DeepCool Assassin IV CPU Air Cooler Review
Aug 16, 2023
When heat pipes became a thing in CPU coolers, four seemed enough to cool the Conroe chips we were all using. However, progress moved on, and as CPUs got hotter with additional cores and cache, more pipes were needed to handle the heat produced. For quite some time, six pipes have seemed to be about the maximum that manufacturers could utilize, but a new trend has been creeping up on us, almost silently, with very little fanfare.
A select few manufacturers have been adding in an extra heat pipe for a total of seven, and if memory serves, this is the second of them to hit the lab. The problem used to be that with smaller and smaller mainstream IHS designs, the footprint did not allow more space, and to get more pipes, you either had a huge base that wasn't getting direct heat applied to it, or you had to lessen the pipes' diameter. However, things are changing, and more users are migrating to HEDT and AMD, where larger chips are a thing, and they need a bit more grunt to stay relevant compared to the competition.
From what we can recall, we have seen an Assassin before, back in 2013, when it fell under the name of GamerStorm, an offshoot of DeepCool. However, we missed a few generations in the middle. Still, by what we are seeing with the Assassin IV from DeepCool, they took what was a basic cooler design with two towers and made it into an overly thought out design with all the bells and whistles to make a cooler work its way towards the top of our charts, but does so in a sleek and elegant way, without ARGB, but will make an attractive addition to any build with the space to fit this chunky cooler.
In the chart we made from info on the product page as well as what we could see on the box, we find that the Assassin IV goes by the part number R-ASN4-BKNNMT-G, and unlike many of the newer coolers we see, DeepCool still offers support for HEDT sockets, as well as the mainstream Intel and AMD sockets. Dimensionally, this blacked-out cooler is 144mm from side to side, 147mm front to back, and it stands 164mm in height. With the cooler, shroud, fans, and necessary hardware, the DeepCool Assassin IV weighs in at a mighty 1575 grams.
We do not see that the towers are made of fifty-two aluminum fins that are coated black. From those towers are seven 6mm diameter heat pipes made of copper and coated black. These pipes come from an aluminum base, also painted black, connected to a nickel-plated copper base.
Two fans are already mounted to the cooler, cooling this large aluminum and copper assembly. As there isn't a front intake fan with this design, the fan in the middle is a 140mm fan attached to a special clip mechanism for easy removal. The second fan is a 120mm fan, the exhaust fan in this situation. It is also mounted to a boxy bracket, which is made to be easily removed.
The 120mm fan specifications say it can pull 58.06 CFM through the tower with 2.1 mmH2O of pressure. The 140mm fan is shown to push 79.1 CFM with 2.44 mmH2O; with both fans maxed, they are said to be around 29 dB. There is a switch that will reduce the fan speeds found on top of the tower, and as seen in the chart, the values change. As to the fan speed itself, both fans are shown to top out at 1700 RPM, but with the switch flipped, they can get to 1350 RPM at their top speed.
Along with an outstanding six-year warranty, it appears that all the boxes are ticked for the DeepCool Assassin Iv to have a real shot at the top of the charts. However, as with anything we want, a price is associated with said prize. In this instance, you will need around $100 to get yourself one of these. Looking at Amazon, we see it is listed for $99.99, but if you'd like to save a couple of dollars, Newegg has it listed at $97.99. For this sort of money involved, it does need to take on all of the big boys in the air cooling segment, and with some AIOs now lingering at that price point, the chips are stacked against DeepCool and their Assassin IV, but let's see how it all pans out.
DeepCool sends the Assassin IV in a plain cardboard box with a minty green accent stripe and logo, as they typically do. Over that is a white sleeve which DeepCool placed the black cube image in the center of. Beyond being shown that this is a premium CPU air cooler, we can see that it is also an IF Design Award winner for 2023.
The right end of the box offers very little. Just an expanse of cardboard with a green stripe and a box noting that this is a CPU cooler.
At the back, we find DeepCool's message that we should visit the site address given to us in many languages for more information. To the right is a list of specifications similar to the ones we covered earlier. We also see company information and the product stickers near the bottom, but we will say that this gray is tough to read over the white backdrop.
The remaining panel is just a look at the green pinstripe. Typically there would be an icon near the top, possibly of a dual tower outline, but with a cubist design, maybe an icon wasn't the right call.
Inside the thick cardboard exterior packaging, we find this heavy Assassin IV packed inside of dense foam that surrounds all sides of the tower yet leaves a little bit of the cooler exposed to hint at what you are about to uncover. The hardware and other goodies are contained in the cardboard box, also kept away from the tower for travel.
