Our First Updraft Floating Balance HSF
Phanteks come on the scene with their PH-TC14PE, just rolls of the tongue doesn’t it, and made a lot of buzz because it topped the charts on many review sites giving long standing kings of cooling like the Noctua NH-D14 and run for their money. It had a down side, its size. The PH-TC14PE was just flat out massive.
This time around Phanteks has sent us their newest cooler the PH-TC14CS, a ‘C’ shape down draft cooler that sports dual 140mm fans. The PH-TC14CS sports a lot of the same features as the PH-TC14PE did with the P.A.T.S. and C.P.S.C. coatings on the cooling fins, as well as multiple color choices.
Phanteks add a couple new features to the list for the PH-TC14CS though. The most noticeable is the addition of the color black to the lineup. The other new feature is the addition a PWM adaptor for the fans. The fans themselves are not PWM, so instead of redesigning the PH-F140 fan Phantek’s created an inline adaptor to add in the PWM function.
The PH-F140 fan is rather quiet running at 19.6dBA pushing 88.6CFM. With the new PWM adapter that changes to 13.4 to 19dBA pushing 45.1 to 78.1CFM. So with the PWM function you lose about 10CFM on the high end, but with the system at idle the sound is pretty well silent. Since the adapter is user installed this makes the PWM function user selectable.
Features of Phanteks PH-TC14CS
- 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 Celcius. P.A.T.S is environmental friendly and non-toxic.
- 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-TC14PE enhances thermal conductivity on the soldered surfaces of the heat-pipes through the copper deposits.
- Phanteks PH-F140 premium 140mm fans uses Updraft Floating Balance (U.F.B) bearing, nine Maelstrom Vortex Booster (M.V.B) blades, to achieve massive airflow and perfect dynamic balance. to reduce noise level, the fan emits a low dBA with the support of the acoustic rubber damper and rubber-bar to help eliminate vibration.
- The SoliSku universal mounting kit provides an easy-to-install rotational backplate for Intel LGA 2011/1155/1156/11366/775. AMD FM1/AM2/AM2+/AM3 (stock backplate required ).
- The PH-NDC is a superb quality thermal compound for heatsinks. It is made of high-purity nano diamond like particles to improve the thermal conductance between components. The generated heat caused by the CPU will transfer to the heatsink, without reduction in efficiency and resistance.
Specifications of Phanteks PH-TC14CS
- Model: PH-TC14CS_BK
- Intel: LGA 2011, 1155,1156, LGA 1366, LGA775
- AMD: FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 ( stock backplate required )
- Copper ( Base and 8mm x 5 Heat-pipes), Nickel Plated.
- Alum. ( Cooling Fins / Top Cover) with Patented P.A.T.S (Physical Anti-Oxidant Thermal Shield) to increase cooling performance. Patented C.P.S.C Technology ( Cold Plasma Spraying Coating Technology ) to enhance thermal conductivity.
- Model: PH-F140 Premium Fan with PWM Adapter.
- Fan Size: 140x140x25 , Dual Fan
- Bearing Type: UFB bearing ( Updraft Floating Balance bearing )
- Blade Geometry: 9 colored Blades with MVB ( Maelström Vortex Booster) Design
- RPM: 1300 RPM ± 10%
- Max Air Flow: 88.6 CFM
- Max Air Pressure: 1.37 mm H2O
- Acoustical Noise: 19.6 dBA
- RPM with PWM adaptor: 700-1200 RPM ± 10%
- Max Air Flow with PWM adaptor: 45.1CFM-78.1 CFM
- Max Air Pressure with PWM adaptor: 0.45 mm H2O – 1.21 mm H2O
- Acoustical Noise with PWM adaptor: 13.4-19 dBA
- Input Power: 2.8W --Current (Ampere): 0.24A
- Rate Voltage: 12V --MTBF: > 150,000 hr.
