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.

Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

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.

Phanteks PH-F140 fan

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

Specifications of Phanteks PH-TC14CS

  • Color: Black
  • Material
  • Fan
  • Heatsink Dimension (LxWxH)
  • Heatsink Weight
  • Scope of Delivery
  • Warranty: 5 Years
  • Unboxing the PH-TC14CS

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler box

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler box left

    On the left side is a list of all the features of the PH-TC14CS

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler box Right

    Right side has a listing of the specifications.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler box back

    The back has a small paragraph talking about the PH-TC14CS in multiple languages.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler Opening box

    Opening the box there is piece of sheet foam protecting the top of the cooler. The cooler is wrapped in cardboard.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler cardboard wrapper

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler cardboard wrapper

    All the accessories are bagged and separated nicely for common, Intel, and AMD parts.

    Looking Closer at the Phanteks PH-TC14CS

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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…

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    The PH-TC14CS has five 8mm heatpipes in a fan pattern.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    Flipping the PH-TC14CS over we can get a look at the base. The base is nice, but not a mirror finish.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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 PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    The general parts are fan spring clips, fan mount posts, Y power adaptor, thermal paste, silicon strips, and allen key driver.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    To get started you install the motherboard side mounts for your particular socket.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    Once installed the cooler without the fans clear the RAM on the front side of the socket nicely.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    On the back side of the socket the heatpipes will limit the height of the RAM to standard height ram.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    Add in the lower fan and the height is restricted to standard height RAM for all sockets.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System

    System specs

    Here is a short list of the parts that make up the Legit Reviews Core i7-930 test system:

    Intel Test Platform
    Component Brand/Model Pricing
    Processor Intel Core i7 3960X Click Here
    Motherboard Intel DX79SI
    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

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System CPUz

    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:

    Motherboard Drivers:


    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System GPUz

    The video card we are using is an MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC and is running ForceWare 290.53.

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System SSD

    For the main drive we have a 90GB Corsair Force GT SATA3 SSD running firmware 1.3.3.

    Testing Procedure

    Intel settings
    click for larger image

    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.

    Coolers Tested

    Temperature Testing Results

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.

    Phanteks PH-TC14CS CPU Cooler

    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.