Phanteks PH-TC14PE Dual Fan CPU Heatsink

Cooling
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Heatsink Comparison Tables

CPU Coolers (ref. 140mm fan): °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m*
9V
7V
6V
18~22 dBA
13~16 dBA
11~13 dBA
Thermalright Archon SB-E
37
40
42
Prolimatech Armageddon
39
42
45
NZXT Havik 140
40
43
47
Noctua NH-C14
(top mounted)
40
44
48
Noctua NH-C14
40
44
49
Thermalright Silver Arrow
39
45
49
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
42
45
48
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
49
51
53
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

With only one fan at work, the PH-TC14PE isn't very impressive. Thinner, single-stack heatsinks do considerably better with just one fan.

Dual Fan CPU Coolers (ref. 140mm fans): CPU °C Rise Comparison
Heatsink
Fan Voltage / SPL*
8V
7V
6V
18~20 dBA
15~17 dBA
12~14 dBA
Prolimatech Genesis
36
37
39
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
36
37
40
Noctua NH-C14
37
39
41
Thermalright Silver Arrow
37
39
41
Noctua NH-D14
38
40
42
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
39
41
43
NZXT Havik 140
39
40
43
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

With two of our reference fans going, the PH-TC14PE trails the Noctua NH-D14 by just a single degree across the board.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is no denying that the Phanteks PH-TC14PE mimics the Noctua NH-D14's design but it can't be dismissed as a cheap knockoff being sold out of the back of a truck in a run-down alley. It doesn't simply emulate its looks — it is a full-fledged copy that delivers much of the same experience. The PH-TC14PE has a heavy duty build quality, an excellent mounting system, great cooling proficiency, and a nice set of accessories. It even beats the NH-D14 in one key area — its stock fans are more acoustically sound.

The Noctua, bizarrely, ships with only one NF-P14 (14 cm) paired with a smaller NF-P12 (12 cm). Each fan sounds fine on its own but in tandem they create intermodulation effects that imbue the NH-D14 with an undesirable sound. When both heatsinks were equipped with two NF-P14's, the NH-D14 came out on top ever so slightly but Phanteks' stock fans were actually more efficient, effectively making it a draw. Even a hypothetical NH-D14 with matching fans doesn't have a clear edge. All things considered, we actually prefer the clone over the original.

While the Phanteks PH-TC14PE might be a knockoff, it doesn't come with a heavy discount. In fact, at US$80 it's slightly more expensive than the NH-D14's US$75 price-tag. All the coolers in this price range don't give you much bang for your buck but if you're looking for a high-end heatsink that sounds great straight out of the box, you can't do any better than the PH-TC14PE. If you're more concerned about cooling than acoustic quality, the Thermalright HR-02 Macho and Silver Arrow are better performing alternatives to both.

Our thanks to Phanteks for the PH-TC14PE CPU cooler sample.

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Phanteks PH-TC14PE is Recommended by SPCR

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

GELID GX-7 & Tranquillo Rev.2 CPU Coolers
be quiet! Dark Rock 2 Tower Heatsink
Enermax ETS-T40: Direct-Touch Heatpipe Cooler
Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler
Reeven Kelveros & Arcziel CPU Coolers
Thermalright Archon SB-E 15cm Fan CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-D14 flagship dual-fan CPU cooler

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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