Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Review
By: Jeremy To
January 20, 2012
A group of female friends are on vacation when they see a five story hotel with a sign that reads, "For Women Only". The bouncer explains to them how it works. "We have five floors. Go up floor by floor, and once you find the type of man you are looking for, you can stay there". On the first floor, the sign reads: "Short and plain". The friends laugh, and without hesitation, move on to the next floor. "Short and handsome". Still, this isn't good enough, so the friends continue on up. "Tall and plain". Again, they are still not impressed enough. On the fourth floor, the sign is perfect: "Tall and handsome". The women get all excited, and were about to go in when they realize there is still one floor left. Wondering what they are missing, they head on up to the fifth and final floor. There, they find the sign that reads: "There are no men here. This floor was built only to prove that there is no way to please a woman". While this joke may give out a few laughs for us guys, in many ways, it is quite true. Nowadays, no matter what task we do -- be it playing games, doing homework, working, or let's face it, impressing your woman -- there always seems to be better ways of doing it. This especially holds true to technology. Today's review unit, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler is just that. What does "EVO" stand for? Evolution, which allows us to assume that it evolved from something. That's right, this heatsink succeeds the older Hyper 212 Plus. And again, the word "Plus" gives us another assumption that it was added -- pun intended, of course -- onto its original name from an even older heatsink, the Hyper 212. So how does this heatsink compare? Without further adieu, let's jump in!
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO came to our offices around the same time as the Cooler Master Cosmos II. Of course, you can look forward to seeing the Cosmos II review up shortly. The above image just gives you enough taste as to how the small box of the Hyper 212 EVO is compared to the gigantic behemoth-like case. As always, Cooler Master shipped everything to our Calgary office using trusty ol' UPS Standard from their American office down south in Chino, California. The corrugated brown package swiftly made its trip to our Calgary office without much harm.
The design approach of the retail box for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is quite similar to many of their other products. The color scheme follows the very familiar white-and-purple that contrasts well with the turquoise-green seen in the Cooler Master logo. The image of the unit itself is planted boldly on the front and right side of the box, with a detailed list of its specifications and features in several languages printed on the remaining sides.
Before we move on, let's briefly take a look at the specifications of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, as obtained from the manufacturer's website and the product packaging:
- Model: RR-212E-20PK-R1
- CPU Socket: Intel Socket: LGA 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 775 *; AMD Socket: FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
- CPU Support: Intel: Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / Celeron; AMD: FX-Series / A-Series / Phenom™ II X4 / Phenom™ II X3 / Phenom™ II X2 / Phenom™ X4 / Phenom™ X3 / Athlon™ II X4 / Athlon™ II X3 / Athlon™ II X2 / Athlon™ X2 / Athlon™ / Sempron™
- Dimension: 120 x 80 x 159 mm (4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 in)
- Heat Sink Dimensions: 116 x 51 x 159 mm (4.6 x 2.0 x 6.3 in)
- Heat Sink Material: 4 Direct Contact Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins
- Heat Sink Weight: 465g (1.03 lb)
- Heat Pipes Dimensions: ø6mm
- Fan Dimension: 120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1 in)
- Fan Speed: 600 – 2,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
- Fan Airflow: 24.9 – 82.9 CFM ± 10%
- Fan Air Pressure: 0.3 – 2.7mm H2O ± 10%
- Fan Life Expectancy: 40,000hrs
- Fan Noise Level (dB-A): 9 - 36 dBA
- Bearing Type: Long Life Sleeve Bearing
- Connector: 4-Pin
- Fan Rated Voltage: 12 VDC
- Fan Rated Current: 0.22A
- Power consumption: 2.64W
- Fan Weight: 104g (0.23 lb)
- Warranty: 2 years
- UPC Code: 884102012921
- Notice: * Supplied accessories may differ by country or area. Please check with your local distributor for further details.
The retail box opens through a standard flap at the top. Once opened, one would expect to slide out the accessory box, which holds the unit itself in the main compartment. On the side, we have a resealable bag with the accessories in the smaller compartment, plus the warranty information and user's manual folded up and squished in between the two sections on the backside of the tray. All the necessary installation components are all found within the accessory bag, including the provided thermal paste.
