In our New Mid-Priced Coolers article, we moved the focus down a notch to examine some value options available in midrange coolers. We found an excellent midrange performer in the small and efficient OCZ Vendetta, but there are plenty more midrange cooler to examine. Today our quest for high-performance, reasonable cost cooling continues with the latest offering from Cooler Master - the Hyper 212.

The latest Cooler Master takes a very different approach than the OCZ Vendetta. The Hyper 212 is a large heatpipe tower complete with a high-output, low-noise 120mm fan. It was not designed to be small, but to bring value to the full-size heatpipe tower market.

The design follows the formula that has worked best in recent cooler reviews. Past test results have consistently shown the best heatpipe tower designs are those with side facing fans, and that is the design Cooler Master chose for the Hyper 212. The difference is that the 212 is intended to sell for around $40 instead of the $50 to $70 that is common for top heatpipe towers. Cooler Master has also designed the Hyper 212 to use a second 120mm fan if you choose to configure the cooler in a push-pull design.

By using a 120mm fan instead of the more common 80mm or 92mm used in other midrange designs, Cooler Master has avoided a large dilemma. The smaller and less expensive coolers generally use the 80mm~92mm fans that run at a much higher RPM, which usually generates higher noise levels. Using a 120mm fan should avoid the high noise that is typically a problem with midrange designs.

On paper, Cooler Master seems to have delivered a top performance design at a lower price point with very few design compromises. Of course, price to performance is extremely important for buyers looking for value in this market segment. Does the Hyper 212 offer an outstanding value in an air cooler market loaded with other excellent performers? Put another way; are the performance and features of the Hyper 212 better than other offerings targeting the $40 price point?

Cooler Master Hyper 212
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  • pc007 - Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - link

    This is only slightly related, but why do all the cooling solutions i've seen blow air into a heat sink?
    When blowing air it is compressed slightly and raises the temperature. When sucking the air off a heatsink the air is expanded slightly creating more cooling effect. It is possible to drop the temperature of a heatsink to below freezing when in an ambient temperature of 20degrees C, just buy reversing the fan.
    Is there a reason this isn't done with computer cooling solutions?
  • gmchenry - Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - link

    The ability to remove heat is impacted by the density of the air moving across the heat source. Less dense air is less effective at removing heat. Living more than a mile above sea level, the cooling effectiveness in our systems is reduced by a factor of about .90 (1.0 is sea level). We have to cope with this loss in heat convection by increasing air speed to reach an equivalent heat transfer ratio.

    Having a fan that pulled air across a heatsink will have a similar effect by reducing the air density. This would deteriorate performance.
  • ObiWanCeleri - Saturday, March 15, 2008 - link

    I think there's also another, very practical reason for this.
    Since the air inside a PC is very often charged with static electricity, it also carries dust, which easily collects on fins. I might be wrong but it's more efficient to blow air into the fins to disloge dust than it is to pull air.
  • Howard - Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - link

    Below freezing? Can you show me the math?
  • pc007 - Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - link

    nope, not much of a mathmatician. But I can show you a device that does it. If you buy a portable can cooler such as this [url]
    d/Product/View/M4500[/url] and pull it apart, you will find this is how it operates.
    I have on eand if I put water in it and run it for a few minutes, the water starts to freeze.
  • oopyseohs - Thursday, November 1, 2007 - link

    I believe the device you link to is in effect a mini-refrigerator. It uses a very small condenser and compressor system that changes the phase (gas -> liquid, liquid -> gas) of a refrigerant to exploit latent heat and provide cooling. This effect is used in computers via rather expensive systems that product sub-freezing conditions and cool processors very well. It is not used very extensively because there is an inherent condensation risk, an enemy to the delicate electrical components. I am no expert, but I would assume the unit you linked to there is not powerful enough to cool a processor, which produces an absurd amount of heat continuously. The one you've got there is good at cooling hot stuff down, or even freezing other stuff, but it's probably not the greatest and continuously cooling something that is very hot. I don't know if this is even right or if it makes sense, but there is a possible explanation for you.
  • oopyseohs - Thursday, November 1, 2007 - link

    ahh yes I am an idiot.. I see it says right there that it is a TEC. TECs are used in CPU cooling applications, but not extensively and because they are very inefficient. Actually one of the better coolers in Anandtech's CPU testing charts, the Monsoon II from Vigor Gaming, uses controlled TEC technology.
  • Schmide - Thursday, November 1, 2007 - link

    That's a TEC Thermoelectric Cooler. Sometimes referred to as a Peltier. (">Link) They work well in extreme cooling but are horribly inefficient. To cool 100w of heat it often takes like 200w of energy, and thusly they produce 200w of heat. To run that cooler you need a 12v 5amp powersource.
  • pc007 - Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - link

    Right you are, my mistake. I pulled one of these things apart years ago and didn't look close enough obviously... at least I won't continue to think this is how they work now :)
    Sorry for writing useless rubbish up here.
  • Chuckles - Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - link

    At a pressure rise of 2mm of water, the temperature rise due to PdV work is negligible.

    The more important design reason for mounting the fan on the blowing side is that it produces a better flow across the heat sink. If you want, start a fan in your room, then see how far away you can feel the airflow across your hand. It's much further on the output side than the intake side. The same principle applies in a fan on a heat sink. With the fan pushing air onto the cooler, you get the majority of the air covering the middle section of the cooler, whereas in a pulling configuration, a high fraction of the air flow would be coming from the edges near the fan, relatively cool portions of the heat sink.

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