- without fan: 143.8x140x112 mm
- Single Fans: 160x151x112mm
- Dual Fans: 160x151x140.5 mm
- without fan: 600g
- with single fan: 750g
- with dual fan: 900g
- 1x PH-TC14CS Heatsink
- 2x PH-F140 Premium fan, (Maelström Air Fort Optimization drive)
- PH-F140 Fan accessory
- 4 x rubber bar, 8x fan clip adaptor, 4x fan wire clip
- SoliSku mounting kits for Intel LGA 2011, 1155/1156/1366/775 and AMD FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 ( stock backplate required )
- 1x PWM external adaptor (Pulse Width Modulation, P.W.M. )
- 1x Y Fan Splitter
- 1x PH-NDC Thermal Compound
- 1x Hex Wrench
- Phanteks PH-TC14CS User’s manual
Unboxing the PH-TC14CS
The PH-TC14CS comes in a nice sturdy box. The front has an image of the cooler fins, with small images showing all the color options.
On the left side is a list of all the features of the PH-TC14CS
Right side has a listing of the specifications.
The back has a small paragraph talking about the PH-TC14CS in multiple languages.
Opening the box there is piece of sheet foam protecting the top of the cooler. The cooler is wrapped in cardboard.
Opening the side of the cardboard wrapper we can see the fans on each side of the cooler and there is a cardboard support to help keep the heatpipes from being bent in shipping. At the very bottom of the pile is the accessories box.
All the accessories are bagged and separated nicely for common, Intel, and AMD parts.
Looking Closer at the Phanteks PH-TC14CS
We received the black version of the PH-TC14CS. The PH-TC14CS is a ‘C’ shape down draft cooler. With the fans blowing down on the socket the added air flow helps cool the motherboard components and RAM. The ‘C’ shape style coolers are usually low profile coolers, but…
The PH-TC14CS is not what I would call “low profile”. Without fans the PH-TC14CS stands 112mm or 4.4 inches tall. Short but not exactly low profile. With the top fan installed the height comes in at 140.5mm or 5.5 inches.
The PH-TC14CS has five 8mm heatpipes in a fan pattern.
The top bracket for the SoliSku mounting system comes pre-installed. Looking from the top of the cooler there is no access to the hold down screws. Phanteks does provide an Allen Key wrench to attach the cooler. More on this in the install portion.
Flipping the PH-TC14CS over we can get a look at the base. The base is nice, but not a mirror finish.
The PH-TC14CS comes with a pair of PH-F140 fans and the fan blade color matches the color of the cooler. The fan operates at 1300rpm @ 19.6dBA pushing 88.6CFM. Since the PH-F140 fan only has 3pin fan connector Phanteks gave it PWM function by including a 3 to 4 pin adaptor with a PWM controller in it. With the new PWM adaptor that changes fan to operate between 700-1200RPM @ 13.4 to 19dBA pushing 45.1 to 78.1CFM. Using the adaptor the fan loses 100rpm and 10CFM. Will be interesting to see how this affects performance.
Installing the Phanteks PH-TC14CS
Phanteks includes all that is needed to mount the PH-TC14CS to all Intel LGA sockets and AMD AM2/3 and FM1 sockets. Also included are fan power adaptors, silicon isolator for the fans, screwdriver, and tube of thermal paste.
In the AMD parts bag has crossbars, spacers, and screws. The AMD installations require the stock AMD backing plate. If your board does not have the stock backing plate then the PH-TC14CS will not work with your board. I have not seen too many AM2/3 boards that do not have the backing plate, but I have seen some Mini ITX boards that do not have the backing plate. With mITX gaming rigs becoming popular it will be something to check on when planning the build.
Intel parts bag has all the parts for all Intel LGA sockets. There is a backing plate, spacers, posts, included for the LGA775/1155/1156/1366 sockets. Also included are mounting posts for socket LGA2011.
The general parts are fan spring clips, fan mount posts, Y power adaptor, thermal paste, silicon strips, and allen key driver.
Also included is a PWM adaptor. One end has a 4pin connector for connecting to the motherboard. Other has a 3pin connector for fans. From connector to connector is covered with heat shrink tubing to protect the PWM controller.
To get started you install the motherboard side mounts for your particular socket.
As I started to install the PH-TC14CS I noticed that the mounting screws are not the same. Small oops on Phanteks part. One of the mounting screws is a Phillips type rather Allen socket head. This is an issue because the only access is from the side with the Allen wrench. To get around this I used a pair of pliers to tighten the side with the Philips head screw.
