Ryzen has become extremely popular and for good reason. It doesn’t surprise me with all the free upgrade kits being offered by manufacturers to upgrade their customers existing coolers. Thermaltake has taken a different approach and offered a cooler to rule all socket types. They are offering a budget cooling solution to combat against the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo with AM4 and LGA 1151 support. This makes the silent 12 very versatile and also offers a low premium price. Let’s see if this cooler has what it takes to bring the performance levels at its low cost and if installation over AM4 offers any new improvements.
The specifications are as follows:
|Compatibility||Intel LGA 1366/1156/1155/1151/1150/775
|Heatsink Material||Aluminum FinsCopper Heatpipes|
|Heatpipe||Φ6mm x 4 pcs|
120 x 120 x 25 mm(L xW x H)
|Fan Speed||500~1500 RPM
400~1100 RPM (with LNC )
|Start Voltage||9.0 V|
|Rated Current||0.17 A|
|Power Input||2.04 W|
|Air Flow||74.33 CFM|
|Air Pressure||1.68 mm-H2O|
|Acoustical Noise||28.8 dBA
22.1 dBA(with LNC)
|Life time/Fan Life time||40,000 hours|
|pin connect||4 pin PWM + LNC (Low-Noise Cable)
27% fan speed and 24 noise can be reduced
|Cooling Power||150 W|
Nothing special with the packaging here, but the new thing is the AM4 support and that is proudly labeled on the front. It does come with a low noise cable which will be nice for enthusiasts who want a more quiet experience. The back shows what’s in the box and what feature sets are provided.
The accessories include are as follows:
- Mounting bracket for Intel Sockets (AM4 is native to cooler)
- 120mm TT-1225 PWM fan
- Low noise reduction cable
- Mounting screws
- Thermal Paste
- Manual and warranty information
The included fan with the silent 12 is a TT-1225 and is PWM controlled. This fan offers a high airflow design with curved blades. The fan blades are engineered to achieve the best cooling performance from a high volume of airflow passing through the heatsink at an angle. Being PWM controlled offers a good way to set fan curves through your UEFI or motherboard software and lets you set your desired performance and audible tolerance.
Design & Installation
I have to say the overall design of the silent 12 is pretty basic, but this is the point and should offer excellent performance for a decent price. I prefer the new premium logo from TT like in the beginning of this review. The silent 12 uses the older orange logo, but using the new logo here could have added a better look to the overall design of the silent 12. The competitor alternative cooler from Coolermaster does offer a black cover for its heatsink which would have been welcomed here. I would have also opted to make the fan blades black giving it a sleek covert look. Overall though the design isn’t horrible and really the performance is what’s going to matter the most.
The included fan does offer a long life hydraulic bearing which adds to its silent operation. It can self-lubricate and provides better thermal efficiency. You can expect the fan to last a long time and not be distracting while maintaining good performance.
The first part of the installation process is making sure you have everything you need for your proper mounting choice. I will be mounting this cooler using the AM4 platform which is already compatible out of the box. Mounting this to an AM4 motherboard is going to be really easy due to the built in clips on the heatsink.
The first thing I did for installation was making sure to secure the fan to the heatsink. I’m already ready to go for mounting this to the AM4 platform with the included clips and all that is required here is taking the hooked ends of your clips and connecting them to the fan holes on each side. Be sure to take the square latch part and press into the indent of your heatsink on both sides. This will securely lock the fan to the heatsink and can even be easily removed later if you wish.
You are now ready to mount the cooler but before you do this, you need to make sure you peel off the warning label and also make sure to apply thermal compound. I prefer the small pea sized method for application. The current motherboard used here is the Asus Hero V1 and already has AM4 mounting brackets for this cooler.
Here is the one thing about this cooler that is difficult. It’s actually a simple idea and easier to install than it is to remove. The mounting solution for my AM4 socket requires a bit of pressure to latch to the brackets. This is typical of past AMD mounting solutions and hasn’t really changed all that much. This does, however, provides a fantastic seal over the CPU. This should allow for excellent thermal transfer but I was afraid I might break my board with the amount fo pressure required.
The design of the heatsink offers an optimized thickness of 0.4mm of aluminum fins. Each fin offers a 2.2mm gap for air and the cooler has solid copper heat pipes that offer rapid heat dissipation. By having the copper heat pipes in direct contact with the CPU this will ensure fast and efficient heat dissipation and good thermal conversion.
I also want to point out I had zero issues with compatibility it here even with checking standard sized kits. I did end up using Corsairs low profile ram from my Ryzen kit but did check regular sized ram as well.
The last step, of course, is to make sure you plug your 4-pin PWM fan cable into your motherboard’s CPU fan header. Please refer to your motherboard manual because there can be more than one and even offer different settings in your BIOS depending on what header you used.
