WE HAVE BEEN anxious to test Cooler Master’s TPC 812 since we saw a prototype at this year’s CES—or was it last year’s? Regardless, the company piqued our interest with its talk of “vertical vapor chamber cooling,” and we finally have our hands on the TPC 812, a massive air cooler with six heat pipes and two vertical vapor chambers.
WHEN WE REVIEWED the first-edition Noctua NH-D14 back in April 2010, we praised its quiet performance, but our then-current test bed didn’t put out enough heat to best showcase its cooling chops. Fortunately, our new one does. This coincides nicely with Noctua’s release of the NH-D14 SE2011, which includes (gasp) LGA2011 support and updates the D14’s two fans to include PWM, or pulse-width modulation.
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.
We just realized that the Xigmatek Gaia’s cooling fins resemble the letter X.
NZXT’s second air cooler, and they still can’t spell ‘havoc’
NZXT DIDN’T ENTER the CPU cooling game until quite recently. We reviewed its first cooler, the skyscraper Havik 140, in December 2011. The Havik 140’s dual 14cm fans helped it power to the top of our air-cooling charts, though the slightly cheap-feeling mounting bracket kept it from Kick Ass Award status. NZXT’s second air cooler is the smaller, less expensive Havik 120.
What, this old thing? Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Evo is the new‑and‑improved version of our standby CPU cooler. It’s just $35 and offers performance far exceeding other coolers in its price range, so it’s the first thing we reach for when we build a new budget-conscious rig. Given that LGA2011 CPUs don’t come with heatsinks, the Evo is the closest thing we have to a stock cooler, and it will be the standard against which all other Sandy Bridge-E coolers are judged.
Think your CPU cooler kicks ass? Some of the top minds in the country disagree. Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories have been working on a novel new design for a rapidly spinning cooler, one that they say is up to 30 percent more efficient than traditional models AND virtually silent in typical use cases. Sounds crazy ambitious? Apparently, it isn't; Sandia's looking to license the technology out to electronics suppliers, and one unidentified CPU cooling company has already hopped on the bandwagon.
Cooler Master has spread its wings into a lot of different product lines, but it's still best known for its namesake: stuff that keeps your PC running cool. To that effect, today the company announced an update to the design of its Hyper 412 Slim CPU cooler as well as three new thermal pastes.
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?
Ladies and gentlemen, overclockers and enthusiasts, meet the Frio Advanced, a big and bulky cooler that incorporates some of the most up-to-date CPU cooler technologies while still preserving the greatness of its predecessors, according to Thermaltake. Among the improvements to the Frio Advanced are extra welding points acting as headt collectors on the heatsink.
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.