Phanteks PH-TC12DX Reviewccokeman - January 24, 2013
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Phanteks PH-TC12DX Closer Look:
Phanteks' new PH-TC12DX is a U-Style tower design that uses a pair of PH-F120HP PWM fans in a push /pull configuration to provide the airflow needed to carry away the thermal load of the CPU. Available in multiple color schemes, the cooler I am looking at is white in color, with a nickel plated finish on the top cover, base and heat pipes.
Once you strip the fans off the cooler, you can get into what sets this one apart from the crowd. The front and side views show that this cooler is a U-Style Tower design, that uses four 6mm nickel coated copper heat pipes that rise up into a pair of Physical Antioxidant Thermal Shield (P.A.T.S.) coated aluminum fin arrays. On this model, the coating is white in color, yet is offered in a variety of colors. This coating is used to minimize the effects of radiant heat from the GPU and VRM circuits, to improve cooling performance. The four heat pipes run through a two-piece base, with the assembly being soldered together. Part of the SoliSku mounting system is attached to the base of the cooler, to aid in the ease of installation. The top of the PH-TC12DX is embossed with the Phanteks logo to show off whose cooling solution you are running.
The base plate of the PH-TC12DX is covered with a vinyl warning label that urges you not to forget to remove it before installation. It is over-sized for visibility and ease of removal. Once removed, I found the finish on the nickel plated copper base to be flat and absent of any machining marks that could impact cooling performance. The four 6mm nickel plated copper heat pipes are soldered into the base. Phanteks Cold Plasma Spraying Coating Technology (C.P.S.C) is used on the soldered surfaces to improve the thermal conductivity, by improving the rate with which heat is transferred from the base to the heat pipes.
A pair of Phanteks PH-F120HP PWM Premium fans are used on the PH-TC12DX. These fans measure 120x120x25mm in size, include a built in PWM controller, are rated for operation between 600-1800 RPM, push between 23 and 68.5 CFM and have a static pressure rating of 0.39 – 2.07mm H2O, with a noise level between 21.9 and 27.6 dBA. All this running on 12v, with a MTBF of greater than 150,000 hours. If you add the hours up, that's just over 17 years - 12 longer than the warranty period of five years. To deliver this performance, Phanteks uses an UFB (Updraft Floating Balance) bearing on the nine-blade design. Small ridges are seen on each of the blades. These are part of the MAFO (Maelstrom Air-Fort Optimization) system used to deliver the airflow and maintain the stability needed for that long life span. At all four corners, top and bottom, are anti-vibration pads at each mounting hole, to reduce the noise delivered during operation. The wiring is sleeved into the fan. This braiding functions as both a means to protect the wiring from abrasion, as well as offering a clean look for better wire management.
Installation of the PH-TC12DX on an Intel system involves using the Intel accessory kit out of the accessory bundle. AMD installations will require the use of the stock CPU retention back plate, while a plate is included for Intel systems. To start, put together the base plate and mounting studs for the socket you will be using the cooler on. In this case, a socket 1155 system. Push the assembled base plate studs through the motherboard CPU cooler mounting holes and add the spacers and secure the top plates with the thumb screws provided. Once the base of the SoliSku mounting system is in place, you can apply the PH-NDC thermal paste to the CPU and attach the cooler to the mounting plates with the two captured spring-loaded screws on the SoliSku plate, attached to the base of the cooler.
Tighten evenly for the best mount. The fans clip to the side of the cooler and mount by way of small fan clip adapters that push through the mounting holes of the fans. Slide the fan clips into place and rotate them into position, so they can be attached. Take care to install them correctly so that you can maintain the push/pull orientation of the fans. Much like most large cooling solutions, the DRAM slots closest to the CPU socket will be compromised if using memory modules with large heat spreaders. Low profile DIMMs can used, or the fan can sit on top of the modules, but this compromises airflow through the cooler.
All technology aside, the design looks good. If the technologies employed allow the PH-TC12DX to shine as a CPU cooler for the enthusiast, then Phanteks will have done their work scaling down the performance of its PH-TC14PE.