Manufacturer: Cooler Master
Model: Hyper 212X
UK Price: £28.99 @ Amazon.co.uk (at time of review)
US Price: Not available
Cooling is the backbone of your computer… well, as far as longevity goes that certainly is the case anyway. Without good cooling, whether air or water, your computer will at the least start to throttle and limit the amount of performance until it can cope with the heat and at worse could suffer irreversible damage. So when you choose a new cooling component you need something that will not only keep your parts cool but do so consistently.
One name that can be trusted to make quality components are Cooler Master and today we look at their 212X which is a single fan tower cooler that’s part of the Hyper family of products to see if that is still the case. We will be looking for great build quality and a nice quiet fan in addition to top quality cooling from this brother of the acclaimed Hyper 212 Evo, as well as a reasonable price point, what we will get however remains to be seen.
Here are the Hyper 212X specifications for you to look through before we take a close-up look at the cooler.
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||120(L) x 79(W) x 158(H) mm|
|Heat Sink Dimensions (LxWxH)||116(L) x 51(W) x 158(H) mm|
|Heat Sink Material||Aluminum (Fins)
|Heat Sink Weight||492g|
|Heat Pipes Dimensions||ø6mm|
|Fan Dimensions (LxWxH)||120(L) x 120(W) x 25(H) mm|
|Fan Speed||600-1,700 RPM ± 10%|
|Fan Airflow||24.9 – 82.9 CFM ± 10%|
|Fan Air Pressure||0.3-2.03 mmH2O ± 10%|
|Fan Life Expectancy||40,000 hrs|
|Fan Noise Level (dB-A)||9-27.2 dBA|
|Bearing Type||Rifle Bearing|
|Fan Connector||4-Pin (PWM)|
|Fan Rated Voltage||12 VDC|
|Fan Rated Current||0.1 A|
|Fan Power Consumption||1.2 W|
Cooler Master have stayed with their black and white colour scheme for the Hyper 212X. It’s almost identical to that of the Hyper TX3i with a picture of the cooler on the front of the box along with a small logo, the name of the cooler and a few of the features listed.
The side panel is again the same with the image of the Hyper 212X, the CM logo, and the product name.
A handful of features and benefits are listed on the back in multiple languages and in the bottom right are some those diagrams with the product dimensions are also present.
The final side gives the same specifications as listed on the first page of this review.
The Hyper 212X comes straight out of the box ready to go with the fan already fitted.
Not much going on around the back of the cooler. It’s a bit disappointing though to see that the fan cable is of the standard variety without even any sleeve to cover it up.
With the base exposed, we can clearly see that the four heat pipes that are crammed into the Hyper 212X are flattened so as to be in direct contact with the CPU.
I don’t remember the last time I saw cooler accessories laid out in a tray ready to use and also ready to be packed away neatly should you remove the cooler in the future. Every nut and screw can be grabbed very easily, and there’re extra fittings should you wish to add another fan to the cooler.
Next up: Testing.
CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k
Motherboard: MSI Z97I Gaming AC
Memory: 8GB (1x8GB) Team Group 2666MHz
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212X
Thermal Paste: Noctua NT-H1
Storage: Sandisk Ultra II 240GB
PSU: XFX XTR 850
Installation and testing were carried out on a test bench rather than inside a conventional case. While this has the benefit of being easier to physically install as there is not as much stretching as well as easier access to motherboard jumpers and sockets, it has the disadvantage of not having any reduction in sound so what I hear may be more exaggerated than if it were in a case.
Thermal performance is judged on four factors overall; the idle temperature at stock and overclocked speeds, as well as the loaded temperatures at stock and loaded speeds. During the testing, the system is either at idle or full load for a duration of five minutes before any readings is taken. The average temperature across all four cores is then noted down and used to get an average temperature across them all. Room temperature is recorded beforehand as well as during the test to ensure that the delta temperature is as accurate as possible.
