Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 & Pro 4 CPU Cooler Review

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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).

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:

MORE: Best CPU Cooling

MORE: How To Choose A CPU Cooler

MORE: All Cooling Content

MORE: In Pictures: 20 Clever Liquid-Cooled PC Setups

Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • 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:

    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
    18805794 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.