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Thread: DeepCool AK400 Zero Dark Plus

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    Xtreme Reviewer
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    Apr 2011

    DeepCool AK400 Zero Dark Plus


    Blackout at DeepCool: The manufacturer of high-performance computer components for enthusiasts relaunch its most popular CPU coolers in the DeepCool AK Zero Dark series in all-black color. The AK400 Zero Dark Plus features a unique matrix fin design on the all-black heatsink with a top cover for a premium and unobtrusive appearance. Compared to its larger sibling, the AK620 which can handle up to 260 watts, the AK400 Zero Dark Plus is rated at 220 watts. Minus the appearance, everything on the AK400 Zero Dark Plus is still impressive as its original plus a fan.

    Here are the AK400 Zero Dark Plus specifications from DeepCool. Supporting platforms include AMD’s AM4 and AM5 while Intel’s are LGA20xx, 1200, 115x, and 1700.

    Packaging & Contents

    DeepCool continues their current trend of sticking to simple and clean packaging, with the AK400 Zero Dark Plus coming in a white box with the only accent color the bright teal strip. The front has the cooler in full color, showing off their latest interpretation of the traditional single-tower heatsink.

    At the back you will find the specifications, which include the overall dimensions, fan/s RPM, airflow, weight, and socket support.

    Inside, we find the parts (cooler, fans, and accessories) in boxes. Foam is used for keeping accessories in one place. It also secures the top of the heatsink.

    Starting our look at the hardware, we see the top plate on the left, which is steel and left in its natural state. The top plate is used for all applications, no matter the socket. To the right is the universal Intel back plate for all of the supported mainstream options, and it comes with plastic ends on the plate to isolate it from the motherboard. The installation manual starts with a parts checklist and immediately jumps into LGA1200 and 115X installation. Next comes LGA1700, where we see the backplate needs to be adjusted for proper fitment. Last but not least is AMD installation, just before we see the only text in the book covering the terms of the warranty and how to obtain support.

    Next, we see standoffs for LGA1700 and another set for LGA115X sockets, with the fine thread screws to the right. The orange standoffs are for use with AMD, and the screws used with the factory backplate have wider threads.

    Y-splitter for fans.

    A Closer Look

    The new AK400 Zero Dark Plus coating looks absolutely stunning! I love the black coating, which is not overly glossy and doesn’t attract fingerprints.

    The AK400 Zero Dark Plus is identical in shape with the regular AK400 Zero. The main difference between the two, is that the Zero Dark Plus model is completely black, and comes with second fan. The total size of the cooler is 127 x 123 x 155mm (with fans). The weight is 802gr, always with the fans. The reason for the plastic cap on the base of the AK400 Zero Dark Plus is due to one simple fact., DeepCool has pre-applied thermal paste to the exposed pipes, simplifying life for those who purchase it.

    The 54 aluminium fins have folded edges to maintain spacing while also directing the conical shape of the fan's airflow through the fin stack. The fins has a bent section on the outer edge, not only to ensure proper spacing but also to capture more airflow. We also notice that this tower is not an asymmetric design, leaning away from the RAM as many do.

    Our view of the back of the tower shows just how well the spacing works out for the AK400 Zero Dark Plus, with not even the slightest hint of a bent fin or anything to disrupt the designed flow of air through this tower. We did not mention that while the heat pipes are all vertical, they enter the fins in two separate rows, allowing the air to get to them easier than if they were all in the same row.

    The top plate has a pattern reminiscent of a checkerboard with the DeepCool logo on the bottom right. Much like the overall design, it is simple, clean, and somewhat elegant. You won't find ARGB lighting or anything of the sort here. Only the DeepCool logo in teal adds a touch of color to an otherwise neutral aesthetic.

    When it comes to fitting the fins on the heat pipes, we find that the fins are pressed onto them after the copper heat pipes are nickel-plated. Doing so is not bad, as most CPU coolers are built this way, and those with finds soldered to the pipes come with a hefty price hike. As for the base, it's a heat pipe direct touch design comprised of four 6-mm heat pipes. The thermal paste is pre-applied to the cold plate. We also notice the application is made with more squares, but more importantly, the TIM is not full of debris.

    As we look at the top of the base of the AK400, we notice the top of the base is made of aluminum and is milled to have fins, making it a better pre-cooler than if left flat. On top of the pre-cooler is the steel bracket that securely mounts this tower to the accompanying hardware via the spring-loaded screws at either end.

