Phanteks PH-TC14PE Reviewairman - December 4, 2011
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After having the opportunity to handle quite a large number of heatsinks over the past couple of years, I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. I've had the opportunity to ponder and ask myself, "What if I were to take the best, most effective heatsink on the market and throw everything I know and more at it. How much better could it be?" Well, I think I would end up with a heatsink that represents something along the lines of this monster: the Phanteks PH-TC14PE.
Despite these coolers' breathtaking similarities to the NH-D14, though no said affiliation to Noctua exists, I thought about it and realized that there are only so many ways to design a heatsink. Some of those methods are more effective than others, and of course there has to be the MOST effective design. Phanteks chose to adopt that design and improve upon it even further. There are quite a few things that stand out about these coolers that make them more special than any other high-end cooler on the market. The first two are the aforementioned P.A.T.S and C.P.S.C technologies (see the Specifications & Features page or the Phanteks website for more info). These are said to do two things: prevent heat energy by radiation from external sources (northbridge, RAM, graphics card(s), etc.) from entering the heatsink (which results in a cooler average temperature due to less heat flux into the heatsink), and accelerate the overall heat transfer at the metal-to-metal interfaces. These metal-to-metal interfaces are namely the heatpipes inside of the base, and the heatpipes inside of the fins. I can't say that any other manufacturer specifically markets anything like this technology. Whether or not other heatsinks feature similar designs, I am unsure.
The next special thing, though not related to the DESIGN of the heatsink is the included thermal paste. When a warning label of "Avoid skin and eye contact" is printed onto a tube of thermal paste, you know it has to be good stuff. Apparently, there are "high-purity nano diamond-like particles" in it which improve the heat transfer. Honestly, anything with "nano" stuff in it makes it sound cool, but what exactly does it mean in this case? Well, as we know, there is no machined surface that is free from irregularities, surface pits, grooves, etc., and those are what trap heat. The purpose of thermal paste is to clean up and fill in these gaps to help the heat from those areas transfer from the CPU to the base of the heatsink instead of traveling through air, an insulator. However, thermal conductivity of a dense solid (versus the "liquid" state of plain thermal paste) can be much higher. By using "nano particles", microscopic mini-solids act on a macroscopic level to increase the overall heat transfer properties of the thermal paste. I thought it was clever.
Besides the things I think make these coolers special, you also get the choice of four (pretty) different color schemes to match your tastes and intentions for the way your rig(s) look. The silver and white (plain) version as well as the blue or red version would pair nicely inside of just about any case and motherboard scheme you can imagine. The orange would also look pretty sick inside of something like a white case with a black motherboard. Also, yes, it's big. Quite big indeed. However, to get this performance out of a cooler, you have to go outwards. It's no larger than anything else on the market, and someone dropping a hundred bucks on a cooler is going to know whether it fits in their case or not (at least I would hope so). For those who ask, this is why I will not be listing size as a Con!
Anyways, for a newcomer to present its pilot product line and absolutely demolish the competition like Phanteks has, the company's statement is fitting: "Our expertise means no job is impossible." I hope that I get to see more from Phanteks in the future. What I've seen here has thoroughly impressed me, and I hope Phanteks isn't a "one-hit-wonder" in the world of heatsinks! Keep it up Phanteks, I am looking forward to your next product.
- Top of the line cooling performance
- Nearly silent operation
- Available in four different colors
- Easy, proven installation method
- Included Y-adapter and resistor plugs for fans
- Support for up to three fans