Right about the middle of this past February, I got a random email from a company rep. asking if we wanted to take a look at their new cooler. The mail came from a company named AURAS Technologies. The name rang a bell, but I had to Google the company to get to the bottom of why I had a memory of that company name. What I was able to piece together is that they make not only most of the OEM and ODM coolers on the market, there are even a few coolers they produce that I recognized right away that get sold under other manufacturers names. If a company like AURAS Tech. can keep all the major players in the brand name game interested, they have to be doing something right!
Building on the many successful coolers they have developed over the years in operation, AURAS Tech. is taking steps to develop their own retail name brand. Locating information on AURAS Tech. is relatively easy; Google took me right to them. Their sister company, however, is much tougher to locate on the web. This new off shoot is called Shagon', and while I have the site address printed on the packaging, multiple browsers and search engines still come up empty at the moment.
This review we are going to be looking at today is of the Shagon' ARC-118 CPU cooler. This is a 92mm fan tower cooler that holds a unique look and color, while building coolers in the most eco friendly processes possible - Things like not soldering the heat pipes due to the release of chemicals in that process and the use of less materials to get good performance. Since this cooler has just made it to the sampling state, there may be small changes to the unit before it gets to the retail market, but from what I have seen, there isn't too much to change as the ARC-118 was delivered to me.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Underneath it all this is a typical tower cooler design that is built from thirty-seven aluminum fins that are press-fit onto four U shaped heat pipes. This compact design offers great results and only takes up 102mm by 88mm with the fan on it, and stands at a short 142mm tall. Where the four, 6mm diameter, U shaped pipes pass through the base, they make direct contact to the processor, and the aluminum base is drilled to accept the mounting hardware. To hold the fan in place, Shagon' has made a plastic shroud that covers the top fin and heat pipes, as well as the leading edges of the cooler. This molded shroud comes in a plumb purple color, which is not a normal color choice, but sets Shagon' apart in a crowd.
On the front of the cooler we have to have a fan to cool things down. Shagon' chose a Power Logic fan that had a black frame and purple fan blades on the 92mm fan that is included. It attaches to the shroud via four pre-attached rubber fan mounts. These pull through the holes in the fan to mount, but the rubber isolates the fins from any vibrations. The 4-pin powered PWM fan is capable of maximums of 2400 RPM, 41.84 CFM and 32dBA of noise. Both units, the cooler body and the fan, are very light as well; weighing in at just over a pound, or exactly 460 grams. Compatibility is quite good and offers a fit with all the latest processors including LGA1155.
Availability isn't quite there yet. You have to realize this is a brand new product released by a brand new company, and these things take some time. During my conversations I was able to work out that the MSRP for the Shagon' ARC-118 will shift at $29.99 US dollars. And from what I have seen this is quite the package for that price Shagon' is asking. If 120mm fan cooler towers aren't your thing, or of the confines of the case limit your options, the ARC-118 can handle whatever you are going to throw at it, and still have some room to keep raising the clocks. The only issue I see is you will have to wait until mid-June to see them in stores near you.
The ARC-118 from Shagon' comes in a tall skinny black box that holds an image of the top of the cooler here. At the bottom there is a full compatibility list of socket types.
Turning the box to the left, the right panel holds a much better image of the ARC-118 and mounting hardware under the specifications chart.
The back of the box holds the list of five main features of the cooler and also gives you a look at the base.
Going full circle, the last panel again lists four features while the lower half shows a spread out look of everything included in the box.
The top of the box shares a little about the new company. Shagon' delivers professionalism, a customized design, and quality in their thermal solutions, as well as them wanting to be "your reliant friend".
The Shagon' ARC-118 CPU Cooler
Covering the basics with the ARC-118, you have the aluminum base holding the four 6mm heat pipes. These pipes make a quick turn upwards and get wrapped with thirty seven aluminum fins. To top it off, Shagon' offers this cool looking purple shroud.
From the side you can see the heat pipes get evenly spaced as they have the fins pressed into place. To help each fin stay in place, there is a tab that interlocks with the fin below it for a little support.
The back of the cooler is pretty straight forward, just fins, the top of the shroud, and the base plate to see. I see those tabs are also used here to keep the spacing correct.
The other side looks just like this so let's discuss the fan clips. These rubber fan mounts are flat behind the shroud to isolate the shroud from the fins, and then attaching the fan to these rubber tips isolates that as well.
The plastic shroud completely covers the top of the cooler with the purple color. Both the aluminum and the copper pipe tips are hidden and like I said earlier, it gives this cooler a very unique look.
To remove the shroud you simply slide the whole thing straight up off the top. There are tabs that lock into grooves in the cooler. You can also see the back of the fan mounts and how they work to isolate the shroud.
