Prolimatech Basic 81 CPU Cooler Review
Wow, Prolimatech eh! There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while, the last product we saw here at pcG from Prolimatech was way back in 2012! But here they are once again gracing the pages of pcGameware, this time around I will be looking at their new Prolimatech Basic 81 CPU Cooler. I guess we could start by saying that the Prolimatech is a basic air CPU Cooler, but to be fair it’s far from basic. The basic name just indicates that it’s aimed at system builders and OEMs, meaning that the cost is kept low, which is of course good news for us.
So what is it then, well it’s a dual tower air CPU Cooler with six 6mm heatpipes and a single 120mm PWM controlled fan. The cooler itself measures in at ((L) 130mm x (W) 75mm x (H) 158mm), weighs 748g and the fan has a rotational speed of 600 ~ 1600 RPM. The Basic 81 supports the following Sockets: 1155/1156/1150/2011, that’s right this cooler is specifically for Intel platforms.
|‘The Basic 81 features six high quality heat pipes and one PWM 120mm Double-Ball bearing fan. Its large size offers excellent cooling ability and is capable of providing intensive heat dissipation. Intel compatible only.’|
As you can see the Prolimatech Basic 81 comes in a (you guessed it!) basic box, a basic black box that is, with the the brand name and slogan ‘All for Extreme’ on the top and the product name and compatibility on the front. The back of the box also lists the specifications and features (see Specifications/Features) below.
On opening the box we can see that the contents are well packaged and to a lesser degree well presented. With the main accessories stowed in a black cardboard box and the cooling stack and back-plate protected with soft-cell foam and sealed in a plastic bag.
Opening the box reveals 120mm fan and the rest of the accessories, these are shown and listed below.
At the time of writing, the Prolimatech Basic 81 is retailing at Overclockers UK for approximately £35 and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of Prolimatech
|Heatsink Dimension||(L)130mm X (W)75mmX (H)158mm|
|Heat Pipe||Ø 6mm X 6pcs|
|Cooler Net Weight||748g|
|Included Fan||1pcs PWM 120x120x25mm fan (Double-Ball Bearing)|
|Included Fan Speed||600～1600±10%|
First impressions of the Prolimatech Basic 81, are, well far from basic, the Basic 81 is a good looking cooler that also seems to be well made. The overall size is large, but not too large suggesting it should fit in many Rig setups without a problem. The inclusion of a black fan also means that it will go with pretty much any build you may have planned. Let’s take closer look…
Looking at the Basic 81 from the side we see that it’s 158mm tall and we can see that there’s six Nickel plated Copper (heat pipes). The fins themselves are quite thick and sturdy and and held in place by small aluminium sections. This helps when you accidentally rub your hand across the cooler stack as it prevents the fins themselves from getting bent.
From the front we can see the twin stack design of the Prolimatech Basic 81, also note how the towers are not quite vertical. It will make no difference to the install or the cooling, it just looks a little odd…
From above we can again see those six Nickel plated Copper (heat pipes) and we can also appreciate the polished aluminium top with its embossed design, it looks nice too, but the recent Reeven CPU Cooler Reviews that we’ve seen look even better!
Flipping the Prolimatech basic 81 over we get to have a look at its Copper cold plate with its associated (WARNING) Please peel off label before you use it! You also get to see what camera I’m using! 😉
There’s not that much information about the 120mm PWM controlled fan that’s supplied with the Prolimatech Basic 81. Other than the fact that it supports a rotational speed of between 600 ~ 1600 RPM and it features a double ball bearing. In the center of the fan we also find an embossed Prolimatech logo.
The fact that the fan is black also means that the setup will likely fit with most rig builds, which is sensible for such a basic cooler as this aimed at OEMs.
