What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

Prolimatech Megahalems CPU Cooler Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283


Prolimatech Megahalems CPU Cooler Review




Manufacturer Product Page: megahalems
TechWiki Info: Megahalems - Features, Specs, Etc.
Availability: Limited
Price: $72 projected CND MSRP



It seems like new CPU coolers are popping up everywhere we look. But with so many claims of innovation and excellent cooling potential, is there anything actually unique out there? Well today we are going to look at the Prolimatech Megahalems which has the potential to be both unique and an engineering tour de force.

Indeed, if you exclude HDT bases and just look at the various styles of Air Coolers out there, the industry really hasn’t changed much since the tower cooler was invented. Well today’s review is NOT like that. The Megahalems may be technically a U or Tower-style cooler but unlike the competition, the two clusters of heatpipes (or branches on the U shaped heatpipes) are not connected together. Rather, there are two separate and distinct "I"-shaped towers sprouting up and off the base. Each of these I shaped towers has its own cooling fins and none of these fins connect one "I" to the other "I". This double I Tower cooler style which we are describing could easily be the first new direction to come about since the Tower style cooler was invented. It is also a good example of what the Megahalems represents: a new way of doing things.

The name “Megahalems” is of course a funky play on words of the Intel Nehalem architecture and MEGA, when you think about it for a second, it does make sense and is easily recognizable as such; however the company Prolimatech is not what you would call a household name….nor even sound similar to one.

Prolimatech is a very, very new company. They were founded just last year and are based in Taiwan. Their website states that the name Prolima stands for: “Professionalism exceeding beyond all Limits”. I guess it losses something in the translation. In any case, their website goes on to say "….We are here to challenge any limits that stand in our way to achieve what was thought to be impossible….(and) Our never-ending quest is to satisfy every computer overclocker's and every enthusiast's needs for high quality and performance oriented thermal solutions for their high-end computer components…" These are pretty lofty goals they have set for themselves but if this Megahalems lives up to its name and the rep it is quickly getting they might just exceed them.

New company or no, when all is said and done the only thing which matters is how their kit performs. Will it live up to the buzz which is starting to surround it; or will it be all marketing hyperbole? We may not know NOW but by the end of this review we hope to rectify this! So without further ado: let’s kick it into high gear and see what this cooler is capable of!


 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Specifications

Specifications



 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories



The packaging of this interesting air cooler is a little on the bland side even though it is what's on the inside that counts. When we first read about this unique (and oh so interesting take on what a tower cooler chould be) we assumed that its packaging would also be unique….luckily we were wrong. The packaging scheme of this cooler is fairly typical and to us that is a good thing. We love understated.


All in all, it seems that Prolimatech went for a tasteful and yet distinctive cardboard box. It may be old fashioned as it is “only” cardboard but it looks very classy and does belie its overall size (I guess black really is “slimming”). This is definitely not a small box and the shear heft of it is surprising.


When you do get this “easy open” cardboard box popped open, you instantly understand that Prolimatech once again continued their “old school” approach to their protection scheme. In a nut shell the interior of the box is made up of two zones with the bottom containing the accessories and the top being for the heatsink. The heatsink itself is wrapped in plastic bubble wrap and it was pleasing to see that very few bubbles were popped in transit.


The list of accessories that come with this unit is quite complete with the included mounting equipment for not only 775 but i7 as well; unfortunately, Prolimatech not only does not include a fan (as to be expected) but they also seem to have cheaped out on the number of wire fan mounting brackets they include.

Simply put, the Megahalems cries out for dual fan goodness but you will be out of luck unless you are willing to go and purchase MORE after market accessories. This right here is a rookie mistake, and it is unfortunate to see Prolimatech suffer for it. After all, how much can these wires cost the manufacturer? Unfortunately, this omission leaves a bad taste in our mouths and really does show the whole accessories list in a poorer light.

