Subscribe For Free Updates!

We'll not spam mate! We promise.

Monday, 7 August 2017


Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 Review

The Contac Silent 12 is tall but is it tall enough to overshadow the competition's performance!?

AMD Ryzen is out and the CPU is making ripples in the market for all the good reasons. But while everyone is going gaga over its performance some find themselves in a dilemma since the new CPU requires new mounting brackets for the AM4 socket that it runs on especially the buyers of the CPUs that don't come with  stock cooler , the brackets for this socket are so scantly available that even now most manufacturers struggle to make their coolers AM4 compatible.
But Thermaltake is here to save the day for most of us with its latest offering in form of the Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 CPU air cooler which is AM4 compatible right out of the box! Thanks to Thermaltake India we have one on our table today for review so lets move on further and see what this cooler has to offer.

Coming in with a price tag of just $24 or Rs 2500 in India the Contac Silent 12 is a cooler on budget offering some really impressive features on the spec sheet. This 150W TDP cooler is equipped with a 120mm fan pushing at 74.33CFM the cooler is compatible with almost all the popular Intel platforms except for the LGA2011/LGA2066 and all the AMD platforms including the very latest AM4.

What's in the Box!?

Thermaltake brings the Contac Silent 12 in a tight little cardboard box with almost all the vital details printed right on top of the box itself. Apart from the product name and fan dimensions, its compatibility with AM4 has been clearly and boldly printed indicating its main USP. The inclusion of a low noise cable with the cooler is also printed at the bottom.

Open the box and you'll find the main cooler unit resting inside a thick foam cavity with the other nuts and bolts. Apart from the cooler and usual manuals and documentations you'll get a pouch of thermal paste, an Intel retention plate, fittings screws and nuts for Intel platforms and noise damping cable. These are enough to get you started and are made out of solid plastic and not metal to obviously cut down upon cost but the screws and nuts being made out of plastic is a point of concern for me as they hold everything in position.

The Contac Silent 12 comes fitted with the 120mm PWM fan out of the box which measures in at 120mmx120mmx25mm. It is easily removable through the two thin clamps on the side for cleaning or replacement purposes. Its fully white and not only looks good when spinning but if your system has RGB lighting or a RGB RAM kit then the reflections looks really soothing. This fan is rated at 500-1500RPM pushing in 74.33CFM of air 28.8dBA tops which is quite decent. Upon using the provided low noise cable the RPM comes down to 400-1100RPM with lower noise levels since the cable has a resistor build into it to limit the current supply to the fan.

The fan has a what Thermaltake claims as a hydraulic bearing design which self-lubricates itself with a high quality, friction-reducing substance that lowers operation noise and enhance thermal efficiency. The seal cap prevents leakage of the lubricant and improves the lifespan of the unit. We'll definitely see how much of this is factual when we'll be testing this cooler.

Looking at the bare radiator itself we see that it is tower style cooler which is 6" high and 5" wide making it a highly compact and hence compatible designs for most of the builds out there. Its a beautiful finned radiator made out of solid aluminum with each fin at 0.4 mm thickness, and they're spaced 2.2 mm apart to allow for optimal airflow. The heatpipes run through the entire internal surface of the radiator to allow maximum heat dissipation.

Thermaltake has put four 6mm copper heatpipes in the Contac Silent 12, these are nickle coated and end up into a aluminum base plate that makes direct contact with the CPU IHS which should improve the cooling drastically. Out of these four heatpipes two are U-shaped to minimize the heat heat travel distance to the top and hence ensure maximum cooling.

Installation of the Contac Silent 12

Considering the fact that the Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 is compatible with the Latest Ryzen platform with AM4 socket support so we'll be installing it on an AM4 platform. For installing you basically don't need anything but the cooler unit itself, this is because the cooler has two clamps attached to the base of it which act as its fitting and retention mechanism with the respective motherboard. With Intel you would require to fit in the plastic ring first but since the AMD platforms have two plastic projections screwed to the motherboard these clamps on the cooler would fit into those plastic projections directly! Simply place the TIM on the CPU and clamp in the cooler on top, keep in mind that it does require a little technique and pressure to fit in.

