Threadripper Air Coolers-Silver Arrow TR4 vs. Wraith Ripper

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Friday , September 28, 2018

Cooling the AMD Threadripper CPUs is not to be taken for granted. We pit the Thermalright Silver Arrow TR4 against the Cooler Master Wraith Ripper using both the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X processors. We show you how both these air coolers perform using Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive.

Silver Arrow TR4 Installation

We always like to check just how flat the cold plates are on our coolers. The Silver Arrow TR4 cold plate is slightly convex. The straight edge is leaning to one side in our picture, but the convex shape is uniform side to side. The coldplate does also come with a pre-installed TIM. We did not use this TIM and used our Prolimatech PK-1 on all coolers used here today.

You can find the Silver Arrow TR4 installation instructions here, should you wish to give those a look.

To install the cooler you first have to install four screw pillars into the TR4 socket base. On top of those pillars you will then install the two mounting arms that the actually cooler will be fixed to. It is all quite simple. The instructions do suggest there are two different size screws in the package, and for the life of me I could not discern any difference in the screws. The instructions show our two screws that are used to fasten the cooler down to have washers on those, but those were not included in our kit.

After that is done, you will want to affix the anti-vibration pads for the fan. I only show two sets in the picture, but three sets are supplied in case you want to use more fans. These have adhesive on one side and simply stick on. I had to open up the PDF instructions and blow up the page the fully understand exactly where these needed to be place. Of course you could just "eye it," but I wanted to get it right the first time.

In the past, while working with the Threadripper 2950X and water blocks, we have found two dots of TIM over the active dies to be sufficient in getting a good mate between the cold plate and the water block. With both of these air coolers, we do not have near the amount of control over how much pressure we can mount this with. The Silver Arrow TR4 and the Wraith Ripper both do not mount with near the amount of force as we would use with our water blocks. We moved to four dots of TIM for the 2950X in order to get the mating footprint that we found to work best with both coolers.

You will then place the cooler onto the CPU, and use your Thermalright screwdriver to use two screws to fasten it to the mounting arms that we have already put into place. Mounting this cooler would be extremely difficult to do if you did not have the motherboard in a horizontal position. As you can see in the picture below, the cooler is not screwed down "all the way," so as to collapse the edges of the cooler or bend up the mounting arms. We did screw this down firmly, but I did feel like if we tried to screw the screws in fully, we might likely strip those threads. Max torque is noted at 0.6Nm. The instructions do say this, "Gently tighten the screws until they stop, but don’t use excessive force." I am really not sure if that means screw those all the way in till the cooler shoulders are touching the mounting arms, but I felt as though I was well beyond the torque spec before I got there.

You do not want to install the fan yet. If you install the fan before you fix the cooler onto the CPU, you will have to remove the fan as it will block the mounting points you need to get to with your screwdriver.

Below is a picture of the three sets of fan mounting clips that come with the kit. It is great that Thermalright includes this should you want to set up a three-fan configuration on this cooler. I will say this. I do not like Thermalright's fan clips. These are often somewhat difficult to use when it comes actually fitting the fan, and these are no different. I always feel like I need a third hand in order to make it go smoothly. Once you use these clips several times it of course becomes easier, but the use of these is not incredibly intuitive. I would suggest making a couple of practice runs on installing the fan(s) just so you know exactly how these work. A little practice will make the actual install much easier. Also worth noting it is "required" that you can not have a full size video card in the first PCIe slot and easily get the fan installed. It is actually possible to do, but not having a video card installed will make this process much much easier.

Below you can see how much room we have between the installed Silver Arrow TR4 and the video card when installed in PCIe slot 1. The distance between the two is about 11mm.

We changed up our "normal" TIM application for these air coolers that do not give us control on how much clamping force we can use, unlike on water blocks. A very thin spread with the CPU heated, and then four very small dots of TIM over the dies worked best for us. This led to us being able to get a very good TIM footprint.

Our full video on the Threadripper CPU and TIM install is below. These are the exact processes that we used for our CPU and TIM install.