Prolimatech MK-26 Multi-VGA Cooler

Cooling
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TEST METHODOLOGY

Test Platform

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Test Procedure

Our test procedure is an in-system test, designed to determine whether the cooler is adequate for use in a low-noise system. By adequately cooled, we mean cooled well enough that no misbehavior related to thermal overload is exhibited. Thermal misbehavior in a graphics card can show up in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sudden system shutdown, reboot without warning, or loss of display signal
  • Jaggies and other visual artifacts on the screen.
  • Motion slowing and/or screen freezing.

Any of these misbehaviors are annoying at best and dangerous at worst — dangerous to the health and lifespan of the graphics card, and sometimes to the system OS.

Heatsinks are installed on an HIS Radeon HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo, a factory-overclocked single GPU card that draws about 236W by our estimates. The stock VRM heatsink is left on for convenience. Noise is measured and recorded with our test system on with the heatsink installed. Our mic is positioned at a distance of one meter from the center of the case's left side panel at a 45 degree angle. The GPU temperature is recorded using GPU-Z.

Our main test consists of FurMark stability test running in conjunction with Prime95 to stress both the graphics card and processor simultaneously. This combination produces more CPU/GPU stress than a typical gaming session. As our test system has very limited airflow, our results are not indicative of a real-world situation, but rather a worse-case scenario. If the heatsink in question can cool the card and its components adequately in this environment it means there will be some degree of thermal headroom when deployed in a more conventional situation.

The cooler's fan(s) (if applicable) are connected to a custom external fan controller and tested at various speeds to represent a good cross-section of its airflow and noise performance. If the heatsink is passively cooled, we use different predefined system fan speeds to determine the effect of system airflow on cooling performance.

GPU Test System:
Anechoic chamber measurements
Setting
System Fan Speed
System SPL@1m
High
1130 RPM
26 dBA
Med
820 RPM
18 dBA
Low
580 RPM
12~13 dBA
Note: mic is positioned at a distance of one meter from the center of the case's left side panel at a 45 degree angle.


For heatsinks that support but don't include standard case fans, our reference fans are used. The measured details of these models are shown below, derived using our standard fan testing methodology.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
28~29 dBA
1250 RPM
9V
21 dBA
990 RPM
8V
18 dBA
880 RPM
7V
15~16 dBA
770 RPM
6V
13 dBA
660 RPM

Reference Nexus 120mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1080 RPM
9V
13 dBA
880 RPM
7V
12 dBA
720 RPM

Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1470 RPM
9V
12 dBA
1150 RPM


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