Phanteks PH-TC14S & Cryorig C1 CPU Coolers

Cooling
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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 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.

  • Phanteks PH-TC14S stock fan at 1m
    — at 40% PWM / 580 PWM (13 dBA)
    — at 50% PWM / 740 RPM (15 dBA)
    — at 60% PWM / 890 RPM (18 dBA)
    — at 75% PWM / 1100 RPM (23 dBA)
    — at 100% PWM / 1600 RPM (33 dBA)
  • Cryorig C1 stock fan at 1m
    — at 0~30% PWM / 730 RPM (15 dBA)
    — at 40% PWM / 850 RPM (18 dBA)
    — at 50% PWM / 1000 RPM (22~23 dBA)
    — at 60% PWM / 1120 RPM (26 dBA)
    — at 75% PWM / 1270 RPM (30~31 dBA)
    — at 100% PWM / 1420 RPM (34 dBA)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Phanteks PH-TC14S

The weakest point of the Phanteks PH-TC14S is the stock fan, both in terms of performance and acoustics. The sound it produces is much worse than the older PH-F140TS, which is one of my favorite fans to date. Why they chose this fan is a mystery as its high static pressure design is meant for tightly packed radiators. Its appearance here on a narrow tower with modest fin spacing is baffling.

Our track record with center fan tower designs hasn't been great so it's surprising that the PH-TC14S performs as well as it does, especially when you consider the lack of mass in the fin stacks. For a modestly sized cooler, it certainly gets the job done and then some, but the choice of a 140 mm fan seems overkill, and it makes the entire package wider and taller than it needs to be. As a result, it doesn't offer any appreciable size advantage compared to the multitude of thin tower heatsinks with (superior) 120/140 mm fans on the market. The modest bulk of fins also puts it at a disadvantage if a heavier thermal load is applied. With an MSRP of US$50, the PH-TC14S isn't unreasonably priced, but with so many comparable models to choose from, it's far from my first choice.

Cryorig C1

The Cryorig C1 is an excellent cooling solution that takes into account the interference issues of top-down models. On our test board, it leaves all the memory slots open, doesn't hang over the first expansion slot, and clears all the board components and the rear panel connector block with room to spare. It does all this and provides tower-like performance using only a 13 mm thick fan. Swapping the stock fan with a standard sized fan turns it from a good heatsink to a great heatsink. With a total height of 74 mm, it's not exactly low profile, but its certainly short enough to make it compatible with many more cases than competing tower coolers that produce similar results.

The C1 does carry a bit of a price premium though, currently retailing for US$65. This is a similar price-point to the Noctua NH-L12, the only top-down model I would describe as comparable. With an off-center footprint, the C1's is more compatible, but the NH-L12 can be made 8 mm shorter than the C1 by utilizing only one of its two fans (which still results in fairly good proficiency), so there's no clear-cut favorite between the two. That being said, I certainly welcome the arrival of a worthy alternative.

Our thanks to Phanteks for the PH-TC14S and Cryorig for the C1 CPU cooler samples.

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Cryorig C1 is Recommended by SPCR

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

New 92mm-fan Tower Coolers from Noctua
Arctic Accelero Hybrid II-120 Liquid GPU Cooler
Cryorig R1 Ultimate & Universal CPU Coolers
NZXT Kraken G10 Graphics Adapter
Sub-$20 CPU Coolers: A Reader's Roundup
SilverStone Argon AR02 CPU Cooler
Recommended Heatsinks

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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