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Acoustic Performance

We measured the noise from our testing participants in the entire supported speed range of their fans following the methodology described above. The results are summed up on the following graph:

The most efficient Phanteks PH-TC-14PE cooler also turned out the noisiest one among five air coolers tested today. Zalman CNPS12X and Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 are significantly quieter than the Phanteks cooler, but Noctua’s fans seem subjectively softer than Zalman’s. And the quietest ones in our today’s test session are again Thermalright Archon HR-02 Macho equipped with identical TY-140 fans. Our regular readers should already be used to this overall picture and it doesn’t depend on the platform type and configuration. As for the liquid-cooling system from Intel, although it is not present on the graph, we have to point out that it has a rather noisy fan, which is louder than any other in our today’s test session, and a quiet pump.


I can’t say that the super-cooler tests in the new platform with an LGA 2011 processor produced any unexpected results or drastically changed the alignment of forces among them. The obtained results correlate well with what we have obtained previously on our LGA 1366 platform. But at the same time, we can’t say that nothing has changed. Larger processor heat-spreader sets stricter requirements to the size and finish of the cooler base plate, contact quality and retention pressure. At the same time increased processor heat dissipation during overclocking produced bigger difference in temperature not only between super-coolers, but also between the best of the best. Taking into account all of these factors we hope that the new platform will make it possible to perform even more objective tests of the cooling systems in all price segments.

As for the super-coolers tested in our today’s review, Phanteks PH-TC14PE is indisputably the best one in pure efficiency, but it has a very serious drawback – it is the noisiest cooler of the five tested today. Ideally, Phanteks PH-TC14PE should be equipped with two quiet Thermalright TY-140 fans, then it will have absolutely no competitors among air coolers of any kind. The second most efficient cooler is Zalman CNPS12X, and here we don’t have any complaints about the noise. As you remember, we managed to overclock our test processor to the same maximum under Zalman CNPS12X, as we did under Phanteks PH-TC14PE. No doubt, this Korean cooler is a true success.

The third place goes to Thermalright Archon and HR-02 Macho. Although Archon proved 1-3°C more efficient than Macho, it sells for only half of Archon’s price, while their noise level is the same. This allows us to rank this cooler as high as Archon. The fourth place is taken by Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, but this isn’t the outsider (there are no outsiders in this test session, except for the Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler, of course). Unlike the same Archon, this Austrian cooler is equipped with two quiet fans by default (now with PWM control), which make it just as efficient as Thermalright Archon with one default fan.

Now all we have to do is wait for the new super-coolers to hit the streets, so that we could check them out on the new Intel Core i7-3960X extreme Edition platform.

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