Cooler Master N520 review

Posted: June 30, 2011 in PC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gotta admit… I got this CPU cooler 2 months ago and I totally forgot to finish my blog post about it. Yeah, I tend to forget some stuff.

Since I’m still buying what’s left of my new PC (and if my parents give me green light on the budget, I’ll be able to build a 2nd PC, so I can upgrade this one), I decided to get a custom CPU cooler rather than relying on Intel’s stock cooler, and believe me. I saw tons of different ones, from 3rd party (aka “Who on earth are those guys…”) to Noctua. In the end, I decided to get the Cooler Master Hyper N520. 

The Hyper N520 is a dual fan “mid tower” CPU heatspreader released around ’09, and still kicking some heat away from your cores.

It has an innovative dual fan system, since the fan position is not one on top of the other, but offset a few centimeters up (or down, depends on which side you look at it) from the other one.

It has five 6mm diameter copper heatpipes and a nice amount of aluminum fins for heat dispersion.

It may look “old”, since it was released during the X58 early days, it may be small. Yeah, but not all chassis (including mine) supports tall heatspreaders (120mm+ fan size). And why do I say “old”? Because this cooler has been upgraded from LGA 775/1366 to LGA 775/1155/1156/1366/2011. Three holes to rule ’em all!

Okay, let’s go to business.

The box itself looks plain and simple, which resembles their classic line of products (certain CPU coolers, chassis and PSU have diffferent boxarts), similar to the Centurion 590 box.

Kinda plain box, similar to the 590 box

On the side of the box you can find a detailed information table. Funny that the total CFM value for both fans together is 43.8, and now I’m planning to get 2 92mm fans to replace those and check performance results.

Detailed specs

On the back, some pics, a CAD reference with measures, and a “how does it look when installed” on a CM 690 case.

The first thing inside is a nice clamshell plastic package that will protect that cooler on its way home.

On the base of the clamshell opening is the quick instalation guide for both Intel and AMD, and the warranty information.

Below the paper info, you’ll find all the required accesores: screws, washers, rubber washers, Intel and AMD backplates, and a little tube with thermal paste.

AMD backplate at the top, Intel backplate and front plates on the bottom. Some screws, washers and thermal paste

Inside the shell, we have the CPU cooler block in all of its glory.

As you can see, one of the fans is offset ~3cm compared to the other one. Also, the farthest copper heatpipes on both sides are L-shaped, instead of U-shaped, which creates more space on the cooling block. In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons that CM decided to offset the fans on the grill. Also, both fans are connected to a “Y” split 3-pin PWM connector, so you just need to plug it right on the CPU-FAN header and done. 2 fans, one connector.

The cooler block has a direct contact copper base, connected to the heatpipes. There are some mixed comments about this or using the “Direct Contact” option that the 212+ has. The finishing is good, though it’s not mirror-perfect, but it can be achieved with some extra handwork. Always remember to take out the plastic cover on the base before installing it on your system!

I do owe you a “How to install” part, because I forgot to take pics while I installed this on my old PC (since it supports LGA775, I said “Heck, let’s do it”). Though, I can give you some results:

I used both HWMonitor and RealTemp on their latest versions, including Prime95 for calibration/heat test with both sensor programs. Results are AWESOME. Even for a non-OC CPU, max temps were still far, far away from the critical numbers.

Delta 5 on both programs. Still acceptable

As a conclusion, we can say that the Cooler Master Hyper N520 is somewhat, the CPU cooling alternative for those with no space for a Hyper 212PLUS or a Noctua DH14 (not all mid tower chassis out there have enough room for tall CPU cooling towers).

Why? Taking away the height factor, it has a nice fin arrangement, 5 copper heatpipes and a (not “OMG SO REFLECTIVE”) nice copper base. Also, if we go back to the size factor, some side panels have the option for multiple case fans, and good for me, because the Centurion 590 has two of them: one for the CPU (either push or pull) and one for your GPU (most of times on pull to take out the GPU hot air from the lower part of the case. Perfect if you’re running SLI/CFX).

Most of the case fans out there are measured for 80/120/140mm for both length and height, and 25mm depth. There are some exceptions, since you can find 15mm or even 10mm depth fans, yet they sacrifice some CFM.

If you install the N520 on a centurion, you’ll have enough space for a standard 120/140mm fan pushing cool air to the top of the cooler, making the heat disipation work a little bit better. You can check the results up there, they speak for themselves.

In case you have a HUGE case, like the HAF series, the Antec Twelve-Hundred, or probably the Corsair Obsidian, you’d prefer the 212+, or in case you’re going to mod your side panel (like I’m going to do soon), think about the top fan.


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