The front view of the Assassin IV is of the fin array with a textured plastic ring applied around all sides. Along with the view of the fifty-two fins in the stack, we can see the pipes running through them, and below the fin array, we can see the evenly spaced seven heat pipes coming from the base.
Since we could not see this in the previous image, we laid the cooler down to get a look at the fin design. To go along with the overall cube design of the Assassin IV, we also get cube shapes across the front of the cooler. The sides are raised because a third fan can be added here.
With the front of the tower facing the right, we can see the thick plastic shroud covering part of the first tower. We then see a large side panel with more squares cut into it, another section of the shroud as we see at the front, and then the clip on rear exhaust fan cover, which also shows fan rotation.
The exhaust fan is a 120mm fan screwed into a bracket that clips into the shroud around the tower. You can pull it off for cleaning and snap it back into place.
Removing the fan exposed the fin design we see on both sides between the towers as well as this. DeepCool went with a sawtooth pattern for these surfaces. Again, the edges are the tallest point to support the fans but disturbs the airflow to take the best advantage of thermal transfer.
The top of the tower looks a lot like the sides, with the same segments of textured plastic separated with a ventilated section in the middle. However, we can make out the DeepCool logo in the bottom left corner and a switch at the top right.
That switch on the top of the tower is for fan modes. Positioned next to the pair of angled boxes, you limit the fans to 1350 RPM and reduce their effectiveness. However, with the switch flipped to the four boxes, you have full power and will get the best from the Assassin IV.
There is one more party trick at the top of the Assassin IV. The mesh area at the top is held with magnets and removable. The opening allows access to the 140mm fan via the bracket we see holding it into the cooler.
Removing four screws from the top, and another set of four from the bottom, allowed us to offer an exploded look at what you get in the DeepCool Assassin IV. There is the dual-tower cooler, the main body of the shroud, the 140mm fan, and the 120mm fan. The screws, the removable cover, and the lower cover that holds the shroud on from underneath are in front.
Under the tower, while tough to see with all of the black going on, the seven 6mm diameter heat pipes are press fit into both fin arrays. We also see very gently bends with minimal kinking, something not done on lower-end coolers.
The mating surface was messy out of the box, but a little alcohol took the fine lines off. The surface is slightly convex and machined in a circular pattern, and once completed, it is nickel-plated.
As part of the mounting hardware, DeepCool breaks it up by camp. In this instance, we get the Intel kit. On the left are the top brackets that the cooler will mount to. In the middle is the adjustable mainstream intel backplate, and to the right are the standoffs for mainstream use. To the right of those, we also see HEDT mounting standoffs securing the brackets to those sockets.
Most of this is strictly AMD associated. On the left are the AM4 and AM5 top brackets, but next to them are standoffs that screw into the factory backplate and allow the brackets to be mounted on top of them. To the right are the knurled nuts that secure all of the top brackets, Intel and AMD, while the screws left there allow us to connect a third fan to a frame.
DeepCool sends a combo driver with a Phillips #2 on one end and an Allen wrench on the other. Surrounding the DM9 thermal paste, paste spreader, and base cleaner, we have the fan frame, which allows a third fan to be mounted to the front of the tower.
For those looking to add another fan or when the need arises to replace one of these, we flipped them around to show you the part numbers. The 140mm fan is a DFr1402512CH model, and the 120mm fan is a DF1202512CM, both of which are 4-pin PWM powered.
The manual comes in a cardboard sleeve as a special touch, but more importantly, is what goes on inside. We get a parts guide to sort out what is needed, followed by step-by-step instructions for all compatible sockets. Even a novice CPU cooler installer should be able to install the Assassin IV in less than five minutes.
Once we removed the top portion of the AMD factory hardware, we set up the DeepCool gear. The AMD standoffs got screwed into the backplate. As shown in the manual, we dropped the brackets in place and locked them to the standoffs with the knurled nuts. Now we can see why a removable cover and easy-to-remove central fan were so important to this design, as that opening is how you mount the Assassin IV to this.
The front view is more akin to looking at the grill of an automobile. Without a fan to block the slick square design cut into the fins, it allows the Assassin IV to look more menacing. We can also see that the tower stands a bit proud of the RAM we use.
Out of the box, clearance to the RAM is a non-issue. However, should you want a third fan, you will limit the RAM height you can use. There is no flexibility to mounting the intake fan, so keep that all in mind while making decisions.
