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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 3: Tower 120 Extreme.

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

[nextpage title=”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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 6: Top view.

[nextpage title=”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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 9: Fan.
Tuniq Tower 120 ExtremeFigure 10: Fan controller and thermal compound.

[nextpage title=”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 ExtremeFigure 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 ExtremeFigure 12: Installed on our motherboard.

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

Tuniq Tower 1
20 ExtremeFigure 13: Installed in our case.

[nextpage title=”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

  • Processor: Core 2 Extreme QX6850
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte EP45-UD3L
  • Memory: 4 GB G.Skill F2-6400CL5S-2GBNY (DDR2-800/PC2-6400 with 5-5-5-15 timings), configured at 800 MHz
  • Hard drive: 1 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 (ST31000528AS, SATA-300, 7200 rpm, 32 MB buffer)
  • Video card: PNY Verto Geforce 9600 GT
  • Video resolution: 1680×1050
  • Video monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 2232BW Plus
  • Power supply required: Seventeam ST-550P-AM
  • Case: 3RSystem K100

Software Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Software Used

Error Margin

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

[nextpage title=”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

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 44 dBA 1000 rpm 31 °C 42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 34 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 41 dBA 500 rpm 26 °C 35 °C
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 26 °C
TMG IA1 (max) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 22 °C 30 °C
TMG IA1 (min) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 21 °C 30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-100 18 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 35 °C 49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 20 °C 30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 20 °C 28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 23 °C
28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 31 °C 35 °C
Schythe Kabuto 22 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 29 °C 34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
ISGC-300 (min) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 26 °C 30 °C
ISGC-300 (max) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 24 °C 26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 30 °C 41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 28 °C 35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 41 dBA 700 rpm 25 °C 30 °C
ISGC-400 (min) 17 °C 44 dBA 850 rpm 24 °C 30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 752 20 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 32 °C 44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min) 22 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
Evercool Buffalo 17 °C 51 dBA 1850 rpm 22 °C 29 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken 20 °C 42 dBA 900 rpm 31 °C 39 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 21 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 30 °C 39 °C
Titan Skalli 20 °C 43 dBA 1200 rpm 27 °C 34 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B 21 °C 40 dBA 800 rpm 28 °C 32 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT 23 °C 45 dBA 900 rpm 30 °C 34 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N620 21 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 28 °C 34 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R2 23 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 33 °C 42 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA 20 °C 54 dBA 1900 rpm 27 °C 34 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA 23 °C 50 dBA 1900 rpm 38 °C 49 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II 23 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 29 °C 35 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT 24 °C 45 dBA 950 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
Titan Fenrir 21 °C 42 dBA 950 rpm 29 °C 35 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex 23 °C 40 dBA 800 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme 24 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 30 °C 37 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 48 dBA 1740 rpm 42 °C 100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 43 °C 77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 35 °C 70 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 48 dBA 1500 rpm 34 °C 68 °C
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 54 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 52 °C
TMG IA1 (max) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 63 °C
TMG IA1 (min) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 25 °C 60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 51 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-100 18 °C 50 dBA 1800 rpm 58 °C 93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 28 °C 59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 25 °C 54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 37 °C 76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 48 dBA 1900 rpm 42 °C 68 °C
Scythe Kabuto 22 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 51 dBA 2300 rpm 49 °C 85 °C
ISGC-300 (min) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 36 °C 64 °C
ISGC-300 (max) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 31 °C 56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 39 °C 96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 56 dBA 2600 rpm 34 °C 63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C 54 °C
ISGC-400 (max) 17 °C 47 dBA 1400 rpm 36 °C 69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 752 20 °C 55 dBA 2300 rpm 48 °C 92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max) 22 °C 53 dBA 2000 rpm 35 °C 59 °C
Evercool Buffalo 17 °C 51 dBA 1850 rpm 32 °C 67 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken 20 °C 50 dBA 1500 rpm 51 °C 85 &deg
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 21 °C 53 dBA 2700 rpm 39 °C 66 °C
Titan Skalli 20 °C 47 dBA 1550 rpm 37 °C 69 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B 21 °C 61 dBA 2600 rpm 30 °C 51 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT 23 °C 56 dBA 2000 rpm 34 °C 54 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N620 21 °C 50 dBA 1650 rpm 32 °C 56 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R2 23 °C 53 dBA 1900 rpm 45 °C 74 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA 20 °C 54 dBA 1900 rpm 39 °C 69 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA 23 °C 50 dBA 1900 rpm 58 °C 100 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II 23 °C 56 dBA 2100 rpm 32 °C 56 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT 24 °C 52 dBA 1500 rpm 40 °C 68 °C
Titan Fenrir 21 °C 50 dBA 1600 rpm 33 °C 58 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex 23 °C 61 dBA 2600 rpm 33 °C 59 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme 24 °C 56 dBA 1900 rpm 35 °C 60 °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

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme main features are:

  • Application: Socket LGA775, 1366, AM3, AM2+, AM2, 940, 939 and 754 processors. "Rev. 1" model also supports socket LGA1156.
  • Fins: Aluminum.
  • Base: Aluminum, with heatpipes directly touching the CPU.
  • Heat-pipes: Five U-shaped copper heat-pipes.
  • Fan: 120 mm.
  • Nominal fan speed: 2,000 rpm.
  • Fan air flow: 90.65 cfm.
  • Maximum power consumption: 3.12 W.
  • Nominal noise level: 20 dBA.
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs (775 g).
  • More information: https://www.tuniq.com.tw
  • Average price in the US*: USD 63.00

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

[nextpage title=”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.