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March 29, 2014

Prolimatech Ultra Slim Vortex Performance Review


Prolimatech is well known for their PC cooling solutions, the much endorsed Megahalems and MK-26 has proven to provide top notch cooling performance compared to many. Instead of the gigantic heatpipes, our review today will be covering the Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex fans - great thanks to Prolimatech for sending us the review unit for both Ultra Sleek Vortex 12 (USV12) and Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 (USV14).

Both Ultra Sleek Vortex aka USV fans comes with a thickness of 15mm each, 40% lesser than the 25mm thickness on most conventional cooling fans but does the reduction in size means of reduction in performance as well? 


Specifications

 Prolimatech USV12 - $19.99 (Amazon)
Dimension120 x 120 x 15mm 
BearingDouble Ball Bearing
Net Weight91g
Fan SpeedPWM 400 ~ 1300 RPM 
Noise Level7~17 dBA
Airflow56 CFM
Connector4 PIN PWM
Rated Voltage :12 V
Rated Current :0.12 Max. Amp
Input Power :1.44 W
Input Current :0.12 Max. Amp
MTBF :100,000 h / 35℃ or 60,000 h / 60℃
Static Pressure :0.9 mmH2O

Overview


Our first look at the front packaging, the image printed seems to be the actual size of the fan itself and there's a small cutout area which reveals the fan blade that seems to be aligned with the image in the front.


The accessories included, 4 pieces of screws and a 4-pin molex connector. 


Last but not least, the fan itself. The USV12 comes with a 4-pin PWM connector that offers more power efficient cooling and the cable is sleeved with black rubber sleeving for a cleaner and tidier appearance.


Compared side by side with a Gentle Typhoon AP-15 with 25mm thickness. 


Prolimatech USV14 - $19.99 (Amazon)
Dimension(L)140mm X (W)140mm X (H)15mm  (with 120mm mounting holes)
BearingDouble Ball Bearing
Net Weight91g
Fan Speed300 ~ 1000 RPM (±100RPM)
Noise Level9 ~ 18 dBA
Airflow98 CFM
Connector4 PIN PWM
Rated Voltage12 V
Rated Current0.19 Max. Amp
Input Power2.04 W
Input Current0.19 Max. Amp
MTBF100,000 h / 35℃ or 60,000 h / 60℃
Static Pressure0.9 mm H2O  (at 1,000 RPM)

Overview

Just like the USV12, the front packaging of the USV14 comes with the same cutout that reveals the fan blades that seems to be aligned with the fan image printed on.


The accessories included is basically the same, 4 pieces of metal screws and a 4-pin molex connector.


Just like the USV12 but larger in size, the USV14 comes with a 4-pin PWM connector and rubber sleeved cables but, unlike most conventional 140mm fans, the USV14 comes in a round shaped frame instead of  square shaped frame. 


Compared side by side with a Fractal Design Silent Series R2 140mm fan- top view, the USV14 appears to be smaller in size. 


Both USV12 and USV14 has the same thickness of 15mm, but what makes the USV14 special is that there's some additional perks which can be added to the USV14.

Static Booster 14

Cost $7.99 each
Static Booster 14, perks for the USV14 which boast to be able to increase the static pressure of the USV14 after installed. Comes available in white and black, this makes us wonder if the USV14 will be available in white soon as the current USV14 we've seen only comes in Black.



The Static Booster 14 looks like a piece of clip on plastic frame which is very rigid to the touch and the installation is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

 
Installing the Static Booster 14 adds another 10mm of thickness to the fan. With a total of 25mm, the thickness of USV14 with Static Booster 14 installed is pretty much the same as any conventional 140mm fan.



A demonstration on the screw mounting hole on the USV14, the 140mm fan which can be installed to a 120mm fan mount instead of 140mm fan mount.

Main Benefit of slim fans?

Clearance for fan installation has always been an issue for those who wish to install more fans but their current chassis just don't seems to allow them to do so. As seen from the picture above, conventional cooling fans is unable to reach a desired spot because of clearance issue.

Slim fans on the other hand, is able to reach certain narrow spot without any issue. 


Testing Method

The following configuration is our setup for the performance review:
Test Rig Configuration
CPUIntel Core i5 3570K overclocked to 4.0GHz
MotherboardAsus Sabertooth Z77
MemoryCorsair Vengeance 4GB x 4
GraphicsEVGA GTX770 SuperClocked w/ ACX Cooling
Power SupplySeasonic X660 80+ Gold 
DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Blue 500GB
CoolerCorsair Hydro Series H80
ChassisCorsair Carbide Series 300R Windowed

The intake fan for this setup consists 2 pieces of Silverstone AP121 while the exhaust is the fans mounted on the H80 radiator made up of the following pairs with 12V supplied:
- Prolimatech USV14 with Static Booster 14 
- Prolimatech USV14
- Prolimatech USV12
- Bitfenix Spectre Pro 120mm
- Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15

CPU stress test is conducted using the Prime95 with the option 'In-place large FFTs' for maximum heat output from the CPU itself and the room temperature where the test is conducted varies from 30ºC to 33ºC. The stress test is done repeatedly for a more accurate result as we're experiencing climate changes during the test and the the numbers we're getting is very uneven. As result, the test too almost 2 month before the final result is concluded. The graphs below shows the final result of the rally of our test carried out throughout these 2 month:


Despite of being slimmer in size, the Ultra Sleek Vortex fans from Prolimatech performs exceptionally well, much better than we have expected. 

With the Static Booster 14 installed, we're able to achieve a result which is very near to the Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15 by difference of 1 ºC. Without the Static Booster 14, the USV14 is displaying a lower performance by 2 ºC different while idle and 1 ºC while on load. 

As for the USV12, we're really surprised as it is able to be on par with the Bitfenix Spectre Pro 120mm. We're curious to know what will the result be if there's a Static Booster 12 for the USV12. Much impressive performance from Prolimatech, wow.



Our Verdict

Both USV14 and USV12 performed exceptionally well throughout the review. Even though there's some design issues which slightly affect the compatibility, still there's no doubts that the Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex fans is one of the best slim type fan that we've came across so far. 

USV12
Pros 
- Strong frame that doesn't bend easily
- Slim enough to reach narrow spots
- PWM controlled
- Sleeved cable
- Good performer, on par with Bitfenix Spectre Pro 120mm
- Works well with self-contained liquid cooler with 120mm/240mm/360mm radiator

Cons
- Rubber cable sleeve is harder to clean when dust accumulate on its surface
- Slightly noisy on full load


USV14
Pros
- Strong frame that doesn't bend easily
- Able to mount on 120mm fan mount 
- PWM controlled
- Sleeved cable
- Slim enough to reach narrow spots
- Additional add-on to improve performance (Static Booster 14)
- Works well with self-contained liquid cooler with 120mm and heatsink

Cons
- Very limited option for installation due to it's shape 
- cannot be mounted on 140mm fan mount
- Rubber cable sleeve is harder to clean when dust accumulate on its surface

Without any hesitation, we're awarding the USV12 with our Tech Critter Gold Award and USV14 with our Tech Critter Silver Award and would highly recommend it to those who need some extra cooling performance but with limited clearance for fan installation.  





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