The total accessories included is a small multi application TIM syringe, mounting brackets for i7 and 775, an instruction pamphlet and only two pre-shaped wires for mounting a single fan.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Heatsink Construction & Design

Heatsink Construction & Design



If one was to just glance at the Megahalems from the side you could easily be forgiven for thinking this was just another tower cooler. In a nutshell this hybrid tower design is basicall a standard tower cooler with a huge chunk taken out of the center. Indeed, it was designed from the ground up to incorporate two smaller cooling towers into one base.


Starting at the base and working our way up we see that this is not a HDT or heatpipe direct touch cooler; rather it uses the older solid base with 6 large heatpipes sandwiched between it and a top chunk of metal. It may be old school, but then again the TRUE is still a top contender using this design so we shouldn’t discount it on this fact alone.

As with many other similar coolers, the Megahalems’ heatpipes have been laid out into two distinct patterns with 3 running East to West, and the other three West to East. Usually, these are staggered or interposed but Prolimatech has gone for the simpler approach and has them clustered into their two groups. The only downside we can really point to is the straight lined approach Promilatech has taken as all 6 heatpipes line up perfectly with each other. In a normal tower this setup has been proven to be slightly less efficient at cooling those heatpipes as the first acts as wind block for the others. It will be interesting to see if this is the case here.


As we said earlier, the center of the tower fin array design is missing and the two sections and their accompanying small cooling fins are separated by a good chunk of space. The idea behind this is very simple and it really is surprising why no one has though of it before. As most of you are well aware, the area directly in front of the fan hub is a dead zone, and more importantly, when you have a solid face style cooler the static pressure is increased (this is why Noctua and Thermalright for example have multifaceted faces to help reduce static pressure). By removing this dead zone altogether, Prolimatech has not only reduced the static pressure dramatically but they have also made what appears to be a negative pressure zone in the center. What we mean is the air from the fan being pushed over the fins will naturally want to take the path of lest resistance which is straight down the center “hole”. This in turn will cause a lower pressure area to each side of the hole which in theory should suck cool fresh air in from the sides and increase the overall cool “fresh” air movement over the cooling fins of both towers.


If our theory of having a negative pressure zone is correct, having all the 6 heatpipes line up makes sense as this increases their surface area to the side intake cool air. Basically, not only will this heatsink be cooled by the fan's air moving over it, but the wake of that air will suck in even MORE air to further cool each of the sections' fins.


This cooler is (L)130mm X (W)74mmX (H)158.7mm and while the center hole idea is obviously this cooler's main claim to fame (and it certainly will be interesting to see if it works as well as we think it will) it’s not its only trick. This cooler is a serious piece of kit, and its superior built quality back this up. Prolimatech were obviously not taking any chances with this product as it not only has six large 6mm U-shaped heatpipes but has numerous cooling fins on each of the two I-tower frames. This adds up to a lot of surface area and when you throw in dual fan capabilities on top of its 790grams of pre-fan weight, you are left with one serious cooler.


The base of this unit is NOT perfectly flat. It is close to flat but the razor test showed a slight ripple in the base even though it is decently polished with no major tool marks (though many smaller ones are present). It will be interesting to see how this “imperfect” base effects its performance.

Overall, (and with the base as the exception) the tech and engineering which has gone into this unit is impressive. However, even some of the worst ideas must have looked great on paper. So with that in mind let’s stop talking about this interesting and unique cooler and start USING it!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Installation

Installation



Thinking back on the installation of this massive piece of engineering marvel we are of two minds. On the one hand we literally took the mounting brackets out of the bag and got a big ol’ goofy grin just looking and holding them. We now literally have a new definition of “overkill” when it comes to mounting something as simple as a CPU cooling solution. Massive. Chunks. Of. Metal. Is what those insane engineers over at Prolimatech used….and good bless ‘em for it!

