The Thermalright Shaman is quite the cooler. While it will populate a full four slots when in use and may limit multi-card setups depending on the boards slot layout, more consideration needs to be taken with a cooler of this magnitude. Once you get past the sheer size of the Shaman, there are quite a few things that make me really want to recommend this cooler over even some that performed better in our testing. Against the latest two we tested, the Shaman has the most attractive finished product to me, and has a heavy feel to it with its well built construction. To take it one step further about the strength and durability of the Shaman, mine came bent and even with a bit of odd shaping when I received it, with very little effort I was able to square up the cooler and still get good results from the cooler. That alone says something for Thermalright in the fact that you are going to get a pretty serious piece of hardware.
The blue and beige fan is an acquired taste much like a Noctua fan is. While some may not like the color choice, I much prefer things that don't look "normal" or immediately draw the passing eye to do a double take. Speaking of the fan, during my testing the fan is near silent with 12V going through it. Since it has a 4-pin connector on it, I was able to hook it up to my CPU testing rig and gauge the noise levels. In the test box I got a measurement of a teetering 39-40 dB. That being said, it was hard to discern if I was hearing the HAVIK140 fans or the HX1000 fan over it, but again, you have to practically climb into the chassis to hear this fan. One thing I do like about this design of cooler, is that if you would like better performance than the results I have shown, you can easily add any aftermarket fan with higher ratings than the stock solution and get the desired balance of noise and even more performance.
If you are doing a bit of researched buying, you will be locating the Shaman at Mwave.com for $69.99, and at that price point, this cooler is cheaper than many of the solutions on the chart and will likely be the top reason to choose the Shaman over most of the others. If you just buy this cooler on an impulse, be prepared to spend near or above the $80 mark. Even with the issue I had with the heatsinks, Thermalright took immediate care of the issue and within a week delivered me a solution to give this cooler a proper testing. I can only assume that if you were to have an issue, Thermalright would also take care of you in the same manner, and that is really saying something about my first experience with Thermalright. The Shaman isn't going to define what Thermalright is as a whole, but it sure is a good start to our new relationship!
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