At first glance, the Hyper 212 Plus seems like Cooler Master’s original Hyper 212 with a different fan mounting system and support for sockets 1156 and 1366. But while the original had two sets of heat dissipation fins, one set for each end of the heat pipes, the 212 Plus adopts a more straightforward tower design, with the heatsink fins connected to both ends of each heat pipe. It’s the same basic and effective design seen in all of today’s top-performing air coolers. And unlike most coolers, the 212 Plus’s heat pipes contact the CPU directly. So, how do the Hyper 212 Plus’s stacks stack up against the competition?
The Hyper 212 Plus is one of the smaller air coolers we’ve tested recently—a big relief after last month’s monstrous Scythe Mugen 2. At 4.7 inches wide, 3.1 inches deep, and 6.2 inches high, the Hyper 212 is shorter than our champion, Thermalright’s U120, though it’s about an inch deeper. It’s also about a pound lighter, at 1.4 pounds to the Thermalright’s 2-plus pounds. Despite its relative lack of bulk, though, it managed to bump right up against the north-bridge heat spreaders on our EVGA 680i SLI board—a problem that would be avoided if the cooler’s fins started a half-inch higher up the pipes. To install the 212 Plus, we had to insert four standoff pegs into the motherboard and tighten them by bolting them to the backplate. An x-shaped bracket with spring screws at the corners holds the cooler to the CPU. We like this approach because it makes the cooler easy to install without having to worry about the backplate falling off, and the standoffs allow the use of shorter screws for the mounting bracket. Once the cooler was secure, we mounted the included 12cm fan using common wire retention clips—a simple task made difficult by the close proximity of the cooler to the north bridge’s cooling fins.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus's heat pipes contact the CPU directly, which helps it compete with larger coolers.
The direct-contact heat pipes make the cooler/CPU interface less uniform than we’re used to—there are definite ridges between the heat pipes and the rest of the heat exchanger. But after testing the Hyper 212 Plus, we wonder if Cooler Master knows something the rest of the industry doesn’t, because the 212 Plus’s cooling power is formidable. At 100 percent CPU utilization, the 212 Plus cooled our CPU to 43.5 C, nearly 30 percent lower than the stock cooler’s 61 C. Our previous favorite, the Thermalright U120 eXtreme, by comparison, cooled it to 46.75 C. Idle temps for both coolers were nearly identical—about 15 percent cooler than stock.
We’ve seen a spate of top-performing air coolers in the past few months, as nearly every manufacturer hops on the skyscraper-design bandwagon, and Cooler Master’s entry is right up there with the best we’ve tested. And at $30 from Cooler Master’s online store, it’s dirt cheap. For that price, you really can’t go wrong with this cooler.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Dirt cheap; effective cooling.
Can bump up against north-bridge chip cooler.
CM Hyper 212+
100% Burn (C)
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour’s worth of CPU Burn-In (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard inside a Corsair 800D case with stock fans.