I was and still am a huge fan of the HAVIK 140, but there comes a point to where it is just too much cooler for certain installations. That need drove NZXT to deliver a solidly performing little brother into the mix with this release of the HAVIK 120 CPU cooler. The cooler is easy to mount as it said on the box; increasing the pipe diameter to help make up for the reduction in total count, and the push/pull configuration all lend to delivering what we just saw in both the images of the charts. I knew it wasn't going to outperform the Phanteks, but I didn't realize it could keep within one degree of it! Now either I got the worst Phanteks cooler on the planet, or I got the best HAVIK 120 ever made.
The results showed me that there might be something fishy going on with this cooler and as always we welcome any and all explanations from the manufacturer with any findings we have. I sent off an email addressing my issues that fell on deaf ears, or in this case of digital media, blind eyes. I have to go on the assumption that my BIOS, AIDA64 (which has been spot on up to this cooler at reading RPM), and my multi-meter showing 11.97 volts gong to the fans can result in over 200 RPM difference from the specs to the actual fan. I have to believe that the fans were in fact running over 1700 RPM to drive the nasty vibration I felt only with this cooler installed. The test bench vibrated and carried it right into the table I use for testing, and I have to say it wouldn't have been very pleasurable to game with this cooler in a PC on my desk. Going off of my sound meter was yet another indication that something wasn't completely right. NZXT advertises a 22 dB rating, and these fans went well over that mark.
I really had high expectations from this cooler and there is always the chance that I got a bad unit. If NZXT wants to supply another cooler for testing once the retail samples are available, I will be more than happy to give it another run on the test bench. As it stands, the cooler I received is not something that I can base any recommendations on. At this moment take this as more of a preview of what might be available when this cooler hits the shelves. From what I have seen, if there isn't a typo on the maximum fan speed, I got fans that are way over spec, and that will lower the temperatures. If things are on spec, both the noise level and the RPM ratings are way off.
As of right now, take this with a grain of salt as we wait for NZXT to come up with some sort of response to my findings. For now I will just say that the HAVIK 120 is a sleek looking cooler that is more versatile than its larger companion in the HAVIK 140, but that is where I have to stop. I just can't make myself say much more until we get to the bottom of the fan issue and see if the retail samples are fixed. The scoring, as you are about to see It, is going to be harsh, but in things such as performance and value for your money, I'm currently stuck with the fact that you have a 50/50 chance of it doing well. These also carry over to the quality of the unit, and until I get some sort of reply, I am going to pass on the HAVIK 120 for now!