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Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 – Test and Review

Cooler Master MasterAir Pro includes two brand new models, which are based on very well known and successful older Cooler Master coolers. The series includes special features and are designed to provide compact sized performance and good looks. I’ve received Cooler MasterAir Pro 3 for test and review. Please find both models are briefly described below with their main assets:

  • MasterAir Pro 3 with dimensions of 78 (L) x 117 (W) x 140 (H) mm and overall weight of 390 g featuring 3 copper heat pipes with Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 (CDC) and cooled by 92mm fan.
  • MasterAir Pro 4 with dimensions of 84 (L) x 129 (W) x 158.5 (H) mm and overall weight of 472 g featuring 4 copper heat pipes with Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 (CDC) and cooled by 120mm fan.

Previously, we did a test and review of the bigger brother -MasterAir Pro 4 and you can see it here – Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 4 -Test and Review.

I will take a look around the box, closely examine the cooler’s structure as well as the included accessories, then install it on my test rig and test it. Lastly I will write my conclusions based on the cooler’s performance.

MasterAir Pro 3 comes packed in a relatively small box where the main color used for its presentation is grey with white inscriptions. A photo of the cooler itself is nicely presented on the front of the box with the Cooler Master logo and respective name of the product inside. On the sides of the box you will find additional information regarding all included features and technologies used, supported sockets as well as technical details specific for the cooler.

After examining the box let’s go ahead and open it and check what is lying inside.

 First look inside of the box The cooler itself


After opening the box the first thing the user will see is a white carton box with Cooler Master logo that is covering everything underneath. It serves as a protection from any external damage and as a holder for all additional accessories included in this package.

Now that I’ve checked the external bits of the box, let’s take a closer look into that white box and the cooler itself.


Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

Plenty of accessories have been included in MasterAir Pro 3 package content. What’s worth mentioning here is the nice presentation – all of the accessories were kept in a nylon bag to ensure they arrive damage free and little to no confusion is left in the user upon unpacking. Very well indeed.

I took the time to extract the accessories out of their individual bags and arrange them for a photo. Take a look at it below:

The standard MasterAir Pro 3 additional accessories pack features:

  1. Universal X type bracket for mounting the cooler on Intel and AMD platforms
  2. A combined metal back plate for both Intel and AMD platforms
  3. A set of 4 additional push-pin brackets for Intel platforms, which should be fastened to the contact plate of the heat sink
  4. A set of 8 short bolts to fasten the push-pin brackets to the contact plate of the heat sink
  5. A set of 4 long thumbscrew standoffs for AMD and Intel systems
  6. A set of 4 short thumbscrew standoffs for Intel 2011 and 2011-V3 systems
  7. A set of 4 nuts to fasten the standoffs to the back plate through the motherboard
  8. A tool which should be attached to a screwdriver for fastening the nuts
  9. Two additional plastic brackets for a second fan in push-pull setup
  10. A set of 4 small screws to fasten second fan to the additional plastic brackets
  11. A set of 4 rubber dampers for killing any fan vibration
  12. A metal wrench for fastening the nuts
  13. A syringe of thermal compound
  14. An installation manual

After checking all of the accessories and included goodies with the MasterAir Pro 3 package, thumps up go for the guys at Cooler Master who have engineered the parts mostly out of metal, ensuring their compatibility and solid design and feel. MasterAir Pro 3 could also be equipped with a second fan to deliver better performance and it is always great to see that even small and affordable coolers can deliver great performance. Props to Cooler Master for going in this direction with MasterAir Pro series.

I had nice time checking the additional accessories and arranging them for you to see via the provided photo. Let’s move on now to the even better part of the article – heat sink review.


Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 HEAT SINK STRUCTURE

A good practice before speaking with details about any heat sink structure I always spend some time with it by closely examining its design and additional features (if any), check out build quality and looks. MasterAir Pro 3 features a single tower heat sink design as well as other interesting features, a single MasterFan Pro 92 Air Pressure cooling fan and a relatively versatile mounting system provided by the Cooler Master’s vast experience in that area.

The heat sink itself is with dimensions of  61.5 (L) x 108 (W) x 140 (H) mm without the fan and when the MasterFan Pro 92 Air Pressure fan is installed the overall dimensions of the cooler are 78 (L) x 117 (W) x 140 (H)mm and weight of 390 grams.

As always the first part to be examined is the contact plate, a vital component that is responsible for proper heat transfer.

 The CDC 2 contact plate  The pipes arrangement


Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 features 3 x Ø6mm copper heat pipes installed via CDC 2.0 (Continuous Direct Contact Technology) technology that allows all heat pipes to be compressed, thus generating abount 45% of more heat transfer surface area on the cooler base. CDC 2.0 is a better solution than CDC 1.0, providing better overall cooling performance. Heatpipes here do not feature additional coating or paint for aesthetics.

The contact plate itself features 8 holes, which could be used so the 4 push-pin brackets for Intel sockets can be attached to the heat sink. And since this product is part of the Cooler Master portfolio, the top part of the contact plate is actually made for holding the crossbar, which is needed so this cooler can be fastened to the mounting kit.

So let’s proceed the article with checking the aluminum fin stack, which has a lot to offer.

Side view  Front view


MasterAir Pro 3 is featuring an asymmetrical to the center of the cooler single tower heat sink with physical dimension of 61.5 (L) x 108 (W) x 140 (H) mm that consist of 41 individual aluminum fins with 0.40 mm of thickness and 1.6mm of gap between them. The 41st fin has both an aesthetic and performance role as it is painted in black as well as a stamp of the Cooler Master logo.
MasterAir Pro 3’s heat sink has been designed in accordance with patented X-vents and Air-Guide which guide aide in the hottest of spots, while maintaining low airflow resistance.

A thing worth mentioning here as well is the additional fan brackets, designed with quick release/install mechanism to allow upgrade of your cooling setup with MasterAir Pro 3 by Cooler Master.

And after mentioning the included fan and fan options let’s proceed with checking what’s in the package from the factory.

Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 is equipped with one MasterFan Pro 92 Air Pressure fan which is part of the MasterFan Pro 92 Pressure series with dimensions of 92 x 92 x 25 mm. The fan itself is designed with an entirely painted in black frame and propeller with 7 pretty narrow and at the same time very sharply angled blades working at two different operational modes:

  • S Mode (Silent)
  • Q Mode (Quiet)

Operating range of the fan is between 650 – 3,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%, generating 28 CFM of airflow at maximum revolutions. Since this is an Air Pressure fan it has quite a stable 2.5 mmH2O of air pressure measurement. Being a 92mm fan it has to work harder to achieve higher numbers, thus noise level sits between  6 ~ 30 dBA.

The connection between the propeller and the frame is done by а 4-pin PWM powered and regulated bearing made to provide quiet, stable and long life operation of up to 350 000 hours. Of course, to switch between the 3 different operational modes, there is a small switch on the back of the stater.

To perform its cooling duties the fan should be attached on the front of  the heat sink via the 2 plastic brackets entirely in black provided in the package. As a nice touch the two brackets have designated space in which 4 rubber dampers should be placed and stuck.

With the fully assembled cooler, let’s check the mounting kit and proceed with the tests.

According to the official technical details, MasterAir Pro 3 is compatible with:

  1. Intel sockets: Intel® LGA 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 / 1150 / 775 socket
  2. AMD sockets: AMD® AM4* / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1 socket

In addition, the guys from Cooler Master added additional information, located on the official web page regarding the completely new AM4 socket:

AMD AM4 upgrade kit needed, please visit: AMD AM4 Ryzen Compatibility

Of course, for doing the tests with my Intel rig, which is 1150 socket I will use the already provided in the package Intel brackets and these are the parts needed so the cooler can be installed on the motherboard.

And of course, before I proceeded with the actual cooler installation, I spent some time checking the Intel installation manual, reading the instructions carefully and preparing all of the mounting kit parts.

There are two different options of installing the MasterAir Pro 3 cooler on your motherboard – sturdier X-bracket or simply use your fingers to pin your cooler to the motherboard with the Cooler Master push-pin bracket. (almost as an Intel stock CPU cooler, quite user friendly and easy to install method)

I decided to take the sturdier approach of the X-bracket since my initial idea was to test the cooler in a very demanding environment (Prime95), so proper contact between the contact plate and CPU was of great importance.

Before moving onward with the testing I added thermal compound and took all the needed parts to install the X-bracket.

Installation requires to align X-bracket according to the socket holes (in this case Intel s.1150), then tighten it with the included nuts. Align the cooler on top of it and tighten it as well, but be careful not to over tighten the nuts.

And this is what the heat sink looks like installed on the motherboard:

 Heat sink seen from the front Heat sink seen from the side


As you can see from the pictures above, with the heat sink installed on the motherboard the cooler is blocking the first DRAM slot. If the system is equipped with RAM modules without or with short heat spreaders the fan could be lifted up a bit and it will work. If the RAM modules are with taller heat spreaders the cooler will definitely block the usage of the first slot.

