Performance: 34 out of 40
In many ways the Hyper 212 Halo Black is the best “slim” style 120mm tower cooling solution Cooler Master has ever released. So much so that it is without a shadow of a doubt the best “212 style” cooling solution available today. Unfortunately, by pushing the MSRP up into the $50 marketplace it is up against 140mm “slim” style options. Options which are by shear brute-force going to outperform 120mm models. As such the performance is good bordering on great but certainly not best in class… for its new class.
Ease of Use: 19 out of 20
Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 series made its bones on uber-compatibility. Basically as long as your case had the height to accept it one need not worry about RAM height, motherboard VRM height, or basically anything else. It just worked. Of course… going hand in hand with that sterling reputation was an installation process that has always been considered mediocre. At best. Typically phrases such as ‘easy to use’ and ‘Hyper 212’ were never uttered in the same sentence… unless one was being ironic. The new Hyper 212 Halo Black changes all that. While keeping the compatibility of its predecessors the new mounting hardware makes it an actually easy-to-use cooling solution. Even for its price class the new hardware will cement the Hyper 212 series as an easy-to-use cooling solution for years to come.
Build Quality & Warranty: 16 out 20
Much like in the ease-of-use department, the Hyper 212 Halo Black improves upon the already good reputation the Hyper 212 series had for being solidly built kit. So much so that one can easily “memory hole” the RGB Black Edition and its horrible fan bracket idea. Unfortunately, going hand in hand with this excellent, even for its new price class, build quality is a lackluster warranty. Cooler Master really need to step up their game and offer a three-year warranty instead of just two if they want to the 212 series to be taken seriously in the $50 and up corner of the CPU cooling marketplace.
Value: 15 out 20
Much like with most things in life, value will be in the eye of the beholder. On the one hand the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Halo Black does what none of its predecessors could do: make the clones look like poor options. So yes, when viewed against what this 212 was meant to do… it easily justifies its asking price. On the other hand when Noctua is a cheaper option whelp that is one hard row to hoe. Cooler Master really… really need to think long and hard about what they want the Hyper 212 series to be. Either it is a great value option, or it can be priced at fifty dollars. If the former, they need to cut a good 5-10 USD off the asking price. If the latter, they need to retool and add in 2 more heatpipes and make it a 140mm tower cooling solution.
Final Score: 84 out 100
With its combination of drop-dead gorgeous looks, actually good (and intelligent) RGB lighting, good (for its size) cooling, and actually good installation process the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Halo Black is not only the best Hyper 212 offering to ever be unleashed on the market it is a good cooling solution in its own right. The only fly in the ointment is that going hand in hand with these marked improvements is a price increase. One that takes the Hyper 212 series out of the budget/value end of the marketplace and puts it up against the likes of Noctua, Be Quiet!, Artic, Scythe… and a whole host of other similarly priced options.