Today we have two Cooler Master coolers that cover both ends of the spectrum - high and low(er) performances with price points to match the relative performance. We aren't comparing them directly to each other, but to their closest rivals in either price bracket instead - so regardless if you're looking to spend a lot or a little, maybe Cooler Master has something for you.
Cooler Master Hyper TX2Manufacturer: Cooler Master
UK Price (as reviewed): £10.28 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed: $25.99 (ex. Tax)
CPU Socket Support:
AMD 940 / 939 / 754 / AM2, Intel LGA775
90mm (W) x 136.5mm (H) x 44mm (D)
Not everyone wants to spend a hideous amount of money on a CPU cooler - how about something that just works without breaking the bank? Can it also be quiet but cools well, too? The de-facto answer has been the Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro for some time now and even I use one in my home system, however Cooler Master now has its Hyper TX2
which is not only supposed to cool better than the Freezer 7 Pro, but is also cheaper too!
Is this too good to be true? Let's find out...
Everything you need is already on the heatsink, so there's no extra mounting kit provided meaning it doesn't need a huge box. Cooler Master has refined the design of the TX2 to make it more cost efficient over the original TX. It achieved this by first removing the need to choose between AMD and Intel models - the TX2 supports both as it comes with removable push-pins for LGA775 and an AMD hold down as well.
Secondly, the fan now has only a 3-pin header, rather than a 4-pin with PWM support. Having a motherboard which has specific support to reduce the voltage and quieten the fan is technically harder to achieve and requires more components, that's (partly) why PWM control was introduced. Better motherboards will offer both, but conversely, the cheapest ones will often be 3-pin only.
There are three copper heatpipes and aluminium fins underneath all that plastic, and the copper base comes pre-loaded with thermal paste as well. Unfortunately the base hasn't had any real attention as there is many obvious fabrication marks on it, fortunately though, it is very flat.
The fan simply screws into the plastic shroud which directs the airflow along the fins then the lower half down goes towards the northbridge or power regulation areas on the CPU socket, helping to cool the other motherboard components as well. This is important and something other similarly tall heatsinks don't do. It can leave motherboards that rely on airflow from the CPU fan, overheating.
The build quality is very good and the 90mm sleeve bearing cooling fan is rated at just 22dB. It's designed to draw air in from the sides as well as the front before forcing it inwards - as a result, Cooler Master claims that this gives the effective cooling of a 100mm fan instead. The plastic shroud holding the fan slides off in one lump pretty easily, just like with the Freezer 7 Pro, although the fan can be replaced if need be on the TX2 unlike the 7 Pro. Then again though, the Freezer 7 Pro's fan is mounted on grommets to help reduce vibrations; so it's swings and round abouts all round.
All in all, it's a nifty bit of kit that you shouldn't have to remove your motherboard to install. The push-pins also simply unscrew from the base, so you can use it with the AMD sockets as well, but you'll have to find a safe place to keep the extra bits as Cooler Master doesn't even give you a box to put them in. For the price though, it certainly seems like a solid product and you could easily do a lot worse for a tenner.