Keeping your CPU cool is an integral part in ensuring your PC runs smoothly. There are many different theories on what method is best: air cooling, liquid cooling, using massive heatsinks or custom-made cooling loops. However, when looking at different options, price becomes a gigantic factor in someone’s build decision. How much of your budget can you spend towards cooling arguably the most critical part of your PC, and do you really need to spend a massive amount on this area to get some great results?
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 series has been ubiquitous with air cooling CPUs for a few years now. I’ve had some experience with this model, having installed one my buddy’s PC while at PAX East a few years back. My memories of installing his massive CPU cooler are mixed - it was a pain in the butt to install and took two of us about 30 minutes to get it seated properly thanks to the way it latched onto the motherboard mounting brackets. However, you could not argue with the performance once it was installed. So how does the RGB Black Edition fare, especially seeing as it's a lower cost alternative to even entry-level liquid cooling?
- Product Name: Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
- CPU socket: Intel LGA 2066 / 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366
- AMD AM4 (Tested) / AM3+ / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
- Dimensions: 120(L) x 79.6(W) x 158.8(H) mm / 4.7(L) x 3.1(W) x 6.3(H) inch
- Heat Sink Material: 4 Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins / Direct Contact
- Fan Dimensions: 120(L) x 120(W) x 25(H) mm / 4.7(L) x 4.7(W) x 1(H) inch
- Fan Quantity: 1 PC
- Fan Speed: 650-2,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
- Fan Airflow: 57.3 CFM (Max)
- Fan Air Pressure: 2.0 mmH2O
- Fan MTTF: 160,000 Hours
- Fan Noise Level: 8-30 dBA
- Fan Power Connector: 4-Pin (PWM)
- Fan Rated Voltage: 12 VDC
- Fan Rated Current: 0.16 A
- Fan Safety Current: 0.37 A
- Fan Power Consumption: 1.92 W
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: $39.99 via Newegg
At first glance, the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler is a beast. It’s tall, though sleek; it’s anodized gunmetal black aluminum finish give the cooler a clean look, culminating in nickel placed jet black heat pipes at the bottom. These pipes directly contact the CPU, with Cooler Master claiming this results in effective and excellent heat dissipation to the heatsink.
The fan clips on snugly to the stacked heatsink, allowing air to be pumped directly into the cooler to lower temps quickly. This fan is equipped with RGB which can connect directly into the controller provided by Cooler Master, or into your motherboard. The Hyper 212 is compatible with multiple programs, such as Corsair’s iCue, MSI’s Mystic Light, ASRock Polychrome Sync and more. I found it easier to just integrate into my motherboard using Mystic Light, as the first time I tried using the in-line controller the RGB was not working. We contacted Cooler Master who shipped out a second unit, and while the controller on this one worked beautifully, it was easier to merely sync with my GPU and motherboard lighting using Mystic Light.
Additionally, the fan is somewhat hidden thanks to its placement on the side of the heatsink, so while the RGB was running just fine using Mystic Light, you can’t really see it that well. Compared to the stock AMD Wraith Cooler which has a ring of RGB right front and center, or a liquid cooling device where the radiator lights up, it is a little bit of a disappointment overall.
The Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler comes with the mounting brackets and screws to fit a myriad of socket types. Chances are if you’re using a modern CPU within the last couple of years, this cooler will fit your rig. And that’s good, meaning if you’re someone who swaps PCs or hardware often, you won’t need to invest in another cooler to fit your needs. Personally, I had two choices when installing this cooler: my Ryzen 7 1700 PC or my Intel i7-8700K PC. Seeing as how I’ve already a liquid cooler on my main rig, but my Ryzen PC was simply using the stock Wraith cooler, I opted to test it out there.
My memories installing this on my buddy’s i7-6700K powered PC made me think this installation was going to be a chore. Within ten minutes, however, it was ready to go. Either I have just become so used to tearing down and rebuilding PCs or the Hyper 212 we installed that Saturday night at PAX West was a hassle I can’t say for sure. I will say, though, that the instructions are well written and presented so even a novice could install this cooler with ease. I did think that once I put the fan onto the heatsink, it would come too close to my RAM, but that isn’t the case. It’s tight, that can’t be denied, but there is zero interference with my RAM which was nice to see.
However, the real question: How does a $40 air cooler perform?
Here are the specs of the test PC we used:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.0 GHz
- RAM: Geil EVO X DDR4 16GB @ 3000 MHz
- Motherboard: MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium
- Storage: 2 x Seagate 2TB FireCuda Gaming SSHD
- Case: NZXT H500i with 3 120mm Case fans
Idle temperatures with the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler sit around the 31c mark. I’ve seen it go as low as 28c in spots, but on average it’s at 31c. Under load, I’ve not seen the temperatures go higher than 65c, even during intense games or stress tests.
Case fan configuration plays a role here as well, as excellent quality air flow can help a cooler even more. My three fans are situated with one in the front drawing air into the case, a fan directly on top of the case blowing air on to the CPU cooler, and a fan in the back drawing air out of the case.
In our testing, I tried to stress the CPU as much as possible to create the most amount of heat. Running tests such as the AIDA64 Extreme Stability Test, as well as the Prime95 Torture tests for 20 minutes, gave me maximum load on the CPU for a consistent time period. Below are the Peak temperatures for each test, in Celsius.
Each test tortures the CPU (hence the name “torture test.” However, each time the Hyper Evo 212 RGB Black Edition stood up the to task. Prime95 saw the highest temperatures peaking at 61, but AIDA64 kept it in the mid-50s. This is insanely impressive, especially for a $40 cooler.
Cinebench R15 is a multi-thread test which renders an image on the screen. It’s often used as a render test for motherboard benchmarking, but here it shows a more “real world” result versus a straight stability or torture test. Each test was run successively to show the CPU temp being raised each time, for a maximum of 5 tests. Each time the test was run, starting from an idle temp of 31c, the CPU temp creeped higher, though it really never broke the 55 degree mark.
I was able to apply a stable 3.4GHz overclock on the Ryzen 7 1700, and while I feel like I might have been able to push it higher, I’ve had personally bad luck with AMD CPUs and heat in the past. You melt an AMD CPU before without even trying, you might be a bit gun-shy when pushing a new one beyond a comfortable limit.
However, once I was able to achieve a stable 3.4GHz overclock on my base 3.0GHz, I re-ran each test at the new frequency using the same methodology. The increases in temperature feel consistent with the increase of CPU frequency - about 4-5 degrees on average overall, still relatively very cool.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition CPU Cooler is an impressive CPU cooler. It stands up to the reputation that the Hyper 212 series of coolers have always held. It’s easy to install, RGB is simple to sync with your motherboard software, and while the fan is situated in a way it really doesn’t showcase the RGB, overall the look of the cooler is incredibly refined.
However, the overall impressive performance speaks for itself. For anyone looking for an aftermarket cooler but doesn’t want to worry about potential issues with liquid cooling, the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition is a great choice.
The product discussed was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.