And this is what the cooler looks like installed on the motherboard and inside the case ready for testing.

Since the CPU cooler is already installed on the motherboard and back inside the case and I believe I should proceed with testing its cooling capabilities.

But first, let’s check my testing rig and continue the article.


Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 TESTS

Intel Z97 Test system

  • CPU: Intel i5-4670K
  1. At standard frequency 3.400 MHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing)
  2. At low overclock frequency of 3.900 MHz  (at 1.205V)
  • Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII HERO Z97
  • Video card: MSI AMD R9 280X GAMING 3G
  • Memory: Kingston Hyper-X SAVAGE 8 GB, Dual channel, 1866 MHz
  • Solid State Drive: Intel 530 Series, 120 GB
  • Hard drive: Western Digital 1 TB RED NAS series
  • Case: Aerocool Aero 1000
  • Power supply:  Corsair RM750 W
  • Cooler: Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3
  • Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H1

For this test and review I am going to use the standard MasterFan Pro 92 Pressure series fan working at full speed of 3000 revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 28 CFM at noise level of 30 dB(A).

The tests were conducted in a closed system with:

  1. 2 x Silverstone 140mm case fans – mounted on the front panel and sucking fresh air in, spinning at about 1000 RPM
  2. 1 x Silverstone 140mm fan – rear mounted, serving as exhaust and spinning at about 1000 RPM
  3. Room temperature of about 28 degrees.

And here I want to describe my testing method.

I will install Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 and do stress tests using Prime95 AVX software with constant load on the AIO for 14:30 minutes with custom settings of minimum FFT size (in K of 128), max FFT size (in K of 128) and Run FFTs in place at standard frequency of 3.399 GHz (at Auto Voltage) and at low overclock frequency of 3.899 GHz (at 1.20V) using the fan provided with the cooler installed on the front of the radiator, rotating at maximum speed of 3000 revolutions per minute.

Now let’s check out the test results:

MasterAir Pro 3 @3.400 MHz 1.02V – Idle low fan speed MasterAir Pro 3 @3.400 MHz 1.02V – Idle maximum fan speed
MasterAir Pro 3 @3.400 MHz 1.09V – maximum fan speed MasterAir Pro 3 @3.900 MHz 1.20V – maximum fan speed 


All of the test results have been summed up in the following charts:

And the fan speed during the tests:

I believe the time to express my feelings and thoughts regarding the product has arrived.


Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 CONCLUSIONS

1. Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 performance:

A compact, yet capable and promising cooling solution from Cooler Master’s army of products. Several things are defining this MasterAir Pro 3 cooler – compatibility, noise level vs performance, technologies used and also the multiple mounting options.

Although it may not fair well with overclock (especially with a hot CPU as i5 4670K) it does shine in normal usage, where most users will be utilizing MasterAir Pro 3’s potential. It’s budget friendly and in most cases you will find it hard to get the same deal elsewhere. It does suffer from the same decease that most small coolers do – small heat dissipation area. It’s just not designed for highly demanding environment.

What is does come with as a positive is the high compatibility and no RAM clearance issues one may find nowadays. Solid performance at default clock with a 92mm fan that runs nearly silent is not a thing you find everyday. Bumping the speed up with increase noise, but again it’s to an acceptable level for certain amount of time. No one likes humming sounds coming from the PC if you’re watching a movie per say.

Mounting hardware was a great impression overall, especially the provided option (standard (Intel mounts) and the X-bracket), which in all honesty is a win. Should you switch coolers often and lend it to a friend or a sibling the push pins is a go to option for mounting. Should your testing and gaming environments come along, go with the more secure, better contact X-bracket option for maximum results.

2. Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 appearance:

Neat looking cooler with acceptable appearance despite the copper pipes, aluminum fins and black fan which make a total of three different colors. Good thing that the cooper pipes are not visible once the heat sink is installed. What’s left for the user to admire is the well done top black find with CM logo and the black fan attacking the heat sink with fresh cool air.

I believe that Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 deserves the following award:

Official price (MSRP) for Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 : $39.99

Official warranty: 60 months

Special thanks to Cooler Master for providing us with test samples.

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8.5 Total Score

Well built, highly compatible and good looking cooler on a budget. Excellent choice for starters and even some advanced gamers who value their CPU cooling!

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Nikola Milanov is reviewer and newsman at DVTests and has more than 6 years of experience in telecommunications. I'm really enthusiastic about the website and its development by sharing a user's point of view and experience with the products we test. We are honest and objective in all of the articles, the products get tested and reviewed thoroughly with no exception! Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section or use the emails in About us page!

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