There's no beating around the bush - 3rd party GPU [Graphics Processing Unit] cooling is a fast growing market. While this was a tiny niche in the past, everything started to change in 2002, when I showed Sapphire's marketing rep ATI's reference 9700 Pro with the passive Zalman heatsink [and used no fans to cool the board]. Dan Forster of Sapphire Blue managed to persuade the management to launch passively cooled 9500 and 9700 graphics cards and the rest is history.
Today, every GPU vendor has at least one model in its lineup that uses customized cooling, usually overclocked and carrying a good price premium over the stock parts. Some go as far as creating completely customized board
which can be compared to a Formula One car. However, there is one market segment where customized cooling still hasn't arrived, mostly due to reliability fears: professional graphics.
Just like liquid cooling, hard-working professionals demand top performance, yet the experience in the offices that feature powerful, dual-socket, 32GB+ system memory carrying, often multi-GPU enabled systems created an industry of rackable workstations, accessible through expensive cabling that leads to a workstation. Yet, isn't it better to solve the problem at the source, rather than beating around the bush?Professional applications are hardly a place where 3rd party cooling is used... can Prolimatech break the mould and become viable in engineering?
As you probably know, one of teams inside Bright Side Network Inc. is heavily involved in automotive development and working on multi-CPU systems equipped with AMD FirePro and nVidia Quadro boards. After a while, our engineers complained that some models produce noise. Given that the professional boards are usually under-clocked consumer parts, default cooling usually does a pretty good job and keeps the GPUs quiet. However, when the fan on PNY Quadro CX started to produce "funny noises", and two weeks after brand new AMD FirePro V8800 joined in and created a cacophony
in the working area, we knew that the time was right to test can a 3rd party GPU cool down these beasts. Meet Prolimatech MK-13
Unlike a lot of competitors that use plastic packaging, Prolimatech uses recyclable cardboard
We looked around for an ideal solution, when we noticed that Taiwanese progressive cooling expert, Prolimatech Ltd. announced MK-13, their massive GPU heatsink
. In a matter of days, we received Prolimatech MK-13 from Caseking.de
, one of largest distributors of computer equipment for enthusiasts in Europe. Caseking offers MK-13 in several different packages, varying from very powerful to near-silent fans, as well as stand-alone, passive version. Our version came with two ultra-silent 120mm S-Flex fans from Schyte
The box is sturdy and will keep its contents well protected during the long travel from Taiwan to Western markets, as well as reaching its final destination - your home or office. We checked the sturdiness with our traditional drop'n'kick test and we can report that nothing happened with the retail packaging, not even a dent.
The manufacturer took good care about protecting the contents inside the box, with plenty of protective packaging. Thus, we saw no damage on the delicate aluminum fins - 75 of them, to be more precise.
The box features every possible combination you could imagine: besides the MK-13 heatsink, there are also PK-1 thermal paste, 18 2.5cm [1"] heatsinks for the DRAM memory, and eight lower heatsinks, intended to cool down external chips such as nVidia's NVIO and BR02 bridges, special heatsink for AMD Radeon 5800 series of cards [we'll have to see if its compliant to AMD's upcoming HD 6800 and HD 6900 series of cards], as well as several adapters for add-on fans. Overall, we're quite sure that you should have no issues installing this part on standard reference or on custom cards. DRAM heatsinks on Prolimatech MK-13 ship with factory adhesive.
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