I have yet to have any previous experiences with this manufacturer. The last thing we saw from the main partner, Sunbeamtech, was the CCF that Chris reviewed over a year ago. A division of the parent company is where Tuniq comes into play, and from what I can gather they are in the business of stripping off unnecessary components and trying to bring designs and concepts to the market that leave the end user with a minimalist, Zen-like feeling while observing and operating their products.
In more basic terms, Tuniq is in the business of providing an attractive product that makes a statement. While an appealing cooler is good to have, it is only as good as the fan equipped with the cooler in most instances. Tuniq claims that the included fan is indeed a silent fan, and still boasts quite a bit of CFM to handle the job. In principle this is fine on paper, but to make it work in reality is another thing we have yet to see for ourselves.
As I usually do, I like to look at the manufacturer's website to do a bit of homework before I actually receive the product. Taking some time over on Tuniq"s website, I was intrigued by the unique design, fin layout, and how Tuniq uses the fan to remove the heat from the cooler. I am here to save you that time, so let's get down to business as I share what I have found out thus far.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Specifications for the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme are very limited. From their site we can get the dimensions, which in reality aren't all that large. I have had much bigger coolers for testing cross my desk. The all aluminum cooler that utilizes both 8mm and 6mm heat pipes directly touching the CPU to pull the heat away. The mass of aluminum and copper weighs in at 775 grams, and that is without the fan included.
Moving down the specifications, we see there is a fair bit more information on the included syringe of TX-3 thermal compound. Everything from the color, viscosity, and even the specific gravity are covered here; I only wish they displayed as much information about the cooler. Even further down we run into all the stats about the MFDB fan included with the Tower 120 Extreme. These specs are promising indeed. A fan that boasts both over 90CFM and around 20dB of noise to accomplish this at maximum speed should keep noise under control, while still providing sufficient air flow to the fins.
Compatibility isn't going to be an issue, as you can see it fits all of the current sockets, and a couple of older ones as well. This backed by an actual motherboard support list found at Tuniq's site will aide you in your buying choice like I have rarely seen before. This list I speak of actually shows a bunch of specific models that Tuniq has fit their cooler to in order to look for any incompatibilities. Since this cooler is widely available at this time, finding one isn't going to be an issue either, just pick your favorite e-tailer and click on add to cart. For instance, I was able to locate the Tower 120 Extreme at Newegg for $59.99, and about $8 to ship it. Almost $70 is asking a fair bit of money to come from my wallet. Let's get down to the facts and see if the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme is worth the asking price.
The blue on black packaging is very catchy and eye appealing, and using a powered up image of the 120 Extreme doesn't hurt the looks one bit. There should be no doubt in your mind what you are getting inside with this packaging.
On this side there are the specifications for the cooler, fans, and the included thermal compound.
The rear of the package continues the blue on black theme, but this time it has the features, included parts and the compatibility list over the top.
The last side of the package is used to display a few images of the cooler along with one of the compound, and another of the fan controller included within.
After opening the box, I was surprised to see yet another box packed inside of it.
Now we are getting somewhere. Opening the inner box reveals a box full of hardware, which I removed. I do want you to see just how much care is taken to assure the Tower 120 Extreme a safe ride to your house. Not only is the cooler surrounded in a form fitting, plastic, clam shell package, Tuniq actually adds some high density foam to both sides to prevent any crushing damages.
The Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler
The 120 Extreme comes as a five heat pipe, black nickel plated beast that utilizes direct touch technology to bring on the heat. It then goes into a large array of 42 fins that surround the 120mm fan. We are currently looking at the inbound side for the airflow.
From the side you can see the stagger of the fins and how it affects the looks. Most coolers that have a scalloped fin design use it to space the fan and disturb airflow for better efficiency. With a centre mounted fan I know the closed sides will improve airflow, but at this point I am on the fence as to if the fins edges improve performance for this specific cooler, or if it is just a sexy looking design.
The top of the 120 Extreme has a metal plate screwed into the first ten fins or so. This plate holds the fan in place during operation, and adds a clean and artistic look to the typical flat fin with pipe tips sticking out of them. Tuniq uses this space to place their name stamped into the top piece.
I found this to be an attractive angle, and you will be able to see a similar angle when it is installed on your motherboard.
