Cooler Master is a brand that needs very little introduction for many PC users. Their diverse portfolio ranges from case to component cooling and power supplies through to keyboards, mice, audio and other peripherals and each comes with an unspoken guarantee of excellent build quality and longevity. They are a popular brand and that’s down to having the right mix of products for all ranges beginner through to enthusiast.
We’re going to be looking at one of their Hyper brand coolers today, specifically the Hyper TX3i. Cooler Master’s coolers are regularly recommended by enthusiasts and professionals so we will get to see if this one holds up the CM’s reputation or falls flat on its face. The Hyper TX3i comes with Intel fittings that you would find on a stock cooler as well as three ‘direct contact’ heat pipes and a 92mm PWM fan that should be almost silent at low speed.
Without further preamble let’s consider the specifications of the fan and heatsink.
|Model||RR-TX3E-28PK-R1 / RR-TX3E-22PK-R1|
|CPU Socket||Intel Socket:
LGA 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 / 1150 / 775 *AMD Socket:
FM2+ / FM2 / FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / CeleronAMD:
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||90 x 79 x 136 mm (3.5 x 3.1 x 5.4 in)|
|Heat Sink Dimensions||90 x 51 x 136 mm (3.5 x 2.0 x 5.4 in)|
|Heat Sink Material||3 Direct Contact Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins|
|Heat Sink Weight||306g (0.68 lb)|
|Heat Pipes Dimensions||ø6mm|
|Fan Dimension||92 x 92 x 25 mm (3.6 x 3.6 x 1 in)|
|Fan Speed||800 – 2,800 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
800 – 2,200 RPM (PWM) ± 10% (EU Version)
|Fan Airflow||15.7 – 54.8 CFM ± 10%
15.7 – 43.1 CFM ± 10% (EU Version)
|Fan Air Pressure||0.35 – 4.27mm H2O ± 10%
0.35 – 2.63mm H2O ± 10% (EU Version)
|Fan Life Expectancy||40,000 hours|
|Fan Noise Level (dB-A)||17 – 35 dBA
17 – 30 dBA (EU Version)
|Bearing Type||Long Life Sleeve Bearing|
|Fan Rated Voltage||12 VDC|
|Fan Rated Current||0.24A
0.15A (EU Version)
1.8W (EU Version)
|Fan Weight||73g (0.85 lb)|
|Note||* Supplied accessories may differ by country or area. Please check with your local distributor for further details.|
Cooler Master have gone with a striking black and white scheme for their CPU cooler packaging. Here we can see the large image of the Hyper TX3i on the front of the box and very little else other than CMs logo, the name of the cooler and just a few of the features listed.
The side panel is even more sparse, similar to the front image except this time on the black background and once again just the CM logo and the product name.
There seems at first glance to be a great deal of information on the back of the box, however, it’s the same three product features repeated in multiple languages. The info given relates to the three heat pipes, fan brackets and that near silent fan. Finally in the bottom right are some diagrams with the product dimensions.
The final side gives the same specifications as listed on the first page of this review.
With the packaging dealt with it’s on to the insides and of course the cooler itself. Right out of the box the Hyper TX3i comes ready assembled. No need to worry about fitting fans or complicated fittings, the fan is attached and the connection between the cooler and the CPU is held together by those push-peg feet. Unless you need to change the set-up from 115X to fit your motherboard you could literally squirt on some goop and be fully assembled in seconds.
Around the back of the cooler, it’s pretty bare. One thing that can be seen easily in this image though is the fan cable. Sadly there’s no braiding on offer with the Hyper TX3i, instead Cooler Master has gone for a thin ribbon cable which has a clear plastic covering the wires. It’s an unusual choice that I totally approve of.
The side view gives us a fairly clear sight of those heat pipes as well as the fan bracket which clips the 92mm fan in place.
Turning the cooler upside down shows us again those heat pipes, because instead of being encased in copper or another metal the pipes make direct contact with the CPU which should help dissipate heat very efficiently. We can also see that the feet brackets are adjustable to fit many Intel sockets.
