The current crop of graphics cards are behemoths, both in performance abilities but also in terms of sheer physical size. The Radeon 5870, for example, is over 11" long and has an utterly massive cooler in order to keep that horsepower under control. Make no mistake, the 40nm core is certainly an improvement in terms of temperatures over the last generation chips, but it is still a monster in terms of heat output.
The Prolimatech MK-13 has absolutely no problems handling that heat, taming the Radeon beast in impressive fashion. Much like the Megahalems CPU cooler, the MK-13 is big, bold, and extremely capable, using a brute force approach with a huge number of fins and heatpipe technology. Prolimatech offers flexibility for the fan installation method, and as we saw, the side mounting is far more preferred to a bottom mount solution, regardless of the type of fan you choose. Not only can the GPU core temperatures potentially improve by an astounding 20°C with the side mounting, the difference is even greater when compared to the stock cooler on the Radeon 5870. The VRM temperatures are also significantly improved with the side mounting as well.
There are a few flies in the ointment here, however. The MK-13’s size is perhaps its greatest asset but also somewhat of a detraction. With the cooler and fan(s) in place, it occupies a large volume within your case, and certainly isn’t recommended for tight cases. Second, the warm air is not exhausted directly out of the case and you must rely on good internal airflow to manage system temperatures as a result. On the topic of fans, there also isn’t a fan included here, so you do have the choice of whatever suits your needs, from silent to high-output. This is both a pro and a con, as the inconvenience of having to order a separate fan is offset by the inherent flexibility offered here. While Prolimatech’s decision is understandable, it is still somewhat disappointing nonetheless since you still need to purchase one, adding to the overall cost.
This brings the last issue and that is cost. We found the MK-13 for approximately $50USD, sitting very competitively in the VGA cooler market, but that amount also doesn’t include any fans. Factor in a couple fans, depending on how much you want to spend, and you could be easily spending $80USD when all is said and done. That is an expensive proposition for a VGA cooler. In terms of performance, however, we do think that performance is where it counts, and this Prolimatech cooler does a superb job.
The Prolimatech MK-13 is big, heavy, and brash, and it produces some very impressive performance results. If you are looking for top cooling performance, then the MK-13 is one of the very best you’ll find on the market, but that performance certainly doesn’t come cheap.
Our thanks go to Prolimatech for providing the MK-13 for this review.