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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM Heatsink
Closer Look: Cooler Master Hyper 612
Hyper 612 PWM Detailed Features
Heat Sink Test Methodology
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Heat Sink Test Methodology

Benchmark Reviews is obsessed with testing CPU coolers, as our Cooling Section has demonstrated over the past few years. We've solicited suggestions from the enthusiast community, and received guidance from some of the most technical overclockers on the planet. As a result, our testing methodology has changed with every new edition of our Best CPU Cooler Performance series. Because of this, each article is really its own stand-alone product, and cannot be fairly compared to the others. Benchmark Reviews continues to test CPU coolers using the stock included fan (whenever applicable), and then replace it with a high-output fan for re-testing.

Manufacturers are not expected to enjoy this sort of comparison, since we level the playing field for all heat sinks by replacing their included fan with a common unit which is then used for every CPU cooler tested. Many manufacturers include fans with their heat sink products, but many 'stock' fans are high-RPM units that offer great airflow at the expense of obnoxiously loud noise levels, or, conversely, quiet fans that sacrifice performance for low noise. By using the same model of cooling fan throughout our heat sink tests, we can assure our results are comparable across the board. This is one of the more significant changes we have made to our test methodology, since many of the benchmark tests we have conducted in the past have compared the total package. Ultimately we're more interested in the discovering the best possible heat sink, and we believe that you'll feel the same way.

For each test, ambient room temperature levels were maintained within one degree of fluctuation, and measured at static points beside the test equipment with a digital thermometer. The Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM and the comparison coolers used a common Thermal Interface Material of our choosing (listed in the support equipment section below) for consistency. The processor received the same amount of thermal paste in every test, which covered the heat spreader with a thin nearly-transparent layer. The heat sink being tested was then laid down flat onto the CPU, and compressed to the motherboard using the supplied retaining mechanism. If the mounting mechanism used only two points of force, they were tightened in alternation; standard clip-style mounting with four securing points were compressed using the cross-over method. Once installed, the system was tested for a baseline reading prior to testing.

At the start of each test, the ambient room temperature was measured to track any fluctuation throughout the testing period. AIDA64 Extreme Edition is utilized to create 100% CPU-core loads and measure each individual processor core temperature. It's important to note that software-based temperature reading reflects the thermal output as reported from the CPU to the BIOS. For this reason, it is critically important (for us) to use the exact same software and BIOS versions throughout the entire test cycle, or the results will be incomparable. All of the units compared in our results were tested on the same motherboard using the same BIOS and software, with only the CPU-cooler product changing in each test. These readings are neither absolute nor calibrated, since every BIOS is programmed differently. Nevertheless, all results are still comparable and relative to each product in our test bed (see The Accuracy Myth section below).

Since our test processor reports core temperatures as a whole number and not in fractions, all test results utilize ADIA64 to report averages (within the statistics panel), which gives us more precise readings. The ambient room temperature levels were all recorded and accurate to one-tenth of a degree Celsius at the time of data collection.

When each cooler is tested, Benchmark Reviews makes certain to keep the hardware settings identical across the test platform. This enables us to clearly compare the performance of each product under identical conditions. Benchmark Reviews reports the thermal difference; for the purposes of this article, thermal difference (not the same as thermal delta) is calculated by subtracting the ambient room temperature from the recorded CPU temperature.

Please keep in mind that that these test results are only valid within the context of this particular test: and, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Intel Test System

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601950, core voltage set to 1.35V
  • Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth X58 Intel X58-Express chipset) with BIOS 0603, BCLK set to 175MHz for a processor speed of 4025MHz

Support Equipment

  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition version 1.50.1200
  • MG Chemicals Heat Transfer Compound 8610-60G
  • Stock fan (for heat sinks without fans): Thermalright TR-FDB-12-1600 (63.7CFM advertised)
  • High-speed fan: Delta AFC1212D (113CFM advertised)

All of the tests in this article have been conducted using vertical motherboard orientation, positioned upright in a traditional tower computer case. Air-cooled heat sinks are positioned so that heat pipe rods span horizontally, which in most cases means the fan is blowing air out the top of the chassis. The radiators of water coolers are mounted as per manufacturer instructions. In both cases, fans are connected directly to the power supply (rather than motherboard headers) and run at full speed during the test. At the start of our test period, the test system is powered on and AIDA64 system stability tests are started with Stress CPU and Stress FPU options selected. AIDA64 loads each CPU core to 100% usage, which drives the temperature to its highest point. Finally, once temperatures have sustained a plateau (no observed change in average temperatures for 5 minutes), the ending ambient room temperature and individual CPU core levels are recorded thus completing the first benchmark segment. The time to reach stable temperatures varied between 10 and 20 minutes for the heat sinks in this test; larger heat sinks typically take longer to stabilize.

