Prolimatech Panther Review

BluePanda - 2011-10-28 21:50:54 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: November 8, 2011
Price: $59.99

Introduction:

The CPU cooler is by far one of the most important pieces of hardware in overclocking. Without having a well-performing cooler, you simply cannot expect to get the most out of your CPU. Recently, many manufacturers have begun entering the market by distributing lines of self-contained water systems, inspired by custom water loops common to enthusiast overclockers. In comparison to air, it is no surprise that water works as a better medium for removing heat. However, long-time air cooling manufacturers are finding secrets to heat transfer and have developed some rather unique designs to take away all that heat.

Today, we will take a look at an air cooler from Prolimatech, the creator of the ever-popular Megahalems. Dubbed the Panther, it features four heat pipes – at least two fewer than any of their other CPU coolers. Having said this, let’s see how it competes.

 

Closer Look:

Taking the Panther out of its brown shipping box, we find a shiny black box. It is pretty simple in design, with a checker pattern around the box and a design of the eyes, nose, and whiskers of a panther on the front. The Prolimatech logo is written subtly on the upper left corner, reminding you who the cooler is from – almost like a return address. Flipping to the back side, the design is really no different – just without the Panther face design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sides of the box don’t offer any more excitement – one side features just a quick list of the cooler specifications while the other presents the product barcode and a reference to the Prolimatech website for more information (this, of course, is given in many different languages). That’s pretty much it.

 

 

Now that I’ve stalled you with the box, I think I’ll be kind and give you a peek at what is inside. Opening up the packaging, we find the heat sink itself, a red-bladed LED fan, thermal paste, motherboard brackets, mounting screws, fan clips, an instruction manual, and an awesome Prolimatech sticker. Quite a bit is packed into this little box – I hope to not have to pack it back up for any reason; it would be like Tetris! Let’s move to the next page and see what this thing really looks like.

 

Closer Look:

With the heat sink out of the box, we will see the four heat pipes – uniquely, they are twisted together, holding up the mesmerizing fins. From the front and the back, you will really see four pipes extending to the top on each side (8 total). Similar to the Megahalems, the tips poke out above the top fin. From the sides, you will see that the pipes line up perfectly and start to get a perspective of how this is going to fit in your case. It’s pretty tall, but not very wide – at least without a fan attached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a look at the top, you will again count the 8 exiting heat pipes. Here, the panther’s face from the front of the box is also displayed – almost like the beast within this heat sink peeking out at you. In terms of mounting, you will find brackets for both AMD’s 2/2+/3/3+ and Intel’s LGA 1156/1155 processor sockets – just make sure you line them up in the right direction on the motherboard bracket. One thing to note, the screws are a little difficult to install due to their close proximity to the fins – just be gentle with your screw driver. Thankfully, you will be using larger holes later to actually fix this heat sink to your board.

 

 

Looking at the important face – where the cooler meets your CPU – we are reminded to remove the red plastic sticker before use. I wonder how many people would think to leave the plastic on – I guess that’s why we’re warned here. Either way, it provides a nice protective coat to the surface, so you can manhandle the heat sink before putting it onto your CPU. Taking off the warning label, we find a machine-finished base. Although it isn’t really a clear, shiny finish, it is enough to give a nice reflection of light. Beside the contact point, you will find larger holes for mounting screws – these are a good distance away, so you can easily access them.

 

 

To give you a good idea of the finish, I set a little toy panda next to the contact base. While you can see a reflection of the panda, it is much less detailed than the actual thing. However, a lot of people lap their CPU coolers before use, so it isn’t really a big deal. In all honestly, such situations are the sole reason for thermal paste – to fill all microscopic voids on the base surface and provide a better thermally-conductive surface.

 

Now that we’ve considered mounting the cooler, we can’t forget that it also comes with a fan. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to dig out a fan from the closet or buy one to use the Panther out of the box. The 120 mm, red-bladed, red LED fan attaches onto the heat sink with two simple metal clips. The cable is fully sleeved, to prevent tangling of wires on the fins and adjacent components.

 

 

Now comes the fun part; mounting the CPU cooler. In reality, this was probably the most difficult CPU cooler that I have mounted in a while. While mounting a heat sink has never been “fun”, the screws here just seem like they are too short to reach the back plate without using a ton of force. When you finally get one corner to thread, the second becomes even more difficult – it feels like you are about to break your board! Slightly longer threads on the screws would have made mounting a non-issue. If you finally get two screws threaded, then you’re home free – just tighten down the other two and attach that red fan! Overall, it didn’t look half bad in my 600T. Heck, the red even matches my 6970!

 

Specifications:

Dimensions:
130 mm x 50 mm x 161 mm
Heatsink Weight:
570 g (body only)
Included Fan:
120 mm x 120 mm x 25 mm Red LED
CPU Platform:
Intel Socket LGA 1156/1555, AMD Socket AM2/2+/3/3+

 

Features:

 

 

 

All information provided by: http://www.prolimatech.com/en/products/detail.asp?id=1061&subid=1062#showtab

Testing:

To put the Prolimatech Panther to the test, I applied simulated loads using Prime95, at small FFTs under stock (2.8 GHz) and overclocked (3.6 GHz) settings. Both idle and load temperatures were recorded at each state. For maximum temperatures, the maximum values displayed in HW Monitor were recorded, after running three threads in Prime95 for a full hour. Minimum temperatures were recorded after leaving the system to idle for a full hour. The core temperatures were averaged in each of the four scenarios and plotted below. The ambient temperature was held at 25 °C for all testing scenarios. All of the data below is represented in degrees Celsius. It is important to note that we tested the Prolimatech Panther using the included thermal compound, while we tested the stock heat sink and water cooler using Artic Cooling MX-2 paste. All fans were set to full speed for each test as well.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison CPU Coolers:

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

After all the testing, I was rather impressed with the ability of the Panther to keep up with my water cooling loop. No, my water setup isn’t a full-blown custom water loop, but considering that the Panther is just a simple air cooler, I’m impressed. Actually, it is slightly frustrating to see it beat out my water loop when overclocked – it means I need a new water block! Either that or I may just need to have a little more faith in some of these high-end air coolers. Overall, I give major props to the Prolimatech Panther in its thermal performance.

Conclusion:

Overall, the Prolimatech Panther is quite the air cooler. Although I’ve been away from air coolers since receiving and modifying my ECO ALC about a year ago, the Panther really came out of the woods. I wasn’t expecting such amazing thermal performance for something its size - compared to the Megahalems, this is slightly smaller. I think adding a second fan would produce even more profound results. Perhaps air cooling is back on the market in my books! Besides being a bit difficult to mount, the cooling doesn’t stop once it’s been installed. This might just be your next cooler if you are ready to take on the fun of overclocking your CPU.

 

Pros:

Cons: