CoolerMaster Hyper 6 Heatsink for P4/K8

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Cooler Master has achieved a new level of performance for an air-cooled heatsink. On the test bench, the Hyper 6's margin of superiority over the excellent Thermalright SP94 is nothing short of amazing, especially with lower, quieter airflow, which is of greatest interest to SPCR readers.

Victory in the real world, however, is not so concrete. Let's look at the Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly about Hyper 6.

The Good: Hyper 6 is a capable cooler, no doubt about that, particularly when things really heat up. In the end, a heatsink's job is to take heat away, and Hyper 6 definitely serves its purpose well!

The Bad:

1. The stock fan is a joke, it is far too loud. Surely, Cooler Master must reconsider their choice and include a quiet rifle bearing fan instead.

2. It is a bad idea to restrict users to the stock fan. Why not provide some extra hardware to make using other fans (including a second fan) easier?

3. The fixed "directionality" of the fan will be a problem with many motherboards. On the ASUS P4P800 mainboard, for example, the fan ends up blowing hot air towards the power supply regardless of whether it is installed in a desktop or tower ATX case. This means the hot air off the CPU/heatsink will envelope the power supply, cause the PSU to heat up, and probably ramp up the PSU fan. A typical exhaust fan on the back panel will have to work hard (probably at higher speed) to catch any of that heat and blow it out the back.

It is only if the HS retention bracket is rotated 90° (from the configuiration on the ASUS P4P800) that the direction of the fan airflow makes sense. A back panel exhaust fan can then easily capture the heated air and blow it out of the case, resulting in that effective push-pull dual-fan cooling configuration for the heatsink. [Editor's Note: It's hard to say how many P4 boards have the preferred HS retention bracket configuration for the Hyper 6. The four P4 boards in my lab all have the wrong configuration, like Ed's Asus P4P800.]

Most Athlon 64 boards do seem to have the HS retention bracket oriented in the right way (for the Hyper 6). The location of the CPU nearer the middle in most A64 boards also makes mounting two fans on the Hyper 6 or running an exhaust duct to the back more feasible.

A simple fix is to allow the user the option to reinstall the aluminum shroud turned 90° so that the fan can blow towards the back panel regardless of retention bracket alignment. It would require square fins; they may not be square now.

The Ugly:

A whole kilogram?!? Does anyone even want to imagine what could happen if this thing broke loose? It would almost certainly take out that shpankity $500 Radeon X800 XT PE you just installed to go along with your new bad boy overclocked P4!

As if the weight isn't bad enough, the tall height of the heatsink acts as a cantilever to apply even greater torque to a vertically mounted mainboard. Tower cases are still favored by the power user market this heatsink addresses. Can you trust the HS mounting system over the long term? Can long-term stress on the motherboard cause a microscopic break in the mutili-layer PCB? Will the mounting points between the motherboard and case hold? These questions cannot be answered easily.

One thing is for sure: Remove the Hyper 6 before transporting the system to prevent damage to the mainboard and other components.

Cooler Master should consider a lighter version with thin high grade aluminum fins. It would probably provide 98-99% of the cooling power but drop the weight by at least 40%.

The Hyper 6 is an outstandingly powerful P4 and K8 cooler that relies on state of the art design and brute size. With a suggested retail price of US$55, this heatsink is actually quite a good value for those with a super hot processor and a motherboard with the right retention bracket alignment. Because of its weight, however, it is best used in a desktop form factor system, and we suggest you heed seriously the cautions in this review.

Many thanks to Cooler Master for providing this Hyper 6 review sample!

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Discuss this review in the SPCR Forum.

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