The Shagon' ARC-118 - Continued
With the shroud removed you can now see the shape of the fins surrounding the pipe tips that are now exposed. To help redirect that last bit of airflow, the rear tips are slightly bent downward to help capture that flow.
The base of the ARC-118 utilizes milled heat pipes and strips of the aluminium base plate to transfer the heat load. Both components are milled at one time. This leaves a flat surface across the base and pipes, but does still have slight gaps between the two metals. The holes at the top and bottom of the base plate are for mounting the hardware to the cooler later on.
The 92mm fan supplied with the ARC-118 has seven blades that match the color of the shroud. This open corner black frame makes use of the rubber mounts very easy. Lastly, this fan uses a 4-pin PWM connection for power.
Here is a look at the specifics on the Power Logic fan.
With the fan mounted the ARC-118 takes on its full 88mm thickness, and due to the small nature of the cooler, things like Northbridge cooling and memory heat spreaders should be an issue.
Looking back in at the front of the Shagon' cooler, the 92mm fan covers the bulk of the thirty-seven fins, and should be able to do a good job of cooling them.
Accessories and Documentation
All of your hardware comes shipped inside of a zip close bag. In there you will find the Intel mounts, the AMD mounts inside of those, and the screws for mounting them in the middle. Just below the screws are four risers for the back plate, and the large thumbscrews at the top are to mount the cooler to the risers in the back plate. Both AMD and Intel use the same mounting components except for the specific legs.
Also in the kit is this universal back plate. Choose the correct mounting holes and install the risers to hold it to the motherboard. The plate itself is both padded as well as plastic coated to keep short circuits at bay and the padding protects from the accidental loss of tiny components on the back of the motherboard. To the left is a packet of SIL, silicon thermal compound.
The instructions I received were in English only, so I assume these will ship region specific, so that they can cover their whole market. The instructions are simple and easy to follow, and the renderings will help explain the text if you still have questions. For both AMD an Intel the cooler is just as easy to install and get the ARC-118 into use.
Inside the box as soon as I opened it I was greeted with this warranty card. Shagon' offer you a one year limited warranty on the ARC-118 against defect, and will either fix or replace your cooler within this term if the damage is not caused by the user. The bottom of each card holds a specific serial number for each cooler. I would assume you may be asked for this if you need to make a warranty claim.
Test System & Testing Results
Test System & Test Results
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
At idle, the results speak for themselves. The top three coolers on this list were tested by Chris Ram, so essentially this is the best 92mm air cooler to come out in over two years.
Fully loaded conditions leave the Shagon' ARC-118 right in the same fourth place it took in idle testing. Same thing here applies, it's been a long time since someone opted for a 92mm fan design that gave excellent results - Shagon' has done just that!
This isn't the most silent cooler on the market by any means, but even at the 45 dB level I recorded, the hum from the cooler is very tolerable. While this cooler will fit in more compact situations, I would think it's a touch loud for a HTPC environment, but perfect for a SFF chassis.
Things get quite a bit louder with 2400 RPM of airflow going through the cooler. While it isn't the worst on the list by any means, the noise level is noticeable and may bother some used to quieter cooling solutions.
A great decision of AURAS Tech. to go ahead and develop their own retail company to not only supply the OEMs, but now offer their own designs to us directly under the labeling of Shagon'. This first cooler released under this name is a trend setter, and in my opinion sets the bar pretty high for them. Not only do they deliver a small, user friendly, unique cooler, they also give you the best air cooler with less than a 120mm fan that TweakTown has tested in over two years. While there aren't a bunch of companies clamoring to send me smaller coolers, it is good to see one that tops the charts and gives much better than average results. Whether you want a cooler that uses a smaller footprint, want a cooler that everyone will ask what that is, or have space constraints that limit your choices, the Shagon' ARC-118 is the cooler to get.
I know it isn't very nice that I get to tease you with the performance of this cooler, I will admit that. But I just can't help the smile that creeps on my face when I think about the results gained from a cooler that at a first glance of the specs, one might easily overlook. You look at the side of the box and see a 92mm fan, and only 42CFM, and the box even states it has 30 dBA of noise level at its maximum speed. The combination of the heat pipes, fins, shroud, and fan is not only aesthetically very pleasing to see in a chassis, but it goes right at the job it was intended for and handles its business.
Now, you are going to have to wait until at least mid-June before you can purchase this pleasant little beauty. With the low MSRP of $29.99, this cooler, even with its small nature, outperformed my previous choice for a budget cooler, the Hyper 212+ from Cooler Master. Even with the advantage of the 120mm fan, the CM 212+ still falls a few degrees short of the ARC-118s performance level. Thinking back to the plain-ness of the 212+, the Shagon' also has a huge advantage in style and appeal to many case interiors. Come this summer, unless a miracle cooler hits my desk in the next six weeks, the Shagon' ARC-118 is the cooler I will be recommending for those who want all they can get for a very reasonable price.