This is the upside to this installation. The down side is the engineers went for very tight tolerances when boring the holes for the 775/i7 combo brackets. OK, where getting ahead of ourselves here, let’s step back and start from the beginning and then let you decide if this is a deal breaker or not…..We don’t think it is but before you buy you should be aware of a potentially mildly frustrating issue.

To start the installation procedure you first remove your motherboard from its case. This is one of the few exceptions in that even if you OWN a HAF 932/ATCS 840/etc which has a backplate cut-out….don’t bother with it, it will just slow you down. To properly install this cooler you need all the elbow room you can get.


Once this is done, simply place the backplate in position and using the short end of the thumb screw's bolts, screw through the motherboard and into the backplate. When all four are done you can lay the motherboard back down. We found having the motherboard tilted up on one end with the backplate held in one hand while the other screwed in the screws worked the best.


Now we come to the point when the issue began. In a perfect world your two large 775 / i7 combo brackets will then gently lay across the double sided screws and allow you to tighten them into place with the four small nuts. This is how it went for the 775 installation, sure the holes were a little tight but they did fit with a bit of effort. The i7 screw holes on the other hand were too damn small! The 775s were approximately 9/64" in size whereas the i7 holes were only 1/8th of an inch. All kidding aside,the bottom line is the holes were too small and while 1/64" of an inch doesn’t sound like much, trust us it IS.


The simple fix for this was to bore out the holes and continue on. As we said earlier there is a heck of a lot of metal to work with and over-boring the holes to 5/32", or even 4mm would not change this equation. Since we like things to go smoothly and since the 775 holes were tight we took the precaution and re-bored the i7 holes to 5/32nd and called it a day. Needless to say they slipped into place perfectly and we then continued on with the installation procedure.

Please note that after talking to Prolimatech, customers of this cooler and other reviewers (15 people in total) we have determined that our unit was the only one with this issue. As such, we can say that there is a very good chance that the issue we had was a very rare occurrence.


With the now fixed brackets in place and secured, we then applied our thermal compound and inserted the third bracket through the top of the base. This bracket has two small “fingers” which line up with two small indents in the top of the base allowing the bracket to freeze the cooler in place. The fact it has two of these fingers instead of the usual one also means this heatsnk won’t twist on you like a certain TRUEly big cooer does. With the bracket in place we simply lowered the cooler into position and used the two spring loaded screws to lock the hole thing together.


While the Megahalems is a big cooler, its two towers are high enough to ensure maximum compatibility with as many motherboards as possible. Neither our slightly above standard height ram nor our motherboard's components ever came into actual contact with it; no matter which way we oriented the cooler itself.

Even though they do not include a fan, Prolimatech does include a pair of wires for mounting a lone fan. We wish they had included four of these wires and not two as this cooler really cries out for double fan goodness. Also lacking was any vibration dampening material to go between said fan and the cooler. This was puzzling but in the grand scheme of things those little rubber strips don’t do that much. For these tests we rummaged through our Ye Olde Parts Bin and modified a set of Noctua wires to work with this cooler, so YES we will be including double as well as single fan performance numbers.


Even just by looking at this mounting setup, you know its going to give good results. By way of good engineering, Prolimatech has for all intents and purposes frozen their new cooler to the motherboard which means the optimum amount of pressure will be applied to the base plate.

All in all we wish the little mounting hole issue with this cooler had never happened as it is the only really negative part of the whole experience. Yes, you could argue only including one set of clips is a bit on the cheap side of things but other than that, we were extremely impressed with the ease with which the Megahalems can be installed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology

To ensure that the results from one review to another are not only reproducible but actually pertinent to this review, the Testing Methodology will be the same throughout all reviews used. If something does change we will be sure to make a special note of it and explain why this change was done and more importantly why it had to be changed or altered.

Any all CPU Cooling Solutions which do not come with their own fan, a Noctua NF-P12-1300 will be used if it accepts 120mm fans, if it only accepts 92mm a Noctua NF-B9-1600 will be used.