The second test segment involves removing the stock cooling fan and replacing it with a high-output 120 mm Delta AFC1212D cooling fan, then running the same tests again.

Note: Both the Antec Kühler H2O 620 and the Coolit Vantage A.L.C. are designed to drive their own RPM-controlled fans directly; in the case of the Vantage, an alarm will sound continuously if there is no fan connected. For these coolers, the fans were left connected as designed during stock fan testing. For high-speed fan testing, the Delta fan was connected directly to the power supply (and the alarm on the Vantage ignored).

The Accuracy Myth

All modern processors incorporate an internal thermal diode that can be read by the motherboards' BIOS. While this diode and the motherboard are not calibrated and therefore may not display the actual true temperature, the degree of accuracy is constant. This means that if the diode reports 40°C when it's actually 43°C, then it will also report 60°C when it's truly 63°C. Since the design goal of any thermal solution is to keep the CPU core within allowable temperatures, a processor's internal diode is the most valid means of comparison between different heat sinks, or thermal compounds. The diode and motherboard may be incorrect by a small margin in relation to an actual calibrated temperature sensor, but they will be consistent in their margin of error every time.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkPatrick 2011-07-27 20:06
Thanks for the nice and definately quick review on the new CM Hyper 612 PWM. One point of suggestion, though, about the adhesive removal, I'd use Acetone instead of WD-40 as it leaves residue behind, especially, the non-mirror finish base (e.g. w/ grooves). And, that Isopropyl alcohol won't completely remove all the residue left behind by the WD-40. However, it wouldn't affect the result of the test that much. Cheers.
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# RE: RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkDavid Ramsey 2011-07-27 20:26
Yeah, but I didn't have any acetone! I'll get some since this situation may come up again...
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# Good to see Cooler MasterBruce 2011-07-27 20:59
Nice to see Cooler Master is getting it's Mojo back. I picked up their little 92mm model (Hyper N520) for a slim case I have, and it's great where there are clearance issues.

I'm pretty amazed that they get such good performance out of this unit, with the low mounting pressure they designed in.

A hint on the acetone - look for nail polish remover, which is frequently stocked by the female residents of the house.
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# How does it compare to the 212?ET3D 2011-07-28 00:50
Thanks for the review. Since this is billed as an upgrade to the 212, it would have been interesting to see a more detailed comparison.
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# RE: How does it compare to the 212?David Ramsey 2011-07-28 08:04
Welll, to be fair, Cooler Master didn't bill it as an "upgrade to the 212"; that was just my impression. Still, the 212 results would have been in the table had Cooler Master sent us one, which they didn't, and I can only test what I have.
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# direct heatpipefresc0 2011-07-28 02:17
Good to see a move away from the direct contact heatpipes
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# RE: direct heatpipeDavid Ramsey 2011-07-28 08:02
Yeah, that fad seems to have died down. It never brought the performance improvements hoped for.
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# Typorazaron 2011-07-28 09:14
At the end of page 5 it should say "3.3 degree drop" not "4.3 degree drop".
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# RE: TypoDavid Ramsey 2011-07-28 20:43
You're right, and it's been fixed. Thanks!
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# Accuracy Mythbanthracis 2011-07-28 09:20
"While this diode and the motherboard are not calibrated and therefore may not display the actual true temperature, the degree of accuracy is constant. "

I'm pretty sure that's wrong. Per Intel, accuracy of thermal measurements is greatest as you approach the Tcontrol point.
#download.intel.com/design/intarch/papers/322683.pdf

"PECI is most accurate near the maximum temperature (PROCHOT#) and it is
accurate enough for fan speed control in the TCONTROL range but it can be very inaccurate at low temperatures." pg 19

Same also applies for DTS. See page calibration and variance graphs on pg 8 and 9 of the document.

