With the Assassin III, Deepcool seem to have toppled the Noctua NH-D15 as the best performing high end air cooler on the market, which has held this position for many years. However, in the majority of our tests performance was marginal, so avid Noctua fans may not be jumping ship straight away.
Our first impressions of the Assassin III are very good. Aesthetically, the Assassin III is a winner – the combination of the polished top cooling fins with spoilers and the black fans give it the edge over the Noctua NH-D15’s tan and brown. However, this is just our opinion, based on the fact that it’s difficult to incorporate the colour of the Noctua fans into a system theme.
Build quality of the Assassin III is also of a very high standard and as far as we can see in our comparisons, it’s as good as the Noctua. The materials used, finish of the nickel plating and build quality of the fans all are of a very high quality.
Deepcool have done a great job with their “four step” installation process, which makes fitting the Assassin III a breeze. Inclusion of the screwdriver is an added bonus – even with a limited collection of tools there should be no problems with installation. One thing worth mentioning is that with tall RAM modules, you may need to position the fans quite high. This could restrict installation in certain cases. Our Patriot Viper RAM isn’t the tallest on the market by any means, but when the fans were positioned to clear the RAM, we found the total height of the cooler was 195mm. This is quite an increase over the 165mm listed in the official specifications.
Other than the overall height when the front fan is positioned, it is difficult to find fault with the Assassin III. The chrome top fins can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet but once installed, it won’t be touched very often. The top spoilers may be more of an aesthetic feature rather than critically affecting air-flow and cooling performance.
In terms of performance versus the NH-D15, our open air bench results may not quite represent Deepcool’s stated 1°C improvement over the NH-D15. When installed in a typical case scenario, we found the Assassin III to be considerably better when extra heat was added from GPU load. Overall, we were very satisfied with the cooling performance of the Assassin III and agree that it should perform marginally better than the Noctua NH-D15 in most situations.
As a whole, we are very impressed with the Assassin III. Its pleasing design and looks, coupled with the excellent thermal performance just gives it the edge over the Noctua NH-D15. With pricing of the two being very similar, a tough decision will have to be made, when comparing the two for purchase. If aesthetics is the deciding factor the Assassin III will, in most situations, come out on top, as it will be easy to integrate into the majority of system themes. However, you can now purchase Chromax fans from Noctua which are black with interchangeable coloured accents, but at around £20 each they will push up the total cost considerably.
Taking into account everything we have learned from this review, we would recommend the Assassin III to anyone looking for a high end air cooler right now. While we still think the Noctua NH-D15 is an excellent choice, the Assassin III just pips it in key areas such as looks and thermal performance. This is why we chose to give it the KitGuru Must Have award.
The Deepcool Assassin III is set to be available for £79.99 from Amazon UK, launching October 16th according to Deepcool. In the US, the cooler is readily available for $99.99 from Amazon.
- Excellent thermal performance.
- Great looks.
- Good build quality.
- Easy to install.
- A little loud under load.
- Fan placement can make it quite tall.
KitGuru Says: Anyone looking for a high end air cooler should consider the Assassin III. Its smart looks and excellent thermal performance makes it a valid rival for the legendary Noctua NH-D15.