Found on the unit itself is a single 120mm fan, giving the heatsink a pushing airflow setup. Along with the accessories are two fan mounding brackets and four rubber pads that allow the user to install an additional optional 120mm fan, if one chooses to create a full push-pull configuration instead.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 line of heatsinks in the past has always been considered to be very successful. This was not because the Hyper 212 line is amazing heatsinks that took temperatures to a new low during overclocking and the sorts. In fact, in some respects, it was quite the opposite, as the heatsink was focused more on the price to performance ratio, rather than ultimate performance. The Hyper 212 EVO is no exception to this continued philosophy. Looking straight on at the heatsink, we can easily tell it is not what we would call "flashy". No huge radiators, no double fan push-pull setup out of the box, and no LED fans. What it does have, for starters, is a nice 120mm fan with a liquid-like black thematic design in conjunction with a more complex fin shape than conventional 120mm fans. It promises to provide improved airflow with higher static pressure, while operating slightly quieter. The fan clips on the installed fan brackets are extremely easy to remove from the heatsink, making installation a much more straightforward process. Of course, if you were to purchase another 120mm fan, the entire heatsink would definitely take a huge upgrade in aesthetics in my personal opinion, since I tend to be one of those OCD-like individuals that cringe at the sight of asymmetry.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO includes a total of 57 aluminum fins. Since the fin density is extremely high (Given its dimensions), and the edges of the fins are flat, the aerodynamic characteristics are lacking a bit compared to other heatsinks such as the Noctua NH-D14. This is, of course, to be expected at the unit's price range. Also, the flat fin geometry has a tendency to have increased air resistance, and could generate a fair amount of noise from air turbulence. However, with a total surface area of approximately 0.674 square meters, the Hyper 212 EVO definitely has a fair amount of overall fin surface area, which is definitely a good feature to have. In fact, where the heatsink lacks in fin dimension size, it makes up with sheer quantity. For your reference, the dimensions of the unit with the installed fan is 120mm in length, 80mm in width, and 159mm in height; making it a medium sized heatsink that still sits fairly tall when installed.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO's heatpipe design incorporates four 6mm U-shaped heatpipes that travel in opposite directions for a total of eight effective heatpipes. They are orientated in an alternating fashion for better heat distribution between the inner and outer portions of the fins. Nowadays, most aftermarket heatsinks use heatpipes, because they can efficiently lead heat away from its source. The Hyper 212 EVO does not have the widest diameter of heatpipes, or have the widest spread between them. This is not necessarily an issue, but just a simple observational fact about this product, haha.
The material composition of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is no different than what we see in most conventional tower heatsinks. It features aluminum fins because of their lightweight properties, and copper heatpipes for the best heat transfer characteristics. The base of the heatsink is also made out of copper. However, the Hyper 212 EVO differs slightly in the area of the heatsink base not necessarily in the material used, but the heat transfer design, compared to its predecessor. The Hyper 212 Plus utilized direct heatpipe contact, where the copper heatpipes themselves are found at the base, hence the name. There is no need for the base to transfer heat to the heatpipes -- speaking in a purely traditional sense, anyway -- when the heatpipes themselves are already on the surface. This is why gaps between the copper heatpipes are aluminum. Great idea. However, the aluminum gaps made heat transfer inefficient, because the difference in material created a somewhat uneven surface -- a problem that will worsen as the heatsink ages due to thermal expansion and contraption -- that ended up creating or worsening hot spots on the CPU. This is not to mention that the coefficient for thermal expansion differs between metals, further exemplifying this problem. The Hyper 212 EVO now has what Cooler Master calls the patent pending CDC (Continuous Direct Contact) design. Basically, it combines several heatpipes into a tightly packed array, creating a virtual vapor chamber. The result is a flat and uniform contact surface. It seems the CDC design is an improved version of the previous implementation that focuses on improving heat transfer efficiency through the added contact surface of copper heatpipes, and getting rid of the aluminum gaps between them.
