The Prolimatech Panther is a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, four heatpipes and a 120 mm fan with LEDs. It seems to be a smaller version of the Armageddon CPU cooler, which we already reviewed. Let’s test it and see how well it performs.
The Panther comes in a black cardboard box with no transparent windows, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: heatsink, fan, a syringe of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware. Although the Panther comes with only one fan, it supports two, coming with the clips necessary to install both.
Figure 3 displays the Panther heatsink.
This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.
[nextpage title=”The Prolimatech Panther”]
Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler. Here you can see that the heatpipes are disposed side-by-side, in a straight line.
Figure 5 reveals the side of the relatively narrow heatsink. Here (and in Figure 6) you can notice a unique feature of the Panther: the fins are not whole, but are split into two halves and interleaved at the middle of the heatsink.
In Figure 6, you can see the top of the heatsink, where the tips of the heatpipes are visible. You can also observe the same logo seen on the box, resembling a cat (well, probably a panther).
[nextpage title=”The Prolimatech Panther (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 7, you can see how the nickel-plated heatpipes are distributed from the base to the heatsink.
Figure 8 reveals the base of the cooler, which is smooth but not exactly mirrored.
In Figure 9, you can see the fan that comes with the Panther. This fan has red LEDs, and it is compatible with PWM control.
We were surprised with the ease of installation of this cooler. On the other hand, the Panther supports only sockets 1155 and 1156 CPUs from Intel, and sockets AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, and FM1 AMD processors. There is no support for socket LGA775 and socket LGA1366 CPUs, and socket LGA2011 processors are supported through special screws that must be purchased separately.
The first step is to screw both clips seen in Figure 10 to the base of the cooler. There is a pair of clips for socket LGA1155 (that also fit sockets 1156 and 2011) and another pair for AMD sockets.
Then you must locate the backplate according to your CPU (Figure 11 shows the backplate for sockets 1155 and 1156; there is another one for AMD CPUs) on the solder side of the motherboard.
After that, place the cooler over the CPU and hold it, fastening the four spring-loaded, easy-to-reach thumbscrews.
In Figure 13, you can see the cooler with the fan installed and the LEDs glowing. (The wire clips make this step a piece of cake.)
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.
We measured noise and temperature with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all threads, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)
We compared the tested cooler to the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (included with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and we retested some "old" coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read
in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies it.
Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings. During the tests, the left panel of the case was open.
The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn’t interfere with the results. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which isn’t the case here.
- Processor: Core i7-860
- Motherboard: Gigabyte P55A-UD6
- Memory: 2 GB Markvision (DDR3-1333/PC3-10700 with 9-9-9-22 timings), configured at 1,200 MHz
- Hard disk: Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB
- Video card: Zotac GeForce GTS 250
- Video resolution: 1680×1050
- Video monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 2232BW Plus
