In all my time with TweakTown, I have only seen three coolers from this manufacturer of higher-end cooling solutions. Jumping in the way back machine, we first had a look at the Megahalems, which was very revolutionary in its day. The solid construction, and allowing the customer to match a fan or fans to it, was something that not many companies had thought of doing, but at Prolimatech, it was made a standard for them.
The other thing that put this cooler on the map was it was one of the first coolers I saw that delivered a serious mounting solution that took all of the guess work out of mounting some of the antiquated designs we had to work with at that time. With a solidly designed tower cooler, and this revolution in mounting, Prolimatech was onto something, and customers took notice.
We then got a hold of the Samuel 17, built for HTPC or low power applications. Again with solid construction and enough designing and trial and error, they delivered what is still one of the better low-profile CPU cooling solutions, specifically in those instances where room inside of the chassis just isn't there for much other than the stock cooling solutions. Then not too long after that we took a look at the MK-26, where Prolimatech took all of its CPU cooler design and know-how, and delivered that knowledge into a GPU cooling solution. The sad thing about all of this is the fact that it has been almost a year to date since the MK-26, and it has been two years plus since we saw anything new in CPU cooling from them.
The good thing is that their hiatus has ended, and they have found us once again to look at something new in its field of CPU coolers. Of course years ago there was the original concept of the Armageddon cooler from them. Since then they have developed a "Special Edition" line of CPU coolers where they have taken the likes of the Megahalems, Genesis, and now the Armageddon, and offered them in various colored solutions.
This is what brings us here today as we get up close and personal with the latest addition to that series of coolers with the Armageddon Blue Series CPU cooler from Prolimatech.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The first chart you see is what Prolimatech provides on their website. It covers the Intel only mounting compatibility, along with the coolers dimensions, weight, and heat pipe diameter and amount. The second chart is from the original Armageddon, but since the coolers are identical other than coloration, there is more information to be had with this chart. It again cover the dimensions of this cooler that stands on 160.3mm tall, and they again address the 750 gram weight of it, without fans placed on the cooler.
They also address the six heat pipes that are all 6mm in diameter. Since the cooler does not ship with fans, what you are given is the suggested specifications. Prolimatech says that a fan that runs 800 to 1000 RPM will suffice, and they only need to deliver 57CFM of air flow. Noise levels are only relevant to the user, so that specification doesn't really count, but they do advise that this cooler should run with the fans facing the rear exhaust of the chassis. Unlike the original design, the Blue Series Armageddon includes mounting for LGA775 processors as well.
What neither chart covers is the physical makeup of the Armageddon design. There is a copper, two piece, base component that has six copper heat pipes soldered into it. The pipes leave the base and make bends and twisted shapes to go from an east-west orientation out of the base to a north-south orientation as they run through two separated sections of fins. The base and pipes are then Nickel plated before they slide 44 aluminum fins that have been mostly painted black, but six of them in each tower come painted blue. On top of that there is a full width top plate that holds 12 pipe ends as they protrude out the top of the individual fin sections. This serves as a way to solidify the towers, as well as giving Prolimatech a place for two blue stripes, and 12 black caps to cover the ends of the fins to set on.
We were also sent a pair of the Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 fans. These 140mm fans are designed for silence with an 18dBA rating and they are only 15mm thick. The RPM rating fits the mold, with a rated speed of 500 to 1000 RPMs. These fans also come rated to push 98CFM, which is way over spec, and they are shown to deliver 0.9mmH2O of static pressure. These fans are also 91 grams each, and as we are testing this cooler, it is now 932 grams in total weight.
Since the press release for this cooler's arrival was just presented at the beginning of last month, there is very little on the internet in the way of an actual listing for this cooler. While the original version of the Armageddon can be had pretty much anywhere for $59.99, I do like what I was able to track down as far as pricing is concerned. While I cannot find any listings inside of the US or from anywhere that will ship to the US, there is a pre-order listing at Caseking.de currently listing the Armageddon Blue Series version at €59.90. It is more likely that inside of the US this cooler will list more near the converted pricing of $81.00 rather than doing a straight Euro to Dollar conversion. Considering you also have to add in the cost of a fan or two, pricing could get expensive really fast.
Packaging for the Armageddon Blue Series cooler is kept simple with the black background, with hints of blue stripes alluding to the cooler contained inside. Prolimatech also covers the fact that this cooler is skinny and shouldn't interfere with memory, it can use 140mm fans, and is ready to mount to any Intel processor.