The cooler can either be placed with the fan towards the DIMM slots or opposite to them but its advisable that you face the fan towards the DIMM slots for two major reasons. Firstly, the fan would be able to draw cool air from the front end of the case which would be dust free since most chassis manufacturers install dust filters on the front fascia of the chassis. This would also cool the RAM sticks in the due process. Secondly, facing the back of the cooler towards the DIMM slots will result in hot air blowing onto the RAM sticks resulting in overheating, low performance and even memory failure in the long run.
A point worth mentioning is that you cannot populate the first DIMM slot when this cooler is in place as the fan blocks out the slot making it impossible to install another stick! My G.Skill Trident Z RGB are not very thick but still I can't manage to insert one in the first slot without rubbing it against the fan or the clips that hold it to the radiator. Only memories without or with a very thin heatspreader would be fine in the first DIMM slots probably a Corsair Vengeance LPX or something similar.
I need to mention that installing the Contac Silent 12 is not easy since the clamps are too high above the AMD platform supports and one needs to press in real hard to lower them down for a perfect fit risking the motherboard and CPU health itself in case it slips so one should try doing it before they put their motherboard inside the chassis. Also when removing it, its easier to unscrew and take off the motherboard stand-offs rather than the cooler as its near impossible to unclasps those clamps once fitted in tightly. This is something that I would like Thermaltake to take care of in future versions of the cooler.

Let's put it to test!

For testing the Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 CPU air cooler we'll be using the following test bench -

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Motherboard: Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 16GB 3200Mhz
Cooler: Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 1050Ti G1 Gaming OC
Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480 480GB
Secondary Storage: ADATA XPG SX8000 256GB M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 700
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
GPU Driver: ForceWare 375.70
BIOS: 1403

Firstly, the CPU is kept at stock speeds with XFR enabled and temperatures are measured both at idle and at full load. Then we overclock our AMD Ryzen 7 1700 to 3.8Ghz at 1.39v which is an easily attainable frequency by the chip but also a point where it starts generating quite a lot of heat, the same process as that for the stock speed testing is repeated. Temperature is measured using HW Monitor and taking average temperature across all the cores combined. MSI Kombuster utility is what I prefer to stress test the CPU at all eight threads, I run it for a good 15 minutes before recording the temperatures since by then the temperatures reach a saturation point.
Secondly, the fan is plugged directly into the CPU Fan header with fan profile at default from the BIOS itself to rule out any discrepancy whatsoever.
The readings would be shown in delta temperature that is after subtracting the ambient temperature of the room while noise levels are recorded from a distance of three feet from the cooler which is a reasonable and practical distance for such tests.
PS We haven't used the low noise cable for benchmarking since it lowers the cooling performance of the Contac 12 which made it impossible to keep the system stable at 3.8Ghz though at stock frequency it did the work but still the temperatures were higher than they should be.

At stock frequency we can see that the Contac Silent 12 performs identical to the Wraith Spire and is losing to the much bigger NH-D14 by a small margin.

Once overclocked the story is quite different since the Contac Silent 12 does cool the CPU but when put against the AMD Wraith Spire the margin is significant not to mention the other bigger coolers. This is mainly because the Wraith Spire is a vapor chamber design that is hard to beat by smaller air coolers. This is the reason why the system was not sable at 3.9Ghz using the Contac Silent 12 but the Wraith Spire did the job on same voltage and multiplier.

Noise wise the Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 is barely audible both when the CPU is idle or under load. The fan is indeed very quite and the hydraulic bearing design sure does the trick which Thermaltake claims about. Using the low noise cable would further lower the noise levels but I don't recommend doing so since you'll lose precious performance for a few decibels that hardly make any difference!

My Verdict

Thermaltake is a brand better known for its liquid cooler especially custom loop liquid coolers but with the Contac Silent 12 it has surely made a mark worth noticing. The cooler is priced extremely cheap and comes out of the box with support for AM4 which makes it an ideal choice for people who are buying the new Ryzen CPUs. Though it kept our R7 1700 cool even at 3.8Ghz it left us with a little more to expect from in terms of cooling but this brings out a very noticeable nature of this cooler, the Contac Silent 12 is an ideal choice for the buyers of the Ryzen 5 1600X hat doesn't come with a stock cooler. This is a CPU for which the Contac is picture perfect as it brings down the over all using cost of the CPU offering magnificent cooling performance!
Also the fan is barely audible and is highly impressive considering the performance it puts out. Its even quieter than the already quite AMD Wraith Spire which earns it some bonier points. Installation is a bit tricky and hard for the AMD platforms and I suggest users to be a bit careful during installations. Hope to see Thermaltake improve upon this coolers installation portion in their upcoming batches.
"The Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 is a cooler on a budget but not performance, it lives upto the claim and much more making it a highly recommended cooler for gamers and system builders especially those using a Ryzen platform!"
Pros - 
  • Compact design
  • Great cooling performance
  • Low noise levels
  • Out of the box AM4 Support
  • Very well priced
Cons - 
  • Installation on AMD platforms is a bit tough
  • Low Noise Cable reduces little noise at the cost of heavy performance loss
I give it a 7/10 earning our Silver Award!

Socializer Widget By Computers and More


Post a Comment