Final Score: 84 out 100
A cynical and jaded person would say that the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Halo Black is proof positive that stiff competition is great for consumers. Over the past decade it has been a constant cadence of ‘send in the clones’. Many of which did indeed offer better overall value than the originators of the Hyper 212 design. While all that is certainly true, we think a more accurate summary is that Cooler Master takes pride in the legacy the Hyper 212 series they created. They have seen other companies out and out copy their 212 series and then offer it for less than what Cooler Master can sell it for. While we are sure that such blatant cloning is a great compliment to Cooler Master’s design… it had to sting a little. So much so they have (finally) released a model that is an excellent answer to the Chinese clones.
Unlike the vast, vast majority (and their numbers are legion) of the clones the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Halo Black does what they cannot do – offer the best of both worlds. On the ease of use side of the equation the new generation of mounting hardware is some of the easiest hardware we have seen a ‘value’ cooler come with. Bluntly stated, it is robust; it is intuitive; it is relatively easy to use. All while not noticeably impacting compatibility with motherboards or RAM. To us, this feature alone makes the few extra dollars the ‘212 Halo Black demands money well spent.
On the aesthetics side, Cooler Master has finally made a ‘212 that looks like a premium cooler. One that will work in darn near any custom system build (and those it does not… the Halo White will). One that not only will work ‘good enough’ in a custom built but one that will enhance the overall aesthetics of a build. All the while not costing all that much more than the typical ‘value’ cooling solution.
Lastly, on the performance side of the equation it is indeed true that the likes of Noctua and their ‘D1x’ models have nothing to fear it is also true that Cooler Masters new 212 has nothing to fear from the clones. Simply put, the new MF120 Halo2 fan not only does what few RGB fans can do (improve the overall aesthetics while not looking like it came from Trump International Hotel in Vegas) it moves a veritable ton of air at (relatively) near whisper quiet noise levels. That too is something that the clones cannot offer.
In the end the Hyper 212 Halo Black may not be the least expensive cooling solution Cooler Master has ever released. It is not even the least expensive variant of the 212 design going. What it however is an excellent value. One that blends aesthetics, ease of use and even performance in such a unique way that system builders who have been mainly migrating over to the clones… should come back and give this model a chance. It is just that good at so many things that not giving it a long hard look would mean overlooking one heck of a cooling solution. Slightly higher asking price or not.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Halo Black
The Hyper 212 Halo Black is an excellent value. One that blends aesthetics, ease of use and even performance in such a unique way that system builders who have been mainly migrating over to the clones should come back and give this model a chance. It is just that good at so many things that not giving it a long hard look would mean overlooking one heck of a cooling solution. Slightly higher asking price or not.
Ease of Use
Build Quality & Warranty