With a side by side comparison of the Prolimatech Basic 81 and our regular test CPU Cooler the Raijintek Themis, we can see a considerable size difference in Width (centre image). Measuring in at 158mm(H) x 130mm(W) x 100mm(D) Vs 158mm(H) x 122mm(W) x 78mm(D) of the Themis, we can see that the Basic 81 is considerably thicker. The Prolimatech Basic 81 is also considerably heavier weighing in at 748g (without fan) Vs 432g for the Themis. One would hope the increase in thickness of the cooler stack with increase the Basic 81’s cooling capacity…
At this point it all looks good for the Prolimatech Basic 81, it’s a good looking, well made cooler. It is a good size (but it’s not massive!) suggesting that cooling performance should be good. And the design and choice of fan colour (black) means that it’ll fit with pretty much any build. Let’s get it installed…
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series AX 760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer||CPU||Intel Core i5-4690K|
|CPU Cooler||Prolimatech Basic 81||RAM||HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB|
The first task before installing the Prolimatech Basic 81 was to identify the parts required for our Socket 1150 installation on our TestRig’s motherboard the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer.
The next task was to fit the back plate assembly and get it secured to the motherboard, this required the following parts (back-plate, x4 nylon spacers, x4 spring screws & x2 pressure plates). The back-plate is placed on the back of the motherboard and a nylon washer goes on the other side, the pressure plates can then be added and secured with the screws. It’s a little fiddly as there’s a lot to hold on to, but within five minutes the job was done.
I also added the silicone strips to the tower stacks that are there to help prevent vibration and noise. These simply adhere to the stack fins once the protective backing has been removed. There is also extra clips and silicone strips should you wish to add an additional fan, which is nice to see.
The next task was to fit the cooler stack to the bracket this is simply done be securing the stack by way of the transfer bar and the final two screws. What’s odd here is that the initial fitting is very loose as it is the pressure plates (with their spring screws) that do the tensioning, as by screwing the cooler down you will try and pull the pressure plates up! Of course it’s always sensible to dial in a couple of turns per side when tensioning, never tighten one side first! 😉
The final part was to fit the 120mm PWM fan using two of the four supplied fan clips. I’m not normally a lover of these spring wire fan clips but I have to say I fitted them with ease this time around. 🙂
As you can see from the images above Memory/RAM clearance is ok, I could have even placed the Savage modules in the first DIMM slot, although it would have maybe touched the base of the fan. If you plan on fitting four modules and you have tall RAM modules (greater than 30mm) then the Prolimatech Basic 81 is not going to fit!
|For CPU Cooler testing, we here at pcGameware run Prime95 for a 15 minute period. During this period the temperature is monitored with CoreTemp and the cooling performance recorded (the max recorded is the average for all cores). Between each stress test we allow a 15 minute cool-down to allow for more accurate results. To adjust the fan speed we simply use the UEFI. A close eye is also kept on the ambient temperature, with the maximum being recorded for each run, this allows us to calculate the Delta temperature (Core – Ambient = Delta). Each run was performed with the Intel Core i5-4690K CPU at the following frequencies: 3.5GHz (Stock) and 4.0GHz (using the ASROCK OC Tweaker, shown in the picture below), all results have been recorded with CPU-Z.|
* Please note: To ascertain the maximum and minimum noise levels produced by our CPU test coolers. The dB is recorded at a distance of 1 metre from the cooler, with all case fans unplugged to isolate the sound in question.
Processor speed is set using the OC Tweaker tab of the UEFI, “Disabled” for stock speeds (3.5GHz) and “Turbo 4.0GHz” for the minor overclock tests. It should be noted that changing the OC settings resets the Fan Speeds, so these are checked on the next reboot and reset to “Full Speed” (see below).
All the fans installed in the system are set to 100% speed using the displayed settings, this is simple with the ASROCK UEFI with the option of “Full Speed” being available for all system fans.
As stated above, to make our performance tests easier to follow and to get the most accurate recordings, all of the following tests have been carried out with case fans set at 100% and the Prolimatech Basic 81’s fans also set at 100%.
- Intel Core i5-4690K – 3.5GHz (stock)
|CPU Cooler||Air/Liquid||Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|NZXT Kraken X61||Liquid||100%||24.50||40.75||16.25||51dB|
|Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240||Liquid||100%||24.00||43.50||19.50||50dB|
|Fractal Design Kelvin T12||Liquid||100%||25.00||46.00||21.00||40dB|
|SilverStone Tundra TD03-E||Liquid||100%||25.50||49.25||23.75||51dB|
|Raijintek Themis Evo||Air||100%||21.50||47.50||26.00||37dB|
|Scythe Mugen Max||Air||100%||22.00||48.50||26.50||36dB|
|Prolimatech Basic 81||Air||100%||22.00||50.75||28.75||43dB|
|SilverStone Argon AR06||Air||100%||23.50||79.50||56.00||28dB|
The Prolimatech Basic 81 unfortunately finds itself neared the bottom of our chart than the top, which is a shame. With a average maximum Core temperature of 50.75 degrees and a Delta of 28.75. But bear in mind that the two most similar coolers (based on price) are only 3 degrees cooler, and that’s not much. It’s a good cooler but in this (3.5GHz stock test) there’s nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd.
