Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 & Pro 4 CPU Cooler Review

Cooler Master continues to cash in on the “Master” part of its name with its new MasterAir series of basic heatsink and fan CPU coolers, yet its mid-market pricing remains. The MasterAir Pro 4 is available for only $45, and the MasterAir Pro 3 for $40. Given the relatively large size difference and small price difference, people with the space for the Pro 4 will likely choose it.

A quick look shows a few other things that Cooler Master devotees will recognize, such as the direct contact heat pipe design. These are flattened on one side to provide optimal surface area, and sanded smooth. The process leaves shallow grooves between the pipes that should be manually filled with thermal compound prior to installation.

The MasterAir Pro 3 has three heat pipes, while the Pro 4 has four. Other differences include a heat sink designed to hold an included 92mm fan on the Pro 3, and a 120mm fan on the Pro 4. The Pro 3 heatsink is also offset half an inch from the fan, reducing fan overhang to ½” forward of center.

Both coolers come with an extra set of fan brackets to ease the addition of a fan on the opposite side of the heat sink, in a so-called (by enthusiasts) push-pull configuration. Both coolers also support the full range of Intel Square ILM mounting patterns (LGA 775 through 2011-v3), as well as the parts to replace the four-bolt cooler bracket of most enthusiast-grade AMD motherboards.

Pin-type mounting brackets are also included for motherboards that don’t support rear-mounted support plates, as I experienced in my June 2013 Compact Gaming PC Build. As a motherboard tester, I also like that they can be removed quickly.

MasterAir Pro coolers come with two different kinds of standoffs and nuts that match one of those sets. Most CPU sockets require placing the motherboard support plate behind the motherboard, and the taller standoffs have a flat side so that they won’t turn when mated to that support plate. Those builders will push the standoff through the motherboard’s CPU cooler mounting holes, into matching holes in the support plate, and attach the nuts behind that plate.

The shorter standoffs screw directly into the integrated support plate of LGA 2011 and 2011-v3 motherboards.

The MasterAir Pro 3 fits with its logo upside-down, and is likely intended to be installed “backwards” using the case’s exhaust fan as an intake. We’re not flipping all of our fans to accomplish that, though I was tempted to pop the cover off the cooler and flip it rightside-up.

The MasterAir Pro 4 fits with its logo rightside-up in our case, when following Cooler Master’s instructions regarding which way to orient the divots near the center of the heatsink’s fins. Being a larger cooler, it also fills up most of the space surrounding our CPU.

Specifications

Cooler Master gives buyers of the MasterAir Pro 4 and MasterAir Pro 3 an atypically-long 5-year warranty.

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