It certainly has been a while since we took a long hard look at any air based CPU cooling solution. The reason for this is simple: air based CPU cooling solutions are mature tech. With mature technology improvements are just going to be few and far between. Mix in the fact that the uber-high-end air coolers can cost as much as a decent “240” AIO and many believe that air is for high specific use cases. That to us is missing the forest for the trees. Yes, improvements are going to be glacial slow… but that is because the industry has already worked out all the kinks to optimize performance. So if it is an inexpensive ‘budget’ build, specific CPU cooling (e.g. massive ThreadRipper CPUs), or aesthetics, air options are not only numerous but are still an excellent choice. An option that really is not getting enough love these days. With that in mind we reached out to Cooler Master and obtained a MasterAir MA624 Stealth to see what their latest and greatest can do.
On first blush Cooler Master may seem like an unusual choice. After all, most builder’s experiences with Cooler Master consist mainly of their excellent, albeit value orientated, ‘Hyper 212’ series. This is a beloved series of coolers that offer excellent cooling to performance ratios and have done so for many years now. Make no mistake. The MA624 Stealth is no Hyper 212. It shares nothing in common except the manufactures name.
To be a bit more precise, where the various CM 212+ options use a Heat-pipe Direct Touch base, the MA624 Stealth is a solid based design. Where the 212’s makes use of one thin cooling array, the MA624 Stealth uses two moderately thick fin arrays. Where the various 212’s come with either one or two fans… the MA624 Stealth comes with three high performance ‘SickleFlow’ fans (dual 1400RPM 140mm + 1 1800rpm 120mm). Where the 212 are all about ease of use, the MA624 Stealth tips the scales at over 1.3KG without fans and has a footprint bigger than some PC cases. Where the 212 series is typically used in solid sided PC cases, the MA624 Stealth is meant to be shown off and be a showcase build enhancer. Lastly… with a typical online price of a cool 100USD the MA624 Stealth also costs about 2.5 times what the 212’s go for these days.
Put bluntly, the MA624 Stealth is meant to compete against the Scythe Ninja’s or Noctua D1x’s of the marketplace. With numerous excellent air coolers on one side and excellent (and only moderately more expensive) AIOs on the other that is a tough spot to focus in on these days. Cooler Master is well aware of all these facts and hopes to woo buyers back from the wet-side and the air competition via drop dead looks, good acoustics, and good cooling performance. That certainly sounds like a solid game plan on doing precisely what Cooler Master wants to accomplish with their MasterAir series, but theory and reality sometime radically diverge from one another. So without further ado, let’s see what makes this cooler tick and then give our recommendations on who should be interested in them.