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Review: Antec PRIZM Matrix

The PRIZM Matrix from antec is a pretty unique concept. These days pretty much all cases can accept a multitude of fans with the bare minimum on even a small form factor case being two 120mm fans next to each other.

It’s no surprise then that this has become the go-to form factor for all-in-one liquid coolers, and Antec have spotted a market for something just a little bit different .

The PRIZM Matrix is designed to mount to any AIO or case which has space for two 120mm fans. In doing so you not only get a different look to your project but also, potentially better cooling and less noise.

The premise is that rather than two individual fans with seperate outer housings, the PRIZM Matrix can make better use of the space while maintaining the necessary structure around them. Antec say this means there’s more space for fan blades, which ultimately means more airflow and/or slower speeds, depending on how you use it.

I like the overall look of the PRIZM Matrix. Antec’s build quality can vary greatly, but this unit at least seems well constructed and the plastics don’t feel or look cheap.

A nice touch are the noise isolation inserts.. Not only are these on all four corners of the unit but also on the middle section, which should help reduce noise. That said, with no mounting points in the centre (just a screw hole on each corner) it’s questionable whether the inserts in the middle will actually make contact in all cases.

Overall I really like the look of this unit and I can see it fitting in well as a straight swap out for a pair of 120mm fans used as case fans or on an AIO. The two tone grey plastic has a great look to it and it should fit in well with most themed builds.

When it comes to connecting to your system the PRIZM Matrix uses a bespoke wiring harness which breaks out to a standard PWM 4-pin fan connector and 5V aRGB header.

On the other end you get a single 8-pin connector which connects to a single header on the fan unit. This helps to keep wiring clutter down and I really like it as a concept rather than having seperate fixed fan and RGB leads attached.

One thing I was not expecting to see inside the package is an Antec PWM fan and aRGB splitter. This isn’t strictly needed to make the unit work, but if your motherboard only has a single aRGB or fan header it’s a great way to expand your system. It’s a really nice touch to see Antec include this unit with the PRIZM Matrix, though not everyone will have the space or the desire to use it.

The controller does have another use; it can actually provide the aRGB signal to the PRIZM Matrix (and any other aRGB components connected to it). So if your motherboard only came with 12V RGB headers (or no headers at all) you can use the controller itself to set the speed and mode of the RGB patterns independently.

In my experience with the unit both systems work well, but obviously with a direct aRGB connection to your motherboard you’re going to be able to select from more options (depending on your software) and with greater ease.

Even if you don’t want to use the controller with the PRIZM Matrix, it uses standard headers for both the fan and RGB connectors, so it could potentially be used in another build elsewhere where you don’t have the appropriate headers on the motherboard.

In use the look of the PRIZM Matrix is pretty unique, and it looks great, check out the gallary below:

But what about Antec’s claim that the PRIZM Matrix can improve cooling performance and/or reduce noise levels? Well, I tested it against the stock fans of my Cryorig A40 all in one cooler and the results were quite impressive.

My test system was my main rig, with is an AMD Ryzen 3900X based system. For the purpose of this test I ran the CPU in stock configuration (not overclocked) and kept the stock fan curve as defined in the BIOs of the MSI X570 motherboard.

Under a synthetic 100% load via Cinebench R20 I recorded significantly lower CPU temperatures after 20 minutes with the Antex PRIZM Matrix than with the stock Cryorig fans:

During the same text the maximum fan speed was recorded by HWMonitor, and this too showed that the PRIZM Matrix span slower in order to achieve better temperature results than the stock fans:

The lower fan speed ultimately equates to lower noise levels, and I can report that the PRIZM Matrix seemed significantly quieter even when the system was put under full load. That said, if I were to bump the speed of the PRIZM Matrix up via the PWM controls it became significantly louder than pretty much any other fan I’ve used when pushed to full speed. The dynamic of this is quite interesting; you should be able to run the PRIZM Matrix slower than other fans in most use cases (and it’s therefore quieter), but if you HAVE to run it at full speed then it becomes annoyingly loud and difficult to recommend.

For this reason, Intel owners may face a different set of circumstances, particularly in the higher end of the market where Intel chips are known to run hot and therefore the PRIZM Matrix is likely to run at a higher speed more often.

Conclusion

Based on what I’ve seen it’s hard not to recommend the PRIZM Matrix. It runs slower and quieter than many stock fans and it looks pretty unique and awesome while doing it. It also feels sturdy and comes with that bundled fan controller, there has to be a catch, right?

Well, there is. And it’s the price. The PRIZM Matrix comes in at around £40, which is pretty expensive for essentially a pair of 120mm fans and puts it at the top end of the market place alongside the likes of Noctua who have tried and tested products.

If you can find it on special offer, though, the PRIZM Matrix is an excellent buy and you should definitely consider buying it.

Author

Matt

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