Raijintek achieves the seemingly impossible with its Pallas low-profile CPU cooler. The company produces a brand-new entry in the mini-ITX-specific category that beats our previous recommendation, Thermalright's AXP-200, in several key areas and costs less to boot. Numerous small optimizations give it better performance and less height at the same time.
The Pallas’ higher number of aluminum cooling fins, which are also closer to each other, lets it convert its fan’s higher maximum RPM straight into more performance. The more you slow the fan down though, the more that advantage shrinks. This is due to the different underlying design concepts of the two CPU coolers.
In any case, the bottom line here is that Raijintek's Pallas can handle an overclocked 180W CPU. Performance reserves like these might not always be necessary, but they’re certainly impressive. Enthusiasts who’d like to overclock their processors in a confined space and want to stick with air cooling will find the right tool for the job with the Pallas. Its reserves also make this heat sink a true all-arounder. Even some tower coolers with massive surface area can’t handle our overclocking scenario.
The Pallas’ build quality can also be recommended without any reservations. Thermalright's AXP-200 sports a smaller number of thicker fins, making the sink seem more solid and robust. It also includes the option to use a full-size fan, fares better in the looks department and is quieter. Finally, Thermalright’s backplate has better compatibility with ITX motherboards. Raijintek might take care of this shortcoming in the future, though.
Those factors aside, the Pallas is a clear winner when it comes to height. Standing 6.8cm tall (including the fan), it beats the competition by 0.5cm.
This year’s first real surprise in the CPU cooler category is here: the Raijintek Pallas. It takes the crown, becoming the most powerful mini-ITX-specific CPU cooler. That’s not all, though. It has the unique ability to cool overclocked 180W CPUs that even some tower coolers can’t handle, making it an option for use in larger systems as well.
At $40, the Pallas is also less expensive than its direct competition. The only caveats are a backplate that’s not compatible with all mini-ITX motherboards and the missing option to install a full-size fan. Neither of these change the fact that Raijintek's Pallas is the new reference for cooling performance in the low-profile space.
Kai Tubbesing is an Associate Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware Germany, covering Cooling.