The accessories box is fairly bare, there is the usual manual and guarantee but apart from the getting the Thermal paste out you will probably not need to even look inside. There are no fittings for AMD sockets included with the Hyper TX3i which may be a regional change. What accessories you do get – the black brackets and a bag of screws and pads – are used if you want to fit a second fan and go for push-pull to keep your CPU that little bit colder.
Next up: Testing.
CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k
Motherboard: MSI Z97I Gaming AC
Memory: 8GB (1x8GB) Team Group 2666MHz
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3i
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.
This promises to be the shortest page of the whole review. It’s the first time I’ve come across a company using the peg method to attach their cooler and I can’t see why others don’t do the same. Apply the paste to the cooler to make sure it fills any grooves between those flattened heatpipes and their mounting and then it’s just like Intel’s stock cooler… line up the holes and push until you hear the click.
When it comes to the paste, we use Noctua NT-H1 so that there is parity across all our tests rather than try guess whether it’s the bundled paste or the cooler itself that is giving results.
When stacked against our other tests the Hyper TX3i appears just in the top half as we begin at idle stock speeds.
As we put the processor to work though it falls behind the majority of other coolers at stock.
With the CPU running overclocked at 4500MHz we see that the cooler performs excellently where other coolers have some difficulty.
The final test with the processor overclocked at 4500MHz and fully loaded the Cooler Master Hyper TX3i manages to stay within the top third of all coolers tested.
Read on for my conclusion.
And so my time is up and we can summarize all the points Cooler Master’s Hyper TX3i has, good and bad.
Installation was so simple that I almost feel that I’ve missed a step in the review. I keep going back over my mental list and wondering what I had forgotten to do as it was just plug and play. I really don’t get why other manufacturers don’t do the same, it’s not like the Hyper TX3i is especially light either so maybe other manufacturers will realise they can save a bob or two and skip the whole backplate thing.
Price wise there’s plenty of competition in the £20-25 range, but nothing that showed the same cooling performance or even came close whether running stock speeds or during overclocking. Speaking of performance, it’s not just the coolers around its price range that it competed well against. It punches well above its weight in regards to cooling output.
As you might imagine from Cooler Master the build quality is spot on, everything working well and looking good. The 92mm fan is very well engineered, not just to be silent at low speeds, but it’s suitably quiet even at full speed. From first handling through to the end of the tests the TX3i stood up to the challenge of being poked and prodded. There are no loose fittings or problem areas concerning build quality so it’s clear that Cooler Master has lost none of their engineering skill.
The performance of the cooler in our tests was pretty unremarkable at the start, plenty of other coolers able to do the same or better at stock speeds. As we overclocked the processor though the Hyper TX3i comes alive and does what it needs to keep the chip relatively cool. We tested the cooler on a very hot and humid summer day, and so there may be complications due to humidity but I had still hoped for a better showing at stock speeds. Still, the result wasn’t totally horrid.
It’s all good news so far, and there’s not really anything else to say. It’s a fairly inexpensive cooler with middling performance that should serve you well for some time.
Sadly, Cooler Master only offer a one year guarantee on most of their products and coolers are no exception to that. I feel that they could probably put a bit more faith in their products’ longevity but at least you know that if anything goes wrong within the first year that CM have got your back.
CORRECTION 29/9/16: Cooler Master offer a two year warranty on all thermal products with the exception of Silencio fans, MasterFan Pro range, Nepton series, MasterLiquid Pro series and MasterAir Maker which all have a five year warranty.
The Cooler Master Hyper TX3i has earned itself our Gold Award. Congratulations and thank you for allowing us to review the Hyper TX3i.
- Excellent build quality
- Returning to Intel's 'snap on' fitting method serves this cooler well. If it's not broken, don't over-engineer a solution
- Price is good for what you get
- The cooler is able to cope with overclocking quite easily
- Two year warranty