Typically, people swap out their heatsink/fan apparatus for one that is either quieter than the stock cooler or capable of better cooling performance. Cooler Master’s Intel-only Hyper L3 doesn’t grant enough improvement on either front to warrant a switch.
Sure, it’s quiet and its cooling performance is a tad better than the stock unit, but in general the Hyper L3 isn’t much more than a better-looking version of the standard P4 cooler.
Its design is rather simple. It uses a copper base-plate that’s nickel-coated to eliminate oxidation. The copper base-plate is attached to a mid-size aluminum heatsink, with three heat pipes to move the heat from the base plate into the fins of the heatsink. A 9.2cm fan sits on top. The fan uses a four-pin design and features pulse-width modulation (PWM), which varies the fan speed according to CPU temperature during operation. During testing we never crossed the PWM threshold, so the fan spun at 1100rpm at all times and was indeed very quiet.
As the benchmark numbers show, the Hyper L3’s cooling performance is just a smidgen better than the stock cooler. We did three mountings to make sure the numbers were correct, and results were consistent throughout. On our P4 3.73GHz Extreme Edition test CPU, the Hyper L3 achieved the same idle temperature as the stock cooler, and was two degrees cooler under load. These temperatures are decent, but nothing to write home about.
Aside from its ho-hum cooling performance, there’s a problem with the cooler’s design. Its heat pipes force you to mount it in one particular way, making the fan cable too short to reach the four-pin PWM port on many motherboards. We just barely got the cable to fit on our Intel test board, and we were unable to make the reach on an Asus board that we tried.
The Hyper L3’s cable issues combined with not-much-better-than-stock performance make this CPU cooler unworthy of high praise.