SOMETIMES WHEN we use the Hyper 212 Plus in a build we get comments to the effect of, “Why don’t you use Xigmatek’s Gaia? It’s just as good and just as cheap!” Just as cheap? Definitely. Just as good? We’ll see!
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Gaia is a skyscraper-style stack of aluminum cooling fins on top of three direct-contact copper heat pipes. The Gaia is 6.5 inches high by 2.9 inches thick (with the fan) and 4.9 inches wide. At one pound, 4.7 ounces, it’s practically the same weight as the Hyper 212 Evo. Aside from the slightly narrower cooling fins and the fact that it has three heat pipes rather than four, and its 12cm PWM fan is held on by rubber pegs rather than a plastic clip, the Gaia looks a lot like the Evo.
On LGA2011, the Gaia’s install process is pretty easy. Four double-sided thumbscrews screw into the universal backplate, a mounting plate screws onto either side of the heatsink and mounts onto those thumbscrews, and then four nuts secure the mounting bracket. There are no screws or any other way of putting pressure on the heat exchanger other than tightening the mounting nuts as far as possible. The rubber fan mounts pop into slots cut into the sides of the cooling fins, which is great for damping vibrations but not as easy to attach or remove as plastic or wire clips.
We just realized that the Xigmatek Gaia’s cooling fins resemble the letter X.
The Xigmatek Gaia cooled our overclocked i7-3960X to 75.7 C in our burn test, within two degrees Celsius of the Hyper 212 Evo. We still prefer the Evo’s installation procedure, at least for LGA2011, and don’t mind the $5 price premium, but the Gaia is nearly as good as the Hyper 212 Evo, and even less expensive.
Almost as good as the Evo; even cheaper.
Annoying fan mounts; cooler mount doesn’t apply much pressure
Dimensions HxDxW (inches, with fans)
1 lb, 4.7 oz
3 copper direct-contact
1x 12cm PWM
Add’l Fan Support
1 (rubber mounts included)
CM Hyper 212 Evo
NZXT Havik 120
All temperatures in degrees Celsius. Best scores bolded. All tests performed using an Intel Core i7-3960 at 4.2GHz, on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with 16GB DDR3/1600, in a Thermaltake Level 10 GT with stock fans set to High.