In my position as a reviewer and one that gets to get his hands on just about everything case and cooler related, I am really torn with this review. On one hand, I sort of expect new companies to bring forward something completely new, not something modeled almost exactly to something we all know already. On the flip side of that coin, I do see a lot more engineering involved in the PH-TC14PE than the D-14 it resembles. Even though everything about this cooler including its packaging and its hardware screams Noctua, Phanteks does fill a void in the market, and with a cooler that took everything I could throw at it offering some of the best results with direct CPU testing. On top of the P.A.T.S. and the C.P.S.C. Phanteks steps in and offers four solutions to those with the comment of Noctua coolers having an unappealing color scheme. With the PH-TC14PE, not only do you get a kick ass huge cooler, you have the option to select a color to match the theme of almost any case build.
Some things to think about while pondering the purchase of the PH-TC14PE. On top of the fact that it is outright huge and can weigh up to 1250 grams, you need to be sure you have the room to house this monster. While I had no issue with the memory clearance, it did push the fan higher in my installation, and this could cause issues with the side panel in thinner cases. The last thing to consider is do you want the best experience and efficiency level by adding a third fan? Since the hardware kit is all inclusive for three fans already, you may as well go ahead and get one. I mean let's be honest here. If you are in the market for this beast to begin with, your PC doesn't sit at stock, and you are in the market for the best air cooling has to offer to even consider this cooler in the first place. So in that respect, why not add the third fan that showed an advantage of an additional three degrees of headroom to push your CPU to the bleeding edge.
I could go on forever about the aesthetics of the PH-TC14PE; in blue it looks like it is made perfect for any of the older blue GIGABYTE boards or any of the ASUS boards with the electric blue accents as well would look good under this cooler. With red, it brings in many other boards that would look great; orange is a bit more limited, but even the all white version would look good in an all white chassis. On top of that, the cooler is super easy to mount, even if the motherboard is still in the case. One thing to note is that the AMD hardware is not unidirectional, the cooler will only mount in the orientation of the socket, so pay close attention or this cooler will need to blow at the top of the chassis in many instances. All of the bits and pieces in the hardware kit will make this cooler as shipped go into any build with the minimal stress in how to get both fans powered or even lower the noise if desired.
Ringing in at the counter with a very premium price, I feel that is justified. If I could say that the D-14 was worth its price, but the PH-TC14PE is worth a bit more to many buyers simply based on the aesthetics between the two, and while I am spoiled and don't like seeing similar products, Phanteks went above and beyond with their offering and could quite possibly eclipse the D-14 I keep comparing this to. I wish all four versions of the cooler were demanding a similar price, but it will cost you ten more dollars if you want this in anything other than the white solution. As tested, the PH-TC14PE_BL is $99.99 at Newegg.com. There is one point that will hurt the overall score, but the limited availability is expected with a cooler so fresh on the market, so don't let that little fact sway your buying decision.
If you are looking for a cooler that offers everything you could want and then some more, you really need to give Phanteks serious consideration. If you can afford the premium pricing, there is no reason to go with another cooler when you can get the PH-TC14PE to match any theme and still deliver some of the best performance I have seen in air cooling!
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