Cooler Master, DEEPCOOL, Noctua, and Thermaltake CPU Cooler RoundupWaco - January 20, 2013
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Closer Look (Cooler Master TPC 812)
Finally I get to open some boxes! The Cooler Master TPC 812 is the first up to the chopping block. Popping open the box reveals a big block of foam encasing the heat sink itself, a box with accessories, and a pair of instruction manuals. Breaking open the accessories box brings to light a somewhat odd hold-down mechanism, a rather busy back plate and a bag full of parts. The bag contains the miscellaneous mounting parts for the cooler as well as a low-noise adapter, an installation tool, a second set of fan brackets for the mounting of a second 120x25mm fan and a tube of Cooler Master thermal compound.
And here you have it: the Cooler Master TPC 812. Out of its protective foam, you can see the true bulk of the heat sink assembly itself with its six heat pipes and vertical vapor chamber tubes poking out of the top plate. Personally I'd rather have them covered up by a simple top plate without all the chrome (I really, really, hate chrome) but it does lend a sense of "I mean business" to this tower cooler. The included 120x25mm fan comes pre-installed with plastic clips that are a welcome sight compared to the annoying wire clips seen on many coolers. The fin assembly is fairly thick and reminds me of the renowned Prolimatech Megahalems with its somewhat split design and gobs of heat pipes in a staggered arrangement.
Stripping the TPC 812 of its fan reveals the bare heat sink assembly and I have to say it looks damned good! The fins are cut with different designs alternating up the tower to increase turbulence, which is key to dissipating heat efficiently. The base and all heat pipes (and vapor chamber tubes) are copper with nickel plating, which looks fantastic and won't tarnish over time. While it does look good, I would rather Cooler Master skipped the nickel plating since it adds no performance and definitely comes at a cost – but I'm a function over form sort of guy, so take my opinion on that with a fairly large truckload of salt. The vapor chamber tubes look like a pair of flattened heat pipes (and to my knowledge that's exactly what they really are) and really add some meat to the appearance of the base plate. The base finish shows some machining marks as evidenced by the amazing Omnibond LEGO man reflection. The machining also reveals that the center of the base plate is convex to apply more pressure to the integrated heat spreader on modern CPUs.
The included 120x25mm Cooler Master fan is rated to spin from 600 to 2400 RPM. Using the included low noise adapter will drop the maximum RPM of the PWM capable fan from 2400 RPM down to a more reasonable 1600 RPM and drops the rated airflow from around 86 CFM to 60 CFM. If the included fan doesn't suit your fancy the included plastic clips will bolt up to any 120mm fan regardless of the thickness as long as it is an open corner design.
Installing the Cooler Master TPC 812 was a fairly simply affair. The back plate bolts up to the board via four bolts (for Intel sockets) and four nuts that tighten down easily with the included Philips to hex tool. Once the back plate is installed you flip the board over to see the incredible unreleased Intel i9 6900K Cardboard CPU of DOOM! Hmm, yes, I lost my socket protector on this spare board I use for installation pictures and testing. Because of this I will be showing the installation procedure but not tightening down the brackets entirely to avoid damaging the base of each heat sink. The CPU hold down bracket adjusts to fit various socket bolt patterns and slips through the center of the heat sink to clamp down to the back plate. After tightening it down (assuming you don't have my awesome i9 6900K) you can clamp on the fan, plug it in, and fire your rig up!
Installed to the OCC test board (along with a few example sticks of DDR3 with heat spreaders), it's quite clear that neither the heat sink or the fan on the TPC 812 is going to cause any issues with taller RAM modules. The plastic brackets allow you to place the fan up higher on the tower if you need more clearance and the tower itself doesn't overhang the slots in any way. This cooler isn't the largest I've ever seen, but it's beefy without being unwieldy and looks to be a real contender in this lineup!