CoolerMaster Hyper 6 Heatsink for P4/K8

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Mounting the HS requires that you have access to both sides of the motherboard. This usually means the motherboard must be not installed in a case, although some hardcore enthusiasts have boasted of cutting a hole on the motheboard tray of the case to gain acess to the back side of the board without removing it.

For this review, an ASUStek P4P800 P4 board was left out of the case. The stock heatsink retention frame was carefully removed. The backplate was placed underneath the board and properly aligned to the four motherboard holes. Then the dedicated HS retention frame was fastened with four supplied screws with the mainboard sandwiched between retention frame and backplate. The photo below shows the dedicated HS retention frame and the CPU with Arctic Silver V thermal interface material (TIM) applied.

The dedicated retention frame, you will notice, has square holes in four corner posts that look very similar to the standard P4 frame. These corner posts are used whether the Hyper 6 is mounted on a P4 board or a K8 board. The clip is more fiddly to install than it appears. You do need two hands. Once on, it seems secure.

The photo below shows the Hyper 6 heatsink in place, with clips fastened on either side. The color has been bled articificially from the photo except around the clip so its details can be better seen.

While the retention frame appears to be stronger than the standard one on most P4 motherboards, the reliance on those plastic corner posts to support all that weight seems more about engineering convenience than optimal design. With a K8 board, only two bolts secure the retention frame to the motherboard, which is a bit less secure. Still, the clips and retention frame survived multiple installations and un-installations during testing.

Hyper 6 completely mounted and ready for testing.


1) The Test Platform

The test was conducted in an air-conditioned room. The test bed consists of components from my digital imaging / desktop layout workstation, Alpha Three:

  • ASUStek P4P800 P4 mainboard with stock passive northbridge cooler
  • Intel Pentium 4-2.6C at stock voltage and speed
  • 2x 512MB PNY Verto PC3500 DDR SDRAM
  • Matrox Millennium G550 passively cooled graphics adapter
  • 160GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 HDD attached to a Zalman ZM-2HC1 and placed on soft rubber isolation grommets
  • Seasonic Super Tornado 350 PSU

The mainboard was placed on top of an antistatic bag on a metal table, alongside the hard drive. The onboard LAN, USB and SATA controllers were also disabled during the test, and a barebones Windows XP build with most services disabled was installed on the drive in order to perform testing. The Antec Sonata case was flipped upside down and placed in front of the setup so that the power switch could still be utilized.

2) Instrumentation

  • An Extech 22-816 True RMS Multimeter & Temperature Probe was utilized during the test; the thermal probe was positioned about a foot to the side of the motherboard to monitor ambient temps.
  • Motherboard Monitor 5 (MBM5) was used to log temperatures during the test.
  • Zalman Fanmate1 fan controllers were used in conjunction with the Extech multimeter to set fan voltages.

3) Test Procedure

As established in previous SPCR heatsinks reviews and in SPCR's Unique Heatsink Testing Methodology article, a Panaflo FBA08A12L1A 80mm low speed fan was used. The basic method is to conduct all tests (whenever possible) with this quiet fan at 12V, 7V and 5V to eliminate performance differences due to higher or lower airflow fans. By eliminating the fan as a variable, we measure the cooling power of the heatsink itself, especially with quiet, low airflow.

One problem with using the reference Panaflo fan is those odd screws mentioned earlier. An alternative was to use some small plastic zap straps (plastic cable ties). Although it took quite a bit of pushing and pulling with needlenose pliers, I managed to get the Panaflo securely mounted for the test.

Given the ease of mounting two fans, the Hyper 6 was also tested with two Panaflo 80L fans, one blowing in on one side and the other blowing out on the other side. The pressure through the fins is increased, which increases effective airflow for better cooling. Few heatsinks make push-pull fans easy to implement, so we had to give this a try.

The Hyper 6 was also tested with the stock fan as a check of Cooler Master's claim of ultra silence. Checking with the multimeter, I found the stock Cooler Master fan speed controller provides a voltage range of just 12V~10V. No wonder the control hardly seemed to change fan speed or noise! I left the controller on High and used a 3-pin to Molex converter in conjunction with the Zalman FanMate1 to control the thing.

A Thermalright SP-94 copper heatsink, already tested in a previous review on a different test plaform, was tested as a reference to compare results, and as a check of the test platform.

3) Other Details

  • Ambient room temperature during testing was 24°C.
  • Motherboard temperature sensor error: The ASUStek P4P800 P4 board is known to underreport the CPU diode temperature by ~8°C. All the temperatures in the tables below are compensated by adding 8°C to the readings reported by MBM5.
  • Idle temperatures were recorded after 30 minutes of idling in Windows.
  • Load temperatures were recorded after stressing the CPU for 30 minute with CPUBurn.
  • Motherboard Monitor 5's log function was used to record temperatures..

4) Key Results

The most important results of any heatsink tesing are:

A) The temperature rise over ambient allows us to examine the raw temperature data from different tests with the same CPU. It is very difficult for the test environment temperature to be held constant at all times.

B) °C/W — °C rise over ambient per watt of CPU heat — is calculated by dividing the temperature rise over ambient by the heat (in watts) of the CPU. The lower this number, the greater the cooling power of the heatsink. It can be used to predict the maximum temperature with CPUs other than the one used to test the heatsink. It's also allows a fair comparison between heatsinks, regardless of ambient temperature or CPU, as long as the same fan/speed is used.

The number used for W, the power dissipated by the CPU, has a major effect on °C/W. For P4 heatsinks in SPCR reviews to date, we have used Intel's Thermal Design Power (TDP) specification. Questions about the P4's actual maximum power dissipation have been floating around ever since Intel first devised the TDP.

Processor Electrical Specifications, our favorite CPU power dissipation reference, quotes Intel on TDP as being the

"worst case power dissipated by the processor while executing publically available software under normal operating conditions at nominal voltages that meet the load line specifications... The Intel TDP specification is a recommanded design point and is not representative of the absolute maximum power the processor may dissipate under worst case conditions... Processor power dissipation simulations indicate a maximum application power in the range of 75% of the maximum power for a given frequency."

We recently found another website, CPUHeat & CPUMSR Projects, which has calculated the Maximum Power Dissipation of Intel processors:

"Intel hides real power consumption behind Thermal Design Power. TDP is a power consumption of a processor while executing normal software. That is not while executing a stress test software like BurnK7.

"While TDP may be a useful number for CPU cooler manufacturers, it's not useful for end-users. This is because in real world use, there can be application that forces Intel processor to drain more power than TDP."

They have compiled is a list of computed maximum thermal power of Intel processors based on TDP number.

We believe CPUHeat & CPUMSR Projects' Maximum Power dissipation (MP) is a more accurate estimation of P4 CPU power dissipated during SPCR heatsink testing. We will be transitioning to use MPD figures to calculate °C/W numbers for P4 heatsinks. To ensure the data from previous HS reviews can be compared to new ones, two sets of °C/W figures will be presented, one based on the TDP for the P4-2.6C (69W) and one on the more realistic MP (78W).

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