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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking it from the side we notice the fins are folded at their edges, making a wall that holds airflow inside the cooler.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
Figure 12: Installed on our motherboard.
In Figure 13, you can see the cooler installed inside our case.
Figure 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.
- 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
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
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.
|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||
|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 °
|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.
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.
[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.
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.
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