As we step back, we can get a much better sense of how enormous this cooler is. While the RAM and GPU are accessible without issue, many may have problems getting to the 8-pin with the cooler already on the motherboard. Modular cables can limit the problem, but again, something to keep in mind for the build process.
As if it did not look big enough in the last image, when we see it next to the GPU and as it covers a ton of the top portion of the motherboard, the Assassin IV may be one, if not the biggest towers we have tested, and if it had a third fan, it would be in the same realm as the Cooler Master V10 TEC big.
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
We tested the Assassin IV with both fan modes, and while DeepCool cannot be ashamed of the 57.9°C result in quiet mode, the only better-performing air cooler is their own AK620. However, if you run the cooler without limits, we gained another 1.2° landing the Assassin IV at 56.7°C, mixing things up with many of the AIOs in our chart, taking top honors in the air-cooled CPU realm.
Running with the overclock applied, DeepCool comes in third place with a fan limitation at 64.8°C. While in performance mode, they pull ahead of their AK620 but are still slightly outperformed by the SE-207-XT. Even so, we could easily call it a tie for first at 63.7°C considering some margin of error, which is a success for DeepCool in our book.
We also decided to run our all-out fan test with both modes. Even quiet mode gained us 2.3°, allowing the fans to get to 1350 RPM. With the performance mode active, we got near 1700 RPM and another 3.2°C out of the Assassin IV.
The quiet mode in stock testing is certainly that, at just 24 dB, with the fans spinning at 862 RPM. Using the performance option had the fans near 1050 RPM and landed in the chart at 29 dB.
With the overclock applied, the fans get bumped to 937 RPM in quiet mode, but the noise level is still low at 26 dB. When the performance mode was active, the fans got to 1140 RPM, and the noise level only increased to 32 dB.
If you set the BIOS to deliver 12V to the fans and the quiet mode switch is enabled, our fans topped out at 1326 RPM, but the noise is still limited to 38 dB. Performance mode is a different story. If you allow the fans to run at full bore, in this instance at 1693 RPM, you will be dealing with quite a bit more noise, to the tune of 51 dB.
Two things stand out as chinks in the otherwise flawless entry to the CPU air cooling game. One could argue the enormity of the Assassin IV will limit who uses it. While true, this solution needs to be planned for and may not be a perfect fit for a smaller assembly of parts, and there are only a few coolers with this sort of performance to be had from a non-AIO entry. The other dent comes in the form of cost, but let us explain. Against the sea of AIOs, we cannot find much fault with the price. To get any better, you must break the $150 barrier. The outlier here is that ID-Cooling SE-207-XT, a head-to-head competitor, for less than half the price.
With complaints out of the way, there is much to be happy about. We like the unique look, even while just a black box essentially, we like the square venting in the shroud, and even while huge, it falls into that sleeper category in style. The fan switch is nothing new, but it does afford users a nice change of pace where noise is concerned, and the penalty for using less fan isn't as bad as one might think. We then think of the removable cover and the 140mm fan bracket, making life much easier during installation. Some may argue that the hefty weight could be an issue, but in our experience, the hardware locks this massive tower tightly into place without fear of it somehow coming away from its mount.
Thermally, air cooling solutions in our current market don't get much better. Was the extra heat pipe worth the effort? On the one hand, yes, they traded blows with the SE-207-XT, and that cooler comes with stronger fans to do it, with much higher noise levels involved in getting there. On the other hand, it doesn't offer a miraculous advantage over the six-pipe entries. While the Assassin IV is a beast in its own right, the AK620 sitting there with six pipes, smiling at the Assassin IV, makes our conclusion more fuzzy.
We have a premium cooler that delivers premium performance but also comes with a premium price tag to go with it all. DeepCool is on top of its game, and the Assassin IV proves they are willing to do anything needed to get its name out there as a leader in the air-cooled CPU segment. We can say they accomplished their goals, and as much as we love the Assassin IV, with its nuances and performance all packaged nicely with a bow on it, you can find more economical solutions to land you in the ballpark of what we have seen today. If you have the cash handy, you certainly get quite a bit of bang for the buck. However, keep in mind if the added bits and unique styling are not your thing, There are similar options out there.
The Assassin IV is a beast in all forms. It is huge, it delivers top-tier performance, and can run with the big names without all of the noise. Our only issue is the cost, as you can get near the same thermal performance, for less money.Quick NavigationBuy at AmazonBuy at NeweggASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570)AMD Ryzen 5 3600XCorsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GBASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OCGalax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSDHydra Bench StandardASUS ROG Thor 850WMicrosoft Windows 10 Home 64-bitAMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article96%