- Power supply: Seventeam ST-550P-AM
- Case: 3RSystem L-1100 T.REX Cool
Operating System Configuration
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1
We adopted a 2 °C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.
[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]
The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at idle and at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.
Processor at Full Load
|Cooler||Room Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.||Noise||Speed||Core Temp.|
|Intel stock (socket LGA1156)||14 °C||44 dBA||1700 rpm||46 °C||54 dBA||2500 rpm||90 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G1||14 °C||47 dBA||2050 rpm||33 °C||56 dBA||2900 rpm||62 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Extreme||14 °C||45 dBA||1400 rpm||27 °C||53 dBA||1950 rpm||51 °C|
|Thermaltake Silent 1156||14 °C||44 dBA||1200 rpm||38 °C||49 dBA||1750 rpm||69 °C|
|Noctua NH-D14||14 °C||49 dBA||1250 rpm||27 °C||49 dBA||1250 rpm||53 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Performa||14 °C||46 dBA||1500 rpm||28 °C||52 dBA||1950 rpm||54 °C|
|Prolimatech Megahalems||14 °C||40 dBA||750 rpm||27 °C||60 dBA||2550 rpm||50 °C|
|Thermaltake Frio||14 °C||46 dBA||1450 rpm||27 °C||60 dBA||2500 rpm||50 °C|
|Prolimatech Samuel 17||14 °C||40 dBA||750 rpm||40 °C||60 dBA||2550 rpm||63 °C|
|Zalman CNPS8000A||18 °C||43 dBA||1400 rpm||39 °C||54 dBA||2500 rpm||70 °C|
|Spire TherMax Eclipse II||14 °C||55 dBA||2200 rpm||28 °C||55 dBA||2200 rpm||53 °C|
|Scythe Ninja3||17 °C||39 dBA||700 rpm||32 °C||55 dBA||1800 rpm|
|Corsair A50||18 °C||52 dBA||1900 rpm||33 °C||52 dBA||1900 rpm||60 °C|
|Thermaltake Jing||18 °C||44 dBA||850 rpm||34 °C||49 dBA||1300 rpm||60 °C|
|GlacialTech Alaska||18 °C||43 dBA||1150 rpm||36 °C||51 dBA||1600 rpm||60 °C|
|Deepcool Gamer Storm||18 °C||43 dBA||1100 rpm||35 °C||48 dBA||1600 rpm||62 °C|
|Corsair A70||26 °C||56 dBA||1900 rpm||40 °C||56 dBA||1900 rpm||65 °C|
|Deepcool Ice Blade Pro||23 °C||45 dBA||1200 rpm||38 °C||52 dBA||1500 rpm||64 °C|
|AC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2||23 °C||47 dBA||1750 rpm||44 °C||51 dBA||2100 rpm||77 °C|
|Corsair H70||27 °C||60 dBA||1900 rpm||37 °C||60 dBA||1900 rpm||61 °C|
|Zalman CNPS9900 Max||27 °C||55 dBA||1600 rpm||38 °C||58 dBA||1750 rpm||63 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP||25 °C||45 dBA||1700 rpm||51 °C||49 dBA||1950 rpm||91 °C|
|CoolIT Vantage||26 °C||60 dBA||2500 rpm||37 °C||60 dBA||2500 rpm||62 °C|
|Deepcool Ice Matrix 600||25 °C||46 dBA||1100 rpm||41 °C||53 dBA||1300 rpm||69 °C|
|Titan Hati||26 °C||46 dBA||1500 rpm||40 °C||57 dBA||2450 rpm||68 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Freezer 13||27 °C||49 dBA||1950 rpm||41 °C||53 dBA||2300 rpm||70 °C|
|Noctua NH-C14||26 °C||52 dBA||1300 rpm||37 °C||52 dBA||1300 rpm||61 °C|
|Intel XTS100H||26 °C||49 dBA||1200 rpm||42 °C||64 dBA||2600 rpm||68 °C|
|Zalman CNPS5X SZ||23 °C||52 dBA||2250 rpm||38 °C||57 dBA||2950 rpm||69 °C|
|Thermaltake SlimX3||21 °C||50 dBA||2700 rpm||46 °C||50 dBA||2750 rpm||99 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper 101||21 °C||50 dBA||2600 rpm||38 °C||57 dBA||3300 rpm||71 °C|
|Antec Kühler H2O 620||19 °C||52 dBA||1400 rpm||34 °C||55 dBA||1400 rpm||58 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro||20 °C||46 dBA||1100 rpm||36 °C||49 dBA||1300 rpm||62 °C|
|GlacialTech Siberia||22 °C||49 dBA||1400 rpm||34 °C||49 dBA||1400 rpm||61 °C|
|Evercool Transformer 3||18 °C||46 dBA||1800 rpm||33 °C||51 dBA||2250 rpm||65 °C|
|Zalman CNPS11X Extreme||20 °C||51 dBA||1850 rpm||34 °C||56 dBA||2050 rpm||61 °C|
|Thermaltake Frio OCK||15 °C||44 dBA||1000 rpm||27 °C||64 dBA||2200 rpm||51 °C|
|Prolimatech Genesis||18 °C||49 dBA||1050 rpm||30 °C||49 dBA||1050 rpm||54 °C|
|Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME Rev. 2||15 °C||41 dBA||1050 rpm||32 °C||44 dBA||1400 rpm||60 °C|