Except where noted all comparison testing was done on an open bench with an ambient temperature of 20c. Recorded temps were as reported via CoreTemp's "Temp Log". Average load temps were taken after 15 minutes of running Prime95 “small fft” and are taken directly from CoreTemp’s temperature text file. Excel was used to average the results of all cores. Idle temps were taken 15 minutes after Load testing ceased. Motherboard temperatures were recorded using SpeedFan. All CPU throttling technology was disabled in the BIOS; as was all CPU fan speed control. More importantly, the CM fan’s built in fan speed control was set to full speed.

Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste was used for all coolers during these tests unless otherwise noted. Application of thermal paste was in accordance with TIM manufacturer’s instructions; and while not necessary, the TIM was allowed to cure for 24 hours under moderate to high loads (with periods of low loads) prior to testing.

All tests were run a minimum of 4 times (each run was followed by a remounting of the heatsink) and only best results are represented.


Please Note: To keep the motherboard chipsets from overheating a single 40mm Scythe Ultra Kaze was used, but was orientated in such a way as to not interfere with nor help the CPU cooler (i.e. it was basically on top of the South Bridge and pointed down). The 120mm Scythe E on the side of the open test bench was unplugged during temperature testing.

Notes about Overclocking:

For Q6600’s I consider 1.45 volts to be the most that I would seriously consider for a moderate-to-long term overclock.

For i7’s I consider 1.45 VCore and VTT to be the most that I would seriously consider for a moderate-to-long term overclock. As luck would have it this particular 920 would not overclock any better that 3.8 irregardless of how much voltage we pushed (we literally maxed out the Vcore and VTT/PLL available in the BIOS options and it still wouldn’t be stable).

Yes you can go much higher but the longevity of the CPU is then called into question. Just as importantly the CPU should average out at LESS than 65c for the Q6600 and 75° C for the i7 as this is also what I consider the safest, maximum long term overclocking temp for each of those CPUs. For the purposes of these tests I was willing to overlook higher temperatures as long as they averaged below 65c/80c (775 and i7 respectively) and did not peak over 75/80c. If 75/80c was displayed for more than 10seconds in CoreTemp all testing was stopped and that test run was considered a fail.

With these two general guidelines I overclocked both systems until either one (or both) of these "rules" was needed to be broken to continue.

Overclocking was accomplished by increasing FSB/Bclk speed and then Vcore/VTT (only if necessary).

Before testing for idle and max temperatures Orthos was run for 1 hour to make sure that it was stable at a given overclock and voltage. If both finished with no errors SuperPi set to 32m was run twice. After the stability testing was accomplished the given system was allowed to sit idle for 30minutes before starting the official tests. IF both of the above stated guidelines were not broken then testing continued with an increased overclock. These steps were then repeated until 1 or both of the general guidelines were broken.

As they have no bearing on these tests the RAM’s voltage and timings are not recorded. Please do not consider this a full “how to” review on overclocking or “safe guidelines” for overclocking nor even an indicator on how well a given CPU will overclock. IF you are interested in OC’ing your system, and use these guidelines we at HWC take no responsibility for the results. Bad Things can happen if you are not careful.


Complete Test System:

Processor:
Q6600
Intel i7 920

Motherboard:
Gigabyte p35 DS4
Gigabyte X58-UD3R

Memory:
4GB Mushkin DDR2-800
6GB Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1600

Graphics card:
Asus 8800GT TOP
Hard Drive: 1x OCZ Apex 120GB
Power Supply: Topower Powerbird 900W

Special thanks to Direct Canada for their support and supplying the i7 920 CPU.


