Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review

Installation Part Two - Into the System

Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review

Installation Continued

The cooler itself doesn't actually come with any fans at all, allowing you to use any of your choice. However Prolimatech have employed a very strange method of attaching the fans to the card.

Rather than have them attached to the MK-13 itself they are bolted to a bar that is bolted to a bracket that takes up a PCI slot in your case.

Firstly insert a PCI bracket similar to the blanking plates you get in the back of your case. Lightly screw it in. Then place a further plate on the outside and screw the two together. This is fiercely fiddly. The external bracket doesn't fit neatly at all in our ACTS 840. But nonetheless with a bit of swearing it's in.

Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review     Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review

Next you mount the fans, in this case two Xigmateks, to a bar, and screw the bar onto the bracket. Tighten it all up and Robert is your mothers brother. Here we find the first big flaw in the whole arrangement.

Apart from the bar barely reaching half-way along the second fan as you can see in the picture below, the manual indicates (as much as it indicates anything) that the fans start at the left and then just get screwed in where you have room. Not true. They need to be screwed into big open slots like you find on CD drives.

Then, with the fans in place you bolt the bar to the bracket you installed above. Actually to be truthful with one of the fans in place and the other one wobbling about because it's only mounted with one screw you go to screw the bar to the bracket then realise that it's impossible because the edge of your case gets in the way. So you curse and swear a bit and finally get it installed.

Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review  

It's Not All Roses

Now that sounds like a fairly pain free procedure. Oh I wish that it were. Let's start with those scarily large screws we used to affix the MK-13 to the board. As you can see here they are actually so big they foul the not-very-large chipset heatsink on our Gigabyte P55-UD4. So it can't be installed in a system with either a large chipset heatsink or a lack of room above the first PCI-e slot.

Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review     Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review

Of course if you've got a few motherboards laying around that wont be an issue. Size however most definitely is. Here is the Prolimatech MK-13 on our test bench for "ease of photography" reasons. On the right we have the card, a ATI HD5870. This comes with a dual-slot backplate to fit the dual DVI outs. We also have the MK-13 affixed in all it's highly polished glory. Next along is the black bar which you affix the fans to, either two in the standard placings like we have here, or you can use the L-Shaped fan bracket to put two horizontally so they blow air down across the card.

This doesn't work either because 120mm fans tend to foul the cooler. It's not like we're using a massive over-sized number either. Just a standard 120mm tower cooler than you'll find in most rigs. Indeed it's the exact type of cooler on which Prolimatech made their name. 

Finally we have our two fans. One of which is fixed firmly and blows air onto the heatsink, and the other is flapping about and blows air in the general direction of the card, and the case, and any sundry items you may have. So if you're counting at home this is a four slot cooling solution. FOUR. We have ZERO free PCI slots. None whatsoever. This isn't a mATX board either.

Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review     Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review

As if to make matters even more enjoyable, when we moved the card amongst our various motherboards attempting to find one that it would fit into without fouling the chipset heatsink, the RAM sinks fell off. We were really gentle too.

Prolimatech MK-13 VGA Cooler Review

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Most Recent Comments

30-08-2010, 05:32:50

tinytomlogan
Following the enormous success of their Megahalems CPU cooler, we take a look at the Prolimatech MK-13 VGA cooler.

Continue Reading

30-08-2010, 06:13:15

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by VB View Post

As if to make matters even more enjoyable, when we moved the card amongst our various motherboards attempting to find one that it would fit into without fouling the chipset heatsink, the RAM sinks fell off. We were really gentle too.
Which just so happens to be the same issue attatched to nigh on every third party GPU cooler on the market today.

And that causes fast death of a GPU. For what they charge for these things you would think that they would get that sorted out. I mean, surely some one some where in testing said "Oi, my ram sinks bloody fell off !".

Thanks again for a wonderfully honest review Mr VB. I shall avoid like the plague.

30-08-2010, 06:32:25

Ari-M.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

Which just so happens to be the same issue attatched to nigh on every third party GPU cooler on the market today.

And that causes fast death of a GPU. For what they charge for these things you would think that they would get that sorted out. I mean, surely some one some where in testing said "Oi, my ram sinks bloody fell off !".

