At the end of this past March I was introduced to the first cooler from Shagon', the ARC-118. While the cooler was small in stature and cooled by only a 92mm fan, from what I can recall the cooler did pretty well on the charts and offered a somewhat silent user experience. Taking the basic tower, adding a uniquely colored shroud and fan blade combination, the maroon coloring made for an easily recognizable product in your case. Once you have laid eyes on this cooler it's much like a Noctua color scheme, it just never goes away as to which product is in the PC.
Following what made the ARC-118 an attractive prospect for your money, Shagon' went to a larger cooler this time. Similarities include the coloring, the use of a top cover that also acts to support the fan, and even the shape of the two coolers is similar. Where this new cooler starts to make a name for itself, it incorporates more heat pipes, more fins, a different fin design with cuts in the main area of flow and while similar, the new cooler takes a unique top cover shape.
I am eager to see what the changes and improvements have to offer the end user and see just how well this cooler will compete. I am speaking of the Shagon' AHC-118 CPU cooler we are about to take a look at today. Knowing what I know from looking at the ARC-118, I expect this cooler to be considerably better performing than the 92mm fan powered little brother. Silence seems to be the key, along with a unique looking cooler design for Shagon'. If you are going to enter an already full market, you do need to set yourself apart from the others. I just hope there isn't a lopsided battle of noise levels winning out to performance.
With a tag line like the "best overclocking weapon", I would think that this cooler will have the ability to handle just about anything I can throw at it and hopefully can do it with little noise.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Shagon' sends us a cooler that again utilizes direct contact with the processor of choice. These flattened pipes are milled to allow for better heat transfer into the six, 6mm copper hat pipes. They make very gentle bends once they go past the aluminum top plate that has holes for the mounting hardware. Once the curves begin, the pipes are no longer flattened, but return to the typical round shape for the bends and to make placing the fins over them a little easier. The forty-two fins then get slid over the six pipes to allow the transfer of the heat to the fins. These aluminum fins are stamped with louvers in the center of the fins between the heat pipes arrangement. This should allow for more disturbance and turbulence for the air flow to allow for better removal of the hat from said fins. Over the top and down the front of the cooler is a maroon colored cover that allows the rubber fan mounts a place to attach, giving the fan the isolation and spacing it needs to do a good job silently.
Of course, we need a fan to cool the AHC-118. This time around Shagon' used a 120mm fan with seven maroon blades in a flat black frame. This 25mm thick fan spins on a sleeve bearing and can rotate at 1000 to 1800 revolutions per minute. That seems like a pretty fast fan to be quiet, but Shagon' lists the fan at a 32 dBA rating which is pretty quiet and we will see about that soon enough. The fan receives its power via a 4-pin PWM connection, and when drawing 12V of power it is capable of delivering 59.27 CFM of air flow. The fan seems more than capable from what I have seen in other coolers in the past, so let's get to the availability and pricing and see if there are any shocks to be had there.
Since this is an early sample, at the time of me typing this there is no availability. When I asked directly I was told that the "AHC-118 will be expected to launch in the market about in August". That isn't very concrete for an answer, but things can and do happen that could slow production or make the company change their mind all together, and change things up, which takes time. I am pleased to say that they hit the magic number for pricing with their $49.99 MSRP. Since that seems to be where most buyers stop spending, let's see if the AHC-118 demands your $50 more than the next cooler.
The front of the AHC-118 packaging contains a bit of artwork, a look at the top of the fan and shroud, and the tag line "the best overclocking weapon"; we will see about that!
On the right there is a full list of the coolers specifications, and a much better image of the entire AHC-118.
The back shows you the direct contact area of the base with the six heat pipes running across the base. There is also a list of five features listed covering what I just said plus build components and compatibility.
This side covers five features in a simple list at the top while the bottom half shows everything you will receive inside the box.
As you open the box you are first greeted with the warranty information card. This holds the information of what to do if by chance you do have a problem. It also carries a unique serial number to correspond to that exact cooler.
Inside of the box, the AHC-118 depends solely on the cardboard base protection to keep the cooler safe and centered inside the packaging. While I think there is easy potential to get this cooler damaged in transit, I am pleased to say mine arrived in flawless condition.
The Shagon' AHC-118 CPU Cooler
Looking at the front, or where the fan will attach, you can see the plastic top cover goes all the way to the bottom and offers a place for the four rubber fan mounts to attach to.
The side shows that the forty-two fins get some spacing and support from the tabs that run down the side. The depth of the cooler allows for a very even spacing between the pipes and should allow for better heat dissipation.
