Prolimatech Samuel 17 Mini-ITX CPU Heat Sink Review

Prolimatech's Samuel 17 is the only product in our low-profile heat sink series that ships without a fan. However, because its mounting frame extends beyond the metal fins, any 12cm cooler can be mounted on top of it.

Despite the atypically-sparse bundle, you do get two sets of fan screws: one that fits fans up to 0.5” thick and another suitable for 1"-thick fans. The large mounting frame allows you to rotate the cooler in such a way that the fan also blows across some motherboard components, such as system memory or power circuitry.

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Since the Samuel 17 is obviously intended for compact cases, we mounted a slim 12cm Scythe Slip Stream fan on it (SY1212SL12H). Since the Slip Stream can spin at up to 2000RPM, it should be able to force plenty of air through the sink's fins.

But we also tested this cooler with a 1”-thick Noctua NF-F12 PWM, which can run at up to 1500RPM. As long as it doesn’t make the cooler assembly too tall, Noctua's fan is an excellent match for the Prolimatech cooler, particularly since the fan's rubber corners isolate vibrations.

Apart from its oversized fan mounting frame, the Samuel 17 is the smallest cooler in our round-up at a mere 1.77” tall. But it also employs the largest number of heat pipes. Six nickel-plated pipes quickly dissipate waste heat from the CPU through the array of fins. The heat pipes exit the base plate from one side and are evenly cut.

The cooler is slightly asymmetrical; it's narrower where the heat pipes exit the sink, which helps clear memory modules in the innermost DIMM slot.

The base plate's manufacturing quality is excellent. It is milled on its top to increase surface area, and the bottom is nickel-plated and sanded down.

Installation And Compatibility

Prolimatech forgoes a back plate. Instead, two socket-specific mounting brackets need to be attached to the cooler's frame.

After doing that, four plastic washers are slipped over four screws, which are then installed from the motherboard's underside and tightened to those mounting brackets.

DIMM height isn't restricted if you point the side of the sink with bent heat pipes towards the board's upper edge or memory slots. When the bends point left, which means the heat pipe ends overlie the memory slots, DIMM height is limited to approximately 1.18”. When the fan mounting frame extends over those slots, memory modules can be up to 1.7” tall.

Benchmark Results

Conclusion

The Prolimatech Samuel 17 is the only cooler in our test field that doesn't include a fan, which would make a hefty price harder to justify if this heat sink was still readily available. It doesn't seem to be, though.

If you are able to get your hands on one, its build quality is excellent, and it supports the use of slim fans as well as more familiar 1"-thick blowers. Height is at the low end of the >2” sample set, and our test results reflect that. But we like its asymmetrical build, which should ensure that it fits on most motherboards. By simply rotating this cooler, you can move it out of the way of tall DIMMs or a graphics card. The fan extends beyond the cooling fins, allowing it to blow air across your platform's power circuitry. Naturally, sound level is going to be determined by the fan you choose to install.

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16 comments
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  • Eggz
    Finally, a mITX cooler that outperforms the stock Intel cooler!
  • Yuka
    Not a direct contact, but it performs fine. It's the first I see that performs fine.

    That is a surprise all by itself, haha.

    Cheers!
  • lowguppy
    This is the cooler I put in my Millennium Falcon mITX build with a slim fan on top. That puts it within a couple MM of the height of the low profile video card. It has no problem keeping the i5 3570K cool. I even stress tested it overclocked to a modest 4.4ghz without issue.
  • Baumy15
    the overhang is good you can hang it over your ram to keep it cool aswell
  • vaelyan
    The quality of articles at Tom's has been in decline ever since the "Best of" group bought them. The two fans they chose were far more expensive than a fan Prolimatech makes and the slim one they chose moves less than half the half the air while the standard they chose come close to the CFM of the Prolimatech USB14 it still falls short.
  • suau
    Please add the Thermolab ITX30 and the Zalman CNPS2X to the tests!
  • suau
    Please add the Thermolab ITX30 and the Zalman CNPS2X to the tests!
  • JeanLuc
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/prolimatech-samuel-17-mini-itx-heat-sink,3970.html

    The graph is very misleading if you don't look closely at the numbers, at a glance you might think the Noctua produced half the noise of the Prolimatech yet the actual difference is barely 1.5 db!
  • Calculatron
    I hope that Thermalright cooling solution gets some love too. :(
  • jtd871
    The chart scales are not appropriate for the data when the data points are very close together. I would also argue that the data would be better presented as XY plots of cooling delta vs noise with specific RPM levels indicated by codes or labels. An overall summary or roundup would be helpful, as would a discussion of value (cooling vs noise vs price).
  • dovah-chan
    Well this isn't about budget and it's well known that small form factors with high performance and low noise are a luxury these days so anyone who is purchasing a case that is so small to need these coolers, will not have any qualms about spending an extra $20 for a fan.
  • RedJaron
    Splitting the data into six graphs makes it rather hard to follow. It'd be easier to compare if you used two cluster graphs based on temp delta and fan noise. Each fan would have three bars representing the three fan speeds. Grouping the data like this shows how consistent the Samuel 17 is, regardless what fan and fan speed is used. Even at 1000 rpm it stays below 33*. That's fairly impressive considering all other coolers in the roundup were at least 20* higher in that situation.
  • Haravikk
    Nice to see this reviewed, as it should be great for the size. But you should really have reviewed it with Prolimatech's Ultra Sleek Vortex fans, the Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 would have been especially interesting as it's a 140mm, 15mm thick fan with 120mm mounting holes, so it would cool pretty much every component of a Mini ITX motherboard.
  • bit_user
    Newegg has it in stock, right now.

    I wonder how it compares to Scythe's Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B. I was just about to use one of those in a mini-ITX build. It has 5 heatpipes that are looped around to touch the fins on both ends (does that count as 10 heatpipes?). It's basically the Kozuti with 2 more heatpipes and a bigger fan on top, instead of the small one underneath the fins. I'm currently running one (lapped) in a 3.6 GHz quad-core Sandbridge-E (130 W TDP) system with a Noctua 140 mm round fan. It stays below 70 C, under full load. So, I think it's pretty good.

    My beef with both of these coolers is that neither is direct touch. But I guess Xigmatek or somebody probably has a patent on that. I wish I had the tools to grind down the block and convert it to direct touch, myself.
  • logainofhades
    If I go mini itx, since I intend on getting a Coolermaster Elite 130, I will just get a Seidon 120xl.
  • spawn05
    So we are talking about $73.00 For the heat sink and the fan. That's a little steep. But if the results stated 27.8 is accurate I think I'm interested. I have a motherboard with a Intel i7 LGA 1155 socket processor. That would be 82.04 Fahrenheit that's 10 degrees lower that mine is running right now. I priced both items on Newegg.com with free shipping. That's with the Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Case Fan.