Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM and GeminII S524 Reviewairman - August 16, 2011
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My first thought of the Hyper 612 PWM is that it's quite big. In fact, it's quite a lot bigger than it looks in the picture! I could fit a 120mm fan on each of the four sides it seems, judging by the dimensions it's nearly a 150x150x150mm cube! I noticed the large array of heatpipes, and the two "black sheep" fins at the top into which the Cooler Master logo is stamped. The fan looks to be the same 120mm fans used in Cooler Master's cases and other 120mm coolers. The fin spacing is a good bit larger than I am used to seeing, and maybe that's why the pictures are so misleading! The fins are spaced approximately 2mm or more apart (I cannot find a Cooler Master-provided number, and I misplaced my calipers while recently moving) to allow for more airflow through the heatsink. While less fins are used, there is a smaller pressure drop through the cooler itself allowing for more airflow between the boundary layers of each fin — which may lead to a higher efficiency cooler. The fan of the Hyper 612 PWM is screwed into two clips which are then snapped onto a lip on each edge. It is held securely and can be removed easily! Cooler Master did provide an extra pair of clips if the user chooses to snap on an additional fan for a push-pull configuration.
The GeminII S524 is certainly a different animal from those with which I've had experience. There are still the basic essentials, namely the base, heatpipes, fins, and a fan, but we see that the cooler is more of an "L" shape. This shape can be oriented to blow air not only through the fins, but on top of other components such as RAM, voltage regulators, and other pieces on the motherboard. The overhang the cooler is set up to be able to clear large RAM modules, however I already see that if the cooler was oriented over the RAM slots, removing and exchanging RAM modules may be difficult to do without first removing the cooler. Luckily if the user chooses not to do this, they may turn it any other direction, blowing over or near the northbridge or voltage regulators. The fan on the GeminII S524 appears to be the same fan as the one used on the Hyper 612 PWM. However, instead of using a detachable clip, the fan on this heatsink is directly screwed into a larger plate, which is fastened to the cooler directly with another set of screws. The main cosmetic difference between these two coolers is that the heatpipes and base of the GeminII S524 are plated, while the heatpipes and base of the Hyper 612 PWM are plain, exposed copper.
It's clear that these two coolers are very unlike each other. The Hyper 612 PWM has no concern for space and appears to be a very heat-capacitive beast, and the GeminII S524 is an elegant, concentrated problem-solver. Being based off of many other Cooler Master models, the Hyper 612 PWM doesn't have a lot of original elements to itself as it uses the simple, proven design of many other heatsinks. However, the GeminII S524 intrigues me with its interesting shape. The heatpipes are crimped onto the edge of the base through which they run out the other side and back around through the fin array. It is a rather different design that accomplishes the same task. I am excited to see this thing in action and I'm curious to see how effective it is, being that it's such a different design!
The heatpipes at the top of the Hyper 612 PWM peek through the top two black fins and are alternately crimped. The ends of heatpipes are not identical, so Cooler Master as well as many other manufacturers choose to alternate which end goes on which side on coolers that have both ends of the heatpipes coming out of the top. This is not mandatory for performance as heatpipes are not uni-directional — this is merely a cosmetic manufacturing decision. The heatipes coming out of the base and into the fins of the Hyper 612 PWM are aligned single file perpendicular to that of the airflow. This helps eliminate hot spots caused by improper heatpipe placement and allows for the maximum amount of air to flow around each. An interesting addition that I see on this cooler is the large additional "heatsink" directly on top of the base. Not all heat is going to exit the base by conduction through the heatpipes, so Cooler Master chose to put more fins on top of the base to help accelerate the heat removal from the base. I've only seen this on a very few coolers, and this is the best use of the extra space I have ever seen!
The heatpipes of the GeminII S524 will exit the base parallel to the motherboard and the air from the fan will blow over them in a similar manner to that of the Hyper 612 PWM. As you can see, the ends of the heatpipe shown here are the "cup" end, and the ends at the base are the crimped ends. This angle also shows how the top fan plate is fastened, at least half of it, to the cooler itself. The angle showing the heatpipe arrangement from the other side shows the other half of the screws holding this plate to the heatsink, as well as the screws that hold the fan to this plate. An observation that I've made here while looking at the rear is the "stepped" design of the sides. Rather than coming out of the base at a constant, angled slope (i.e. making the cross section trapezoidal), Cooler Master seems to have cut this design into the fins in order to increase clearance around the edges of the cooler. This extra design concern is yet another thing that Cooler Master didn't forget to include!
With the fans of both heatsinks removed, the base design can be observed. We don't see much more of the Hyper 612 PWM as there being only one fan on the cooler to begin with, so we can look at the naked side and know exactly what the other side looks like. A glance of the Hyper 612 PWM at this angle shows another look at the integrated heatsink at the bottom, which reminds me of an earlier-styled (forgive me, like Slot 1 days) cooler that was milled out of a solid block of aluminum — just like this one is. The bare view of the GeminII S524 offers a view of the large surface area at the top that is capable of accepting a large, 140mm fan. By taking advantage of using heatpipes, Cooler Master has taken the performance of a tall tower cooler, bent it over, and made it into a low-profile version. I like this way of thinking, as original ideas can cause the birth of some really excellent products. Of course, this isn't the first GeminII line that Cooler Master has produced, but it's been over four years since its introduction.
One thing that leaves me a little disappointed is the finish on the bases of each cooler. First, when I first removed the protective stickers, I found that the adhesive used on these stickers left quite a heavy residue that took some scrubbing to remove! I haven't had this happen before, so I don't know what may have gone wrong. It's been super hot in the south lately, so it's possible that it did something to the adhesive during shipment. After removing the residue, I didn't get the sight that I expected. For middle/upper-end coolers, I generally expect to see somewhat of a reflective sheen on their bases. However, the bases are a matte finish at best. The machining marks aren't very evident so Cooler Master got the process right — but one extra step to provide a smoother finish could have really made a big difference in my impression of both! The GeminII has a slightly better-looking base, but the extra shininess probably comes from the plating process and doesn't mean that it's any flatter. Of course it doesn't take a mirror-finish to have great performance, but when the reflection is warped (see the GeminII S524 reflection) and curvy it generally means that the base lacks flatness.
As I said earlier, the fans on both the Hyper 612 PWM and GeminII S524 are identical both cosmetically and statistically. Each fan operates on 12V, use PWM 4-pin plugs, and pull a maximum of 0.37A — making them around 4.5W each. The undersides of the fan clips of the Hyper 612 PWM have a rubber spacer on each corner, which will absorb some of the vibration of the fan. The GeminII S524 fan or clip does not have these, although I expect with its cantilevered construction that it will absorb some vibration on its own.
The installation hardware between the coolers is slightly different, but for the most part they are the same. On a side note, the Intel installation kit as shown is identical between the two. First, the "legs", as I'll call them, are each fastened into the base of the cooler using the provided screws. The required backplate is placed on the back side of the motherboard, and the threaded portion from each leg is pushed through the backplate and secured in place using the provided nuts. At first I thought that the springs on each corner are for evening the compression over the processor, but in fact are there to hold the pegs in the correct slot depending on which Intel socket is used. Not having a spring mechanism doesn't immediately mean BAD, but I've generally had a lot better luck with them since it's a lot easier to get the compression even. However with proper machining and manufacturing tolerances, there shouldn't be any worry!
Once the coolers are installed, they look quite nice inside of the Corsair Graphite Series 600T! The Hyper 612 PWM is absolutely massive and I almost had trouble fitting it inside of the case due to the fan at the top. The GeminII S524 offers a different stance that looks kind of funny when it's so close to the video card. Anyways, now that I've had a chance to get both of them installed, the testing will commence shortly. First, I will share the manufacturer-provided specifications and features on the next page.