There is also a spacing and support trail down the center of the back of the fins. Using flattened heat pipes with this cooler makes for a low profile base, but as you can see, the pipes cannot be bent as soon as if they were round through the base.
This side is exactly like the other side. It has the support trail and the same spacing for this half of the hat pipes.
Since removal of the shroud on this cooler is near impossible, I flipped the cooler over so you could get a glimpse of the "louvers" that get cut into each of the fins. This should disturb the air and make for better heat transfer that a flat fin would.
The base gets milled once it is assembled. The pipes are for the most part level with each other and offer a flat contact area across the pipes. You can tell by the shadows that in some spots the aluminium top plate doesn't touch the processor. No issues for cooling, but it may require a bit more TIM to fill the gaps.
Grabbing the 120mm fan, you can see the full color scheme gets carried over from the ARC-118 we saw not too long ago. The dark maroon, almost purple of the blades and shroud will make for a very unique looking addition to your build.
All together the AHC-118 is a wide one. With the fan installed the cooler climbs near 5" in total profile. While the cooler is high enough to clear typical memory, if you have taller spreaders there is likely going to be an issue with this cooler.
Just another angle to appreciate the curves, color, and see the whole unit one more time before I strap it up for some abuse.
Accessories and Documentation
In the hardware kit you will receive the large black back plate for mounting the cooler. This plate is steel and has foam and thin plastic already applied to the universal plate to isolate it from anything on the back of the motherboard. You will also receive a packet of Silicone thermal compound.
More of the hardware kit delivers the mounting legs for Intel at the top, and the AMD legs just below them. The risers on the left attach to the back plate, and once the cooler with the correct legs is set on the processor, you can screw the large thumb screws into the risers, through the holes in the legs. The four little screws at the bottom right are to be used to mount the legs to the aluminum base plate to secure the legs to the cooler.
The 120mm fan is not only capable of near 60 CFM with a low noise rating, here you can see the model number, its rated voltage and amperage, and of course you can see the 4-pin PWM power connection.
The fold out manual does a great job of showing in the diagram how to install this cooler for either AMD or Intel. With a full list of included parts and images noted on the sides with descriptions along with the part numbers makes it near impossible to screw anything up during the installation process. I also threw in the warranty card found when you open the packaging in case you wanted a better look at the text provided.
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.
Silence came at a cost! While not doing horribly and still much, much better than a stock cooling solution, you can see at idle levels this cooler is a touch warmer than most of the competition.
Load testing produced similar results. I get the fact that you may want silence over performance, even I have done that before; but to really compete for my hard earned dollar, I think this cooler could use some improvements.
I said the cooler was silent, and I meant it. As you can see, with all the coolers I test, there is so far only one cooler that produces less noise than the Shagon'. Congrats on this aspect of the full package, I just wish there were better temperatures along with it.
Even with things cranked up to their maximum settings, the AHC-118 is impressive with the lack of noise emanating from the cooler.
Typically I am never this harsh with a cooler, as I can typically find a polite way of addressing issues as I come across them. All things considered, I just don't see how this cooler is going to make it in the kill or be killed market already flooded with good coolers. On top of that, silence in cooling is a huge plus, but as we just saw recently from NZXT, you can have both silence and kickass performance all in one sweet little package. While this cooler is attractive to look at and has some unique features to look at once it's installed, for my money looks aren't as important as cooling my processor is. For the price this cooler is suggested to retail at, I just don't see how I can recommend it by looks alone.
On the flip side of things, they may take this review to heart and go back to the drawing board to work out some fan options. Since this product isn't scheduled to release until August, anything can happen. If there are any changes or they send a revision over, I will be happy to test it and see what it is capable of. But as it sits, the AHC-118 is the basic average cooler in the ever growing list of coolers I have tested.
Even if I were to overlook the loss of performance to give into the need for an attractive silent cooler, there is the last kick in the pants to incorporate. This averagely performing cooler is set with an MSRP of $49.99 US dollars. I know these coolers are planned to release overseas and are likely on the markets there, but from what I can find via Google, I still haven't seen the Shagon' website, or any coolers for sale yet. So even if you were ready to shell out for either of the Shagon' coolers I have looked at, where exactly do you make a warranty claim, or get any support for that matter?
Until all these loose ends are tied up for this fledgling company, I am going to stick to my guns and give this product a solid "meh"! - I hope the fellas over at Shagon' don't take this to heart, as it is a good looking and silent cooler; I just can't equate the pricing to say you should go and buy this cooler as it was delivered to me.