CPU Heatsink Roundup May 2006

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2006-05-01

Eight new heatsinks are compared to 21 other air cooling solutions from different manufactures. We have some promising entries from Spire, Aerocool, Scythe, Thermaltake and Tuniq for you today!

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Tuniq Tower 120

Tuniq Tower 120
Supplied by: Thermaltake

Tuniq is a subsidiary product series from the know well known Sunbeamtech; Tuniq offers less “flashy” products, but rather those which belong in the “stylish” department. Their first CPU heatsink is nothing short of breath taking, not because it’s particularly stylish but because of its HUGE size. Weighing in close to 1kg it takes up almost all free space inside your case. 3 large heat pipes are joined in a large base. A 120mm fan sits in the middle of the Tuniq Tower 120 (Not a very original name, but it does bring over the message).

For such a huge hunk of copper and aluminum pricing still remains acceptable in the ~$50 range. In Europe it can even be found at €40!

Madshrimps (c)


Specifications :

Compatibility:
  • AMD: Athlon64/64+ Socket754/940/939
  • Intel: Socket 478/775

    Fan included: 9-blade 120mm fan. 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
    (2000rpm / 0.25A)

    Heatsink Dimensions: L131xW108xH153mm
    Weight: 798gr (without fan!)

    In the Box :

    Madshrimps (c)


  • Instruction manual
  • Small tube of thermal paste
  • Mounting material and brackets for the different platform

    Construction:

    This heatsink is a monster, I thought I had seen it all when I reviewed the all copper Coolermaster Hyper 6 and that was 2 years ago! This heatsink dwarfs the Hyper6 which in turn dwarfed the Thermalright SP-94, how times have changed.

    The base of the Tower 120 has very visible machine lapping marks, lapping it will increase performance. An uncountable series of tightly packed aluminum fins at both sides of the center fan provide for the necessary dissipation area. There are 3 U formed heat pipes running through the whole construction.

    The included 120mm fan is mounted on a special “pointy” mounting bracket and this slides into the heatsink and is secured in place by four screws. The fan has its own fan speed controller which is mounted on a PCI bracket.

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)


    The largest heatsink I have in the “labs” until today was the Scythe Ninja, how does it compare size wise?

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)



    Installation :

    Taking into account the weight of the Tower 120 I was surprised to find no rear mounting bracket for the motherboard. If your motherboard only comes with a plastic one (like my DFI NF3 does) I would not recommend mounting this heatsink on top, as the strain put on the plastic bracket might just be “too much” and you don’t want to see this heatsink fall down onto the graphics card.

    I used a spare metal mounting bracket and set out to install the unit, on the K8 platform this is quite straightforward, you don’t need any tools to fix it in place as there are very large thumb screws included. The heatsink can only be mounted in one direction, but you can slightly twist the Tower 120 without risking improper CPU contact.

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)


    Performance and Noise :

    The moment of truth!

    Madshrimps (c)


    The Ninja has reigned supreme for some time now in our charts but the Tower 120 is able to sneak in front of it, shaving of 2°C with the Papst at 100%. However at lower fan speed the Ninja still holds the lead (2°C) as the tightly packed fins on the Tower 120 are not designed for low CFM fans.

    With the stock fan at high the performance is awesome but noise levels are very high, fortunately with the stock fan at low speed the performance/noise ratio remains excellent.

    Madshrimps (c)


    Overclocking the CPU shows pretty much the same results, at higher fan speeds the Tower 120 leads the way, at low fan speeds the Ninja is ahead. Let’s see how they do without active CPU cooling, I let the rear fan run at 5v and experimented with installing a ghetto duct mod on the Ninja and Tower 120.

    Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)


    Madshrimps (c)


    The Ninja has a comfortable lead without the duct installed, once the two cardboard pieces are in place the Ninja really shows it muscles.

    The Verdict:

    With high/medium speed fans the Tuniq Tower 120 is the best air cooled heatsink out there right now, there is no doubt about that. The stock fan offers both extreme performance as a good performance/noise balance when you turn down its speed through the included fan controller. Its huge size and weight does bring complications when it comes down to mounting, the Tower 120 does not include a metal mounting bracket for the K8 platform, something which is vital for such a heavy heatsink. I would not install this heatsink if you only have a plastic one. Tuniq, pack a metal K8 mounting bracket with the Tower 120!

    The Tower 120 is priced attractively, it offers multiple platform compatibility and installation is straightforward. Strongly recommended for those seeking an extreme performance heatsink.


    PRO
    Amazing performance
    Excellent performance/noise ratio
    Stock fan silent at low speeds
    Multi platform compatible


    CON
    Stock fan incredibly loud at full speed (but coupled with extreme performance)
    Installation on K8 advised only if you have a metal motherboard back plate (not included with this heatsink)


  • Where to buy?

    Time to sums things up and show you our performance/noise overview charts ->
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