The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Well over a decade ago, we got our first look at the Hyper 212 in its original form, and there is no doubt that this cooler single-handedly took the market by storm. While left in its natural state of exposed aluminum and copper, which was all the rage back then, two things stood out. First, the cost of these cooler on release was ridiculously affordable, making them readily accessible to the masses. Second, and likely most importantly, it was able to take on the big dogs and walk proudly with its head held high since the thermal performance was terrific. Of course, there was a ton of noise associated with these coolers, but at that time, silence in operation was not a thing yet.
In the following years, we saw quite a few other coolers found in the Hyper lineup, but aside from the 212+, most were larger and even more capable designs. The reason for mentioning the 212+ by name is that the original Hyper 212 was built with a pair of towers with a gap between them, which were aligned side by side, not in the conventional manner we think of dual-tower designs today. The 212+ is more of the model from which our latest cooler stems, based on a single tower, without the gap in the middle. A few other things have evolved over the years as well, and likely the one that stands out most to us is the new mounting hardware, which does not come with a dozen screws, hard to use backplates, and no longer requires a socket to accompany the rest of the gear. We do hope that performance was not overlooked as well, but time will tell us that story.
Even though we have missed out on a few versions of the Hyper 212 over the years, we have high hopes that Cooler Master continues on its legacy and delivers the same sort of surprise again today. We have for you this time the Hyper 212 EVO V2, which keeps some of the history intact while also delivering things like an updated fan and an asymmetrical design to allow for RAM clearance. With that said, we feel it is time to jump right into things and see what Cooler Master has in store for us with the newest of the Hyper coolers, the Hyper 212 EVO V2.
Within the chart we borrowed from the Hyper 212 EVO V2 product page, we initially see the RR-2V2E-18PK-R1 model number, followed by the silver and black colors, which are essentially exposed aluminum, and a black fan on the front. Looking at the following line, we see that not only are LGA115X through LGA2066 covered for Intel users, but AMD users will also appreciate the support from AM2 onwards.
Further down the chart, we run into the 120mm width, its 80mm thickness, and its 155mm of height that the Hyper 212 EVO V2 requires. We are also told that there are four heat pipes, which are machined for a direct touch to the HIS, and even though we see that the fins are aluminum, they do not mention the count.
The rest of the chart deals with the SickleFlow fan that gets strapped to the front of the tower. In the one fan that ships with the cooler, we are told that the speed range is 600 to 1800 RPM, and it can deliver 62 CFM at maximum speed. The noise level range rests from 8 to 27 dB(A), and we see a pressure rating of 2.52 mmH2O. This fan is built to run for 160,000 hours, which is eighteen years plus if our match is correct. Power is delivered via a 4-pin PWM connection and is said to draw 0.15A.
The last four lines tell us that a two-year warranty backs the Hyper 212 EVO V2; it is an air cooler, it stems from the Hyper Series of coolers, and we are told once more that there are four heat pipes.
Checking back on older reviews, we saw that when the Hyper 212 and 212+ were released, Cooler Master stayed below that magic $50 price point and sold these coolers at just $40 upon release. Sticking with a similar trend, Cooler Master again breaks in below the $50 mark, if only just. Either way, when you search for the newest Hyper 212 EVO V2, you may be pleased to see that the price on Amazon is $44.99 right now. Even so, we do already have some affordable solutions to compare this Hyper cooler to, and we hope that we are as blown away now as we were when these coolers first hit the stage.
The front of the packaging shows us the Hyper 212 EVO V2, in its entirety, on top of a matte black backdrop. At the top, the white text pops, showing us the Cooler Master name, logo, and tagline, while at the bottom is the cooler's name along with a mention of the new hardware and SickleFlow fan.
On the right side of the box, we move into the usual purple color Cooler Master has used, for like ever. Below the white text at the top, we see an image of the fan, with mentions of improved airflow and pressure. Next is a picture of the tower, where they mention RAM clearance and its asymmetrical design. Lastly, there is an image of the mating surface, where we see four heat pipes and Direct Contact Technology at work.
The back of the box is similar to the front in its use of matte black, but this time we see a four-point list of features. These features explain DCT, discuss how the cooler is built for more performance, tell us the fan is quiet, and have invented Snap and Play, which is about the way the fan is connected. Seven other languages discuss these things to cover Cooler Masters markets, but at the bottom are three-dimensional renderings to ensure you know what you are getting before making the purchase.
The last of the panels is where Cooler Master decided to show the specifications chart, the only difference there being that there is now a mention of Safety Voltage for the fan at 0.37A of a draw on the 12V rail. In the pair of white boxes below, we get a mix of the part number connected to the serial number at the left, while at the right is the model, its UPC, and a mention that the 212 EVO V2 is made in China.
Rather than foam or cardboard to protect this tower, Cooler Master opted for a form-fitting plastic tray, which leaves just one side of the tower exposed to the outer packaging. The cooler comes with the fan already attached, while all of the hardware is contained in the white cardboard box that ships on top of the cooler when packaged.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO V2 CPU Cooler
Our view of the fin array is blocked by the new SickleFlow fan, with its black frame, rubber anti-vibration pads, the seven translucent blades supported with the holographic stickered hub. Below the fan, we can see that all of the heat pipes are not run in a straight row through the tower, and we also see the chunky base in the middle.
What we immediately notice is the robust fan clip, made of plastic, and is what Cooler Master calls Snap and Play, as they slip around the tower and lock into a groove. Beyond that, we also see a stack of fifty-seven aluminum fins, which have no supports to ensure fin spacing is maintained. Below the array, we can also see all four of the heat pipes and the angle they now take to move the tower away from the RAM slots.
Looking at the back of the tower, we laid it down to appreciate the shaping. The sides are the highest points, which is what the fan would rest against, and the center section is lowered to allow a fan to build pressure, along with a few small tabs to help disturb the airflow. If we were to remove the fan from the tower, this is identical to what would be seen on the front of the tower.
In the 212+ from many years ago, the sides were rounded from front to back, and what we see here is similar yet different. Cooler Master has kept the rounded edges but has now contained them to the middle, between the thicker sections, which adds surface area and is where the fan or fans would attach to the cooler.
Cooler Master has opted for a one-piece hunk of aluminum for the base of this air cooler and is designed to be a pre-cooler as well. A wing protrudes on either side of the pre-cooler, which has a hole drilled through it to support the captured, spring-loaded mounting screw.
A view from below the tower shows us that the heat pipes run into the tower in two rows, and the finds are press-fit to the pipes. We also see four notches cut from the fins around each pipe, which looks cool and adds more disturbance to the airflow for more efficiency.
The pipes are fitted into the aluminum base in assembly, and to deliver the DCT aspect of the feature set, both the copper and aluminum are machined in one go. We love the lack of gaps in the base between the metals, and we also appreciate the finer marks left from machining this slightly convex surface.
Taking the Hyper 212 EVO V2 and flipping it end for end, we get a great view of the top of the tower. We can better appreciate e the shape from this view, and while we see the notches cut at the top, we also see the embossed Cooler master logo between the copper pipe tips.
Accessories and Documentation
Opting for a universal backplate this time around, Cooler Master has simplified what we saw with the original designs. Both AMD and Intel mainstream users will use the black plastic backplate, and the plate is marked AMD on one side and Intel on the other to make it easier to figure out the instructions later. On the left are the set of Intel top brackets, where the right pair is used with AMD systems.
We also found a set of four rubber pads for those wanting a second fan, along with the universal standoffs and knurled nuts for securing the top brackets. The bottom row offers a set of fan screws for the second fan, a group of studs to use with the backplate, and many studs for LGA 2011/2066 users.
There is a tiny tube of Mastergel Pro included in the box, with more than one application's worth of paste inside. We then see a set of four clips that are taller and skinny, which are used with the backplate for Intel systems, while the broader and shorter set is used exclusively for AMD setups.
Along with the rest of the gear, we also found an extra set of Snap and Play brackets should you buy a second fan. For those adding a second fan, Cooler Master has you covered with a Y-splitter cable, allowing two fans to be powered from a single fan header.
The fan shipped with our Hyper 2121 EVO V2 is the DF1202512RFMN and shows the same speed and power draw as we already saw. It is shipped with the brackets already attached to the fan and uses standard fan screws to secure them, covered with rubber pads. Not only is this fan powered with a 4-pin PWM connection, both the lead here, as well as the Y-splitter, are sleeved to help keep your build looking clean and tidy.
The manual for this cooler starts with a parts list and then drops into compatibility before showing us what bits need to be used when it comes to installations. The information for installation methods is delivered with mainly renderings, and the only text is applied to point out which hole in the brackets is to be used, but is done well enough to leave all questions answered. The warranty insert offers up the standard terms in twenty-three languages and provides contact information, should you need to make a claim.
Installation and Finished Product
Following the manual, the first thing to do is to set up the backplate. Working from the side that says AMD, we inserted the studs and locked them into the grooves, similar to what we see in the Intel legs. Once the studs are in properly, we could then slip the clips over them, locking the studs into the backplate. Also, note that there are two holes in the clips; the outer ones are for AM4, while the inner options are for all other supported AMD sockets.
The next step is to place the assembled backplate in through the back of the motherboard, aligning the studs and setting it into its final resting position. With one hand on the motherboard and the other on the backplate, we flipped it over to continue with the process.
Grabbing the set of four universal standoffs, we screwed them into the studs of the backplate, and when secured, the standoffs and backplate are still movable. Even when we locked the top brackets to the hardware with the knurled nuts, this is still not a solidly mounted setup.
After applying thermal paste and screwing the mounting screws until we ran out of threads, we could take a step back and look around. Due to the mounting hardware, the SickleFlow fan can only be installed so far down the tower, but it does ride lower than the exposed pipe tips at the top. Even so, it is in full view over our RAM, which means the tower can make the most of the airflow being provided to cool it without any form of impedance.
The fan lead is pressing the closest stick away from the fan, but even so, we still see quite a bit of daylight between the two. While this does mean that any height RAM kit will fit in front of the Hyper 2121 EVO V2, keep in mind that you will start to block a portion of the fan with anything taller than these.
As we step back from the motherboard, the tower stands perpendicular to the motherboard as it should, and as shipped, is way away from blocking access to the 8-pin connection. Adding a second fan could cause issues for quad-channel setups, and while it blocks some access to the 8-pin connector, it would still be possible to be connected, even with the motherboard and cooler installed into a chassis before doing so,
When we initially installed the Hyper212 EVO V2 to the motherboard and then the motherboard onto the test bench, they were both horizontal at that time. As we need to stand up the bench to get this image, we took a break for a few moments as we caught up with social media. When we returned, we noticed that the cooler had twisted under its own weight, and due to the lack of secure mounting initially, this is what can happen.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
We never expected a $45 cooler to take top honors, but we are impressed with the company the Hyper 212 EVO V2 keeps. At 60.7-degrees, it bests the NH-U12A and Mugen 5 while slotting in just behind some of the costly options under our stock-loaded testing.
Overclocking our CPU changes the story, but only slightly. It took two fans for the Mugen 5 to surpass it; it still beats the NH-U12A and has again delighted us with the 68-degree result. Less than a degree from the NH-D14, which is enormous and can still compete with the RYOU at this level of load.
In this chart, we see how well the PWM profile is on any cooler. In the case of the Hyper 212 EVO V2, we are pleased to see only 2.5-degrees of separation, meaning the PWM curve is optimized well and allows nearly all of its performance to be had right at the point the fan becomes too loud to want to deal with it.
Noise Level Results
Even though our sound pressure chart placement seems bleak, you have to look at the numbers. Anything over 30 DB is in the "typical" audible range for most users when the cooler is inside of a chassis. Considering that the SickleFlow fan topped out at 1248 RPM during this test and delivered just 33 dB is a fair result.
With PWM still in control of the fan, and now with the overclock applied, the fan reached 1569 RPM under stress testing. At that speed, the Hyper 212 EVO V2 delivered 41 dB of noise, which is right up there with the D-14, which the masses love. We have no complaints, although there are many quieter solutions, but you will have to dig a bit deeper in the pocket to get those.
Those of you pondering if you can run the fan at full speed to gain those extra couple of degrees, sure you can. The SickleFlow fan went just beyond the rated number at 1856 RPM, and while we prefer more silence from our systems, if you have a headset on for gaming under load, that 48 dB result is not that big of a deal. Even for those using this as a daily driver, you could do much worse, looking at our chart.
Even though it has been so long since we last saw any Hyper 212 cooler, Cooler Master has impressed us with many aspects of this newer version. Starting from the bottom up, we loved the simplicity of the hardware, as it is indeed much easier to use and install than with the early hardware. Even though affordable, the tower is built well, the base is machined well, and our tower was square and showed no signs of oddities in manufacturing. While we prefer silence, we are not upset with the sound levels or the performance that Cooler Master obtains with fifty-seven fins and 62 CFM.
When it all comes down to brass tacks, keeping up with Noctua anything, is a feather in the cap of that manufacturer in air coolers, and Cooler Master can do that without trying hard. We also like the fan's look with the angled sections of the frame, which match the new Snap and Play fan mounting system, and the holographic sticker on the fan hub is also a nice touch. On the face of it all, there is little to complain about.
While there is little to complain about, it is a significant thing to discuss. Even with the new hardware, and there is enough socket pressure, or thermal results would have been much worse, so what gives? We have often run across mounting hardware that is not fully locked into place until you mount the cooler, but here, it is something to do with the size of the studs not being the same as the motherboard socket holes. Under its own weight, our cooler twisted to rest in the lowest point under where the bulk of the weight is.
For those using the cooler as we did, this can be a big issue. However, if mounted with the motherboard laid horizontally, you would likely never have noticed this. It may be a one-off issue with our motherboard, but we honestly believe that we would have never seen this happen with larger diameter studs.
Even with the one oddity being something that many will see and walk straight away from, we cannot knock Cooler Master when it counts. Of course, nobody wants a visual oddity, as we saw. Still, with this level of performance for so little invested, we feel many will look past this and either use the cooler in an HTPC or SFF system, if height allows, and will still reap the benefits of what the Hyper 212 EVO V2 is capable of. If you are not so much OPCD, and this cooler is inside of a solid-sided chassis, one would likely never know it had moved and again gets to enjoy the performance all the same.
While we do implore that Cooler Master looks into this and possibly makes a V3, at just $44.99, we can set our differences aside. While not perfect enough for an Editor's Choice Award, we still feel good enough recommending it with an apteryx style explanation attached.
Even with the issue we ran into, there is no doubt that Cooler Master makes a terrific performing cooler that will not make your ears bleed while doing so. It is a bit plain looking by today's standards, but, at the same time, is almost too affordable to pass up.
What's in Chad's PC?
- CPU: Intel Core i7 13700K
- MOTHERBOARD: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Eva
- RAM: TEAM DDR5-7200 32GB
- GPU: ASUS GeForce RTX 3090 Eva
- SSD: addlink m.2 2TB
- OS: Windows 11 Pro
- COOLER: Fractal Lumen S36
- PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 1500W
- KEYBOARD: ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Electro Punk
- MOUSE: ASUS ROG Strix Impact Electro Punk
- MONITOR: ASUS ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