There is always a certain amount of expectation from components coming from established manufacturers. There are, of course, deviations from the norm and these will sometimes throw us off. Manufacturers typically have a philosophy and mission that they adhere to, and sticking by it is what keeps their fans coming back for more in the good times. When you see entire changes in philosophy, this is usually a pretty good indicator that their “fans” are no longer coming back for more, and a change is needed. Of course, sometimes there is just a singular line piece that makes a huge departure, and sometimes that piece happens to simply make perfect sense.
I can’t say that I was surprised when I was informed by Phanteks that they were releasing a low profile cooler. After all, small form factor builds are becoming incredibly popular and the demand for quality cooling is going to be there. The initial specs were along the lines I would have guessed….three heat pipes, copper base, aluminum fins, 45mm tall with fan….wait, 45mm tall? Could that be right? Could the manufacturer of the behemoth PH-TC14PE and (to a lesser extent) PH-TC14CS really be making a cooler this small? My question was answered when the box that the PH-TC90LS was shipped in was smaller than the fin array of the PH-TC14PE. What I found inside the box was no less surprising.
The Phanteks PH-TC90LS CPU Cooler is a low profile cooler aimed squarely at meeting the needs of the small form factor builder. With an overall height of 45mm with the fan installed, the Phanteks PH-TC90LS comes in under the ~50mm mark we normally see as a limitation in HTPC builds. However, small stature does not leave the PH-TC90LS short on features and cooling performance. The PH-TC90LS incorporates the same technologies we have seen in Phanteks larger builds and retains their P.A.T.S. and C.P.S.C. technologies. Somehow, Phanteks has managed to pack three 6mm heat pipes into the PH-TC90LS, attached to a nickel-plated copper cooling block and aluminum fins. A 92mm 1000-2500rpm PWM fan provides the air movement, and does it quietly, topping out at 26 dBA. To further aid in noise reduction, rubber vibration damping is used to isolate the fan. The PH-TC90LS comes with a 5-Year Warranty, and premium PH-NDC thermal interface material is included.