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This time up, I am taking a look at a compact form factor heatsink offering from Prolimatech, the Samuel 17. Instead of the usual tall, tower-style heatsink, this one is laid out in a very compact format and is designed for short/small applications, such as micro-ATX and mini-ITX sized systems that lack the space for large cooling solutions. This heatsink is also designed to give better performance in those situations than the retail Intel heatsink. While I don’t own a compact system, I can still test the performance of this offering on my test rig and give some pictures and dimensions of the heatsink installed on the motherboard. Of course, I’ll give you some performance data on this heatsink as well.
This heatsink sample was provided by my good friends at Sidewinder Computers and I thank them for giving me the opportunity to test this heatsink out. Sidewinder Computers is one of the first online vendors I look to when shopping for cooling supplies, as I find their pricing to be very competitive, shipping rates reasonable and their service has been outstanding!
Prolimatech has named this heatsink after a chapter in the Bible’s Old Testament, concerning the story of David versus Goliath. In the Bible, David is a little guy going against this great beast of a man and defeats him in battle. Their marketing folks want you to think of this heatsink as David and your processor’s heat output as Goliath I guess. So we will see if the Samuel 17 can slay the i7 930 Goliath’s heat output here.
Specifications (Courtesy of Prolimatech)
- Unique 6-high quality-heatpipe-down-draft style CPU heatsink.
- Super compact heatpiped CPU cooler at 45 mm tall, perfect for HTPC system.
- No installation interference issue.
- Supports low RPM 120 mm fans on a relatively smaller heatsink body.
- Decreases temperature on surrounding PC components.
- Supports ATX, microATX and mini-ITX form factors.
- Supports Intel LGA775/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3.
- Suggested Fan: 120 mm X 25 mm, 120 mm X 12 mm
- Suggested Fan Speed: 1000~2000 RPM
- Suggested Noise Level: Below 26 dBA
- CPU Platform: Intel Socket LGA 775/1155/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3
- Heatsink Dimensions: 121.2 mm X 120 mm X 45 mm (LxWxH)
- Heatsink Weight: 410 g
- Heatpipe: 6 mm X 6 pcs
My first thought after opening up the shipping box was “Where is the rest of the heatsink?”, as the box this heatsink is packed in is very small. The packaging box measures in at 6 1/8 X 5 7/8 X 2 1/4 inches (157 X 150 X 58 mm). This is half as big as the smallest of the heatsink boxes I have tested to date. The heatsink itself came up showing 390 grams with the LGA1366 brackets installed but without the attachment screws on my Ohaus 2610 triple beam balance. With the addition of the four attachment screws, the mass should be right up there with the stated mass on their website.
Like I stated above, the box this heatsink is packaged in is pretty small. The box is also very well-made and the packaging and padding are done well and protect the contents securely. Inside, you will find the installation sheet, heatsink, mounting brackets for all modern Intel and AMD setups, the heatsink mounting screws and also two sets of fan mounting screws. One set of mounting screws are the correct length for mounting standard 120 X 25 mm fans and the other set are the correct length for mounting 120 X 12 mm slim fans. The ability for out-of-the-box mounting of slim fans will be appreciated by the people who are severely height-limited in their install into a small case.
First Look and Installation
Instead of the more common tower style to their heatpipe arrangement, Prolimatech folded the heatpipes over so that the fan mounts parallel to the motherboard. This makes for a very low and compact installation and gives the added bonus of having the fan air blow across hot motherboard components once the air goes through the heatsink. Installation of this heatsink will require the removal of the motherboard from the case each and every time the heatsink needs to be removed. It doesn’t use a mounting bracket on the back side of the motherboard like so many of the heatsinks on the market and it also doesn’t use the Intel push pins or the AMD retention module. Instead, it uses spring-loaded screws that go through the motherboard at the mounting holes for each platform. The reason that Prolimatech went this route is self-evident once you see how compact an install this heatsink does make on the motherboard.
While I only tested on the LGA 1366 platform, I did also test mount the Samuel 17 on my Asus M3A79T board with a 940BE processor to check for possible problems with mounting on AMD systems. In both platforms, there were no problems with mounting this heatsink on the motherboard. Install height of the heatsink on the Intel platform was 50 mm to the fan bracket from the motherboard PCB and 53 mm for the AMD setup. All-in-all, a very compact and elegant solution for mounting in the minimal amount of space.
This time around I am using a whole slew of different fans for testing, in keeping with this heatsink’s intended applications, with one exception. For testing this heatsink, I went with three different speed Scythe Gentle Typhoon fans, three different speed Scythe Slipstream Slim fans, two different speed Yate Loon 120 X 20 mm fans and the ringer from my previous testing setups is the 120 X 38 mm Delta FFB1212VHE to see how much performance scales with high CFM and static pressure. I would also like to thank Jab-tech out for helping me out with the fan selection for testing. They are another one of my “Go-To” stores for shopping for my cooling needs. The specs for the test fans are as follows:
|120 x 12
|N / A
|120 x 12
|N / A
|120 x 12
|N / A
|120 X 20
|N / A
|120 X 20
|N / A
|120 x 25
|N / A
|120 X 25
|120 X 25
|120 X 38
Unfortunately, Scythe and Yate Loon don’t provide static pressure information on their fans. I was able to dig up the static pressure information on two of the three Gentle Typhoon fans from the original manufacturer’s website, Nidec Servo. But, they didn’t have the D1225C12B3AP-13 listed, so I had to go with the numbers Scythe provides on it. You will also notice that the weight of the fans differs by a few grams in the same series. This is because I routinely sleeve all my fans that I use for testing, since it cleans up the install and makes the fans much less likely to hang on something when installing and removing the fans while testing.