All of this must be fairly understandable if you know the thermal transfer properties of the two metals. However, if you are relatively new to the subject, let me iterate on some additional science mumbo-jumbo that may clear a few things up. The thermal conductivity of copper is 401 W/mK, whereas the thermal conductivity of aluminum is 237 W/mK. Therefore, in terms of just thermal conductive efficiency, copper is better at transferring heat. If this is the case, then why would the fins be made of aluminum? Well, because aluminum is lighter, and will therefore put less inertial stress on the motherboard. What we do not see on the Hyper 212 EVO is electroplated nickel plating on the copper heatpipes and base. Although nickel, with a thermal conductivity of just 90.9 W/mK, may not have the best heat transferring abilities, its thin electroplated layer will not affect the overall results significantly. However, it does have characteristics of having durable non-corrosive properties will not degrade at higher temperatures, strengthening the heatpipes for long term use.
Lastly, what we also do not see on the Hyper 212 EVO is a cleanly soldered base between the heatpipes and aluminum fins. A soldered base ensures the performance of the unit will not reduce in performance over time. On the other hand, the Hyper 212 EVO only have fins pressed onto the heatpipes. It will only offer high initial performance, but will inevitably go downhill over time, as contact between the fins and heatpipes decreases after many cycles of thermal expansion and contraption.
I found the overall installation process of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO to be, at times, quite confusing. As aforementioned, all of the installation components are located in the included accessory bag. The backplate of the unit allows one to install it for both AMD and Intel sockets, which is nice. However, the method of installing the heatsink onto the CPU requires slowly sandwiching the base of the heatsink onto the CPU by screwing on the provided retention plate. Of course, it doesn't sound that bad, until I tell you the retention plate is not fastened onto the heatsink backplate in any way, besides slotting the middle of the retention plate onto the back of the base without screws or washers. In fact, after the Hyper 212 EVO was installed, I was still able move the heatsink in a twisting fashion -- scary.
The installation of this heatsink features no mounting brackets at all. The usual process of installing an aftermarket CPU heatsink requires the heatsink be screwed onto mounting brackets, as they tend to give a certain solidity to the installed product. However, this cooler uses a single retention plate setup that tries to play both roles of being attached to the screws, and being someone of a mounting bracket. And as stated before, the result seems very confusing, uncertain, and very wobbly at times. The above image actually shows the only thing that needs to be screwed onto the backplate before you sandwich the CPU between the cooler using the retention plate. No rubber washers, no mounting brackets -- nothing.
Something to note is that the heatsink fins are fairly low, and the 120mm fan may have a tendency to get in the way of higher profile RAM heatspreaders. Therefore, you may find yourself needing to remove the heat spreaders on your RAM due to clearance issues.
Our test setup as follows:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.50GHz (Overclocked, Turbo Boost disabled)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3
Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB OC
Memory: OCZ Platinum XTE PC3-16000 4x2GB
Chassis: LanCool PC-K9
Power: OCZ ZX Series 850W
Sound: Integrated (Motherboard)
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB; 2 x Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB AAKS RAID1
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Approximately $35 at press time)
- Thermaltake Jing (Approximately $70 at press time)
- Intel stock
All tests were run on a custom built desktop computer. The system remained in the same location for all of the tests, with an approximate room temperature of around 21c. Stock thermal paste respective to the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, Thermaltake Jing, and Intel's stock cooler were used to rate the performance, and were given proper time for them to fully settle. This means that Cooler Master's provided thermal paste was used for the Hyper 212 EVO, Thermaltake's provided thermal paste was used for the Thermaltake Jing, and Intel's pre-applied paste was used for the stock cooler. The fans on all heatsinks were directly connected to the motherboard's 4-pin connector. Our testbench was turned on and idling for a minimum of one hour before the idling tests. High CPU load results were obtained using the Prime95 in-place large FFTs test with four worker threads running for a minimum of ten minutes, or until the temperatures were deemed stable.
For careful representation, we have spent a lot of time to carefully simulate the exact same scenario in the cases provided to ensure accurate temperature measurements using the Thermaltake Jing and the Intel stock cooler as a reference.
