Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on February 24, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

This time we tested a CPU cooler from Tuniq, Tower 120 Extreme. This cooler has a tower design with five U-shaped heatpipes and with its fan installed inside the heatsink. Will it show a good performance? Check it out!

The box is beautiful and has a robust structure: there is an external box, made of card paper, and a thicker (and harder) one inside, with a plastic transport handle.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 1: Box.

Opening the box we were gladly surprised to find, besides the cooler itself, a very complete book-style user manual (instead the common B&W one-sheeter) and a box where the installation hardware is organized in a foam with matching holes, as you can see in Figure 2.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 we can have a general view of the cooler. At first look it seems like there is no fan, but looking carefully you can see the fan inside the heatsink.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 3: Tower 120 Extreme.

In the next pages we will see the cooler in details.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme

In Figure 4 we see Tower 120 Extreme from the front, where you can notice the fan inside the heatsink. It is a nice looking cooler, with nickel-plated fins and heatpipes for a metallic black looks.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 4: Front view.

Looking it from the side we notice the fins are folded at their edges, making a wall that holds airflow inside the cooler.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 5: Side view.

In Figure 6 you see the reviewed cooler from the top, where you can have an idea of the shape of the fins. We can also see the heatpipes tips. The plastic piece at the center is actually the fan support.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 6: Top view.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme (Cont'd)

In Figure 7 we see the base of the cooler, where the heatpipes touch directly the CPU. And interesting detail is that there are three 8-mm heatpipes (center and border ones) while both the remaining are 6-mm. The base is smooth but has no mirror-look finishing.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 7: Base.

In order to remove the fan you just need to remove four screws at the top of the cooler and pull it up. In Figure 8 we can see the cooler without the fan.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 8: Cooler without the fan.
In Figure 9 we can see the fan, attached to a piece that holds it inside the cooler. This fan is transparent and comes with four blue LEDs. Note the three-pin miniature connector, which means is has no PWM automatic speed control. This, however, is not a problem, since Tower 120 Extreme comes with a fan controller to be installed in a expansion slot on the rear side of the case. In Figure 10 we see this controller, as well as the gray thermal compound tube that comes with the cooler.
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 9: Fan.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 10: Fan controller and thermal compound.

Installation

In Figure 11 we see the backplate that you must install on the solder side of the motherboard, with the screws installed in the position for socket LGA775. Unfortunately, this backplate does not touch the motherboard, so it does not prevent the motherboard from bending.

This plate can be used for all supported sockets. In the sample we tested there is no support for socket LGA1156, but the version now found in stores (called Tower 120 Extreme Rev. 1) brings a new backplate that supports it. You can also find this new backplate on retail stores, if you have this first version and intend to use it with a socket LGA1156 CPU.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 11: Backplate and screws.

After fastening the screws on the backplate, you just need to insert it under the motherboard, put the cooler over the CPU and then fasten the four spring thumbscrews. In Figure 12 we can see Tower 120 Extreme installed on our motherboard.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 12: Installed on our motherboard.

In Figure 13, you can see the cooler installed inside our case.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
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Figure 13: Installed in 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 and Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme 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

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

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

 Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme

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 Tower 120 Extreme

Main Specifications

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme main features are:

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

Conclusions

By simply opening Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme box we were already impressed. We never saw a cooler package where the hardware is beautifully acomodated into a foam-filled box; usually parts are just dropped into a small box.

But this good impression could have quickly gone away if the cooler didn't performed well, but it did not disapointed us, performing as good as some of the best coolers we tested so far.

Its fan is quiet and the fan controller that comes with the cooler works very well, so you can choose to privilege silence or performance.

Its looks is very cool, with its cube aspect and black shades. A pity the fan blue glow keeps hidden inside the cooler: it only lights the base of the cooler.

It is a little bit expensive, standing at a higher price range than other coolers with similar performance. 

In summary, Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme is quiet, beautiful and good performer but just a little bit expensive. Therefore it deserves the Hardware Secrets Silver Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Tuniq-Tower-120-Extreme-CPU-Cooler-Review/932


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