Special thanks to Gigabyte for their support and supplying the i7 motherboard.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Q6600 Performance Results

Q6600 Performance Results







Prolimatech certainly likes things hot, as the hotter our older quad got the happier this cooler became. Don't get us wrong, being in the top 3 at stock speeds isn’t to shabby, but as the speed and voltage was increased the Prolimatech monster quickly pulled out front...and STAYED there. Let’s see what this cooler is really made of on the i7 before passing judgement.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
i7 920 Performance Results

i7 920 Performance Results








As we have seen in the past with other non HDT coolers, the hotter the CPU the more efficient the cooler becomes. While the amount of heat a stock i7 920 produces is significant, and while the numbers the Megahalems post are very good at stock, we really only see the true benefit of this cooler when the heat is up....WAY up. It appears that HDT coolers may continue to be the best air coolers around at lower heat levels BUT the shear mass of this cooler and the shear thermal load it can handle has taken the crown away from the OCZ Vendetta 2. The king is dead, long live the king.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
High Speed Fan Results / DUAL Fan Results

High Speed Fan Results


To further see what the Megahalems can do on a i7, we swapped out the NF-P12-1300 fan for a Scythe F 1600RPM fan. This is what we found:


While the increase in speed over the Noctua fan is only 300RPMs, the reduction in temperatures does make a compelling argument for "faster is better" when you are looking for the proper fan. Whether or not a small decrease is that big a deal is all up to you as the Noctua NF-P12-1300 numbers are still awfully good for those of you who want lower noise.

DUAL Fan Results


While it may not come with enough parts for dual fan goodness….we are resourceful! This is what happens when you match an i7 920 with this cooler and add in TWO Noctua NF-12 fans to the mix.


It really is a crying shame this big guy only comes with one set of clips as these numbers are impressive! Whether or not you would need a second fan is moot as it does improve on the already impressive performance and it’s not like it would have cost Prolimatech all that much to have included them. If you can find additional brackets, we think the added expense may be worth it if you are going to be doing some serious overclocking and want to wring every last bit of performance you can from this cooler.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,283
Passive Cooling

Passive Cooling


In certain extreme cases you may have to deal with a dead fan; or alternatively you are interested in using a certain cooler as a passive cooler. While we are hesitant to recommend any Air cooler for passive cooling, unless the manufacturer has designed it to be one, we all know things break and there is a possibility of ending up with a passively cooled device even if you neither meant nor wanted it to be so! To this end we have devised the following torture test to see how a given cooler will perform in a worst case scenario.

The following test will be PASS/FAIL unless a manufacture specifically states a CPU cooling solution is designed for passive cooling as we feel that do to otherwise would be very disingenuous and down right unfair. If it is designed for passive use we will of course provide hard data on its performance. We believe this is a fair and reasonable compromise between providing you our reader the most information possible, while still being fair and unbiased to the manufacturers.

Any one can create a test which has no possibility of success but that would be a waste of any ones time; this test on the other hand is as tough as we can make it and still have to possibility of success. What makes this test so difficult, is the simple reason that we will be testing in an open bench which has absolutely no external air flow. Even in the most under-cooled cases there is always some air movement, even if the air movement is only coming from the PSU it is still a heck of a lot more than will be afforded a cooler on our open bench. As we stated earlier this is a worst case, scenario where the cooler will have to shed all the heat it can by simple passive radiation!

The first and main part of the test is 15 minutes of prime95 small fft being run at stock speed (2.66GHz) on our Quad Core Intel i7 920. If at anytime the temperature of any of the four cores reaches and stays at 75° C for greater than 10 seconds we will consider this test a FAIL. If a given cooler fails this test a second set of tests will be run using out Q6600 at stock speed (2.4GHz). We will then report our findings in the below chart.

Please note: Any Air based CPU cooler which passes the i7 920 test will automatically be given a PASS grade on the cooler running secondary test. To keep things easier to understand the only time we will publish the Q6600 subtest is when a given cooler has failed the main test.


Is it any surprise this high performance cooler passed with flying colours? Only if you skipped the rest of the review! This cooler really has thermal mass to spare and we are sure any air movement inside a case would be enough to keep this cooler happy until you realized you CPU fan had died.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top