Frequent Maximum PC readers will have noticed our love affair with Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler. The 212 Plus came out of nowhere and captured our hearts—and a spot on our Best of the Best list—with its excellent cooling power and rock-bottom $30 price tag way back in 2009. It’s not the best CPU cooler we’ve tested, but we’ve installed it in virtually every stock-clocked PC we’ve built since, thanks to its unbeatable price/performance ratio. Cooler Master’s all-new Hyper 212 Evo costs five dollars more than the Plus. But is it five dollars better?
Besides the heat pipes, the Evo's translucent PWM fan is the only difference between this and previous iterations of the Hyper 212 CPU cooler.
Like its predecessor, the Evo is a skyscraper-style heatsink with four direct-contact heat pipes rising through a stack of aluminum cooling fins. It’s 6.3 inches tall from the contact plate to the top of the heat pipes, 2 inches deep (3.13 inches after adding one 12cm fan), and 4.7 inches wide. Cooler Master provides a universal mounting bracket that will fit AMD and Intel LGA775, 1155/1156, and 1366 sockets, and a separate one for Socket LGA2011. Four standoff pegs bolt through the motherboard and onto the backplate, and an X-shaped bracket holds the contact plate to the CPU with four spring screws attached to the standoffs. Plastic clips secure the 12cm fan to the heat exchanger in a fashion similar to the most recent 212 Plus coolers we’ve used (the original Hyper used wire clips).
In short, the Evo is identical to its predecessor in every aspect but one: Where the 212 Plus’s heat pipes meet the cooler’s contact plate, small gaps reduce the surface area that is in direct contact with the CPU’s own heat spreader. The bottoms of the Evo’s heat pipes are so flat that these gaps are entirely eliminated.
At our i7-930 test bed’s stock speed of 2.8GHz, it was hard to tell the difference between the two coolers: The Evo ran just over a degree Celsius hotter than the Plus at idle, and just under a degree warmer at 100 percent CPU burn. Both coolers far outperformed our stock cooler, by 4-5 C at idle and by a whopping 14 C at full burn.
The Hyper 212 Evo's flat direct-contact heat pipes increase the surface area that comes into contact with the CPU's heat spreader.
We didn’t notice a meaningful difference until we cranked up the test bed to our overclocking-challenge speed of 3.9GHz. At full burn, the Evo kept our CPU fully 9 C cooler than its predecessor could manage. Neither part came close to besting our air-cooling champion, Prolimatech’s Armageddon, with this stress test, however; and the stock Intel cooler lasted just 20 seconds before the CPU began to throttle itself.
If you’re already using a Hyper 212 Plus, we don’t see a reason to switch to the Evo unless you’d like to crank your clock speeds a little higher. If you’re building a new rig, or looking to upgrade from a stock cooler, on the other hand, the Evo is a worthy successor to the 212 Plus. Five dollars for a cooler that can keep an overclocked proc 9 C cooler? We’ll take it.
We could wish for an easier mounting bracket, but honestly, the Hyper 212 Evo is a damn-good deal at $35.
Nearly identical to the Plus; excellent value for the money; better performance on overclocked chips.
Nearly identical to the Plus; mounting bracket is getting old.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Stock Intel Cooler
2.8GHz Idle (C)
2.8GHz 100% Burn (C)
3.9GHz idle (C)
3.9 GHz 100% Burn (C)
dAmbient represent ambient air temperature in the Lab at time of testing. All coolers tested with a Core i7-930 at both stock 2.8GHz and overclocked to 3.9GHz on an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard in a Corsair 800D chassis with stock fans, 6GB DDR3 RAM, and Radeon HD 5850 GPU. Clock frequencies measured with TMonitor; temps with HWMonitor. Stress tests performed with Intel's internal testing utility running at 70 percent load.