Given this, the thermal measurements are MORE accurate as you approach Tcontrol and less accurate and temps get lower. Therefor, the degree of accuracy is not constant, but rather temperature dependent.
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# RE: Accuracy Mythbanthracis 2011-07-28 09:24
This variance in accuracy is also mentioned in Intel thermal specifications data sheet for sandy bridge CPU's on page 45 section 6.1

"Although each processors DTS is factory calibrated, the accuracy of the DTS will vary from part to part and may also vary slightly with temperature and voltage."
#download.intel.com/design/processor/designex/324644.pdf
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# Hmm...Justair 2011-07-28 20:45
Your observation about Sandy Bridge proccessors (and newer ones down the pipeline) probably not needing aditional cooling seems a little optimistic. With their stock fan on the 2500K You can easily push past 75C with higher overclocks and during the summer months Idle it can go to 45C+ Even with the Hyper 212 I can hit 65C if I am overclocking.

I was a little put off by all that. So many people said oh it runs cool it runs cool .. you can hit 4.4G with the stock fan. Sure.. you can but it certainly won't run cool.

Anyway.. overall a great review.
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# RE: Hmm...David Ramsey 2011-07-28 20:53
I think you misinterpreted what I said, Justair. I didn't mean that you don't need any third party cooling at all; I meant that _expensive_, high end coolers (like the Megahalems or Silver Arrow) won't be needed.
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# RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkJustair 2011-07-29 16:41
Ah ok, Gotcha(ty for the clarification). With the Hyper212 sitting at what .. 29 bucks? I'd say most high end cooler are moot (unless your going for some sort of theme with one of the cool looking ones)The one thing this one may have over the 212 is it may be a little quieter. Temperatures seem fairly close.
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# RE: RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkDavid Ramsey 2011-07-29 17:21
I can't comment on the performance of the Hyper 212, since I've never tested it...be cautious when comparing temperatures between different reviews, especially across web sites, as testing protocols will differ.
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# RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkLuis 2011-08-16 16:59
Where/When can I buy????
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# RE: RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkDavid Ramsey 2011-08-16 17:07
Good question. I can't find them available at any online merchant yet.
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# RE: RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkOlin Coles 2011-08-16 17:08
This review was published ahead of product stock into stores, so expect to see the Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM make it into Newegg and Amazon very soon.
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# RE: RE: RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkLuis 2011-08-16 22:40
Thanks for the info! This thing looks like a beast!
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# RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkChrisH 2011-09-25 05:04
Hi, on the strength of this review and with some supplementary checking I've purchased the cooler. Will get the usual Arctic Fox paste and a second fan to maximize its potential. What worries me is the weight. Haven't the unit yet but I'm tossing up whether I'll add a small brace soldered from the centre seam (perpendicular to the fans) to above the side panel opening. Reason being the case does get moved around and the last thing one wants is to use the chipset as a moment. I'll find out if its feasible or not. Secondly, because RAM height is such an important precursor perhaps a measurement from the slot to the base of the cooler might help people out. Hence I'm buying CPU, mobo and cooler first then determining if my desired RAM will fit.Anyhow thanks for the review.
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# RE: RE: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM HeatsinkDavid Ramsey 2011-09-26 19:47
Any cooler that overhangs RAM slots will block RAM with tall heatsinks. Given that modern DDR3 simply doesn't get hot enough to actually require those silly heatsinks, I'd recommend simply always getting "low profile" RAM.
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# direct-heatpipe-worksRoj0 2013-05-05 18:31
Direct contact heat pipes actually work, it is the reason the 612 wont out perform the 212 evo...What can possibly be faulty with direct heat pipe? It makes contact with the hot surface directly rather than having some sort of base make contact & then that base make contact with the heat pipes, halfwits
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# RE: direct-heatpipe-worksDavid Ramsey 2013-05-05 19:04
Direct contact heat pipes are nice, but they're not the only design feature that affects cooler performance, and some coolers without direct contact heat pipes can outperform those with direct contact heat pipes. The flatness of the cooler base, the amount of clamping pressure, the physical amount of metal available to absorb the heat, and the airflow through the cooler are all important factors.
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