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If you're in the market for a 120 mm fan CPU cooler, the Phanteks PH-TC12DX
is one of the better models available. Essentially a smaller, single tower version
of the TC14PE,
it performs well and has an excellent mounting system. If your chassis has a
side window, the colorful heatsink body and fan blades can make for a nice flourish
compared to the ubiquitous uniform silver heatsink. The second fan is unnecessary,
increasing the noise while generating only marginal improvements though the
extra fan can obviously be used elsewhere.
The stock fan doesn't live up to the excellent acoustics and performance of
the 14 cm fan used in the TC14PE. Not only does it sound noticeably worse than
its big brother, its efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. While our reference
Nexus fan is well-known as an excellent performer, the average stock 12 cm fan
is usually only beaten by 2~3°C at equivalent noise levels. The PH-F120HP's
margin of defeat was 4~5°C which is closer to the bottom end of the spectrum.
Given its US$60 price-tag, the TC12DX is positioned as a premium 12
cm fan heatsink but the poor fan performance makes it hard to justify the cost.
NH-U12P SE4 can be had for a similar price and its twin fans
are far superior. In addition, budget coolers like the Scythe
Mugen-2 and Cooler
Master Hyper 212 Plus also compare favorably but can be found for much
lower cost. All of these considerations make it hard to recommend.
Our thanks to Phanteks
for the PH-TC12DX CPU cooler sample.
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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Phanteks PH-TC90LS Mini Cooler
Zalman CNPS9900DF Dual Fan Flower Heatsink
SilverStone Heligon HE02: Monster Fanless CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Panther CPU Cooler
Phanteks PH-TC14PE Dual Fan CPU Heatsink
GELID GX-7 & Tranquillo Rev.2 CPU Coolers
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this article in the SPCR forums.
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