Introduction and Specifications

We look at stock and OC performance from four large air coolers

In this roundup we'll explore the performance of three premium (and large) air coolers – with the ultra-popular Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO in the mix to see how this $29 option stacks up against the big dogs on test.

Many of the large air coolers on the market are built for ultra-efficient cooling at whisper-quiet volume levels. With massive heatsinks (and sometimes pairs of them) they can often cool demanding CPU loads with minimal fan speeds, and this usually results in very low noise output. Another advantage is the increased thermal headroom such a cooler provides, which can allow for overclocking without the need for liquid cooling – or even much additional noise.

So what coolers are included? In alphabetical order we have:

Can the $29 Hyper 212 EVO hold its own in this group?

Kicking Cooler Testing up a Notch

I reviewed the Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT recently, using a Core i5 6600K-based test platform (the Scythe Ninja 4 was also reviewed using this platform), and readers correctly pointed out that a cooler of this size should really be tested with some more challenging thermal loads. The Core i5-6600K is a quad-core, single-threaded design with a 91W TDP, and in moving to a new CPU cooler test system I decided to make the jump to the 140W TDPs of Intel's LGA2011 processors.

So I ended up with a Core i7-6800K; a newer Broadwell-E design with a 6 core/12 thread configuration (and of course that 140W TDP). The base speed of the CPU is 3.40 GHz, with a maximum turbo frequency of 3.60 GHz. Without much trouble I was able to push the CPU to 4.0 GHz on each core, and proceeded to test each of these coolers at both stock and OC frequencies. My hope is that the results to follow will adequately demonstrate just how effective these coolers are when really pressed.

Before continuing, here's a look at the specs for the coolers in today's roundup:

  Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Scythe Ninja 4 (SCNJ-4000) Thermaltake Le Grand Macho RT
Overall Dimensions (HxWxD) 159x120x80mm 160x140x158mm 155x130x153mm 159x150x152mm
Included Fan(s)

A12025-20RB-4BP-F1 (PWM)

GlideStream 120 PWM
TY-147B (PWM)
Fan Speed 600-2000 RPM 300-1200 RPM,
300-1300 RPM
300-1500RPM 300-1300 RPM
Heatsink Material 4 Direct Contact Heat Pipes, Aluminum Fins

Nickel-Plated Copper, Aluminium Fins

Nickel-Plated Copper, Aluminium Fins Nickel-Plated Copper, Aluminium Fins
Weight (with fans) 569g 1240g 900g 1060g

I won't delve into the mounting hardware or installation of these coolers, as they have all been previously reviewed. Speaking of hardware, the SE2011 version of the NH-D14 tested here doesn't include a mount for Intel LGA115x processors, so an adapter is needed for those processors if you want the version with PWM fans (Noctua NM-i115x Mounting Kit - $7.99, Amazon).

Next up, we'll dive right into the performance numbers to see which cooler came out on top!

« PreviousNext »