Tuniq Propeller 120 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on April 13, 2010


Introduction

We tested Tuniq Propeller 120 CPU cooler, which has a two-piece horizontal heatsink, four heatpipes and a 120 mm fan. Check it out!

Propeller box is actually made by two boxes, one external printed in thin card paper and a black internal thicker one. The plastic handle helps carrying the box.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 1: Box.

Just like it happens with Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme, Propeller 120 accessories come organized in a foam-filled box with matching holes. User manual is printed in high-quality paper. Tuniq shows that their products are top-shelf starting with the packaging.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 you can have a general view of the heatsink. The fan does not come preinstalled.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 3: Heatsink.

In the next pages we will see this cooler in detail.

Tuniq Propeller 120

In Figure 4, you can see the front side of the heatsink. On top of the base there is a small auxiliary heatsink. The main heatsink is horizontal and keeps a good distance to the base.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 4: Front view.

In Figure 5, you can see the heatsink from the side. According to the manufacturer, the "V" shape is inspired on the mighty aircraft carriers. Here you can see the four 8-mm heatpipes. Since there are two independent heatsinks, each tip of each heatpipe is connected to one heatsink. The fins are not plain, but with some rugosity in order to achieve better heat transfer.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 5: Side view.

From the top you can better see the disposition of the heatpipes.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 6: Top view.

Tuniq Propeller 120 (Cont'd)

On the bease of Tuniq Propeller 120 you can notice that the heatpipes touch the CPU directly. The base surface is very smooth, as you can see in Figure 7.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 7: Base.

In Figure 8, you can see the 120 mm fan that comes with the cooler. This fan has blue LEDs that glow when it is turned on. The connector is a three-pin type, so with no PWM speed control.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 8: Fan.

This cooler comes with a fan controller that must be installed in one of the case rear slots. It could be nicer if the manufacturers start to include front-mounted fan controllers (using a disk drive bay), instead of rear ones.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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 Figure 9: Fan controller.

Installation

To install Propeller 120 you must use a backplate, shown in Figure 10. First of all, you need to insert the screws on the backplate holes that match your CPU socket. This backplate does not support socket LGA1156, but the manufacturer sells a compatible one.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 10: Installation hardware.

It is curious that the holding system from Propeller 120 is identical to the one we found on iCEAGE Prima Boss II and Spire TherMax Eclipse.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 11: Backplate with screws installed.

In Figure 12, you can see the cooler installed on our motherboard, with the fan already in place.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 12: Installed on motherboard.

In Figure 13, you can see Propeller 120 installed inside our case.

Tuniq Propeller 120
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Figure 13: Installed inside our case.

How We Tested

We are adopting the following methodology for our CPU cooler reviews.

First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.

We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.

Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn't interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the coolers shown on below tables. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models. ISGC-400, iCEAGE Prima Boss, Megahalems Rev. B, Thermaltake SpinQ VT, Zalman CNPS10X Flex, Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme and Tuniq Propeller 120 were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.

CPU Idle

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C44 dBA1000 rpm31 °C42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm29 °C36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm26 °C34 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C41 dBA500 rpm26 °C35 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C26 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm22 °C30 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm21 °C30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-10018 °C44 dBA1450 rpm35 °C49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm20 °C30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm20 °C28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm23 °C28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C43 dBA1100 rpm31 °C35 °C
Schythe Kabuto22 °C42 dBA800 rpm29 °C34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C43 dBA1500 rpm32 °C39 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm26 °C30 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm24 °C26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm30 °C41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C48 dBA1700 rpm28 °C35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C41 dBA 700 rpm25 °C30 °C
ISGC-400 (min)17 °C44 dBA850 rpm24 °C30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C48 dBA1700 rpm32 °C44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min)22 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C36 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm22 °C29 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C42 dBA900 rpm31 °C39 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C44 dBA1700 rpm30 °C39 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C43 dBA1200 rpm27 °C34 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C40 dBA800 rpm28 °C32 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C45 dBA900 rpm30 °C34 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C44 dBA1200 rpm28 °C34 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C46 dBA1400 rpm33 °C42 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm27 °C34 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm38 °C49 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C35 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT24 °C45 dBA950 rpm32 °C39 °C
Titan Fenrir21 °C42 dBA950 rpm29 °C35 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex23 °C40 dBA800 rpm32 °C39 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme24 °C43 dBA1100 rpm30 °C37 °C
Gelid Tranquillo22 °C41 dBA850 rpm29 °C36 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus20 °C45 dBA1200 rpm27 °C35 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse20 °C58 dBA2300 rpm25 °C34 °C
Tuniq Propeller 12020 °C43 dBA1050 rpm24 °C33 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C48 dBA1740 rpm42 °C100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm43 °C77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm35 °C70 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C48 dBA1500 rpm34 °C68 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C54 dBA1900 rpm24 °C52 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm27 °C63 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm25 °C60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C51 dBA1900 rpm24 °C50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-10018 °C50 dBA1800 rpm58 °C93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm28 °C59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm25 °C54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm37 °C76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C48 dBA1900 rpm42 °C68 °C
Scythe Kabuto22 °C47 dBA1200 rpm38 °C63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C51 dBA2300 rpm49 °C85 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm36 °C64 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm31 °C56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm39 °C96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C56 dBA2600 rpm34 °C63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C54 °C
ISGC-400 (max)17 °C47 dBA1400 rpm36 °C69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C55 dBA2300 rpm48 °C92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max)22 °C53 dBA2000 rpm35 °C59 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm32 °C67 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C50 dBA1500 rpm51 °C85 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C53 dBA2700 rpm39 °C66 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C47 dBA1550 rpm37 °C69 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C61 dBA2600 rpm30 °C51 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C56 dBA2000 rpm34 °C54 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C50 dBA1650 rpm32 °C56 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C53 dBA1900 rpm45 °C74 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm39 °C69 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm58 °C100 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C56 dBA2100 rpm32 °C56 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT24 °C52 dBA1500 rpm40 °C68 °C
Titan Fenrir21 °C50 dBA1600 rpm33 °C58 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex23 °C61 dBA2600 rpm33 °C59 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme24 °C56 dBA1900 rpm35 °C60 °C
Gelid Tranquillo22 °C46 dBA1450 rpm31 °C60 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus20 °C52 dBA1900 rpm32 °C64 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse20 °C58 dBA2300 rpm29 °C73 °C
Tuniq Propeller 12020 °C55 dBA1900 rpm36 °C68 °C

The next graph shows how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our idle tests.

 Tuniq Propeller 120

The next graph gives you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our full load tests.

 Tuniq Propeller 120

Main Specifications

Tuniq Propeller 120 main features are:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

According to tests we have done, coolers with horizontal heatsinks have a lower performance compared to the best "tower" coolers. Tuniq Propeller 120 was no exception.

Even though it has an excellent construction quality, it achieved an average performance, comparable to cheaper tower-design CPU coolers. Note, however, that it performed better than most coolers with similar design, like Nexus LOW-7000 R2, Thermaltake ISGC-400, SilverStone NT06-E and Noctua NH-C12P.

Its looks are very cool with the blue-glowing fan and its noise level is very low, virtually inaudible when in low speed.

Being an expensive cooler with average performance, we cannot give it an award seal. But if you are looking for a cooler with a horizontal heatsink with high-quality construction, nice looks, low noise level and capable of cooling a medium- or low-TDP CPU and price is not an issue for you, you can buy Tuniq Propeller 120 with no fear.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Tuniq-Propeller-120-CPU-Cooler-Review/970


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