Phanteks PH-TC14PE CPU Cooler Review

👤by Sahil Mannick Comments 📅31-08-11

Choosing a cooler has become a very difficult task. Many different factors have to be taken into account; performance, acoustics, size, aesthetics, and price being the key ones. Let’s start with performance. Previously, the Noctua NH-D14 and Thermalright Silver Arrow were the two main options for the absolute best in performance. Whereas the NH-D14 is better at stock speed and marginally ahead of the Thermalright in their default fan configurations, the Silver Arrow proves to be more efficient with different fans, generates less noise and is available for much cheaper. The Phanteks PH-TC14PE makes matters somewhat easier performance wise. Throughout most our tests, it comes out top proving to not only be effective in its out-of-the-box configuration but also with all the different fan combinations.

Acoustics and fans; at 1200RPM the Phanteks PH-F140TS fans are quiet units on par with Noctua’s own fans. The various features the fans boast such as UFB bearings and Maelstrom Vortex Booster go a long way at ensuring optimal airflow without the cost of noise. When we see the likes of ALC units opting for noisy high RPM fans to generate good performance, it is refreshing to see air coolers achieving the best results without making any such compromises. Thermalright’s TR TY-140s are still superior fans since they perform slightly better at lower acoustic levels than Noctua’s NF-P14s which in turn lead the PH-F140TS by a mere 0.25C delta, but the difference is negligible at best. The PH-F140TS fans strike a perfect balance of airflow and static pressure allowing them to be used effectively as case fans.

Size has never been the strong point of recent air coolers; the reason being that performance is strongly dependent on heatsink surface area. In reality, size should not be an issue and it is only people’s negative perceptions that mare their popularity. To start with, the Phanteks is very easy to install, following the footsteps of Noctua and Thermalright in this department. The SoliSku kit is perfectly adapted to support the weight of the PH-TC14PE with its two fans so again no issues there. At 160mm tall, or slightly taller with the fans attached, the cooler should still fit in most modern mid or full tower cases. All cases with a 120mm exhaust fan to the side of the motherboard I/O area should be able to accommodate the cooler without problems as long as side panel fans are not installed. The other worry with these dual tower radiators is of course memory clearance. This isn’t the Phanteks’ strong point as the heatsink itself hangs over the adjacent memory slot and the fan overhangs 3 more slots. My advice to buyers would be to simply opt for low profile memory modules to not limit their choice of coolers because no alternative will currently match the Phanteks PH-TC14PE’s cooling performance.

In terms of aesthetics, Phanteks are onto another winning feature. The cooler is unique in that it comes in a selection of colours to please a wider audience and to match a range of components. There is no doubt that Phanteks were hoping to avoid the negativity that Noctua faces daily regarding their somewhat risqué choice of colour. Our red PH-TC14PE complimented my own Rampage III Extreme very well. Colour scheme aside, there is a lot to like about the dual radiator design, its engraved top aluminium plate and the octagonal fans.

The Phanteks PH-TC14PE does not come cheap and this is perhaps its main downfall, albeit not a major one if supreme performance is what you are after. At 79.90Euros (£70) for the silver edition and 84.90Euros (£75) for the coloured variants, the Phanteks is one of the most expensive coolers currently on the market. Against the likes of Prolimatech’s Genesis (60Euros/£60), it represents good value since two quality fans are already bundled and even against the Noctua NH-D14 (72.90Euros/£65), the price difference is small. Certainly the extra premium warrants the performance benefits and aesthetics. However, once again Thermalright proves to be a worthy challenger with its Silver Arrow. At 49.90Euros/£50, it is a mere fraction of the Phanteks’ price whilst still delivering the majority of the performance. In terms of value for money, the Thermalright Silver Arrow remains untouched so it remains to be seen how Phanteks aim to tackle that. Nonetheless, the PH-TC14PE is still appropriately priced and with a 5 year warranty to back it up, you get what you pay for.

There’s not a whole lot to hate about the Phanteks PH-TC14PE. It excels in all areas and most importantly of all; it is our new cooling king. If I had complaints, the first would be that I would have liked to see a bit more originality in its design and the second is that another fan installation mechanism is needed for traditional 120mm fans due to the rubber adaptors not being fully compatible. The other perspective is that it builds on established designs to deliver consumers the best.

+Absolutely stunning performance
+Very well packaged
+Two quality 140mm fans included
+Rich bundle
+Support for Intel and AMD sockets
+Ease of installation
+Choice of colours
+Innovative technologies
+Highly efficient
+Passive performance to match other coolers
+5 years warranty

-Wire clips and rubber adaptors not compatible with traditional 120mm fans
-Little clearance for tall memory modules

The Phanteks PH-TC14PE deserves nothing less than our GOLD and ELITE awards. Special thanks to CaseKing who have given us this exclusive opportunity to test a sample prior to release. Browse their site here.

Click here for an explanation of our awards at

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