The Phanteks PH-TC12DX is the first cooler by Phanteks that I have had the privilege of taking a look at. After the experience, I would have no problems recommending it as a great alternative to the OEM coolers many users use. The TC12DX is offered in four colors, which should allow it to match most color schemes. Of course, looks are really a small part of whether or not it should be recommended. For me, the most important aspects are how well it can cool the CPU and what that cooling costs.
While the Intel OEM cooler does the job at keeping the CPU below the maximum threshold, keeping the CPU cooler will allow it to run better and extend its life. For $49.99 shipped, the TC12DX dropped the temperature from the OEM cooler by 28 degrees Celsius while idle and the load temperature was dropped by 19 degrees Celsius. Even when the CPU was overclocked to 4.4GHz the load temperatures were lower than the Intel retail boxed CPU cooler by 7 degrees Celsius! There is a price for that cooling capabilities, the TC12DX is a large cooler, measuring 126 x 107 x 157mm (LxWxH) with both fans in place. When coolers get this large, occasionally there are interference issues, especially with RAM slots. Be sure to keep this in mind when choosing your components.
It includes everything necessary for most modern AMD and Intel motherboards, high quality fans, and a simplified installation. It comes with a 5 year warranty, which is great. However, as often as the sockets change I hope Phanteks will offer compatibility upgrades should the need arise.
The only issue that I encountered when installing the TC12DX was attaching the cooler to the support brackets. The instructions say to tighten the screws until they stop; which is good advice to make sure they are on securely. However, when I was trying to attach the cooler to the brackets, it wouldn’t line up properly. I loosened two of the support bracket screws, and was then able to secure the cooler to the brackets. Afterwards, I could tighten the screws on the support bracket to complete the installation.
Legit Bottom Line: Phanteks has designed a great cooler to be the little brother version of the TC14PE. It has left an impression on me, and is certainly one that I will add to my recommended list of coolers.