In the bit-tech Hall of Fame can be found an oil painting of the original Tuniq Tower 120. In said painting, it’s relaxing on a chaise lounge with a bunch of grapes covering its baseplate. Situated just next to the labs, the Hall of Fame boasts a proud collection of Renaissance-style paintings of legendary hardware: SilverStone’s TJ07 is there, as is the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro.
We’ve waited almost three years for an update to the Tuniq Tower 120, and finally it’s here – the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme. We booked some time with our portrait artist before we started testing, as the new Tuniq Extreme certainly looks the part.
We usually experience an unsettling blend of excitement and scepticism when reviewing updates of legendary kit as they’re often a letdown. However, we kept an open mind. Turning the new Tuniq Extreme over in our hands, the first thing we noticed was that the sharp corners of the stylised heatsink fins are just about sharp enough for basic food preparation. They look awesome, and the granite-like finish of the heatsink complements the aesthetics, but then again, we were tempted to fish out some chainmail gloves to protect our hands when installing it.
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The design of the Extreme is largely the same as that of the original. The 120mm fan is placed in between two banks of aluminium fins. Unlike the original Tower 120 though, the heatpipes of the Extreme run through the centre of the baseplate where they’re smoothed flat to come into direct contact with the CPU heatspreader.
Tuniq has included a single-channel fan controller in the box, which fits into a rear expansion slot – not the most accessible place. The dial changes the fan speed between 1,000rpm and 2,000rpm. At maximum speed, the fan is a little on the whiney side, while at minimum it’s barely audible.
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As with the Tower 120, installing the Extreme is fiddly; it’s akin to building an engine from scratch. While building an engine is a good deal of fun, working with a multitude of fiddly parts is the last thing you want when installing a cooler. Four long thumbscrews thread through a backplate that has holes positioned for each of the sockets with which the cooler is compatible. You then need to place the metal hold-down over the base of the cooler and thread these long screws through the holes of the hold-down. To secure the cooler, you screw some spring-loaded thumbnuts onto the long thumbscrews, which should clamp the cooler firmly to the CPU.
While this sounds fairly straightforward, matters are made more complex by the bulk of the Extreme. Trying to work your fingers between the lowermost fins of the cooler and high motherboard heatsinks can be a nightmare, and the heatsink’s sharp edges can add pain and bleeding to the equation.