The PH-TC14CS from Phanteks turned out to be a nice cooler. It is built solidly and comes in a variety of colors. This cooler comes with a pair of the Phanteks PH-F140 140mm 8-blade fans and thanks to these high-quality fans the PH-TC14CS is VERY quiet. The Phanteks isn’t aimed at being the best cooler in the world, but for mainstream users the PH-TC14CS should be more than enough.
The overall size of the PH-TC14CS is slightly shorter than the average high-end tower coolers on the market today, but at 5.5 inches tall not exactly “low profile”. If you run a lower wattage CPU you could get away with dropping the top mounted fan and the overall height falls to only 4.4 inches.
The only issue I had with the PH-TC14CS dealt with the installation procedure. It is a real pain. If Phanteks could make it to where you could access to the mounting screws from the top, it would make life much easier. With only having access from the sides with the Allen Key wrench it is a rel pain to install this cooler. With motherboards using taller components mounting this cooler in a case could be a real hassle.
Performance wise the PH-TC14CS performed better than the other C-type CPU cooler in the chart, which was the Noctua NH-L12. With the system at stock settings and the fans on 12v the Phanteks PH-TC14CS was 3 degrees better with the processor at default settings. With the fans paired with the PWM adaptor the PH-TC14CS and the NH-L12 were similar in performance. For other tower coolers in the charts the Zalman CNPS 11X Performa was close in performance both stock and overclocked.
Speaking of the PWM adaptor, in my opinion not really needed. The fans on the PH-TC14CS are very quiet, even on 12v. To add the PWM adaptor not only slows the fans top speed by 100 RPM, it drops the performance by 3 degrees when the system was running at stock settings. When overclocked the system wasn’t even stable. If the fans at 100% speed were noisy I could see the benefit of having the PWM adaptor. Since they are neat silent at full speed, I really don’t see the point.
In shopping around I was able to find the white, black, and blue versions of the PH-TC14CS on sale for $74.99 with free shipping on Directron. Newegg has white version for $76.99 plus shipping, the black and blue versions for $79.99 plus shipping. This puts the PH-TC14CS in the high-end air category. Some will say it’s a hard sell at that price with the Zalman CNPS11X Performa costing almost $30 less and performing about the same. The Phanteks PH-TC14CS is much quieter, but the Zalman is smaller and slightly noisier. So, it will boil down to how much noise you can live with to justify the extra $30.
Legit Bottom Line: Phanteks second offering to the world is a very quiet, solidly built cooler. The cost of the PH-TC14CS may be a little higher than some will want to pay.