Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme Reviewairman - November 10, 2009
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The entire heatsink is painted a dark gray color, even the heatpipes themselves. The heatpipes actually appear to be anodized, or plated in some way. The fins on the heatsink are constructed out of aluminum, and are layered onto the heatpipes. Air is blocked off on two sides, so that it can only flow in the direction of the fan. This happens because the fins are folded over on each side. Each side of the cooler looks identical to its opposite, with the exception of one side where the 3-pin header from the fan hangs down. In the picture of the side where air does not flow through, the small passively cooled protrusions can be seen above the contact plate. This addition doesn't seem like it would do much for heat, and might be just for show. The protrusions are quite short, less than 1cm tall, and are very coarse in design.
The top of the heatsink features a cover with a satin finish and a similar design found on the fins cut on the side. Stamped into the top cover is the text "Tuniq". To remove the top, four screws must be taken out. With this top piece detached, sliding it out will also remove the fan, as these two elements are attached. With the fan removed and looking through the heatsink, the passively cooled protrusions on the top of the contact plate can be clearly seen, as well as the tips of the heatpipes.
The fan is a clear, blue LED 120mm fan that operates on 12v and draws a specified 0.16A. It moves a little over 90CFM, and uses a magnetic fluid dynamic bearing, which is a very quiet, long lasting bearing type that uses a fluid to suspend the rotating shaft between the contact surfaces rather than ball bearings, for example. The fan uses a 3-pin header and can be connected directly to a motherboard header or through the included PCI-mounted fan controller.
The Tuniq Tower uses a direct contact design. This means that the heatpipes cooled by the fins are in direct contact with the processor's IHS, rather than the heat having to pass through an extra interface before being transferred to the heatpipes. This allows for faster heat dissipation, and usually results in a higher performing cooler. The base itself is visually square and the gaps between the heatpipes and the rest of the base aren't very large. While these points are good, the base isn't as finished as you would expect out of a high end cooler, meaning the machining marks are still visible. High end coolers are usually found to have nearly mirror-finished bases, as the tiny machining marks can trap heat, leading to higher temperatures.
There is no doubt this cooler is large, and fits snugly in a mid tower case. Installation, due to the "tightening" step being inside of the case rather than being tightened down from behind the motherboard, is a huge pain if the cooler is being installed with the motherboard inside the case. In order to access the thumbscrews, I had to first remove the video card, memory, and rear exhaust fan so that I could contort my hand enough to get my index and middle fingers around each screw. There wasn't even enough room to get my thumbs around any of the screws to tighten them, which made the task even more difficult. Then, with my knee applying pressure to the top of the cooler, and my other hand applying pressure to the backplate so that it would not fall off while trying to tighten the screws, I would turn each screw very delicately and hope that the threads catch so I can give my hand a break. The pictures below show the cooler installed, and one of the "easier" thumbscrew locations.
Thankfully, after about 30 minutes of fiddling with the thumbscrews, and probably dropping each one four dozen times, I finally had the cooler installed. There would have been no problem with this done having the motherboard out of the case, but I didn't forsee this issue arising until I was already halfway into the installation process. On the next page will be the specifications and features of this cooler, provided by the manufacturer's website.