This thinner side of the packaging shows that the cooler inside is in fact very thin. It also shows how to take the top half of the box off to get to the cooler, and lastly it says to visit their site for more information.
What I am calling the back of the packaging is just exactly what we saw on the front of the packaging. Just that this time the flap from the top half folded a bit in transit.
The last side of the outer packaging offers another set of opening instructions, but at the bottom, there is a very short list of specifications that addresses the size, the materials, its weight and fan compatibility.
After removing the top half of the box, you will find the Armageddon Blue Series cooler snugly placed between two sections of dense foam that keep impacts from damaging the cooler, while also centering the cooler in case anything were to poke through the box. On one side of the fin array, the hardware box is slid down next to the cooler to further protect that side as well.
Prolimatech Armageddon Blue Series CPU Cooler
Fresh out of the packaging, we will start by looking at the broad side of this cooler. At the bottom there is a thick base assembly to hold the pipes that exit and twist into a completely different orientation than they start out with. They then pass through two sections of 44 fins to allow as much surface area to the pipes as they could allow and still keep the thin profile they designed this cooler for.
As you can see, the blue stripes we saw on the face of the fins also go around to the sides. You will also notice that all of the pipes are in alignment from this angle as you look through the fins, spreading them out to allow a fan to blow across each of them for the best chance of efficient dissipation.
I adjusted the angle to show the back of the cooler in a different light. You can now see the grooves and angles cut into these fins that allow pockets of air to build speed and get more of that air flow through the cooler rather than losing it out the sides of this design.
On the sides you can see that there are grooves down the length that will allow for wire fan clips, but they are also engineered to work with Prolimatech's own ArmaClip fan mounting system.
The top of the cooler is mostly black with 12 black caps running across the middle to cover the ends of the heat pipes. Around that there are two blue stripes that terminate in the middle to go along with the stripes found on the fin arrays.
From this angle you can see that the pipes weave in and out of each other as they reorient themselves into alignment to go through the fins. Also noticeable from here is that each of the aluminium fins are made of two sections, and with all the added fin supports, it makes for a very solid feeling cooler.
This angle shows some of the solder flowing out from around the heat pipes. You can also see some of the flux as it has reacted with the Nickel playing, but this is a much more efficient way to transfer heat over compressing the base plates with TIM around the pipes.
The base of the cooler is flat from long edge to long edge, with just a bit of deviation at the corners where they tend to roll away from the center height just slightly. Obviously the surface of the base has its semi-circular milling marks still left present to offer more surface area over a finely polished base.
Accessories and Documentation
I do like that they took the time to even design the hardware box to match the cooler, continuing that special edition status of this cooler all the way to this point too.
The larger components found in the box are to mount the cooler. There is the universal back plate that will allow anything from LGA775 to LGA1366 sockets to be mounted with this. The bars on either side are to mount the thicker cross bar too, once you have the back plate and its hardware secured.
The rest of the kit is all packaged in individual bags. There are o-rings for the back plate, two bags of two ArmaClips each. Then you get LGA2011 mounting screws, the universal nuts for the back plate, and a bag with the nuts and bolts for the other Intel mounts. At the bottom you have the screws and springs for the cross bar and a two gram tube of PK-2 paste.
As I mentioned, we were also given a pair of fans to test with, and Prolimatech recommends the Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 fans. For testing purposes, both fans will be used to gauge values for our charts.
Along with the pair of fans we were also sent, this four piece wire fan clip set that Prolimatech made specifically for mounting these 140mm Vortex fans was also sent to us.
It is a good thing that the installation is pretty straight forward because there isn't much in the lines of a tutorial. On this side of the paperwork, in ten languages, you are given images and descriptions of the individual components of the hardware and cooler.
Flipping it over, the back now covers mounting of the cooler. There are six small images on the left side to help show what the six steps in text to the right are discussing. Again, the mounting instructions are provided in the same ten languages.
Installation and Finished Product
First, if the back plate applies like it does for our test system, you need to place the nuts in the appropriate slot in each of the four ends. Once that is done, you need to place an o-ring on that sets in the groove that is cut into the shaft of this nut to keep them attached to the plate.
Then you want to place the plate on the back of the motherboard. One thing about this back plate that many others do not provide, is the ability to go on correctly all four ways since the socket screw holes are on all sides.
Using the ASUS Sabertooth, I did run into an issue with the heat pipes rubbing against the plastic armor over the PWM above the CPU. For that reason we have positioned the cooler in this manner. When looking at the cooler in the other orientation, it was completely clear of all four memory slots, even with the fan on the cooler.
