Introduction

PCCOOLER is a relatively new brand focused on PC Coolers, Case Fans, PSU and PC Chassis manufacturing. PCCOOLER is a brand of Shenzhen Fluence Technology PLC, which was founded in 2005. PCCOOLER is a leading brand in China domestic market and now their products are available in other countries including America, Brazil, Chile, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Germany, Japan and so on.

PCCOOLER has sent us their newly released GI-Paladin 400 and Paladin 400 A-RGB edition air coolers for the review. PCCOOLER has high expectation from this cooler in the category of 4 heat pipes cooling solution. The GI-PALADIN 400 is compatible with – Intel Sockets LGA: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200 and AMD AM4 Socket. The rated TDP is 200W for this cooler. These coolers are available in A-RGB version as well as non-ARGB version.

Item:                                     GI-PALADIN 400

Manufacturer:                    PCCOOLER

Price:                                    $28 MSRP for Paladin 400

$32.99 MSRP for Paladin 400 A-RGB

Specifications

Dimension

Packaging and Unboxing

Both coolers are shipped inside a cardboard packing box. The only difference in both is the A-RGB fan vs non-ARGB fan. The specification of both fans and the heat sink is same.

The coolers feature 130mm fan for the 56-fins stack. They have 4x copper heat pipes in nickel coating having a thickness of 6mm. The coolers are rated for 200W TDP.

The specifications are printed in 6 languages. A serial no sticker is pasted on the bottom.

The salient features are printed on the sides of the packing box including up to 81 CFM on VortexPro PWM fans.

There is a black color accessory box placed on the top.

The fan is attached to the heatsink and nicely placed on the Styrofoam pad.

 

Contents

Let’s take a look at what PCCOOLER has provided in the accessory box.

There is a user guide for the installation of the cooler.

We have:

  • 1x Backplate for Intel
  • 1x Mounting Bracket

We have:

  • 4x pillars for the Intel sockets
  • 4x Gray color spacers for the Intel sockets
  • 4x pillars for the AMD socket
  • 4x Orange color spacers for the AMD socket

PCCOOLER has provided a thermal paste but it was removed by the customs officials during checking hence we did not receive the thermal paste.

 

Closer Look

It is time to take a closer look at the components. The PCCOOLER GI-PALADIN 400 is compatible with Intel /1200/115x and AMD AM4 sockets. PCCOOLER has mentioned this cooler to be able to handle thermal dissipation of up to 200W. This is effectively a 4 heat pipes cooling solution so it needs to be evaluated accordingly.

Heat Sink

The dimension of the cooler is 76x130x157mm where 157mm is the height of the cooler. The cooler weighs 700g.

We have a total of 56 aluminum fins stacked up forming a dense heat sink. There is no step design on the heat sink. The fins are in straight line manner and there is no v shape notch or any other peculiar design element in the heat sink. The front and rear sides are identical in layout. The exterior sides are protruding making the larger inner side having an inset.

The left and right sides of the heat sink are identical. It seems like the pipes and fins are not soldered. The outer sides have insets. This is where the metallic fan clips are attached to secure the fan on the heat sink. The cooler comes with one fan one set of fan clips. There is no extra set of clips to mount the second fan. The fins are not using the zipper fin technology. They seem to be rather punched.

The top plate has PCCOOLER branding in the center. The layout of the heat pipes indicates that the cooler is using the U shape format in an alternate manner. PCCOOLER has done a nice and clean job here. The terminating tips of the heat pipes can be seen.

The above picture shows the displacement of the heat pipes in the heat sink. We almost have a U shape design with pipes covering the heat sink for effective heat dissipation.

The PCCOOLER GI-PALADIN 400 is using 4x heat pipes. They are copper sintered powered heat pipes finished in nickel plating and having a thickness of 6mm each. The heat pipes are making contact with the fins stack in a pair of two pipes per line.

The mounting plate is pre-installed on the base of the cooler and it is removable. There is a large head screw in the middle securing the mounting plate on the base. The spring loaded screws are pre-installed on the mounting plate.

There is a protective cover on the base of the heat sink. It needs to be removed before installing the cooler. The base of the cooler measures roughly 38x36mm. The cooler is following the H.D.T. 3.0 milling. We have a Non-continuous direct contact method on the base where the heat pipes make a direct contact with the surface of the CPU but there are gaps between any two heat pipes.

FAN

PCCOOLER has provided their VortexPro PWM with the GI-PALADIN 400 cooler. This is a 130mm size fan with 9 black color blades on the simple model and 9 frosted blades on the A-RGB edition. The frame is not circular with specially designed mounting corners. The hub has a PCCOOLER branded sticker on it. Each mounting corner has an anti-vibration pad pasted on it. These fans are using Hydraulic Bearings.

The backside of the fan shows the 4-arms assembly on the main frame with one arm having catchers.  The wires are routed through these catchers towards the exterior of the fan. The fan is manufactured in China.

The fans have a 4-pin PWM fan connectors and are flat in design. The A-RGB fan has a standard 3-pin A-RGB connector.

The specifications of the fan are:

Dimension 130.6×130.6x25mm
Type 4-pin PWM Connector

3-pin A-RGB Connector (For A-RGB edition only)

Speed 800-1600 RPM ± 10%
Airflow 81 CFM
Air Pressure 2.18 mmH₂O
Noise 18~28.6 dB(A)
Rated Voltage 12VDC
Operating Voltage 6~13.8VDC
Starting Voltage 6VDC
Rated Current 0.05~0.29A (Fan Motor)
Power Input 3.24W

 

Here are a few pics of the coolers.