|NZXT HAVIK 140||16 °C||48 dBA||1250 rpm||29 °C||49 dBA||1250 rpm||55 °C|
|Antec Kühler H2O 920||18 °C||41 dBA||650 rpm||29 °C||64 dBA||2500 rpm||49 °C|
|Zalman CNP7X LED||18 °C||45 dBA||1950 rpm||33 °C||48 dBA||2150 rpm||58 °C|
|EVGA Superclock||14 °C||43 dBA||1300 rpm||27 °C||58 dBA||2350 rpm||47 °C|
|Evercool Transformer 4||15 °C||46 dBA||1500 rpm||26 °C||53 dBA||1950 rpm||52 °C|
|Xigmatek Dark Knight||18 °C||47 dBA||1700 rpm||30 °C||53 dBA||2150 rpm||57 °C|
|Xigmatek Aegir||15 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||27 °C||50 dBA||1950 rpm||52 °C|
|Cooler Master GeminII S524||16 °C||45 dBA||1300 rpm||29 °C||53 dBA||1800 rpm||58 °C|
|Enermax ETS-T40-TA||16 °C||40 dBA||1050 rpm||28 °C||48 dBA||1800 rpm||55 °C|
|Corsair H80||14 °C||42 dBA||2150 rpm||25 °C||52 dBA||2150 rpm||47 °C|
|Akasa Venom Voodoo||13 °C||40 dBA||1000 rpm||26 °C||48 dBA||1500 rpm||51 °C|
|Xigmatek Thor’s Hammer||15 °C||44 dBA||1500 rpm||30 °C||50 dBA||2000 rpm||55 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM||19 °C||45 dBA||1400 rpm||30 °C||52 dBA||1900 rpm||54 °C|
|Xigmatek Loki||17 °C||44 dBA||1850 rpm||34 °C||55 dBA||2750 rpm||60 °C|
|Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO||14 °C||44 dBA||1250 rpm||26 °C||50 dBA||1750 rpm||50 °C|
|Xigmatek Gaia||17 °C||44 dBA||1250 rpm||32 °C||46 dBA||1500 rpm||61 °C|
|Rosewill RCX-ZAIO-92||21 °C||48 dBA||2050 rpm||37 °C||54 dBA||2600 rpm||68 °C|
|Thermalright True Spirit 120||16 °C||41 dBA||1000 rpm||30 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||55 °C|
|Corsair H100||20 °C||55 dBA||2000 rpm||29 °C||59 dBA||2000 rpm||50 °C|
|Zalman CNPS12X||20 °C||47 dBA||1200 rpm||31 °C||47 dBA||1200 rpm||58 °C|
|Thermalright Macho||23 °C||41 dBA||1100 rpm||36 ° C||44 dBA||1300 rpm||61 °C|
|NZXT HAVIK 120||21 °C||55 dBA||1800 rpm||37 °C||55 dBA||1800 rpm||66 °C|
|Zalman CNPS11X Performa||19 °C||44 dBA||1450 rpm||30 °C||48 dBA||1600 rpm||57 °C|
|Enermax ETD-T60-VD||24 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||37 °C||54 dBA||1900 rpm||63 °C|
|Prolimatech Panther||26 °C||46 dBA||1400 rpm||39 °C||51 dBA||1750 rpm||68 °C|
In the graph below, at full load you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Prolimatech Panther CPU cooler include:
- Application: Sockets 1155, 1156, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, and FM1 processors
- Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.0 x 6.3 inches (130 x 50 x 161 mm) (W x L x H)
- Fins: Aluminum
- Base: Nickel-plated copper
- Heat-pipes: Four 6-mm copper heatpipes
- Fan: 120 mm with red LEDs
- Nominal fan speed: 1,600 rpm
- Fan air flow: Not informed
- Maximum power consumption: 3.6 W
- Nominal noise level: Not informed
- Weight: 1.3 lb (570 g)
- More information: https://www.prolimatech.com
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 55.00
* Researched at FronzenCPU.com on the day we published this review.
The Prolimatech Panther is very well-made with the usual Prolimatech construction quality. The installation is simple and it looks awesome thanks to the fan with red LEDs.
It has good cooling performance with low noise level. However, the Panther promised more than it delivered. Apparently, the fan is too weak for the heatsink used, with high fin density and interleaved fins at the center. Putting the hand behind the heatsink when it is working, we cannot “feel” the air flowing through it. Maybe by using two strong fans in a push-pull configuration, the Panther heatsink can deliver all of its potential, but since our methodology is to test all coolers “as is,” doing that test would not be fair to the other coolers we tested so far.
The only problem with the Prolimatech Panther is its low price/performance ratio, which is a big issue for the Average Joe. Therefore, we are giving it the Hardware Secrets Bronze Award.