Once installed the cooler without the fans clear the RAM on the front side of the socket nicely.
On the back side of the socket the heatpipes will limit the height of the RAM to standard height ram.
Add in the lower fan and the height is restricted to standard height RAM for all sockets.
With the size of the PH-TC14CS and the fact the mounting screws has to be tightened from the sides there is no other choice than to install the PH-TC14CS to the motherboard outside of the case. If there was access to the mounts from the top through the cooling fins like with the Noctua NH-L12 it would allow for in-case installing.
Legit Reviews Intel Core i7-3960X Test System
Here is a short list of the parts that make up the Legit Reviews Core i7-930 test system:
|Intel Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 3960X||Click Here|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3 1600MHz||Click Here|
|Video Card||MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||Click Here|
|Hard Drive||Corsair Force GT 90GB SSD||Click Here|
|Power Supply||NZXT HALE90 750W||Click Here|
|Chassis||Thermaltake Chaser Mk-1||Click Here|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Professional (64bit)||Click Here|
Test System Detail
The CPU we are using is the Intel Core i7-3960X LGA2011 processor. We will test with two configurations: Stock and Overclocked. Both will have Hyper Threading and Turbo modes enabled. For the backbone of the system we have the Intel DX79SI motherboard. We have also outfitted it with a 16GB (4x4gb) kit of Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 1600MHz RAM. Drivers used for the motherboard are as follows:
- LAN: Intel PRO Network Connections LAN Driver version 16.7
- Audio: Realtek ALC Audio Driver version 6482
- Chipset: Intel Chipset Device Software version 126.96.36.1992
- USB3: Renesas Electronics USB 3.0 Driver 188.8.131.52
- BIOS Version: 0380
The video card we are using is an MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC and is running ForceWare 290.53.
For the main drive we have a 90GB Corsair Force GT SATA3 SSD running firmware 1.3.3.
To test the coolers the system will be left idle at the desktop for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. Then it will run at full load with Prime95 Blended test for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. There will be 2 levels tested with our Core i7-3960X clocked at stock settings with Turbo and Hyper Threading on, and a high OC of 4.5 GHz also with Hyper Threading and Turbo enabled. All temps will be recorded with CoreTemp, and the temp reading from all 6 cores will be averaged. The thermal paste used on all coolers will be Gelid GC Extreme.
- Akasa Venom Voodoo
- Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler
- Cooler Master TPC 812
- Corsair H80
- Corsair H100
- Noctua NH-D14
- Noctua NH-L12
- NZXT Havik 120
- Swiftech H20-220 Edge HD
- Zalman CNPS11X Performa
- Zalman CNPS12X
Temperature Testing Results
With the system running at stock settings the Phanteks PH-TC14CS cooled out Intel Core i7-3960X to 57.33*C with the fans running on 12v, and 60*C with the fans running the PWM adaptor. The 100 RPM and 10 CFM drop from adding the PWM adaptor really affected the performance. More than I thought it would. Running the fans on 12v are whisper quiet anyway so I don’t see much benefit to running the PWM adaptor. The Phanteks PH-TC14CS was slightly behind the much larger Prolimatech Genesis, and ahead of the much smaller Noctua NH-L12.
Pushing the system to 4.5Ghz the Phanteks PH-TC14CS with the PWM adaptor could not cope with the heat. Soon as I observered 1 or 2 cores going north of 82*C the system would blue screen. With the fans running on a full 12v the PH-TC14CS come in at 75.83*C just a hair behind the budget friendly Zalman CNPS11X Performa. The Prolimatech Genesis pulls ahead by 5 degrees, but the Genesis is a much larger cooler with triple 140mm fans
Since this is a down draft cooler I took some readings from the motherboard to see how some of the component were affected. With the system running at stock settings the Voltage Regulators with the Phanteks PH-TC14CS were cooled much better than with the Prolimatech Genesis. The RAM was pretty consistent with both coolers.
With the system pushed to 4.5Ghz there was a very large gap show up between the PH-TC14CS and the Genesis. The Genesis was a toasty 111*C where the PH-TC14CS was 30 degrees cooler. The RAM temps were not much warmer than at stock.
Final Thoughts of the Phanteks PH-TC14CS
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.