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Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition Air Cooler Review

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.

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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

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler!


Specifications

  • Model number: RR-212S-20PC-R1
  • CPU Socket Support:
    • Intel LGA 2066 / 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366
    • AMD AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 120 x 79.6 x 158.8 mm / 4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 inches
  • Heat Sink: 4 Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins / Direct Contact
  • SF120R Fan:
    • Dimensions (LxWxH): 120 x 120 x 25 mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1 inch
    • Speed: 650-2,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
    • Airflow: 57.3 CFM (Max)
    • Air Pressure: 2.0 mmH2O
    • MTTF: 160,000 Hours
    • Noise Level: 8-30 dBA
    • Power Connector: 4-Pin (PWM)
    • Rated Voltage: 12 VDC
    • Rated Current: 0.16 A
    • Safety Current: 0.37 A
    • Power Consumption: 1.92 W
  • Warranty: 2 years

Pricing and Availability (as of 2/26/19):

Unboxing and First Look

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The Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition arrives in similar packaging to the 212 EVO, but the accessories and mounting hardware are new here.

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Gone is the metal backplate and X-shaped mounting bracket, with a new plastic backplate and much improved brackets for Intel and AMD processors that attach to the base of the heatsink in the same fashion as a Noctua cooler. There is also a PWM fan splitter cable for adding another fan, as well as the Molex power adapter for the optional handheld RGB controller.

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The cooler comes with the new SF120R fan pre-mounted, and the overall look is very sleek with the black nickel finish and black plastic fan brackets and frame. The all-black version (model RR-212S-20PK-R1) presents a more stealthy appearance, and those who are not looking for the RGB experience will likely opt for that model instead.

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The overall dimensions of 120 x 79.6 x 158.8 mm are nearly identical to those of the Hyper 212 EVO, and the narrow 80 mm profile won't pose a clearance issue for memory with most motherboard designs.

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The four copper heat pipes are designed to make direct contact with the CPU as with the 212 EVO, and things look more polished (literally) on the Black Edition thanks to the nickel finish.

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The included SF120R fan arrives with a pair of mounting brackets that feel much more durable than the older 212 EVO design, and the fan spins from 650-2000 RPM (+/- 10%) for a max airflow of 57.3 CFM.

Installation

The bracket for the Black Edition assembles quickly using the appropriate screws and plastic end-caps, and bolts into place with a little less trouble than the previous Hyper 212 EVO.

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And now we come to my favorite part of the new design: dedicated mounting hardware that screws into place on the base of the heatsink:

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Just to give you some perspective on this new design, here is the old springy X-shaped bracket users have been dealing with for years:

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The springy X-shaped mounting thing from the 212 EVO is gloriously absent here

No more! This new design feels like a proper solution, and should help with a more secure fit compared to the older design.

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This X-shaped mounting bracket from the Hyper 212 EVO is gloriously absent

With the four spring-loaded mounting screws tightened down the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition feels very secure - no twisting possible unlike the 212 EVO, which never felt fully secured to me.

With the cooler secured to our toasty Intel Core i7-7700K let's see how this Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition performed!

Temps and Noise

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A small victory for the new Black Edition here, with a consistent improvement of about 1 ºC vs. the 212 EVO. Against my better judement I dragged out the old Intel stock cooler - not recommended with Intel's unlocked processors - and you can see why Intel does not ship this cooler with their "K" parts. That 82.9 ºC delta was achieved in a cold room where the actual package temp reached 98 ºC during the load test (!). Needless to say, I will not be subjecting this i7-7700K to that again.

However, while just a little cooler overall compared to the Hyper 212 EVO, thanks in part to the improved mounting system no doubt, it was the significantly reduced fan noise that really stood out during testing:

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This is a huge improvement - a full 6.5 dBA lower than the Hyper 212 EVO under load! And in person the difference is much more significant than it looks on paper. The bearing on the new fan is very quiet, and the overall sound is barely noticable, disappearing in normal room noise. About the same noise output as an Intel stock cooler with worlds better performance. Outstanding!

RGB Fan Control

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I'll quickly touch on the RGB capabilities of this version, which can be controlled via a motherboard RGB header or with the included handheld adapter.

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I used the adapter to switch colors and patterns and it worked as intended. This adapter is a plus if you have a motherboard without an RGB header and still want to have customizable lighting with this fan, and including this at no extra cost is a nice touch.

Conclusion

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It feels appropriate that baseball season is right around the corner because Cooler Master has hit it out of the park with the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition. It is currently selling for just $35 on Amazon and represents a significant upgrade over the Hyper 212 EVO with its improved temps and drastically lower noise levels.

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A legend gets even better: improved mounting system, more sophisticated design, and above all lower temps and much lower noise - all with the same value proposition that made the EVO such a go-to cooler. Bottom line, Cooler Master's Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition is an outstanding option worthy of the Hyper 212 name.

Video News


February 26, 2019 | 01:30 PM - Posted by Scott Coburn (not verified)

We just used the RGB version on my son's new build. Very easy installation. It was used on a ASUS Tuf Z390 Pro Gaming motherboard and the RGB cable went right onto the RGB header on the motherboard. With AURA we were able to sync the color and effect with his ROG Strix 2070 and the motherboard itself. His case has a static red LED fan and red hightlights, so we set AURA to do "Breathing" with red to match everything up. As for cooling performance, it's a Hyper 212 EVO, so good performance per dollar. I too prefer the new mounting system. I've installed about a half dozen or more of the older 212's and I appreciate the new system.

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