    As mentioned earlier in this review, the key feature of the DeepCool AK400 Zero Dark Plus is that it offers another additional fan when compared to the base version. The fan used for the AK400 Zero Dark Plus is DeepCool's FC120P with model number DF1202512CM.

    It has a PWM RPM range of 500–1650 with a CFM rating of 59.46. As for the design itself, it uses a solid square frame with the hub of 9 fan blades, and a fluid dynamic bearing.

    Installation Process

    Installing the AK400 Zero Dark Plus cooler on socket AM4 is extremely simple and reliable, first you need to install hexagonal orange plastic barrels on the holes of the metal backplate of the motherboard.

    Next, a metal frame is installed on top of them and fixed with long screws, and at the end of the installation process, you need to combine the spring-loaded screws on the base of the cooler with the mounting threaded pins on the metal frame and tighten them one by one.

    The final step will be an extremely easy installation of the fan/s on the radiator and connect them to the adapter and power them from the appropriate connector.

    The RAM and Graphics Card clearance is good. The fan don't reach the first two DIMM slots of the motherboard, so tall memory will fit. Also because the fan clips are free to move anywhere, I make sure to put them in a way that the wire coming off from the fan extends out from the bottom of the cooler. And sits right next to its header. The cooler has no RGB shizz over it and clearly has been designed to just perform and look like how a decent air cooler will look nowadays. Especially when you judge their look based on the current design trend. For example, I dig how neatly they have embossed their minimalistic-looking logo on the top plastic cover of the heatsink.


    The tests are carried out with an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X processor installed on an ASUS TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS (WI-FI) motherboard . The processor is locked at 3700 MHz on all its cores with a Vcore at 1.05 V at first, then it goes to 4000 MHz / 1.25 V and finally 4200 MHz / 1.35 V. Temperatures are retrieved with HWiNFO , while the processor is loaded with RealBench for thirty minutes. Finally, the noise pollution measurement is taken 12 cm behind the radiator in a room measured at 29.6 dB(A).

    20.1 Delta at stock is respectable.

    Once we changed the BI/OS to the overclocked profile at 4GHz, things are still very respectable.

    When overclocked at 4.150GHz, its smaller size hinders performance slightly. While not obtaining the coolest temperatures out of the comparison coolers, the AK400 Zero Dark Plus maintains the CPU temperature at a reasonable level.

    DeepCool certainly knows how to make quiet cooling systems. Even with full power to the FC120P PWM fans, they are barely audible, and you have to be within a foot or two to even hear them.

    Final Thoughts

    It took DeepCool just over 8 months to launch a black version of its AK400. For once, with this black version the brand boasts a heatsink that is easier to integrate into your configs. It must be said that full black goes more easily with current components. DeepCool has certainly impressed us with the AK400 Zero Dark Plus. Starting with the aesthetics, the DeepCool AK400 Zero Dark Plus looks nice and sleek. We see things like bent edges on the sides of the fins, nickel plating, some of the tightest gaps from copper to aluminum in the base ant the fancy top cover for aesthetic appeal. There’s no RGB available. Installation is not time-consuming, and it’s relatively easy, so most (or all?) users should work without any problems. As for the AMD, the system was easy, and you didn’t even need to switch the backplate. Cooling performance is exceptional for a single-tower design. While the cooling performance alone is enough to justify buying this cooler, on top of that is that fact that the design of the AK400 Zero Dark Plus addresses the compatibility issues of larger performance memory modules. With large, bulky coolers this is certainly something that typically required either the purchase of low profile DIMMs or you had to leave the slots that interfered with the heat sink and fans empty. This cooler is quiet, topping out at 35 dBA in its default. The noise level climbs at 43 dBA on full fans speed.

    With this heatsink, DeepCool offers us an AK400, but in black plus a second fan. The second fan also improve the overall performance of the AK400. However, it does come at a greater cost (€50 VS €35). If you are allergic to the aluminium appearance of the AK400, clearly, you can easily take the step, especially as the finish remains exemplary. If you are in the market for a CPU cooler, and it has to perform well while being quiet, the AK400 Zero Dark Plus is a great option. The quality of the product, along with its features, make it a solid choice.

    Last edited by testman78; 11-25-2022 at 09:33 PM.



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