Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU Air Cooler Review

Phanteks has high hopes for its sweetly named PH-TC12DX CPU air cooler. OK, maybe not that sweet, but with a patented "Physical Antioxidant Thermal Shield" and "Cold Plasma Spraying Coating Technology" technology this thing has got to be greatest heatsink and fan combination ever made, right?

Introduction

Often when we review a product it is from a well established company like Corsair or Thermalright. But every so often we get the rare treat of reviewing a product from an unknown, a new comer if you will. Today, we have that rare treat.

Phanteks is a company that was formed in 2007 by a small group of twenty engineers whose experience focused on thermal solutions. Phanteks have produced a handful of previous coolers which gives it some experience to work out issues and improve designs. The cooler we have today is the PH-TC12DX in red. I say "in red" because Phanteks offers coolers in four different colors; red, white, blue, and black. I’m not referring only to the fan, even the fins are colored which gives us a nice change of pace in a well established stainless steel market. The PH-TC12DX is your typical tower style heat sink that incorporates two new patented technologies.

Patented P.A.T.S (Physical Antioxidant Thermal Shield) will greatly increase the cooling performance and reliability while deflecting other thermal radiation from other heat sources, such as the GPU, South Bridge, North Bridge, etc. P.A.T.S, ran at a long period, will display significantly better results in an enclosure, closed environment, than a tech station, open environment. In extreme conditions, PATS is able to withstand temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius. P.A.T.S is environmental friendly and non-toxic.

And

Patented C.P.S.C (Cold Plasma Spraying Coating Technology) is a brand new technologic forming deposit that displaces heat onto corresponding metals at a quicker rate. With this technology, the Phanteks PH-TC12DX enhances thermal conductivity on the soldered surfaces of the heat-pipes through the copper deposits.

So what we have is a new company eager to impress the community and some new and possibly useful technologies. This could get really interesting, but the temperatures will tell just how great this technology is.

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System Setup

Today's review utilizes our third generation [H]ard platform. The test bed consists of the ASUS P8Z77-V motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7 3770K.

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Test Methods

CPU

The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted their methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.

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GPU

For the first time, we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.

Case

Corsair was kind enough to provide us with their Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the paste of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do their job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-five minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-five minute period of 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using Prime95 v27.7 set to in-place large FFTs mode. In this way we can place the maximum amount of heat into the CPU. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.