Prolimatech MK-26 ReviewRHKCommander959 - February 4, 2013
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Prolimatech MK-26 Closer Look:
The Prolimatech MK-26 cooler uses a heat sink with six 6mm sintered heat pipes that are Nickel-soldered to 0.5mm aluminum fins that are also Nickel plated. The base is machine lapped and the grooves show, so the base flatness is pretty good while the texture is rough. The base has four screw holes to attach mounting brackets, and a plate is included to use the heat sink on AMD 7900-cards. Three bumps on the plate fit into three divots in the base plate. Thickness without fans added is roughly 44.5mm; the stock cooler was roughly 35mm tall. Prolimatech included two Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 fans and clips to install them onto the MK-26. These fans are 140mm in size with mounting holes set at 120mm spacing. The fans are 15mm thick, so with the heat sink it's nearly 60mm! The end of the heat sink has the Prolimatech logo and MK-26 model painted on in black and blue. The fin design allows fans to be mounted above or below the heat sink, if there is room, such as on a shorter card. This heat sink is massive in size, not much shorter than the dual 140mm fans!
The fans Prolimatech sent with the MK-26 are new Ultra Sleek Vortex 14s. The fans have double ball bearings, which have some of the best lifespan around, but these bearings are slightly louder than sleeve bearings. Well worth the life span increase though. The fan operates at roughly 500~1000 RPM while still pushing an impressive 98 CFM with static pressure up to 0.9 mmH2O. The sound ranges from 9~18 dBA, which using a sound chart is roughly equivalent to the noise of regular breathing up to the rustling of leaves. 10 dBA is around the threshold of hearing meaning that it's borderline silent.
The adapter plate has a rough base that has very obvious machining marks. It wouldn't take long to lap this smooth but would remove the Nickel plating. The backside is rough as well, but not showing machining marks like the other side. Three dimples help align and hold the base in place on the heat sink. Make sure to use the right mounting bracket, and apply a good amount of thermal paste between the AMD-plate and the base plate; it is a good idea to spread it out but it won't hurt anything (except maybe a small amount of performance using piles of thermal paste instead of spreading). Having an extra layer to transfer heat through usually affects heat but we will see how it does in testing. After preparing the heat sink it is good to do a mock up of which smaller heat sinks you will need as well as seeing how they fit and so forth. Then just peel the sticky backings off and apply a decent amount of pressure to get them to hold. After that it is a good idea to turn it upside down and see if anything falls off. That could be catastrophic if something fell off while it was running.
After everything else is assembled it is time to spread thermal paste evenly across the core; uneven applications can leave hot spots or worse for the core! Have the heat sink laying down and put the PCB down on top of it to make things simpler. Two different gaskets can be chosen from to make installation easier. Four white washers come with the AMD thumbscrews and placing them below the back plate keeps it more stable. Then just tighten the screws on either by hand or screw driver.
The Prolimatech MK-26 is huge; it makes the 7970 look small, which is absurd and far from being a small feat either. The two fans use the specific clips to mount to the heat fins and increases the size by far. It is almost able to reach the side panel in the Corsair case! There is plenty of clearance for the memory heat sinks underneath the main heat sink. Installation and cable management are harder now due to the increased size.
Prolimatech provided two separate packs of Magnetic Pins that use sound dampening fan connectors attached to magnets to mount fans easily wherever a magnetic surface is available. These handy devices weren't needed for this review!
Check out the Specifications and Features page!