From the limited amount of coolers I have tested in this fashion, I would say the PH-TC14CS is the better choice of the three C-style coolers on the list. It isn't as universal as the NH-L12, but it performs much better. The Enermax has cool lighting features, but again the PH-TC14CS performed much better. I am going to throw a third comparison in here, even though it is a tower cooler. The Thermalright Silver Arrow is only $10 more than this solution and to be honest, they are both a pain to install compared to the Noctua and if I am going to have to hassle with naked memory to get the cooler to even fit, then I have to hassle with half turns on a wrench I am going to opt for the better performer since this C-style cooler assumes all the room that most tower coolers occupy.
That isn't to say that the Phanteks PH-TC14CS is a failure by any means. I think the price is right as it stands up against the others on the list. My real issue is that I don't see a need for this size of a c-style cooler. Yes it looks cool, yes it's imposing, yes you have a color choice, but is that enough to make this a hit amongst buyers? I really don't think so.
I mean great, I can run one fan and have the cooler not perform near as well and allow myself to have a cooler near 110mm, then what? It just seems that if I were really planning to beat the living snot out of my PC, it isn't in a small HTPC or tiny mid-tower, so height of the cooler when it is this imposing over the memory and just being more of a pain to install than it had to be. Just cut out a few fins like Noctua does and return the Philips screws to the hardware so I only need one tool and it makes mounting like one hundred times easier.
I feel like I am really delivering a fatal blow to the Phanteks PH-TC14CS with what I just addressed. I don't in any way want to discredit the lack of noise emitted from the cooler, nor can I discredit its performance, but with the lack of attention to detail that we saw in the PH-TC14PE, Phanteks just let me down a little bit. It doesn't seem like they really went for "low-profile" even though it's shorter and with all the room it takes up anyways, why not opt for a better performing tower?
I know there are going to be those that are like "I got to have one of these" and I can appreciate that, I have no issues realizing that different people like various things that I don't personally have a use for. If you happen to be one of those people that are on the future PH-TC14CS owners list, I will say that it is quite the cooler for the price and as long as you plan ahead and have extra time on your hands, feel free to get the PH-TC14CS in whatever flavor floats your boat.
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