- Intel Core i5-4690K – 4.0GHz (OC Tweaker)
|CPU Cooler||Air/Liquid||Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|NZXT Kraken X61||Liquid||100%||24.00||48.00||24.00||51dB|
|Fractal Design Kelvin T12||Liquid||100%||26.50||53.75||27.25||40dB|
|Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240||Liquid||100%||24.50||52.50||28.00||50dB|
|Scythe Mugen Max||Air||100%||22.00||54.75||32.75||36dB|
|SilverStone Tundra TD03-E||Liquid||100%||26.00||58.75||32.75||51dB|
|Raijintek Themis Evo||Air||100%||21.50||58.00||36.50||37dB|
|Prolimatech Basic 81||Air||100%||22.00||59.50||37.50||43dB|
|SilverStone Argon AR06||Air||100%||23.50||92.50||69.00||28dB|
Adding a little more voltage and cranking up the GHz to 4.0 again we see the Prolimatech Basic 81 nearer the bottom of the chart, with a average maximum Core temperature of 59.50 and a Delta of 37.50. It just cant seem to catch those Reeven coolers, it’s now trailing by approximately four degrees.
Acoustically the Prolimatech Basic 81 performs well, with a maximum noise output of 43dBA at 100% fan speed. It’s certainly not too obtrusive, of course we have heard far worse, but the fact that the cooling isn’t great (but is good) suggests that the Basic 81 could do with a slightly better fan maybe!? The real issue hear (haha get it!) is the fact that other coolers cool better and with a little less noise…
The Prolimatech Basic 81 sets out to be a basic Intel cooler that will appeal to OEMs and systems builders and that it does. With a good build quality and good cooling there’s very little to critique other than perhaps the price.
The Prolimatech Basic 81 CPU Cooler came to pcG in an equally basic box, but then this is a no frills CPU cooler designed to do a job at a low price. Considering the price the contents themselves were well packaged and presented. Once out of the box both the twin stack cooler and the mounting hardware were found to be of a high quality. The stack itself is really quite smart and of a good size (without being too big!), apart from the fact that the stacks themselves weren’t quite vertical!
Installation was very easy with a simple mounting system for Socket Intel 1155/1156/1150/2011 only, but there was a fair few parts meaning that holding it all at the same time, while screwing in the retaining screws felt like it required more than two hands. Surprisingly (as I don’t normally like spring clips) the installation of the Prolimatech 120mm PWM fan was very easy. Once installed the Prolimatech Basic 81 looked good and is likely to fit in with many a Rig build thanks to that black fan. RAM clearance (for all four slots) was also good for our test HyperX Savage modules, higher modules can be used, but only if you’re using two slots, as the slot closest to the CPU will foul with the fan should your modules be much taller than 30mm.
Performance wise the Prolimatech Basic 81 was a little disappointing, it’s not bad by any means, but I was hoping for a little more to be honest! With a maximum average CPU Core temperature of 59.50 degrees in our 4.0 Overclocked test, the Basic 81 found itself nearer the bottom of the chart than the top. But to be fair there’s only a few degrees in it! The real competitor for the Basic 81 is those pesky Reeven Coolers that all offer better cooling at the same or better volumes and are cheaper too! Acoustically the Basic 81 performed well with a noise level of 43 dBA with its single 120mm PWM fan running at 100%.
Overall the Prolimatech Basic 81 is just that, it’s a basic twin stack cooler with a 120mm PWM fan that offers good cooling at low volumes. The thing that’s holding it back is that there’s other coolers that offer more for less. If only the Basic 81 was £5 cheaper perhaps…
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Many thanks to Prolimatech for providing this sample for review