CoolerMaster Hyper TX3 Review

ccokeman - 2009-08-12 22:42:24 in Cooling
Category: Cooling
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: September 24, 2009
Price: $20

Introduction:

The one thing you need if you plan on pushing the clock speeds on your processor is a replacement for that stock cooling solution. The stock solutions are good for what they originally designed for. To keep the processor alive and working within the thermal boundaries created when the die was designed. No surprise there as for the most part they work as intended but leave a lot to be desired when you actually pay attention to the temperatures. The comfort factor is not there at stock clock seeds much less at overclocked speeds. When you raise the voltage well the end result is a failure. At this point its time to look for a new cooling solution for your new processor to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling back. Intel just released its new Core i5 socket 1156 processors. With this release many of the old heatsinks just don't have the capability of being adapted or the manufacturers have not put together an adapter to make them work with the new socket. Why a new heatsink when I could use my old one? Well the mounting hole dimensions have changed as normally happens with a new socket. Socket 775 has a 75mm spacing while socket 1366 uses an 80mm spacing, so if you have not guessed socket 1156 falls right in between at 77mm. Enough of a distance change to make adapting anything but a bolt on sink a custom affair.

CoolerMaster had this difference in mind when they put together the Hyper TX3 heatsink. It features the ability to be used on multiple sockets including socket 775 and 1156 for Intel and socket AM2/AM3 for AMD. This heatsink features 3 heatpipes in a direct contact configuration that reach up to an aluminum fin array that houses a 92mm fan. Will its smallish size be hindrance to cooling performance or will it fit the bill and deliver better than stock performance at an affordable price? Both questions I intend to answer.

Closer Look:

The CoolerMaster Hyper TX3 is delivered in full retail regalia just as you would find it at at any computer hardware store. The Hyper TX3 is contained in a blister pack that shows off the front and rear facades of the cooler. The front also shows that this cooler is socket 1156 compatible along with the attributes on the left hand side. The rear side shows the compatible socket types while the bottom lists the features in lettering that my older eyes just can't read.

 

  

 

 

 

 

When you pull the contents out of the packaging you are left with the Hyper TX3, the 92mm fan and the box that contains the socket mounting hardware, the instructions, thermal paste along with the fan brackets. Simple, straight forward and functional!

 

 

Let's see what this little beauty has in store for us!

 

Closer Look:

The Hyper TX3 is put together using a composite design using aluminum and copper to get rid of the thermal load from the processor. The TX3 is the first cooler from CoolerMaster to offer full socket 1156 compatability as well as bringing back the "direct contact heatpipe" design. At 139mm tall it is not a behemoth and is meant for use as a mainstream replacement even with a load capacity of over 130 watts. As such it uses a PWM fan that runs from 800 to 2800 RPM for silence as well as cooling potential. The top fin of the TX3 features the CoolerMaster Logo with the 3 copper heat pipes coming out on either side of the logo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The base of the Hyper TX3 is comprised of both copper and aluminum. The copper heatpipes are encased within the block assembly that contains the mounting lugs for the push pin retention brackets. The surface of the TX3 looks like a mile of rutted roads in this view but it is mostly an optical illusion. The implementation of the heatpipe design looks like the pipes were pressed into a slot that was a tad deeper than needed but it still feel smooth when you run your finger over it. The screw holes in the bottom of the base are to mount the retention brackets used to hold the cooler onto the CPU and PCB. The two sets of holes are used to cover both Intel socket 775 and socket 1156 mounting.

 

 

Since the Hyper TX3 will be tested on Intels latest socket I will install the brackets in place to mount the cooler on this processor. The mounting brackets have 2 holes in each leg as well as the push pin locking mechanism. The holes correspond to the difference in the spacing of the mounting holes on the motherboard. The holes in the bracket are made so that the bracket cannot slide along the screw and change the mounting hole spacing. This could provide some serious headaches when the time came to install the TX3.

 

 

The PWM fan used by CoolerMaster is 92mm in diameter, uses a sleeve bearing and displaces anywhere from 16 to 55 C.F.M. depending on how fast the fan is spinning. The range is from 800 to 2800 RPM. To keep the fan from rattling on the TX3 CoolerMaster has installed rubber blocks on the contact points. Couple this with an 800RPM fan speed and you should not hear this heatsink in your chassis. The fan is held on with a pair of brackets much the same way the fan is held on Noctuas NH-U12P and the Thermalright MUX-120. CoolerMaster does supply a second set of brackets in case you want to move to a push/pull orientation with the addition of another fan.

 

 

 

Installing this heatsink should be no more troublesome than putting in the stock Intel heatsink. The push pin mounting mechanism works the same way. The TX 3 is small enough to make it good addition for a mid tower case. Even in my full tower Tagen Monolith I had more than enough room to get my meat-hooks around the heatsink and push the pins in, with the fan on!