From the side of the board, the Armageddon Blue Series does sit a bit lower than the heat spreaders on my memory. In the normal orientation this does not matter, but in its horizontal placement that I have to use, I did need to remove one of the flame tops to make it all work.
This image is to show just how well these 140mm fans cover the cooler. There is only just the slightest bit of the corners of the fin arrays that are devoid of air flow, and this too should help the Armageddon Blue Series stay near the top of our thermal charts, but we will let the testing to prove that or not.
This last image is more of a glamour shot as it sits inside of our test rig prior to the trials that are soon to test this cooler. Even if you cannot see the sides, the top plate of the cooler makes this suit any blue themed build where you require a solid competitor with a compact design.
Test System and Thermal Results
I would first like to thank ASUS, InWin, Corsair and Fractal Design for supplying products for me to test with. To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
With the Prolimatech Armageddon Blue Series cooler being marked with the green bar at 52.5C, the temperature was recorded for the stock level loaded conditions of the processor. The Prolimatech cooler falls just half a degree short on average behind the NiC C5, which is very similar in concept to what the Armageddon deliver in respect to room around the motherboard and memory compatibility. For those who want to know, the idle temperature was 26.25C with the fans near 500 RPM. With the PWM going during the testing, the fans were their fastest at 800RPM.
Switching to the overclocked profile for testing, the Prolimatech solution still does pretty good. While it seems to place right in the middle of our aftermarket coolers, something to consider is that now the Armageddon blue Series is 1.75C warmer than the very reasonable priced NiC C5. The one big factor that may sway a decision to Prolimatech is the noise levels of the cooler, as the Thermaltake cooler is much louder to get that advantage. At this point the front fan was spinning 1049RPM and the rear fan was running at 1120RPM (both still within spec). This cooler also performed the best when the chassis was set on its side, but only by a very slight margin of a degree between all tests.
Noise Level Results
Since the fans based out at 511 RPM when the PC is in its idle state, the noise level coming from them is almost negligible at this level. When the meter is set one foot from the exhaust fan, it left us with this reading of 29dB. As you can see, it doesn't take a genius to sort out the fact that with stronger fans and more noise, the Armageddon Blue Series cooler could actually perform with better thermal results, but since the idea is to provide a more silent solution, I think the thermals are really good for this level of noise.
Even with both fans spinning at their full potential, the 53dB rating we added to this chart is far superior to the NiC C5 I have been comparing it to all this time. Remember for every 10dB the noise raised, the inferred sound to the ear receives double the noise. So in more basic terms, the NiC C5 is more than twice as loud as this solution, and is half as loud as the stock Intel cooling solution. While not a chart topping offering for silence, the slight hum presented from this cooler is acceptable, especially once a chassis door helps block some of that noise.
It is safe to say that the Prolimatech Armageddon Blue Series "Special Edition" cooler is up to snuff and capable of keeping our test system under control at comfortable levels of both sound and temperatures.
In basic features, I like that there should be no issues with clearance on normal motherboards, but as I said; I had to reorient the cooler to fit on our ASUS Sabertooth Z87 motherboard - so, keep that in mind if your PWM coolers are larger than the usual offerings. The blue and black theme is something a lot of builders would use with various makers motherboards that have blue slots and heat sinks. My only issue with the blue is that the aluminum fins are more of an electric blue and the blue on top of the cooler is close, but does not match exactly, and that could be a slight deal breaker for some. Outside of those two minor issues, mounting, use, and looking at the cooler overall, the rest of my thoughts are good about the Armageddon Blue Series CPU cooler.
Even with what is essentially a three year old mounting system, it is still better than what quite a few manufacturers send to me now, and an older air cooler design that is at the bottom line, just a painted reintroduction, and it can still deliver good results as the CPU gets harder to cool. That in itself is saying a lot. I like that I can get to all the motherboard screws, I like that the mounting screws are easily accessible, without the need of special wrenches or tools, and I like the new color scheme.
I also covered the fact that these are currently not listed inside of the US, and that at Caseking.de, they are taking pre-orders - so, let's work on the guesstimate of the actual US pricing. Since the original Megahalems only released at $59.99, and the fact that you can get the original Armageddon at a similar price, it would only make sense that the new Armageddon Blue Series cooler will arrive with a near $60 price point. As tested we have to take that $60 price point and add $19.99 per fan, plus there is still the near $5 for the fan clips once shipping gets included, we are now dealing with a CPU cooler that costs over $100. If you are going to invest that sort of money, I would lead you to look at all of the AIOs on the market that will outperform this cooler, even with fans turned back to match the sound levels.