Thanks again for a wonderfully honest review Mr VB. I shall avoid like the plague.
Actually I have never had that issue with my Zalman stick on heat sinks. I am always sure to clean the chips with denatured first. The heat sinks on my gts250 have been in place through quite a few installs/system builds (gts250 is my test card) and less than gentle handling. Never had one fall off yet.

I have used the same Zalman stick on sinks on a variety of chips (sata controllers. etc etc etc) and have actually never had a single one fall off. I have probably used a few dozen of them over the course of the last year or so (building various systems and outfitting various cards/chips)

As long as you clean the surface you are sticking them to, they seem to work great.

I have certainly heard that others have bad luck with them though. Maybe it's the lack of prep. when putting them on? Or maybe I have just gotten lucky.

As for this VGA cooler in review....why would someone build a product that takes up 4 card slots? Was an intern somehow in charge of product design on this item? I just don't get it. They should have just designed the heatsink itself with an indentation in the middle...and then some clips to mount a fan.....same way as everyone else builds their coolers. Really an odd departure from a company that builds such well though out products.....

Seems like by the time you buy the product and then add 2 fans, you are far beyond the value of some of the cards this item is meant to cool, I mean could you imagine such a cooler on a card like a GTS250? You would have a $200 (US) plus GTS250.

For $20 more you could get a 460 or for about $60 more a pair of 5770's. Neither of which needs aftermarket cooling. *scratches head*

30-08-2010, 08:19:23

silenthill
when you install a third party VGA cooler you void your warranty and the company that makes the cooler doesn't give you a warranty so if anything goes wrong you have nowhere to turn too, doesn't that seem stupid or money just grows on trees these days for some people.

30-08-2010, 09:43:30

Ari-M.
Quote:
Originally Posted by silenthill View Post

when you install a third party VGA cooler you void your warranty and the company that makes the cooler doesn't give you a warranty so if anything goes wrong you have nowhere to turn too, doesn't that seem stupid or money just grows on trees these days for some people.
it makes sense if you have an older card, that you got super cheap. I personally did the upgrade to my gts250 because I couldn't stand the noise that the stock cooler put out....it basically ran 100% all the time, with no option to adjust fan speed (not even building a custom permission in RIVAtuner would allow fan control).....and I got the card for next to nothing. Same with the aftermarket cooler. I think I have less into the combo than the cheapest gts250 sells for on newegg.

So for system building and testing mobo/ram/cpu on builds it's a great solution....this way if I get a faulty PSU or mobo I dont' fry a valuable GPU while burning in other components. Also it's super quiet now and I don't have to hear it screaming on the test bench for a 48 hour burn-in

Would make much less sense if all the items were new, and you were paying MSRP. Then I have to agree with you, it's just silly.

30-08-2010, 09:57:34

hmmblah
Just about every card I have owned since a GeForce 2 Ti has had an aftermarket cooler. (Blorb on the GF2, remember those? lol) Not only do you get better cooling, but you can also clock higher and at lower noise levels than a stock cooler. I still have stock cooling on my GTX470 only because it is actually a good solution.

Worrying about a warranty is silly IMO. If you break the card changing the cooler it's your fault, but if the card happens to die a few months down the road from no fault of your own, just slap the stock cooler back on.

Back in the 9800 pro days, the stock cooling was well past inadequate and caused the cards to die prematurely. Overclocking was out of the question with stock cooling. Attaching an AC silencer (or a 1U copper server heatsink) was the only option.

I usually buy a new cooler WITH the brand new card. I only use stock cooling to test the new card and make sure it's not DOA, then the better third party cooling goes on.

30-08-2010, 10:39:17

AMDFTW
lol fail

03-02-2011, 13:36:20

Navu
It seems you have installed the L-shaped bracket i.e. the fans all wrong: there is a "huge" 2 cm gap between the fans and the outer surface of the MK-13 fins. This gap eliminates the airflow towards the cooler, having installed the L-shaped bracket the other way around and so the fans in direct touch to the cooler would have resulted to much better temps. I'm using the MK-13 to cool my XFX5870 using two rather weak 120mm fans (in "direct-touch mode") rotating at 650-700rpm, the result is I have never seen temps higher than 46 degrees for the GPU (that's 50 for memory and 52 for the VRMs using Thermalright VRM R4). At full throttle of about 1400rpm, CCC/Aida64 Extreme/GPU-Z indicate amazing 38-40 degrees!
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