Intel Core i7 / LGA1366 CPU Cooler Roundup

by AkG     |     October 20, 2009

Meet the Coolers; The High End


ProlimaTech Mega Shadow Deluxe Edition

Manufacturer Page: Prolimatech.com
Part Number: Mega Shadow
TechWiki Info: Prolimatech Mega Shadow CPU Cooler Deluxe Edition - TechWiki
Price: MSRP $80 estimated

Ever since the release of the iconic Megahalems cooler, ProlimaTech has been thrust into the enthusiast spotlight. Even with the buzz of success surrounding their original Megahalems, they are still not what you would call a household name. As such, if you are reading this review and have never hear of ProlimaTech this quote from their website perfectly sums up the gestalt of ProlimaTech as company: Their website states that the name “Professionalism exceeding beyond all limits”. In any case, their website goes on to say "….We are here to challenge any limits that stand in our way to achieve what was thought to be impossible….(and) Our never-ending quest is to satisfy every computer overclocker's and every enthusiast's needs for high quality and performance oriented thermal solutions for their high-end computer components…".

In what can be considered either an interesting move…or cash grab, Prolimatech’s second generation cooler is not much more than a black chromed version of the Megahalems cooler. It will be interesting to see if this really is a more refined version or nothing but a collectors version marketed mainly at people who want an even more striking looking cooler than the original one could provide. Indeed, it seems like Prolimatech is once again following in the footsteps of Thermalright which released their TRUE Black not so long ago. For now we are going to give them some slack on this issue and consider it an upgrade as it DOES support i5 systems where the original was a 775/i7 only deal.

As with their first cooler and in keeping with the “Deluxe Edition” moniker, this cooler is on the pricey side with an MSRP of $80USD (about $84 Canadian). Of course, that assumes you can FIND it.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme

Manufacturer Page: Tuniq.com.tw
Part Number: CR-T120-EX-BK
TechWiki Info: Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler - TechWiki
Price: $60 US

As with ProlimTech, Tuniq is not that well known outside of the enthusiast community. INSIDE the enthusiast community however, they have a sterling reputation and have produced some top notch kit. For those less acquainted with the brand name Tuniq we can tell you that Tuniq is actually a division of Sunbeam Tech who are a very well known OEM manufacturer of darn near everything cooling related. To us this quote from Tuniq’s website sums them up best: “…We feel that product design should be Zen-like: simple, functional, harmonious and without frails. Each product from Tuniq aims to combine the virtues of high performance, elegant design, and extraordinary value…” What more could you ask for from an air cooler?

Out of all the coolers we have ever tested, used or even looked at, the original Tuniq Tower 120 still stands out among the competition. Its performance was only matched by some of the best coolers of its day and until the dawn of the i7, it was still considered among one of the best. Well, times change and even though the original Tower 120 may have been past its prime, Tuniq figured that they got enough right the first time around and have carried many of its design queues into their new Tower 120 Extreme.

Since this is a brand new cooler, it may be difficult to find at your favorite retailer or e-tailer here in Canada but this too shall change in the near future. When it DOES become available you can expect to pay about $65 for it.

Zalman CNPS10X Extreme

Manufacturer Page: Zalman.com
TechWiki Info: Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - TechWiki
Price: Click Here to Check Prices

If there has been one company that has been conspicuous by their absence from our charts it has to be Zalman. Well their absence is now at an end with the Zalman CNPS10X Extreme cooler. Zalman really needs no introduction as they been designing low noise, high performance coolers for longer than many of us have been in this industry and have built an enviable reputation. While they are better known for their more unusual designs which made low noise yet unique looking coolers, this is their first foray into a more standard “tower” style CPU product. We imagine this may be the turning point for Zalman as this new heatsink has been designed from the ground up to be a serious contender for the top spot among air coolers while still appearing to try and stay true to their low noise roots (via a remote fan controller).

The 10X Extreme, as we are going to call it in this review, is available from e-tailers and retailers throughout the country and goes for about $75 CAD. That’s a lot of money in today’s economic climate but Zalman seems to be confident that they have what it takes to once again be among the best of the best.

ZeroTherm Nirvana 120

Manufacturer Page: ZEROtherm.com
Part Number: NV120 PWM
TechWiki Info: ZEROTherm Nirvana NV120 CPU Cooler - TechWiki
Price: Click Here to Check Prices

While ZeroTherm has quickly made a name for themselves over the past 2 or so years, they are actually just the marketing division of APACK. APACK is a Korean OEM maker that has built solutions for the likes of Samsung, Dell, LG and a host of other industry big boys.

In the early days they were content to be shadowy men behind innovative creations and left the logo (and glory) to their customers. As with most geniuses, they have since grown restless of this and while still producing great kit for others, they have struck out directly into the end-user sector under the “ZeroTherm” brand and are in the process of taking the cooling world by storm…one cooler at a time.

When the ZeroTherm BTF90 “Butterfly” landed on the scene it made huge waves with its funky looks and great cooling potential and it seems APACK has learned from that cooler and made an even larger version of it called quite fittingly the Nirvana 120. Of course saying the Nirvana 120 is nothing more than a beefed up BTF90 is almost an insult since a lot of redesign has gone into the overall layout to take things to the next level. With its black motif and nude fan it looks like a million bucks and if rumors are to be believed cools like an SOB too.

To us the perfect cooler triple threat would be: Looks, Performance & Price; and while this cooler may look like the equivalent of a Royals Royce, it is priced more like a Volvo. The Nirvana 120 will soon be available at retailers and e-tailers throughout the country and should go for a shade under $60.

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