Prolimatech burst onto the scene in 2008 with the release of the Megahalems that stole the performance crown from the long time titleholder TRUE. Prolimatech was founded by a group of engineers from Thermalright with all out performance as their primary mission, but look to improve all facets of CPU heatsinks. With the quick splash and continued success of Prolimatech in the air cooling market, they are here to stay and will continue to be a name brought up when top performing air coolers are the topic of discussion.
Prolimatech has a couple different coolers which are all variations of the original Megahalems (except the recently announced Armageddon), and on our bench for this review is the Mega Shadow. The Mega Shadow is black nickel finish version of the Megahalems, but that’s not all. The Mega Shadow retail package comes with expanded Intel socket compatibility and fan clips for push/pull. I am getting ahead of myself for the introduction, so let’s get to it.
From the time you crack open the box and tear away the plastic you will realize the Mega Shadow is a beast in every sense of the term. The Mega Shadow—and Megahalems for that matter—measures in at 160mm in height by 130mm wide and 74mm in depth without fans. Strap a single 25mm fan on and depth or thickness increases to 98mm, dual fans and you top out at 120mm. You save a few millimeters thanks to the recess on both sides of the Mega Shadow that rather cradle the 120mm fans. Surprisingly, Prolimatech does not included little strip pads for in between the cooler and the fans, still vibration noise was non-existent during testing even without the pads.
Sticking with the physical characteristics… The fin tower section on the Mega Shadow is different from the mainstream of CPU air coolers, with a split in the middle giving a dedicated fin tower to each side of the heat pipes. Speaking of heat pipes, the Mega Shadow boasts six 6mm heatpipes in a U configuration. Each side of the U has that dedicated fin tower we spoke of, and each tower sports forty-five 1mm thick aluminum fins. Each of those fins are spaced roughly 1.5mm apart (calipers need a new battery, had to eyeball it) giving us a total tower height of 110mm. I completely understand Prolimatech’s choice on splitting the towers since airflow from fans is weak around the fan hub anyhow, but I have to wonder if the fins were optimally sized or if there is more heat dissipation to be had if the fins did not have that split. Following the heatpipes down from the fin tower we get to the copper base, yes the copper base is finished in black nickel as well. The base of the Mega Shadow is perfectly flat and polished to a mirror finish as you can see for yourself in the pic at the bottom of the page. I cannot move on from the physical details without talking about the familiar stamp in the aluminum fins. As someone who grew up during the 80’s (the golden age of cartoons I say) and watched Transformers religiously, the Optimus Prime like stamp on the fins caused a grin to appear on my fance, and flashbacks to my childhood resulted as well.
One of the best features of the Mega Shadow is the mount system, which makes preparing your board for mounting extremely easy as well as ensuring you will get a good mount every time on all of the current Intel sockets (LGA775, LGA1156, and LGA1366). However, those of you looking for AMD compatibility need to purchase a separate mounting package that covers the current AMD sockets. The Intel mounting is quick and painless like I said, start by putting the posts in the appropriate slot of the backplate (775 closest to the center, 1156 in the middle and 1366 all the way out) and slip the o-rings over the posts to hold them in place. Now set the backplate on the underside of the board and lock the backplate in by screwing in the shorter side of the thumbscrew connectors into the backplate with the longer posts up. Set the two mount bars parallel to the socket arm on the posts (widest holes for LGA1366) and lock them in place by with the four thumbnuts. Prep your CPU with a blob of TIM–Prolimatech includes TIM, but we toss that aside and use MX-3–, set the Mega Shadow on the chip (I always give a small twist while gently pressing down) and put the hold down bar through the center of the cooler aligning the two nubs into the indents on the top of the cooler base. Now set the first screw and spring but threading slightly to start and repeat with the second screw. Finish tightening down both mount screws until you reach the stop… done! Time to mount a fan or two with the four included wire fan clips to complete the whole mount process. To note, only 120x25mm fans are supported with the wire clips that come in the retail package but 120x38mm clips are available.
Installation/mounting of the Mega Shadow was by far the easiest and most secure feeling of all the air coolers we have tested thus far. For an air cooler mounting system, Prolimatech got it right. Additionally, when mounting fans the wire clips slide into a recessed notch on the side of the fins and made for quick and simple fan mounting. From a usability perspective, the Mega Shadow ranks very high. I know that I usually do not drop my opinion until the conclusion, but felt it was fitting since we typically cover mounting and what not on the first page. I will spare you any more of my personal opinions until the conclusion. And to make up for it, some photos for your viewing pleasure…
I had to retake the photo of the base after testing since the first shot was completely out of focus and I did not realize this until I was preparing the review. Now, let’s take a short stop and cover Test Methodology before we dive into the performance and test results of the Mega Shadow.