Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM and GeminII S524 Review

airman - 2011-08-03 14:34:26 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: August 16, 2011
Price: $49.99 & TBA

Introduction:

Cooler Master is a manufacturer of many different computer components that I've always enjoyed working with. Over the many years of its life, Cooler Master has developed hundreds of different products from computer cases, processor heatsinks, power supplies, and even some dabbling in laptop cooling. We all know of its incredibly popular HAF case series and Hyper series coolers. Regarded as probably one of the best, if not THE best, bang-for-your-buck heatsink out right now is the Cooler Master Hyper 212+. It can be had for under $30, and performs better than just about every other mid-range cooler on the market. A couple of weeks ago, Cooler Master launched its newer, bigger version, the Hyper 612 PWM. It still features a single 120mm fan design and 6mm heatpipes, however, in the Hyper 612 PWM's case we find that Cooler Master added two extra heatpipes to the mix, along with other optimizations. In this roundup, we'll be exploring those improvements very closely. Along with studying the Hyper 612 PWM, I'll be checking out Cooler Master's GeminII S524 cooler, which is a high clearance low-profile cooler. Many may choose a heatsink such as the GeminII S524 in order to clear tall memory modules. On top of the high "ground" clearance, it can be oriented over the memory modules to provide airflow from the large 120mm or optional 140mm fan — keeping more than just your CPU cool.

I can say that I've never been disappointed in a Cooler Master heatsink, so I have to say that my expectations for these two coolers are high. I don't doubt that I'll definitely be satisfied, but with Cooler Master's reputation it might be hard for me to be hit with a surprise (of course, that's a good thing!). Anyways, in this review I will be combining the evaluations of two of the latest heatsinks from Cooler Master — its Hyper 612 PWM, the newer, bigger sister to the Hyper 212+, along with the new GeminII S524. I will present an in-depth look at both coolers, from their exterior features and construction to an intense benchmarking session to determine their performance relative to other coolers on the market. Without any more jibber-jabber, I'll get started!

 

Closer Look:

At first glance, we see the package for the Hyper 612 PWM and GeminII S524 flying the standard Cooler Master colors of white, teal, and purple. Both boxes, as well as just about every other heatsink box from this manufacturer, sport these same colors and are unmistakeable as belonging to Cooler Master. The GeminII S524 box is a much different shape from that of the Hyper 612 PWM, for good reason. The size and shape of each cooler differs, and thus are packaged differently. However, both show the same information. Each box has the Cooler Master logo on the front along with an angled view of each cooler and its model name. The left sides of each box show numerical specifications, such as dimensions, weights, materials, and other tabulated points. The right side is a plain picture of the cooler without any extra information. The rears of the boxes list a few features in several different languages. Among these features, in general, are things that make each cooler different. For example, the Hyper 612 PWM is a massive 6-heatpipe cooler with extra large fin spacing to accommodate extra airflow and the GeminII S524 offers a unique shape to clear motherboard components and cool other heat-producing components besides the CPU during operation.

 

 

 

Inside each box, both heatsinks are packed similarly. There is an accessory box, reading material (warranty card, owner's manual, etc), the heatsink itself, and the fans are secured inside of a foam sandwich. Both heatsinks arrived in perfect condition, had no fingerprints, no bent fins, etc. Cooler Master did an excellent job with packing and handling these coolers. Looking at the install/mounting kit, it appears that these coolers use the typical Cooler Master mounting which is very simple for both AMD and Intel setups. Complex mounting systems are usually clumsy and troubling to install, so it's nice to see that there are manufacturers that still hang on to the K.I.S.S (keep it simple, stupid) principle!

 

 

 

With these two coolers open and ready to go, I will begin taking a closer look at the features they offer and my opinions on each. So far, I can already tell that the Hyper 612 PWM looks like it can be a winner since it's based off of the Hyper 212+. I'm still not 100% sure of the GeminII S524 due to its size, but it's got all of the required concepts and it should still contain the Cooler Master quality that I expect!

Closer Look:

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.

 

Specifications:

Hyper 612 PWM:

CPU Socket
Intel Socket:
LGA 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 775

AMD Socket:
FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
CPU Support
Intel:
Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / Celeron

AMD:
Phenom™ II X4 / Phenom™ II X3 / Phenom™ II X2 / Phenom™ X4 / Phenom™ X3 / Athlon™ II X4 / Athlon™ II X3 / Athlon™ II X2 / Athlon™ X2 / Athlon™ / Sempron™
Dimension
140 x 128 x 163 mm (5.5 x 5.5 x 6.4 inch)
Heat Sink Material
Copper Base / 6x6mm Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins
Heat Sink Weight
806g (1.78 lb)
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1 inch)
Fan Speed
600 - 2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
Fan Airflow
24.9 - 82.9 CFM ± 10%
Fan Air Pressure
0.3 - 2.7 mmH2O ± 10%
Bearing Type
Long Life Sleeve Bearing
Fan Life Expectancy
40,000 hours
Fan Noise Level
9 - 36 dBA
Connector
4-Pin

 

Features:

 

 

 

Specifications:

GeminII S524:

CPU Socket
Intel Socket:
LGA 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 775

AMD Socket:
FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
CPU Support
Intel:
Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / Celeron

AMD:
Phenom™ II X4 / Phenom™ II X3 / Phenom™ II X2 / Phenom™ X4 / Phenom™ X3 / Athlon™ II X4 / Athlon™ II X3 / Athlon™ II X2 / Athlon™ X2 / Athlon™ / Sempron™
Dimension
144 x 144 x 105 mm (5.7 x 5.7 x 4.1 inch)
Heat Sink Material
Copper Base / 5x6mm Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins
Heat Sink Weight
490g (1.08 lb)
Fan Dimension
120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1 inch)
Fan Speed
800 - 1800 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
Fan Airflow
34.2 - 77.7 CFM ± 10%
Fan Air Pressure
0.43 - 2.46 mmH2O ± 10%
Bearing Type
Long Life Sleeve Bearing
Fan Life Expectancy
40,000 hours
Fan Noise Level
15.1 - 31.6 dBA
Connector
4-Pin

 

Features:

 

Information provided courtesy of Cooler Master @ http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/

Testing and Setup:

Testing of these heatsinks will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios, where both idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage during a period of one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed in the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 23 °C throughout testing of the Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM, GeminII, as well as the comparison units. All the data shown in the graphs below is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Cooler Master will be used during testing and thermal pastes on other heatsinks from their respective manufacturers will be used. The fans on each cooler will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

Well, the large size of the Hyper 612 PWM certainly pays off, even using only one fan! I'm sure that adding an additional fan to the mix for a push-pull configuration could have lowered the temperatures even further. For the GeminII S524, the temperatures aren't incredibly outstanding but we see that for a low profile, high clearance cooler that generally low temperatures are achievable. The end-result of the overclocked load test wasn't something to greatly admire, but shows that this heatsink wouldn't be the best choice for someone who had the room for a large cooler and plans to overclock.

Conclusion:

Both Cooler Master heatsinks in this review perform two separate purposes to achieve the same task — to keep your processor cool. The Hyper 612 does so by sparing no extra space with its massive size and the GeminII S524 maintains clearance in mind as it will most likely be used in something like a SFF (small form factor) PC where space may be an issue. Of course, a cooler that aspires to be as small as possible in order to fit in low volume areas requiring less mass generally won't perform as well under high-heat loads. However, most likely where space is an issue, the generally unspoken but almost immediate result that you should expect is more concentrated heat and thus higher temperatures. Though the GeminII S524 isn't a hugely strong competitor in these tests, it is by far the smallest of the comparison models, and truthfully, it serves a different purpose. The Hyper 612 PWM is meant to be big, bulky, and a powerhouse performer for keeping your processor cool. On the other hand, there's no way that this monster would EVER fit into a mini ITX case. So, if it's not some large tower heatsink and still performs far better than the stock cooler, then something like the GeminII S524 would be a good choice.

I have always liked Cooler Master's products as they are well-constructed, thoughtfully designed, and generally good performers. I liked the Hyper 612 PWM's idea of using a less dense fin array, which allows for more airflow and offers a lower pressure drop through the cooler. Because of this, the Hyper 612 PWM, with only a single fan, is able to achieve what you'd expect from a cooler with two fans. I'm sure that adding an extra fan into a push-pull configuration would offer even better performance. On the other side, due to the Hyper 612 PWM's huge size, I came across two potential clearance issues. The top exhaust fan of the case used is only millimeters away, and the fan on the cooler is physically touching one of my RAM modules. It is indeed a trade-off, but I think that shaving off a few millimeters could have made it a little less obtrusive. The GeminII S524 accomplishes several different things. First, it's low profile so it can fit in small cases such as an HTPC or a general media PC. Next, it has great side-to-side clearance and a very small, immediate footprint. On top of all of that, it can be rotated into four (effectively 3) different positions allowing for the "overhang" of the cooler to provide airflow to other crucial components such as the northbridge, voltage regulators, and even RAM sticks. Having this one positioned over the passive northbridge heatsink on the test board, I noticed about a 5 °C drop in temperature. It's clear however that the GeminII S524 isn't made for gracious amounts of heat. It is small, and I can say with my experience tgat there is a direct correlation between size and performance!

To put everything together into my final words, I like both of these coolers and they do well at what they are supposed to — although they are in two far separate categories. We have the massive, heat gulping Hyper 612 PWM, and then we have the small, conservative, and thoughtful GeminII S524. Both are easy to install and offer great performance for each application. For the Hyper 612 PWM at a price of $49.99 it is definitely a great alternative to spending upwards of $80 and $90 on similarly performing coolers. The GeminII S524 price has not been listed yet, but at my estimated price of between $40 and $50 it is also a great choice for someone with a small, low-clearance case!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: