A New Take on the Budget Legend
It is not hyperbole to call Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 family some of the most important CPU air coolers in the industry, with the 212 EVO dominating sales in the DIY segment for years now based on Amazon rankings. In the last five years I have reviewed a number of coolers here at PC Perspective, and feedback from readers almost always includes mention of, and requests for comparison to, that Hyper 212 EVO. I have tested this venerable cooler more than once over the years, but it has proven to be such a vital part of any CPU air-cooling discussion that it demands to be part of every cooler review lineup. Today we will benchmark that cooler yet again using the current test platform, and compare it to a new generation of Hyper 212: the Black Edition.
The Hyper 212 Black Edition coolers, available with or without an RGB fan, add a level of style that had been missing from the 212 EVO, trading exposed copper heat pipes and bare aluminum heatsink fins for a polished, all-black finish. Naturally style means nothing without performance, and with the RGB Black Edition we are still looking at a single tower heatsink design with four heat pipes that are designed to make direct contact with the CPU, and air is still being moved via a single 120 mm fan.
Features from Cooler Master:
- Sleek Finishing - Anodized gun-metal black with brushed aluminum surface finish to the top cover for a more refined look
- Precise Air Flow with Nickel Black - Stacked fin array ensures least airflow resistance which allows cooler air flow into the heatsink. The nickel plated jet black also enhances radiation cooling performance
- Direct Contact Technology - 4 heat pipes with exclusive Direct Contact Technology providing effective and excellent heat dissipation
- The New SF120R RGB Fan - Certified to sync with Motherboard RGB software or controlled by our controller. The wide speed range can be fine-tuned for maximum cooling performance or silent operation
- Optional Push-Pull Fan Configuration - To avoid dynamic losses and help accelerate heat exhaust, an additional fan helps pulling heat away faster from heatsink
- RGB in the Palm of Your Hand with Included Wired RGB Controller - A compact size RGB LED controller that allows you to easily customize your RGB devices without the need for either an RGB capable motherboard or software. You can have the colorful rig you’ve always wanted with just the touch of a button
Introduction and Specifications
In this roundup we'll explore the performance of three premium (and large) air coolers - with the ultra-popular Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO in the mix to see how this $29 option stacks up against the big dogs on test.
Many of the large air coolers on the market are built for ultra-efficient cooling at whisper-quiet volume levels. With massive heatsinks (and sometimes pairs of them) they can often cool demanding CPU loads with minimal fan speeds, and this usually results in very low noise output. Another advantage is the increased thermal headroom such a cooler provides, which can allow for overclocking without the need for liquid cooling - or even much additional noise.
So what coolers are included? In alphabetical order we have:
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - $28.99, Amazon
- Noctua NH-D14 SE2011- $79.99, Amazon
- Scythe Ninja 4 (SCNJ-4000) - $46.95, Amazon
- Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT - $79.99, Amazon
Can the $29 Hyper 212 EVO hold its own in this group?
Kicking Cooler Testing up a Notch
I reviewed the Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT recently, using a Core i5 6600K-based test platform (the Scythe Ninja 4 was also reviewed using this platform), and readers correctly pointed out that a cooler of this size should really be tested with some more challenging thermal loads. The Core i5-6600K is a quad-core, single-threaded design with a 91W TDP, and in moving to a new CPU cooler test system I decided to make the jump to the 140W TDPs of Intel's LGA2011 processors.
So I ended up with a Core i7-6800K; a newer Broadwell-E design with a 6 core/12 thread configuration (and of course that 140W TDP). The base speed of the CPU is 3.40 GHz, with a maximum turbo frequency of 3.60 GHz. Without much trouble I was able to push the CPU to 4.0 GHz on each core, and proceeded to test each of these coolers at both stock and OC frequencies. My hope is that the results to follow will adequately demonstrate just how effective these coolers are when really pressed.