My testbed system consists of the following components:
- Case – Chieftech clone of the Antec 1040 case series, with the original 80 mm exhaust fans being removed and the holes enlarged to mount two 92 mm fans on the rear case bulkhead.
- Motherboard – Asus P6T
- Processor – Intel Core i7 930, overclocked to 3600 MHz @ 1.120 volts vCore on load
- RAM – Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1600
- Video Card – eVGA 7900GTX
- Power Supply – HEC Cougar series (German HEC, not US model) S700
- Hard Drive – Western Digital Caviar 250 GB SATA hard drive
- Optical Drive – Lite On DVD-RW drive
- OS – Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Service Pack 2
- Arctic Cooling MX2 thermal paste was used for testing as I have found it to give good consistent results with no appreciable break in. Plus, it applies and cleans up easily.
I normally test heatsinks at 4 GHz with the vCore set to 1.320 volts. But this heatsink couldn’t handle that amount of heat-load. I did a test run with the 58 CFM AP-15 Gentle Typhoon installed and saw 98 °C temps during the run. That is high enough start throttling back the CPU, so I backed the overclock down to 3600 MHz, where I can basically run the processor at its stock core voltage. But, since this heatsink isn’t intended for maximum overclocks but rather for better than stock cooling in tight and confined cases, this kind of performance is acceptable in my opinion. So this testing has been done at a 400 MHz lower setting than where I usually test at (3600 MHz instead of 4000 MHz).
Test Methodology and Results
Again, the testing methodology used is the same as I have used with my previous reviews. All energy saving features of the motherboard and processor were turned off to keep it from down-clocking the processor speed and vcore. All fan control functions were turned off in BIOS to keep the fans at maximum speed. For processor temperature monitoring purposes, I am using Real Temp 3.46, with logging enabled at 2 second intervals.
Temps in my computer room were maintained between 20.5 to 21.1 °C (69-70 °F), measured at the front of the case. If room temperatures exceeded these parameters, I re-ran that individual test run.
For loading the CPU, I used Prime95 version 25.8 using in-place large FFT’s and ran it for 30 minutes to stabilize temps. After 30 minutes, I would exit Prime95 and let the CPU idle for at least 10 minutes. The highest recorded temperature from the hottest core for each run was then recorded off of the Real Temp log, the lowest temperature on any core was recorded and the average temperature on the hottest core was calculated during the load portion of each run.
Each fan configuration was tested with three remounts of the heatsink, and the lowest average temperature run recorded, to minimize any problems between mount to mount installations.
If you are looking for a compact heatsink that will allow you some massive overclocks with high-wattage processors, this is not a choice for you. What this heatsink is designed for is to give better than stock cooling capacity in a very compact format and it does succeed in its design purpose. The installation is very compact even with any 120 mm fan installed, with the overall installed height being less than 65 mm above the motherboard pcb with the 12 mm thick Slipstream Slims installed. It also will give adequate performance for a moderate overclock when using a fan with moderate flow rate and static pressure.
I did not like the cooling performance shown with the lowest speed Slipstream Slim fan as I don’t think that fan moves enough air with high enough static pressure to cool adequately for 24/7 usage. I did see much better cooling performance with the medium and high speed Slipstream Slim fans and the medium speed version is still pretty quiet. Both 120 X 20 mm Yate Loon fans I tested with also gave good performance and were as quiet or quieter than the medium speed Slipstream Slim fan. They would both be a good choice if you are space constrained inside your HTPC case and find a regular 120 X 25 mm fan to be too crowded.
One thing to note however is that the supplied screws do not fit these Yate Loon fans. You can either go buy some replacement screws of the right length or you can mount as I did, using some #6 flat washers to make up the extra 5 mm difference in fan width. If you have the room for them, the AP-14 or AP-15 Gentle Typhoon fans would be my choice for use with this heatsink, as they both gave good to very good performance and the noise these Gentle Typhoon fans make is not obtrusive in the least and are very high quality fans that will give you years of trouble free service. The AP-13 Gentle Typhoon fan I found to be on the marginal side for cooling a moderately overclocked i7 930 processor. The testing with the Delta fan also showed that this heatsink will continue to scale better as you increase airflow and static pressure. But for HTPC use, the fan is really too noisy to put in your living room.
I also feel that you would be able to overclock quite a bit higher with this heatsink when using a dual core processor on a LGA1156, LGA775 or AM3 system, which would be a good basis to build a HTPC system around. A dual core processor will lower the heat load considerably and give you some extra overclocking headroom in your HTPC build too.
So, considering the design criteria of this cooler and the purpose it was designed for, I am dubbing it Overclockers Approved. Again, I would like to thank Sidewinder Computers for supplying this heatsink for review and also thanks to Jab-tech for helping me out with the fan selection for this round of testing.