 

Installation

We have recently upgraded our Intel test bed and are now on Intel LGA1200 socket. Installation is as follow:

Place the backplate on the motherboard such as the threaded portion of the stand offs passed the mounting holes of the socket area. There are two dual sided tapes on the backplate. Peel off the covers so that the backplate can stick to the PCB on its own.

Place the white color spacers on the stand offs.

Place the mounting bracket on the top of the spacers and secure the assembly using the Intel pillars.

Remove the protective cover from the base of the cooler. Apply thermal paste on the CPU. Place the cooler on the CPU by aligning the holes on the base plate with the threaded portions of the standoffs. Secure the heatsink by using the spring-loaded screws.

Install the fan on the heat sink using the metallic clips. Connect the 4-pin PWM connector cable to the 4-pin PWM header of the motherboard. This would complete the installation. For GI-PALADIN 400 A-RGB edition, connect the 3-pin A-RGB connector to the motherboard’s 5V header.

Clearance

There is no clearance issue with respect to the first PCIe X16 slot on MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK.

There is no clearance issue with respect to the top area of the motherboard.

The fan does not overhang the DIMM slots and did not pose any issue to the T-Force NightHawk DDR4 RGB kit.

There is no clearance issue with respect to the rear side of the motherboard.

A-RGB Lighting

Testing

We have upgraded our Intel test bed recently. A few coolers have been tested on this setup. More will be added after the testing in coming time.

Following test benches have been used: –

  • Intel i7 10700k
  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
  • T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
  • bequiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
  • Open-air test bench

Here is the settings table for testing:

Clock (MHz) 3800 All Cores
Voltage (V) 1.025
Clock (MHz) 4700 All Cores
Voltage (V) 1.255
Clock (MHz) 5100 All Cores
Voltage (V) 1.345
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Thermal Paste Application Dot Method in the center.
Test Run Time 30 minutes
Idling Time 10 minutes
Fan Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle and Auto PWM
Header CPU_Fan header for the fans
Software AIDA64 6.3 Extreme [FPU]

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for coolers testing. Using a same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure the standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

The coolers are also tested using Auto PWM function. MSI is using Smart Fan mode in the UEFI/BIOS which is not pure Auto PWM but it is what is available to us. The above picture shows the MSI default fan curve for the Smart Fan mode. Since all the coolers will be tested using the same configuration and settings, same margin of error applies to all.

Let’s take a look at the results.

3.8GHz All Cores

 

4.7GHz All Cores

 

4.7GHz All Cores [Auto PWM]

 

Fans’ Speed on Auto PWM

The above graph shows the maximum speed attained by the fans on the Auto PWM. For comparison, we have included the rated speed of the fans to have reference in determining the Auto PWM range. The fan was almost reaching the rated speed showing good PWM regulation.

5.1GHz All Cores

These coolers could not handle the stress test with 5.1GHz on all cores. But they were able to handle the load for like 11 minutes or so before hitting the thermal junction on Intel i7 10700k.

Noise

The maximum recorded noise level on the PCCOOLER GI-Paladin was 53 dBA in an ambient noise level of 33 dBA.

Conclusion

PCCOOLER has sent us their GI-PALADIN 400 and GI-PALADIN 400 A-RGB air coolers for the review. Both coolers are same except the A-RGB fan vs non-RGB fan. This is a single tower configuration. The GI-PALADIN 400/A-RGB is compatible with – Intel Sockets LGA: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200 and AMD AM4 sockets. The tower is comprising 56 aluminum fins. The dimension of the cooler is 130x76x157mm where 157mm is the height of the cooler. Each fin has 0.4mm thickness. The 56pcs stacked aluminum fins are around 6600cm² thermal surface area. The fins have anti-oxidation protective layer coating on the surfaces.

PCCOOLER is using 4x 6mm thick copper sinter powdered heat pipes in nickel plating finish. They are in almost a U shape design making contact with the fin stack. The top plate has a PCCOOLER branding which is a nice touch. The overall build quality is fine. The cooler is following the non-continuous direct contact method in which the exposed copper portion of the heat pipes make a direct contact with the surface of the CPU. There is a gap between any two copper heat pipes on the base hence the therm non-continuous. The base measures 38x36mm.

The PCCOOLER GI-PALADIN 400 comes with a non-ARGB VortexPro PWM fan. The A-RGB edition has a same fan but with frosted blades and A-RGB LEDs. These fans have a dimension of 130.6×130.6×25 but can be mounted on a standard 120mm mounting provision which is a wise move. These fans are rated for up to 1600 RPM ±10% speed with a maximum airflow rating of 81 CFM at the air pressure rating of 2.18 mmH₂O. The fan features 9 blades to ensure high pressure with low noise operations. The installation of the cooler is convenient and involves only 10 mounting hardware items.

The PCCOOLER GI-PALADIN 400 is listed at $28 and GI-PALADIN 400 A-RGB at $32.99 MSRP at the time of the review. PCCOOLER is offering 3 years warranty on both coolers. PCCOOLER has provided a budget cooling segment with an uplift in a smart move. They have provided more surface area for effective heat dissipation yet remained in the 4-heat pipes cooling category. The performance is further enhanced by 130mm size fan. This has paid off to the PCCOOLER as the thermal performance of these coolers is quite good and to be honest we were not expecting this level of performance in this pocket friendly price. PCCOOLER has done a good job with these coolers and they come recommended by us in the budget cooling solution. Keep in mind that that these can’t handle the extreme overclock which is obvious but they can digest anything on stock and mild overclock.

We are thankful to the PCCOOLER for the provision of PALADIN 400 and 400-A-RGB coolers for the review.