As most of you may know, when I build inside most HTPC or Mini-ITX cases, I tent to grab the Zotac powered motherboard with an Intel Atom processor for one main reason - the heat sink. Up until just recently, boards were few and far between for selections, even if I was to find the appropriate aftermarket cooler. There have been a couple that I can remember off the top of my head, one from SilverStone that was basically a shorter Intel stock cooler, the Samuel17, as well as a couple of others that the name slips my mind. Out of that group I would likely recommend the Samuel17, but today Phanteks is offering something that very well may change my mind.
With anything in the Small Form Factor market, the whole idea is to pack as much equipment as is physically possible inside of an area smaller than the box most shoes come in. Doing this to a chassis brings out some nuances let's say, that don't typically show up in the larger cases. Things like where the PSU is going to mount, or in the case of many others, can you fit a tower cooler inside of them either due to the PSU covering it, the roof of the chassis is too low, or the panels are too close. This leads many users to try to configure water loops inside of them, but until the BitFenix Prodigy case arrived, there weren't many good options for that, and on the air cooling side, even with the Samuel17, the cooler could cause issues with memory or the video card.
Today Phanteks has delivered what they think is going to handle these exact situations with ease. The PH-TC90LS is obviously a low profile cooler, but to stand 45mm tall, my gut reaction is that this is a stock replacement cooler with a bit more style and finesse. I found that I was only a third wrong. The PH-TC90LS is an attractive looking cooler with a bit of styling to make it a nice looking addition to any build really, not just SFF ones. The part I failed to realize, is even with one of the thinnest 92mm fans I have ever seen and only 27mm of base and fins to work with, this cooler can handle its business.
Even if you aren't in the market for a low profile cooler, the PH-TC90LS may still impress you enough to run this inside of any build it matches.