives when heck of a good and bold look to the cooler and this further enhances when the two TF140S are installed. The base of the cooler is a copper plate which is nickel coated. It is also polished in 0.1mm class and has a slightly convex shape which helps to make better contact with the CPU surface.

Deepcool has included two TF-140S fans having a dimension of 140x140x25mm. These are secured using metal fan clips. Deepcool has provided 6x fan clips which will allow the user to install up to 3 fans should they want to. These fans are rated for up to 1400 RPM speed having an airflow rating of 90.37 CMF with an air pressure rating of 1.79 mmAq. They are using Fluid Dynamic bearings. The frame is narrow in the middle but wide around the outer rim. Hence the airflow gains higher pressure passing through the frame.

The Deepcool has bundled plethora of the accessories in the box including thermal paste, cleaner, pate applicator, Philips screwdriver which is definitely helpful and eliminates the requirement of any other tool with may be required. Two low noise adapters are also included as well as a y-splitter cable. Obviously, Intel and AMD mounting hardware are included and Deepcool has further simplified the installation mechanism.

The Deepcool Assassin III is listed at $89.99 at the time of the review on Amazon. We have tested the cooler on Intel X99 and AMD AMd4 platforms using Intel i7 6850k and AMD Ryzen 7 2700X. This cooler has performed admirably that well and managed to take first slots on 3 graphs. The performance gain is marginal is over the Noctua NH-D15 but the overall package and performance in this price with better looks than the tan and brown color scheme of the Noctua gives the Deepcool Assassin III distinctive edge and this is backed by 5 years warranty though at a bit more noise level. From the Noise-To-Performance ratio alone, Noctua still has an upper hand.

We are thankful to Deepcool for giving us the opportunity to review their Assassin III CPU Cooler.

Tech4Gamers Performance Award