The readings seen on our graphs above and below were the CPU temperature readings taken from Core Temp -- data provided by the processor's Digital Thermal Sensor. In the tests, the core with the highest temperature was recorded with the results being cross-checked with Real Temp to ensure the most accurate temperature readings. Also, I have made sure that the entire heatsink is heated properly beforehand to verify the idle state temperature after a full load cycle.
From the above results, we can see what the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is capable of doing when the processor is not doing any work. While I have expected the Cooler Master heatsink to outperform the Intel stock cooler by a small margin only (After all, there is only so much you can do when the CPU is idling), I have accurately predicted the Thermaltake Jing to outperform the Hyper 212 EVO in most configurations, as it has -- the results are shown in our graph above. However, in a rather surprising manner, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO actually posted better results by a hair than the Jing's single fan setup at low speeds; even if it was just one degree. Since the fan on the Hyper 212 EVO is a PWM fan, we can expect the idle speeds to be relatively low as well.
Under load conditions, we can see the true performance potential of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. In this test, we have expected the Hyper 212 EVO to blow the Intel Stock cooler out of the water, and it did. In comparison to the Jing, however, the Hyper 212 EVO struggles a bit. Since I am cooling the CPU while it is clocked to 4.5GHz, we can expect temperatures to be even lower if you decide not to overclock. While 55 degrees is not particularly high -- or even remotely dangerous -- for your CPU, keep in mind that the Hyper 212 EVO only has one fan, and costs half as much as the Thermaltake unit. One thing to note is that while the Hyper 212 EVO outperformed the Jing in its single fan low setting setup in idle, it was unable to perform as well under load conditions as it drags behind by 5 degrees. Since the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO has a price point that is half the Jing as aforementioned, you can be certain these results are more than reasonable.
Noise is quite an interesting topic when reviewing a heatsink. Since testing temperatures on a heatsink relative to other heatsinks depends so much on the scenario and rig, noise is something that can thankfully be compared as a constant. We here at APH Networks are known for being quite sensitive to sound. On a scale from 0-10, where 0 is silent and 10 is loud, I would rate the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO at idle to be at 1.5/10, and at load to be 2.5/10. As mentioned briefly before, the Hyper 212 EVO uses a PWM fan controlled by the motherboard. The more load put onto the system, the higher the RPMs on the fan. A PWM fan provides better fan speed control than traditional 3-pin voltage controlled fans. I believe sound is one of the better performing parts of the EVO. At idle, you can barely notice the sound produced from the heatsink. If you do decide to add another 120mm fan for additional performance, then be prepared for the sound to go up in volume a bit more.
If it's been one thing that we've all learned here today, is that that no matter what "level" we have reached, there are always improvements that can be made. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO has definitely shown us that a product as simple as a heatsink can make several comebacks, so to speak; each time with a few new tweaks to better improve performance. Priced at around $35 USD at press time, we can't expect an epic heatsink that will blow us out of the water. But what Cooler Master and I can definitely guarantee you is, simply put, a CPU cooler with excellent price to performance ratio. Comprised of 57 aluminum fins for a total surface area of 0.674 square meters, four efficient heat transferring U-shaped copper heatpipes, new Continuous Direct Contact base design for guaranteed performance, and a surprisingly quiet fan, the Hyper 212 EVO has definitely evolved into something worth your while. However, like all things in life, I can still see a bit of room for improvement. First and foremost, I would like to address the universal mounting system. While the cooler is flexible in regards to the CPU sockets that it supports, the mounting method itself seems very confusing. The system itself may be very reliable, smart, or efficient, but leaves the feeling of vulnerability, especially since you can still twist the heatsink tower a bit. Also, because of the price tag, we are left with a heatsink that, in some parts, sticks to the bare minimum. This could include providing only one 120mm fan, aluminum fins being pressed onto the heatpipes rather than being soldered onto them, or its simple fin geometry contributing to reduced aerodynamic performance and make cooling a little bit more inefficient. At the end of the day, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, like all its predecessors, is bound to be a favorite amongst the crowds. After all, 35 bucks is a small price to pay for evolution.
Cooler Master provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH equal.balance Award | APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.2/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
If you are looking for an aftermarket CPU heatsink that performs admirably well, and priced admirably economically, then the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is the one to buy.
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