Phanteks PH-TC12DX ReviewManufacturer: Phanteks
UK Price (as reviewed): £39.98
US Price (as reviewed): $59.95
We looked at Phanteks' previous effort at a tower heatsink last summer; the PH-TC14PE
offered great cooling, a well thought-through design and fantastic looks that were customisable too. However, at nearly £70 (it's since dropped in price to closer to £60) it was a pricey purchase in the face of ever-stiffening competition from all-in-one liquid coolers.
Still, if liquid cooling isn't for you, or you simple want a cooler that you can colour-match to your case, Phanteks' offerings should definitely be on your shortlist. Thankfully, the company has recently released a 120mm version of the humongous PH-TC14PE, and the new and equally blandly-named PH-TC12DX is a very similar beast indeed.
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It's currently available in four colours - red, blue, white and black, with the heatsink and fan colour-matched. The base is made of copper, which has been nickel-coated, while the top cover and fins are made from aluminium. At 157mm high, it's certainly in the mid-range territory, although with two 120mm fans, it's likely you'll be able to overclock your CPU as far as any other air cooler, especially with an Ivy Bridge system.
Its size also meant that on both our test motherboards, the first DIMM slot was clear, so those tall DIMMs won't be an issue, which is more than can be said for some of the larger air coolers around at the moment. The fans themselves use traditional clips to hole them in place. These aren't too fiddly but the use of small pins to hold the clips in place on the fan just seems to complicate things unnecessarily.
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The base has been machined to a lovely mirror-finish and encloses the four 6mm heatpipes so they're not making direct contact with the CPU. This doesn't have much of an impact in our experience as other factors tend to come into play, with us having seen many great direct contact and non-direct contact coolers. Phanteks is also keen to shout about its patented technologies, including Physical Anti-Oxidant Thermal Shield and Cold Plasma Spraying Coating
; without boring you, both features claim to improve temperatures via one means or another.
At just under £40, the PH-TC12DX is fairly well-priced although its relying on looks and hopefully low noise as well as good cooling to compete with cheaper air coolers such as Arctic's Freezer i30. Mounting it proved to be straightforward on both our LGA1155 and LGA2011 test motherboards; the fans can't be installed while you mount the cooler, which we initially thought might mean going through the hateful process of removing the motherboard.
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However, with the mounting plate secured to the motherboard and the heatsink to it, the fan clips were so easy to use that we had no trouble securing the fans after we'd mounted the cooler. The PH-TC12DX comes with a 4-pin fan splitter cable too so there's no need to panic over whether you've got enough fan headers. Sadly there's no fan control options such as a variable dial or resistor cables though.
Compatibility Intel: LGA2011, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA775; AMD: AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2, FM1
- Weight 880g (with fans)
- Size (mm) 126 x 107 x 157 (W x D x H)
- Fan(s) 2 x PH-F120HP PWM Premium Fan, 600 – 1800 RPM;
- Stated Noise 21.9 – 27.6 dB(A)
- Extras Fan splitter cable