 

When I pulled the TX 3 off of the board I was surprised to see that while the difference in the height of the copper heatpipes and aluminum base plate felt smooth to the touch, the optical illusion appeared to be the reality of the heatpipe/block relationship. When I install a heatsink I use not quite a pea sized amount of TIM. In every mount I usually have it running over the sides of the heatspreader on the processor. Not in this case as the TIM had to fill the gaps between the block and heatpipes before it spread any further. As you can see in the pictures a good percentage of the heatspreader is not covered in the thermal interface material. Lapping the contact surface could fix this with 30 minutes to an hour of work. But when you get down to it this is meant for the mainstream user and costs a miserly $20.

 

 

Let's see what kind of improvement over the Intel solution the TX 3 delivers!

 

Specifications:

Model
                RR-910-HTX3-GP
CPU Socket
Intel Socket LGA775/1156,
AMD Socket 754/939/940/AM2/AM3
Heat Sink Dimensions
90 x 51 x 139 mm
Heat Sink Material
Aluminum fin + 3 heatpipes
Heat Pipes
3 pcs
Fan Dimension
92 x 92 x 25 mm
Fan Speed
800 - 2800 R.P.M. (PWM)
Fan Airflow
15.7 - 54.8 CFM
Fan Air Pressure
0.35 - 4.27 mm H2O
Fan Life Expectancy
40,000 hours
Bearing Type
Long life sleeve bearing
Voltage Rating
12 V
Noise Level
17 - 35 dBA
Weight
1.04 lbs; 470g
Fan Air Pressure
0.35 - 4.27 mm H2O

 

Features:

User Friendly


Product Highlights

Compatability

 

 

 

All information courtesy of CoolerMaster @ http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id=1623&product_id=2922

Testing:

To put the Hyper TX 3 to the test I will be making a comparison of the temperatures at idle and under load, both while the CPU is at the stock voltages and clock speeds, as well as when the CPU is overclocked and over-volted to show what kind of performance that the CM Hyper TX 3 has to offer, when compared to other socket 1156 compatible heatsinks. These heatsinks will be tested head-to-head as they are delivered from the manufacturer. I could throw in a bunch of testing variables, but it is not what the products are capable of as delivered. To test the idle temperatures I will allow the computer to stay idle for 30 minutes and take the idle temperature at this point. For the load testing I will use Prime95 version 25.9 and choose the blend testing and allow the processor and memory controller to heat up to the maximum temperatures. The time frame is a four hour run to allow the temperature to peak usually in the 14K test. I will use Real temp 3.0 to take the high and low temperatures and average the temperatures generated over the 4 cores as my reported temperature.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Heat sinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CoolerMaster Hyper TX 3 delivers results that are much better than the stock cooling solution on all counts. The idle temperatures range from 10 degrees Celsius lower on the idle overclocked test to a massive 25 degree Celsius improvement while under load in the overclocked testing. That is a 30% improvement! At the stock clock speeds and voltage the Hyper TX 3 still delivers a 19 degree Celsius improvement over Intel's cooler. The Noctua and Thermalright Coolers are much more capable when the voltages start creeping up but then again the price is quite a bit higher for that cooling performance.

Conclusion:

I like the idea and implementation of direct contact heatpipe coolers because the idea just works. I have seen it and used it on plenty of Intel Core 2 systems and really was one of the few I was willing to pass on to a family member in need of a better cooler for an overclocked system. Would I do that with the Hyper TX 3? Sure I would, but I would make sure it was lapped for the best contact possible with the CPU because as delivered the chasms between the heatpipes and the block are deep enough to affect the application of the thermal interface material. More TIM than usually applied would help get more coverage on the processor. The thing is though, this cooler is not for the top end enthusiast but for the mainstream. The fact is that when I tested it with a small overclock the Hyper TX 3 dropped load temperatures by 25 degrees Celsius when compared to the stock Intel heatsink. For a 20 dollar heatsink that's a HUGE leap in performance. The Hyper TX 3 is rated to handle processors up to 130 watts TDP. With the Core i5 750 I tested the Hyper TX 3 on, it has a 95 watt TDP at stock speeds. The 92mm fan used on the Hyper TX 3 was as quiet a fan as I have heard. Much along the lines of the Noctua NF-P12 fans. CoolerMaster has included an additional set of fan brackets so you can pick up another fan and run them in a push/pull configuration to seek out even more cooling performance. While 58 degrees Celsius under load when overclocked is warmer than I like, it is still well within the thermal boundaries set by Intel and offers up a significant drop in temperatures for what amounts to a price that is quite appealing. It doesn't hang with the big boys, but that's not the pool it is swimming in either! Clean up the base and you have a quiet, inexpensive performer!

Pros:

Cons: