Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 & Pro 4 CPU Cooler Review

Test Results And Final Analysis

We retain the hardware configuration from previous big cooler reviews to maintain result consistency. It includes a Core i7-5930K at a very small overclock using a very moderate voltage level inside a very well-ventilated Corsair 760T case. The motherboard is set to a 115°C throttle point, and temperatures in the chart are above ambient (the thermal reading, minus the room temperature).

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Cooler Master’s MasterAir Pro 4 performed wonderfully, even undercutting the top-award-winning Gammaxx  400. Its fans also kept the CPU’s PWM-based voltage regulator in check, and even performed well with the fan’s duty cycle set to 50%.

Within seconds of applying load while using the MasterAir Pro 3, the CPU overheated. I lowered the room temperature to its lower limit and tried again. When that didn’t work, I moved the entire machine into my walk-in refrigerator at 5°C, and tried again. Unable to find a cool enough ambient temperature to get an accurate reading, I gauged the time it took to reach its 115°C limit at various ambient temperatures and estimated 119° over-ambient. Then, I pulled the cooler to look for problems.

The MasterAir Pro 3’s fan was spinning at full speed, its sink was barely warm, its protective sticker had been properly disposed of, and the only visible problem was that it was more convex compared to the MasterAir Pro 4. I remounted the Pro 3 and, after finding the results consistent, decided to focus all of my attention on the wonderfully-performing Pro 4. Perhaps the Pro 3 should have been tested on a quad-core CPU?

While the MasterAir Pro 3 used a fairly extreme rotational speed to maintain high airflow in spite of its small size, the MasterAir Pro 4’s RPM was far closer to its competitors.

The MasterAir Pro 4 was nearly as quiet as the Gammaxx 400, which is great to know after seeing it beat that competitor’s cooling performance. The MasterAir Pro 3 doesn’t look much noiser, but the quality of the noise was terrible since the pitch of a 3000 RPM fan is much more annoying.

Cooler Master’s MasterAir Pro 4 beats the DeepCool Gammaxx 400 in cooling-to-noise ratio. The Shadow Rock Slim beats both of those coolers, but does so at noticeably higher CPU temperatures.

The reason DeepCool’s Gammaxx 400 gets such a great value recommendation is that it’s really, really cheap. Meanwhile, the MasterAir Pro 4 is mid-priced, and the Shadow Rock Slim is expensive by single-tower cooler norms.

The ultra-low Gammaxx 400 price could potentially make our “Best of Tom’s Hardware” article fairly boring, were we to focus on price-to-performance alone. Conversely, while the MasterAir Pro 4 does cost more, it’s still not expensive. And while it outperforms the cheaper part, it does so only by a trivial amount. Cooler Master also provides a 5-year warranty, which is significantly longer than DeepCool’s, and that warranty is likely an indicator of how much longer Cooler Master thinks its fan will last.

In light of its slightly better performance and vastly longer warranty, I’d love to give the MasterAir Pro 4 a broad recommendation for anyone who’s cheap enough to use air cooling in a big case. Yet the word “cheap” plays into that, and DeepCool’s unit is only 2/3 the price of Cooler Master’s. After careful consideration, I’ve chosen Editor Approved for the MasterAir Pro 4.

Given the testing failure of the MasterAir Pro 3, I’ll move directly to the Pro 4 for my final considerations:

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32 comments
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  • ajpaolello
    Geez I hope you figure out what went wrong with the MasterPro 3
  • DynamoNED
    That's unfortunate about the MasterAir Pro 3. I'm still using a Cooler Master Hyper N520 92mm cooler in one of my older Linux machines, and I was hoping the Pro 3 would prove a worthy successor. I also hope you determine what the issue was with the Pro 3. Also, comparison data from a Hyper 212 EVO or 212 X would be helpful, but I understand you don't have time to bench everything. Thanks for the review.
  • chassmith
    "a spectacular deal for buyers who value longevity more than frugality."


    it is double the cost of the deep cool and dose a worse job, tom call a spade a spade and recommend the deepcool
  • logainofhades
    At that price, I would still recommend a cryorig H5, or h7.
  • chassmith
    just looked up the cryorig H5, DANG is that a pritty cooler \(^_^)

    odd that it was not inc in the test and or no Noctua?
    the price for the BE quite is close to a Noctua.

    I kinda feel like this articular is trying to make this cooler seem ....cooler ;) then it is
  • buzznut
    "So called push/pull"

    I've never heard it called anything else....
  • anghellic
    noctua still seems like the best in line for cpu air coolers
  • 10tacle
    Tweaktown's results with their CM PRO 3: http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/7920/cooler-master-masterair-pro-3-cpu-review/index6.html

    This is not a $40 cooler. More like a $25 dollar one. CM is way off on their pricing even if it's geared towards those with limited room and want a more quiet cooler. The low-to-mid range air cooler market segment is getting very busy with competition these days. While the PRO 4 seems like a competitive entry, the PRO 3 falls flat just on pricing alone.
  • logainofhades
    Especially with the Cryorig M9i/M9a, and the Raijintek Aidos usually being so inexpensive, with performance similar to a 212 evo.
  • Crashman
    1320022 said:
    "a spectacular deal for buyers who value longevity more than frugality." it is double the cost of the deep cool and dose a worse job, tom call a spade a spade and recommend the deepcool
    It actually cools 1° better and costs 50% more. And the DeepCool already got our recommendations. Furthermore, I wouldn't have even thought to call you that.
  • chassmith
    8708 said:
    1320022 said:
    "a spectacular deal for buyers who value longevity more than frugality." it is double the cost of the deep cool and dose a worse job, tom call a spade a spade and recommend the deepcool
    It actually cools 1° better and costs 50% more. And the DeepCool already got our recommendations. Furthermore, I wouldn't have even thought to call you that.


    -_- well played sir. however 1 degree and 50% more dose not = a spectacular deal
  • Crashman
    1320022 said:
    8708 said:
    1320022 said:
    "a spectacular deal for buyers who value longevity more than frugality." it is double the cost of the deep cool and dose a worse job, tom call a spade a spade and recommend the deepcool
    It actually cools 1° better and costs 50% more. And the DeepCool already got our recommendations. Furthermore, I wouldn't have even thought to call you that.
    -_- well played sir. however 1 degree and 50% more dose not = a spectacular deal
    I just checked, it didn't get the spectacular deal award, it got the Approved award. The Gammaxx 400 got the Choice award, which is two levels higher, in spite of its short warranty and rumors from a few buyers that the short warranty is necessary.
  • chassmith
    me to thx
  • DotNetMaster777
    Excellent cooler !!!
  • Calculatron
    Could there, perchance, be something wrong with the MasterAir Pro 3's heatpipes? Did one of them suffer damage, or something?

    It doesn't seem like it should be performing that "poorly".
  • Crashman
    1294514 said:
    Could there, perchance, be something wrong with the MasterAir Pro 3's heatpipes? Did one of them suffer damage, or something? It doesn't seem like it should be performing that "poorly".

    No visible damage, perhaps a manufacturing defect?
  • synphul
    It's odd that the gammaxx 400 became the choice of 'go to' for the comparison, I would have thought the list would have at least included the 212 evo. Coolermaster's own previous cooler to see if these were any update. By frostytech's measurements (which don't always seem to align to other test results) the 212 evo still outperforms the gammaxx 400 (of which there aren't many reviews). Suggesting it would also tie or outperform these new coolers at just over half the cost these are asking.

    For that matter depending on how much room someone has they could go with a reeven justice or thermalright true spirit 140 power and get nh-d14 performance for $42-50 respectively. These appear lackluster and over priced.

    The 212 evo is the same height as the masterair pro 4 and comparative results suggest they perform the same. So what else is cooler master bringing to the table exactly besides a fatter price tag? I can't tell from the pics, did they manage to correct the ram conflict with the masterair pro 4 that existed with the 212 evo? That's one of the improvements cryorig made with their h7 and h5 universal, alleviating the ram interference (at least on intel boards). The h7 costs less and likely cools the same or better than the pro 4 while being more the size of the pro 3.

    Part of the pro3's issue with rough temps aside from the convex base may be due to the fact it only has 3 heat pipes. It's essentially a modern tx3 which didn't fair so well under heavier loads and higher temps either. Most lower/mid range budget coolers are using 4 heat pipes, not 3. Mid to upper range coolers are using 6, 7, 8 heat pipes. Most likely because 3 just won't cut it.
  • vaughn2k
    I am still using a Gammaxx 400.. no reason to buy this.. ;)
  • Crashman
    470171 said:
    It's odd that the gammaxx 400 became the choice of 'go to' for the comparison
    Not so odd when you consider it's the Editor's Choice CPU cooler. Our Hyper 212 EVO hasn't been around for years...but I did consider the three-heat-pipe issue when I decided not to just pitch the Pro 3 from the comparison. I also thought of the direction of the core vs the direction of curvature of the Pro 3's base.
  • synphul
    8708 said:
    Not so odd when you consider it's the Editor's Choice CPU cooler. Our Hyper 212 EVO hasn't been around for years...but I did consider the three-heat-pipe issue when I decided not to just pitch the Pro 3 from the comparison. I also thought of the direction of the core vs the direction of curvature of the Pro 3's base.


    Right I knew where you were coming from with the gammaxx 400 since it was an award winner. I just figured with the popularity of the 212 evo and the fact it was cooler master's previous flagship budget cooler it would have been included to show what gains if any cooler master has made in 5 years. The masterair pro 3 and 4 look like modern updates to the tx3 and 212 +/evo.

    I couldn't tell if anything had actually been updated on these like ram clearance compatibility or anything since the 212 and tx3 or if they're more or less a more expensive direct replacement model. It's still pretty early with comparisons of these new coolers but other reviews don't seem to pit them against the 212 evo either.

    It does look like the pro 3 offset the heat pipes a bit for better ram clearance but the pro 4 didn't. They updated the fans, that may be a plus. The downside is that so many places already have the 212 evo and if it performs the same as the pro 4 there's little justification in the price. The 212 evo has been steadily selling for $25-30 usd, $45 is a hard sell. If the evo's were priced at $45 they'd likely be collecting dust on a shelf, outshone by less expensive and equally as capable coolers. $45 is within striking distance of their own hyper 612 v2, raijintek ereboss, a couple decent reeven coolers or the dark rock 3.

    They do have a nice appeal with the black cover facing out vs the bare aluminum fins of the older models but at this point it seems like they're competing with their own products from 5yrs ago and the old products are beating the new models on price/performance. I was hoping they would have made significant improvements for a 50%+ cost increase. The name may be more in line with their 'master' series but they could have just as easily named the pro 4 the 212 evo v2 or 212 ++. Even if they stop production of the 212 evo and let current stock dry up the competition's already undercutting them.
  • Crashman
    470171 said:
    8708 said:
    Not so odd when you consider it's the Editor's Choice CPU cooler. Our Hyper 212 EVO hasn't been around for years...but I did consider the three-heat-pipe issue when I decided not to just pitch the Pro 3 from the comparison. I also thought of the direction of the core vs the direction of curvature of the Pro 3's base.
    Right I knew where you were coming from with the gammaxx 400 since it was an award winner. I just figured with the popularity of the 212 evo and the fact it was cooler master's previous flagship budget cooler it would have been included to show what gains if any cooler master has made in 5 years. The masterair pro 3 and 4 look like modern updates to the tx3 and 212 +/evo. I couldn't tell if anything had actually been updated on these like ram clearance compatibility or anything since the 212 and tx3 or if they're more or less a more expensive direct replacement model. It's still pretty early with comparisons of these new coolers but other reviews don't seem to pit them against the 212 evo either. It does look like the pro 3 offset the heat pipes a bit for better ram clearance but the pro 4 didn't. They updated the fans, that may be a plus. The downside is that so many places already have the 212 evo and if it performs the same as the pro 4 there's little justification in the price. The 212 evo has been steadily selling for $25-30 usd, $45 is a hard sell. If the evo's were priced at $45 they'd likely be collecting dust on a shelf, outshone by less expensive and equally as capable coolers. $45 is within striking distance of their own hyper 612 v2, raijintek ereboss, a couple decent reeven coolers or the dark rock 3. They do have a nice appeal with the black cover facing out vs the bare aluminum fins of the older models but at this point it seems like they're competing with their own products from 5yrs ago and the old products are beating the new models on price/performance. I was hoping they would have made significant improvements for a 50%+ cost increase. The name may be more in line with their 'master' series but they could have just as easily named the pro 4 the 212 evo v2 or 212 ++. Even if they stop production of the 212 evo and let current stock dry up the competition's already undercutting them.
    Well now, if you read the article you'd find that the Pro 3 has 1/2" of offset, that the Pro 4 does not, and that the Pro 4 has 1.4" of component clearance. Beyond that, the images show that the fan can be moved up and down on the fins. As for technological advancements, let's think about what's happened in air cooling since the heat pipe...hmm, I can't come up with anything.
  • synphul
    I did read the article. I've read plenty of others on these as well. Not a whole lot has been improved but then if there's no improvement why hike the price 50% plus just to give everyone what already existed. I can't come up with a good reason for that. At least when cryorig released their h7, a similar design to the standard 4 pipe heatsinks they thought ahead enough to offset the cooler to avoid any ram clearance issues, no having to raise the fan up and create additional cooler height where it's not needed, they managed to shrink the height of the cooler compared to say the 212 evo and still provide better cooling and noise. So there are innovations that can be made, cm just chose not to.

    I'm not saying the h7 is the only cooler out there but since talking about what changes can be made. There's no reason for a 4 pipe single tower to have ram conflict aside from poor design. Once you get into larger dual tower coolers, sure there's going to be some overhang and potential ram interference.

    All I mentioned was that for what they are, even competing against their own 5yr old products, the msrp is a bit over zealous. Aside from the black face plate and maybe the mounting arms attaching slightly different, they spit out another 212 evo and jacked the price up. On the pro 4 at least, same ram issues, same direct touch heat pipes, same 4 heat pipes, same mounts, no innovation anywhere. As for the clearance of 1.4", that works out to 35.56mm. The 212 evo had 37mm of clearance so it actually got worse. That's why I think it would have been interesting to have compared this one to it's predecessor.

    Maybe final prices will reflect a bit more reality but it's not generally good news when you're trying to sell a brand new widget for 3x the cost of a 4-5yr old competitor like the gammaxx 400 that performs equally as well. It's looking as though cm couldn't come up with anything either except the price tag. Generally people want something for additional cost and it's not a matter of a dollar or two. It's significant.
  • MasterMace
    Seems like the only explanation is that the contact isn't solid, but I really don't care why, as the 3k fan makes that a nogo. Hoping for a review of the Cryorigs
  • elbert
    Will the pro3 and pro4 be AM4 compatible? I'm surprised its not already stamped on the side. Good to see you in the thread crashman.