Everyone knows the name Coolermaster, because at one time or another we've all used a Coolermaster heatsink. Back in the Celeron 366 days, I had a little Coolermaster heatsink whirling away which was smaller than an Intel P35 Express chipset heatsink is now... wow, how times have changed! In this review Frostytech is testing one of the latest low noise high performing heatsinks to hit the market.
The Coolermaster Hyper 212 is a 60mm tall heatsink, and it's comprised of just the right mix of copper heatpipes and aluminum cooling fins. I'll save you the trouble of skipping to the end of this review - the Hyper 212 performs within the top 10 best Intel and AMD heatsinks currently in the Frostytech reference list. Each list is nearly a hundred heatsink models long, so that's quite a feat for this 710 gram puppy. The Hyper 212 heatsink supports AMD socket 939/AM2/AM2+ and Intel socket 775 processors.
At the heart of Coolermaster's Hyper 212 is a moderately quiet 120mm low RPM fan. The fan obviously moves air through the heatsinks' aluminum fins, but you might have also noticed that the fins have been cut right down the middle and the center 20mm worth of aluminum discarded. Why? Well, because this portion of the fins receives the least amount of airflow overall. Apack used this approach very successfully with the Zerotherm BTF-92 heatsink, by way of comparison.
If you hold a powered-up 120mm fan in your hand and move a small piece of tissue behind it from one side to the other, you'll notice that there's almost no airflow right behind the fan motor. YS Tech seized upon this facet of vaneaxial fans when it released the TMD fan in 2002. The TMD fan was unique because its motor was positioned around the outside of the fan blades, not at the center. In fact there was nothing at the center of that fan. Yet after the initial fanfair, the TMD fan was eventually recalled for faulty circuitry. YS tech later released a 2nd version of the TMD fan in 2005, but Frostytech has not seen a single commercially available heatsink come out that uses it.
Anyway, the point is that less airflow behind the fan motor means the cooling fins in that vicinity aren't really doing much. After all, heat is conducted away from the surface of warm metal as cool air passes by, in relation to the velocity of that air. If that's the case, it's more efficient to design a heatsink with the bulk of its cooling fins directly in the path of the strongest airflow. In a nut shell, that's what Coolermaster have done by splitting the fins of the Hyper 212 heatsink in half.
Mounting Brackets from Behind
The Coolermaster Hyper 212 is a well designed thermal solution, but to be frank we're not a fan of heatsink mounting hardware that requires you to remove the motherboard from the chassis. Included along with the Hyper 212 is a small bag of multi-socket mounting brackets. It's great that you can install this CPU cooler on an AMD or Intel processor, but not so hot that you first have to install double threaded screws in the correct holes for the particular bracket (either socket 775 or AMD socket 939/AM2), then screw that to the base of the Hyper 212 heatsink.
Next you'll need to crack open the PC and remove the motherboard from the case. Apply some of the included thermal paste and install the heatsink onto the CPU with one hand, all the while holding the support bracket in position on the other side as you tighten down nuts. A small socket wrench is supplied, and did we forget to mention that there are little rubber spacers to ensure the nut doesn't damage the motherboard too? It's a handful, and among the least user-friendly heatsink retention system we've come across.
FrostyTech's Test Methodologies are outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at this heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course its performance in the thermal tests!
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