You’re going to want to make sure you hook onto the back latch first then use the other side with the bigger level to push down until it locks the heatsink in place. This cooler offers a pretty quick installation and took only about 5 minutes of my time. I would say how quickly you can get an aftermarket cooler installed and working with your Ryzen system is one of the stronger points about this cooler.
To test the performance of the Silent 12 I will be testing cooling and noise. I will be running Aida64 Extreme for load performance, and for idle just sitting on my desktop with no application load. The load performance will consist of max RPM of fans, and idle represent lowest RPM setting for fans. I don’t have a 212 to test against otherwise that would have been ideal since this was marketed against that. Please, know that testing can vary from setup to setup and so don’t expect the same results. Even similar hardware ran here could show variable differences.
I understand that it would be ideal here to test against another AM4 cooler but at this current time I have no other AM4 coolers and would much rather give you an accurate comparison of apples to apples rather than throw in some Socket 1151 number. I will add in the performance metrics of the bequiet! pure rock on my Intel setup but please keep in mind that these tests are not using the same technology. It’s just to compare Ryzen vs Intel temperates and noise performance.
For temperature testing, I will be using two tools. The first tool is an IRT207 infrared thermometer and the second is a very special tool called the FLIRONE! This tool is fantastic because it will allow tech enthusiasts and reviewers to show visual results for thermal testing. It is a next generation thermal camera that works with iOS and Android devices. If you want to buy one look here. I mostly will be looking as software results for temperatures but will use the IRT207 to make sure they are accurate.
My test bench is as follows:
- ViewSonic XG2703-GS Monitor
- Motherboard- Asus x370 Crosshair VI Hero
- CPU: Ryzen 1700
- Network Card- Netgear AC 1200 USB
- Cooler- Thermaltake Contact Silent 12 AM4 air cooler
- Memory- Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000MHz
- Video Card: AMD R9 390
- Storage- OCZ VX 500
- Power Supply- Thermaltake PRO RGB 850W
- OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
- Mouse- Logitech G403 Wireless Gaming Mouse
- Keyboard- Coolermaster MasterLite Keys Keyboard
- Headphones- Logitech G533 7.1 Surround Sound Wireless Headset
The Pure rock cooler is cooling a 6700k at 4.5 GHz while the Silent 12 is cooling a Ryzen 1700 at 3.8 GHz. I understand these frequencies are different but you have to keep in mind Ryzen runs very hot and does have more cores. These tests should offer some interesting results with overclocking in mind.
The corsair kit provided used the DOCP settings for Ryzen and XMP for the Intel setup. Each of these technologies essentially automatically selects your overclocked ram profile in each motherboards UEFI.
I will test both stock and overclocked settings for each CPU.
For noise testing, I used a high gain microphone. I want to explain a few things about noise testing.
First: Testing noise levels can be difficult. First, don’t expect the same levels even with similar hardware. There are too many differences and variables that go into sound testing. You have to account for background noise and other sounds in the environment.
Second: I am one reviewer, and am not a professional sound studio. I am not testing these items in perfect conditions. I do not have an anechoic sound chamber in my test studio.
The noise levels above are within reason and definitely are really good for the Silent 12. The noise levels recorded were on average the level of a normal conversation. The Silent 12 here did offer a bit of quieter operation and this was without the low noise cable. It’s hard also to get a lower dB level as the noise from other fans, my environment, and other factors contribute to the lowest level recorded. I can say at idle the fan is barely audible, and on high is definitely not that loud. Both these coolers do a fantastic job of cooling your CPU with quiet operation compared to other coolers I have seen at 100% fan speed. This is also why fan curves also play an important role in optimizing your system for your desired levels.
When looking over temperatures Ryzen does run hotter than Intel and in this example not by too much, but I have seen results where it can go even hotter depending on your overclock. If you’re not overclocking I wouldn’t worry too much about it but if you are just aware of your thermal threshold. Ryzen can get up to 95°C before throttling the chip. I am well within this range but my comfort level is more around 80°C before I get concerned with needing better for higher overclocks.
For temperature testing, I used a FLIR One while normal gaming. You can see above a real world example of how well this cooler performs. The heatsink and CPU block which are the coolest seems to be doing a great job keeping the CPU cool, you can tell this because look at the VRM and area around the CPU block which is still very warm. Those temps reached about 62°C during stress testing. During gaming, the CPU only hit about 36°C which is outstanding.
The silent 12 is a fantastic alternative for a budget air cooler when it comes to Ryzen & the AM4 platform. It does have a very basic design but at its core, it performs well and has a very affordable price. I found the installation to have a few negative aspects, and this was the amount fo pressure required to lock the cooler, and when removing it afterward was even harder. I was concerned it could have damaged my board but didn’t.
At $24.99 it is hard to complain and argue the perforamnce you get for the price. I definitely rate this cooler with 4 stars and would highly recommend anyone on a budget get this cooler for your Ryzen rig. You will not be disappointed with its performance and will have more money to put towards your GPU or an SSD. You can buy the Silent 12 CPU cooler right now on Amazon for $24.99.