Installing the Cooler Master Hyper 212X was never going to be as easy as the Hyper TX3i, but I wasn’t expecting this much of a challenge. This is one of those installations that requires a bit of patience and the right working method or you’re going to be in trouble. The problem arises because the fitting that attaches to the motherboard actually does up underneath instead of screwing things onto the top-side of the motherboard. If you are able to turn the board over it becomes a lot easier, though, so regardless of how much you don’t want to, I would recommend removing the motherboard from the case.
Let me explain the process… The mid-section of each corner fitting has a prong that goes through the motherboard, through the backplate and is fixed in place with a small bolt. There are of course four of these that need to be fitted. Although there is a notch in the backplate and a similar shape to the screw which stops it twisting as you tighten the nut, it doesn’t stop it falling out completely until the nut is attached. So all together you will need to hold the mid-section screw and back plate as well as do up the nut. Cooler Master have given us a tool that allows the use of a standard screwdriver to tighten the nut, but that also means it’s yet another thing to try to hold. If you are able to, then tightening the nut up a bit by hand will free up your hands to hold that tool and the screwdriver, though I would recommend using a socket type screwdriver so that holding the tool is unnecessary. Once the backplate is properly fitted, the heatsink is placed on the chip and a crosspiece fits between the heat pipes and is screwed directly into those mid-section screws.
The cooler Master Hyper 212X does a pretty poor job of cooling the idle ship at the start of our testing phase when compared to other coolers.
Things are not much better as the processor is put to work. it’s not that the 212X is poor, just that others are better.
Increasing the clock speed of the processor put more strain on the cooler used and as rivals fall away the CM Hyper 212X stays strong.
In our final test we see the level of strain that the cooler is under as it starts to again fall behind its rivals, although in fairness, most of those that beat it are water cooling options so it’s only real competitor is the Cryorig H5 Ultimate.
Read on for my conclusion.
So let’s look again at the Cooler Master Hyper 212X as we conclude our review. From first opening the box and seeing that tray of accessories so neatly organised and laid out for us to use it was clear that some thought had been given to the customer experience of receiving and installing the cooler. It was to be memorable, for the wrong reasons a far as I was concerned. There was no reason why in my mind they would make the end user go through the process of tightening the cooler with nut and bolt when there are so many other examples of easier solutions. It was exhausting trying to balance my motherboard and hold everything in place while tightening the nut to the point that I gave up on using their included tool. Using the socket screwdriver things were a little easier but not by much.
If I was scoring the cooler just on the installation then it would be a terrible result, but thankfully you only need to install it once (in most cases) and the rest of the time it will be what keeps your CPU alive and functioning, and oh how it does that! The performance was average when you look at the ability of others cooling a stock 3900mHz processor, but increase that core clock and those other coolers ability drops away. Not so with the 212X though it is on par with some of the liquid loop coolers that we have tested in the past and that is something that is not often achieved. We fully expected the Hyper 212X to be good, but this was a pleasant surprise.
Going from the easiest install ever to one of the most frustrating when made by the same company, and indeed both coolers are within the Hyper family, was a bitter pill so swallow but at least it was sweetened by the great performance. The organisation tray for the bits and pieces was also very nice to see, even if most users will only see and use it once and of course the build quality is as to be expected. The fan was not the quietest performance fan I’ve heard but at least it wasn’t loud.
The price of a little under £30 in the UK, while not cheap, is not really that expensive either. There are air coolers out there which perform markedly less well and cost substantially more and even before you attach an optional second fan you get the cooling performance of a liquid AIO when overclocking which would otherwise set you back around twice the price. The review wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the cooling ability of the Hyper 212X with a performance award.
Many thanks to Cooler Master for providing us with the Hyper 212X for review.
- Performs as well as a all-in-one cooler allowing a good overclock
- Thought given to presentation and future storage
- good value for money based on price per performance
- Installation may be straightforward to understand but it is still challenging to complete