Introduction & Closer Look
In the world of CPU air coolers, Cooler Master have been one of the big players for many years. Their Hyper Series have held legendary status, due to their fantastic performance, pitched alongside very affordable prices.
Now Cooler Master have a new series to sit alongside the Hyper, in the form of the MasterAir Pro. Promising an innovation oriented approach, the new MasterAir coolers offer different RPM ranges to meet the needs of casual, gaming and overclocking purposes.
When Cooler Master asked us if we wanted to participate in the media launch of the MasterAir Pro 3 and Pro 4, there was never any doubt what our answer would be!
The outer packaging sports a now very familiar look to the “Master” line-up of products, with its cool grey surface, with white & blue accented text, and a full-colour product image. Inside we find the cooler itself, alongside all accessories for the various socket brackets, instruction booklet, and a bracket to allow an optional extra fan to be attached for push-pull configuration. Cooler Master have also included a push-pin bracket, so the user can decide how to attach the cooler to the motherboard.
The MasterAir Pro 3 & 4 both have support for all the major Intel and AMD sockets out of the box, except for AM4 at the time of the review. However Cooler Master do offer a bracket to make both coolers AM4 compatible, and I’m sure this will be included in the box in the near future. The sockets supported are as follows:
Apart from their respective dimensions, the Pro 4 and Pro 3 are almost identical in appearance. All black MasterFan Pro fans dominate the face of the coolers, and both feature 4 pin PWM connectors. The Pro 4 features a 120mm fan, whilst the Pro 3 comes equipped with a MasterFan Pro 92.
The side view shows the tightly packed fin stack, to allow the maximum amount of surface area to dissipate the heat from the copper pipes. From this angle, we can also see the newly designed fan clips, which are very easy to clip on & off as they are very pliable.
The top of the fin stack features a change to that of the Hyper series, with the addition of a black anodised finish. This in addition to the all-black MasterFan, gives the cooler a very stealth-like look, which looks very nice in the flesh.
Finally, flipping the coolers over we get to see the copper heat pipes, that wrap around the underneath. Cooler Master has badged this as Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 (CDC), which compresses the pipes together, thus providing a bigger surface area which increases the heat dissipation.
|MasterAir Pro 3||MasterAir Pro 4|
|Heat Sink Dimensions (LxWxH)||61.5x108x140mm||60x116x158.5mm|
|Heat Sink Material||3 Heat Pipes / CDC 2.0 / Aluminum Fins||4 Heat Pipes / CDC 2.0 / Aluminum Fins|
|Heat Sink Weight||390 g||472 g|
|Fan Dimensions||92 x 92 x 25 mm||120 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Fan Speed||650 – 3,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%||650 – 2,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%|
|Fan Air Flow||28 CFM (Max)||66.7 CFM (Max)|
|Fan Air Pressure||2.5 mmH2O (Max)||2.34 mmH2O (Max)|
|Fan MTTF||350,000 hours||490,000 hours|
|Fan L-10 Life||50,000 hours||70,000 hours|
|Fan Noise Level||6~30 dBA (Max)||6~30 dBA (Max)|
|Fan Rated Current||0.1 A||0.15A|
|Fan Safety Current||0.2 A||0.4A|
|Fan Power Consumption||1.2 W||1.8 W|
Since our previous cooling reviews prior to November 2016, we have decided to update the method accordingly for better and consistent results. It isn’t ideal running Prime95 for a prolonged period of time and if you get called away to do something, it could be left running for much longer than needed. Our new methodology involves running a very stressful multi-threaded performance benchmark called ROG RealBench.
It should also be noted that the reason we omit acoustic/noise testing is due to an inaccuracy within the readings and method. To provide truly accurate readings, you need a lab setting with the same ambient noise on an hour by hour, day by day and week by week basis. As ambient noise can increase at different times of the day, we believe that it’s pointless providing noise testing if we can’t measure consistent and accurate data due to our office being a busy setting.
- CPU – Intel Core i7 6700k – (4.2GHz at 1.25v & 4.5GHz at 1.38v)
- Motherboard – ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
- GPU – ASUS ROG Radeon RX460 STRIX
- RAM – Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
- PSU – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
- SSD – Crucial MX300 525GB SSD
- Case – Cooler Master Test Bench V2
Idle Testing Methodology
To test each cooler at idle, the minimum temperature is taken after leaving the PC with only start-up programs on Windows 10 being allowed to run for 5 minutes. After this, the minimum temperature with the core temperature being offset against the room temperature; thus achieving delta.
Load Testing Methodology
To load test, we run RealBench while selecting the heavy multitasking benchmark only. We run this a maximum of 3 times concurrently and the maximum temperature recorded is taken. This temperature is deducted from the current room temperature and our final delta temperature is provided.
I was really interested to see how the new MasterAir coolers would fare, given that the Hyper series have been the staple of many a build for quite a while. I personally own a 212 and a TX3i, and they have served mine and my kid’s various computers for quite a while, without missing a beat.
The recommended retail prices stand at £34.99 for the Pro 3, and £39.99 for the Pro 4…so with the increased price over the Hyper series, there would have to be an increase in performance to warrant buying these over the Hyper Series coolers. As you can see from the charts above, the MasterAir’s didn’t disappoint in that department at all!
Given the dimensions of the Pro 3, I wasn’t expecting it to be near the top of the charts, but it absolutely decimated the TX3i, which shares the same dimensions. The Pro 4 surpassed all expectations, and beat down many of the AIO coolers that we have tested recently!
Pound-for-pound, the MasterAir Pro 3 and Pro 4 are the best air coolers we have seen. The Pro 3 beats many larger air coolers in raw performance, including the hugely popular Hyper 212. The Pro 4 not only is the highest ranked air cooler on our charts, but bests some AIO coolers that boast 240mm radiators.
The design of both coolers is nothing groundbreaking, and are more of an evolution of their Hyper Series cousins than anything else. The addition of the anodised black fin stack top is a nice touch, and the MasterFan’s that come as standard completes the look.
As mentioned before, the MasterAir series does command an increase in price over the equivalent Hyper coolers, but the increase in performance really warrants the extra cash. Given that the MasterAir Pro 4 matches the performance of the BeQuiet 120, at less than half the price, that makes it really good value in my book!
The MasterAir Pro 3 & Pro 4 have been available to buy for a little while now, but they really deserve getting their own media launch this week. The performance witnessed place them in very respectable positions in the Play3r cooler charts, and they are also competitively priced. These two coolers could just be the tip of the iceberg of what we might see in this series from Cooler Master, and I for one look forward to what is to come.
Taking all the above into consideration, the MasterAir Pro 3 and Pro 4 both receive the Play3r Gold Award.
Massive thanks to Cooler Master for sending the MasterAir Pro 3 & Pro 4 in for review.
- Superb performance
- MasterFan included as standard
- Competetively priced
- Nothing new in the cooler design