The bottom of the cooler has a plate already installed to the base. This plate accepts all Intel sockets since LGA775 (LGA1156 mounting requires a new back plate) and AMD's 939 as it sits. This plate surrounds the business end of alternating 8mm and 6mm heat pipes.
The pipes are placed into the base and it is milled as one piece. Gaps between the two vary depending on which pipe you are looking at. Just be sure when you install the cooler to fill these gaps a bit prior to placing the cooler on the CPU. The rest of the surface I did find to be level and milled pretty fine, even though slight milling marks are still visible.
I mentioned the top plate was removable, as it allows for access to the fan contained inside. Just four little screws to remove and the fan can slide out the top for cleaning.
When I removed the fan from the center of the fin assembly, the top fin came off with the fan. The majority of the fins are press fit to the heat pipes, but due to the shorter termination at the top, there is nothing for this fin to grab onto. Aside from that, the fan does slide out pretty easy, just be careful of the wire, as it likes to grab onto things at the bottom of the cooler.
Since it was all out in the open, I thought it was an opportune time to show the clear plastic, blue LED fan that gets screwed into the fan holder. Not only does the fan produce blue light to flood the surrounding area, the fans clear nature makes the body of the fan almost glow when power is added. As you can see, the fan uses a 3-pin connection that can either go directly to your motherboard or to the included fan controller.
Accessories and Documentation
The box I removed to show how well the Tower 120 Extreme was packed is shown here. This box is lined in high density foam with cut outs for the fan controller at the top, miscellaneous hardware in bags across the middle, and a shallow dent to allow for the back plate to sit secure as well.
Once all the hardware is removed from the box, things are a little more obvious to see. There is the fan controller and an included screw for mounting it in a chassis. To the left is the Intel bag of parts that also includes the syringe of thermal compound. To the right is the AMD kit and it has a couple of adapters that screw onto the plate on the bottom of the cooler for full AMD compatibility.
The manual provided me with all the information I needed to get the Tower 120 Extreme mounted to our T.E.C.C., and also provides good illustrations and txt to help in a time of needed help.
With my sample Tuniq made sure to include the LAG1156 back plate mounting hardware.
On the back you can see the features, specifications and included parts of the kit inside.
Inside of the box you will find a back plate almost exactly like the original equipment, just this time there are holes spaced for LGA1156 as well. Tuniq also includes new screws to be used with this back plate. The instructions here are similar to the book found with the cooler; this time it is written specifically for LGA1156s.
Test System &Testing Results
Test System & Test Results
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
After a couple of runs and time to allow the TIM to set in, I got these results. Considering the fin area and the specs of the fan, I would have thought the Tower 120 Extreme to be able to pull a bit better numbers than its almost 62 degree load temperature.
Tuniq's claims on the fan are a bit off, at least with the fan I received. Not only is the fan not quiet, as you can see by our results in the chart. I have had many fans rated in the 80 CFM range and above, and I have to say, even out of the cooler body, I don't think this fan really got to that sort of power.
Tuniq gives us a really nice looking cooler. Unique fin patterns, staggering the sizes of the heat pipes, use of a black nickel coating, and a heart of blue LED lighting from the fan make the Tower 120 Extreme a very appealing addition to any chassis. Where I do have an issue is in the price versus performance category of my sample. There are many coolers on the list that perform as well, if not better than my Tuniq, and at a lower retail price.
Reflecting back to the whole package, I like the innovative approach in design as I stated, but I think I could have overlooked the temperatures a bit more if this fan actually ran anywhere near the rated noise level, or the CFM levels for that matter. For me the fan was a good looking let down. It makes for an awesome looking glow on the system, but fails to do the main purpose of why it is there in the first place.
I implore Tuniq to show me I am wrong on this, and maybe send another fan over and I will be more than happy to rerun the testing, but as it sits, I'm left with a disappointed feeling. I was all for everything that Tuniq presented to me on paper, and with the super secure packing and condition of my packing, I can't see the fan getting hurt during transit, but it is always possible something slipped past the QC guys. As the results stand, I cannot honestly recommend that you go out and get the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme cooler for Newegg's $59.99 asking price when better results can be had both in noise and performance with a Xigmatek Dark Knight at just over half the price. If a sexy cooler with a unique look is a must, no matter the results, by all means go and buy one, but as of now, I'm not spending my money here.
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