My Quest for a Quieter Cooler

By | February 3, 2016

212 evo

Whether you have an Intel or an AMD processor the fact remains that most stock coolers suck (not just air). They come with low quality pre-applied thermal paste, they’re noisy, and often times they just don’t dissipate heat well enough. For these reasons, I decided to upgrade my cooler. It’s not an expensive upgrade either, with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVOcosting $30 (occasionally $20 with a rebate on NewEgg) – a great budget and quality product. Other air coolers by Noctua, be quiet!, Zalman, Phanteks, and so on, are decent options as well, though they don’t perform much better for costing about twice as much (the performance gap may increase with more extreme overclocking and stress testing, though). There are also liquid coolers that can be had for around $80-$110, a favorite of enthusiasts. Liquid cooling systems offer more noticeable improvements, but the installation might take more time unless it is an “all-in-one” or AIO cooler, and there is always the chance that a leak could damage your components (though companies like Corsair will cover the damage).

212 evo kit

The 212 Evo
This has got to be one of the most popular components out there. At $30 dollars, it is well below the price point of the competition, without any corner cutting or sacrifices to quality. Enough of the praise, are there any cons to purchasing an Evo? I’d say yes, after just installing one myself. The part itself is very lean and well designed, but it is kind of goofy to mount and screw in. People who choose this part sometimes complain of how bulky the cooler is, or that the X shaped mounting bracket feels like it is putting a lot of pressure on their motherboard. If you don’t mind paying a little more to avoid a tricky installation, then Noctua is another good choice (large too, though). Without further delay, the installation:

Steps in words (step numbers here don’t correspond with the manual’s numbers):

  1. Remove your old cooler and clean off the thermal paste
  2. Mount the back plateĀ on the rear side of your motherboard with the risers and nuts. You may tighten it with the fastening tool provided.
  3. Apply a pea sized dot of thermal paste (I used Arctic Silver 5)to the center of your processor
  4. Make sure your X bracket has its screws in the correct position for your socket type (mine is 1150, so midway for me)
  5. Put the X bracket in between the brass contact and the heat sink parts of your cooler, then expand the X
  6. Lower the cooler onto your processor with the correct orientation, make sure the screws line up with the risers
  7. Screw each corner in a cross pattern as shown by the manual. Make sure the cooler is firmly pressed against the CPU and tighten the screws if necessary. Not too tight, though.

Illustrated Manual:

212 evo manual

Notes (highlighted parts in the manual):

  • The instruction manual shows a huge glob for step 3, don’t put this much.
  • Make sure you did step 4 correctly, I highlighted it because I found the picture in the manual with two arrows pointing in opposite directions from the screw to be confusing. You just push up from the bottom and slide the screw into the slot, like how I point out in the video.
  • Part letter “B” has a small notch for the pin to insert into, though you can’t see it on the manual well.
  • Make sure you tighten the screws in the correct cross pattern for your socket type. Intel 1150 is different from 2011, for example.
  • The steps in the manual proceed in a numbered order, yet the type of processor or socket type change occasionally. It’s not entirely intuitive, but it saves paper I guess.



The installation went smoothly – nothing came broke or was broken as a result of me installing it. I proceeded carefully with lowering it in and making sure the screws lined up, which was good because I forgot to adjust them to my socket type (1150). You can see me trying to line it up in the video, I point to the screws once I figured out what was wrong. I didn’t fully drop it in, which was good because that could have ruined the thermal paste application. Any small air pockets or inconsistencies in how the paste spreads can potentially cause an increase in temperatures. I ran some BOINC work units after the installation and before I put everything back away under my desk. After 30 or so minutes of being under load, the temps were normal and stable so I put it away and called it a day. It is noticeably quieter and my only regret is that I didn’t install one when I built the computer originally.
That about wraps things up. While I do enjoy doing things like this, it takes quite a bit more time to record it all, edit it, render and process it, upload it, and so on. All I ask is that if you enjoyed it, let me know by commenting, subscribing, sharing – whatever button or thing you prefer, it helps a lot! If you did not enjoy it, please write me several hate mails. Just kidding, but really, I’ll take any constructive criticism or factual corrections anyone has to offer. You should be able to find at least one way to contact me. Cheers!

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  1. Pingback: For those planning to install an aftermarket cooler – Internet and Tecnnology Answers for Geeks

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