An important consideration for the majority of the parts in my gaming rig, I wanted the option of overclocking my processor, as applicable, while ensuring adequate cooling to prevent any unnecessary damage to both the processor, motherboard, or other surrounding parts (if not the whole darn set-up). As such, though many reviews noted that the stock Intel designed thermal solution, inclusive of the fan, heat sink, and clip assembly, was adequate up to the point of turbo boosting, I decided that I wanted a higher level of cooling, for purposes of running the processor at base speeds, turbo boosting, and overclocking, which would better ensure a long lifespan for my component parts. Therefore, with numerous positive reviews and a fast growing reputation for quality, as also indicated by websites such as www.amazon.com and www.newegg.com selling out of the product, I went to my local (relatively local) Microcenter (www.microcenter.com) to pick up a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Universal Cooler.
Since there are some base similarities between the stock (read: standard) heat sink, which came with the i7-3770k, and the Hyper 212 EVO, I’ll focus on the main improvements the latter brings to your gaming rig. First, this cooler has 4x direct contact copper heat pipes, using the often touted Cooler Master Continuous Direct Contact (CDC) technology, which rather effectively and efficiently dissipate heat (i.e. draw heat away from the CPU) in conjunction with the specially designed aluminum fins. Next, unlike the fan that comes with the stock HSF for the processor, the Hyper 212 EVO brings along a 120 mm fan, with room for a second cooling fan of equal size, for improved internal cooling. A pulse width modulation (PWM) fan, this fan adjusts its speed, and therefore both cooling ability and fan noise, based on the CPU temperature. Concerning fan noise, I’ve been very pleased with the relatively silent operation of the fan at a noise level of roughly 13 dBA. In my experience, even when I’m sitting in my room with no other sound(s), I can barely hear the fan at its max speed. Further, these functions, such as changing the preferred CPU temperature or fan speed, can be manipulated through adjusting the appropriate settings in/on your motherboard utility. Finally, the Hyper 212 EVO, as compared to more basic HSF models, boasted both universal socket compatibility and a universal mounting solution. I personally can confirm the compatibility with both my processor and motherboard with an additional note about my strong comfort level with the mounting solution after installation of the product (Heavy HSF, Strong/Secure Mounting).
Since it also concerns the installation of this product, instead of using the provided Cooler Master thermal paste, such as Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste, we recommend Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound. Per our analysis, this compound, noted 99.9% pure micronized silver and non-electrically conductive, did not separate, run, or bleed, was quite easy to apply, and served to drop the CPU temperature on its own by a few degrees Celsius. For those interested in the purpose of the thermal compound, it is used to fill the gap between the base of the heat sink and the processor so that the heat is efficiently transferred to the heat sink. Specifically, you want a thin skim of thermal compound between the heat sink and the CPU, no more than necessary, so that the heat sink contacts the top of the CPU as much as possible. As to the application of the compound, we find that those fake junk mail credit cards serve very well as a flat surface to spread the compound out over the surface of the processor. Clean hands, clean clothes, and a free, disposable applicator!
As a final point on the matter of cooling your processor using the Hyper 212 EVO, there has been a continuing debate over the effectiveness of using the Hyper 212 EVO Universal Cooler versus the Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler. Foremost among the benefits of the Hyper 212 EVO is that the base, as compared to the Hyper 212 Plus, has a fully copper contact surface. This continuous direct contact (CDC) technology allows gapless side-by-side placement of the copper heat pipes which promotes more even heat distribution and therefore improved IHS and CPU cooling. According to product reviews, this will result in an average CPU temperature that is one to three degrees (Celsius) cooler than the average CPU temperature realized with a Hyper 212 Plus. Additionally, the fan on the Hyper 212 EVO boasts improved airflow and air pressure while the unit as a whole weights less than the Hyper 212 Plus.