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Installation
The MasterAir Maker 8 goes on a lot like Cooler Master's own Hyper D92, and that's a good thing.

For Intel sockets, the foundation of the cooler is a black plastic x-brace with captive screws that slip through the motherboard's mounting holes. A quartet of nuts with threaded ends then goes on top of these screws. With that first set of nuts in place, a pair of crossbars goes on top of the threaded ends, followed by another quartet of nuts. Excuse me while I go get some almonds.

The tower's base has built-in brackets that fit over a pair of captive bolts on the crossbars. Once the tower is seated atop the CPU and crossbars, one only has to tighten the appropriate pair of nuts over these bolts, and the Maker 8 is locked down. Compared to the more elaborate mounting systems of many of its competitors, Cooler Master's solution looks a lot simpler to use, and it doesn't require any tools to install. Kudos.

On my Intel LGA 1151 board, the tight CPU socket area means that the MasterAir's intake fan runs into the tall heatsinks on the G.Skill Trident Z DIMMs I'm borrowing from our recent Breadbox build. I thought I was in for an annoying round of parts-swapping or fan-swapping after this discovery, but it turns out Cooler Master had a clever trick  up its sleeve when it designed the slide-in fan mounts. Each of the 140-mm fans can click into two positions: a fully lowered position at the bottom of the bracket, or a raised position that provides about half an inch more clearance for taller DIMMS.

Strangely, Cooler Master doesn't include any mention of this feature in its manual, but it solved my problem nonetheless. Even with that extra clearance, the Maker 8's intake fan just barely contacts the heatsinks on my RAM. Those who want to use especially tall DIMMS with this cooler should take care when picking parts.

Because of the Maker 8's size, there's also a chance it might cause clearance issues with graphics cards in the first PCIe x16 slot on some motherboards, like the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1. The tower just barely avoids intruding on the airspace of the ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ board I used in this review.

After I connected its included fan splitter, the MasterAir Maker 8 was ready to go. Let's see how it performs.

Our testing methods
Here's the full configuration of our test system:

Processor Intel Core i5-6600K
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+
Memory 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Trident Z DDR4-3000
Graphics card None
Storage Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD
Power supply Cooler Master V550
OS Windows 10 Pro

Our CPU cooler testing regimen is as follows:

  • 10 minutes idling at the Windows 8.1 desktop
  • 20 minutes of the Prime95 Small FFTs CPU torture test
  • 10 minutes idling at the Windows 8.1 desktop

Our test data is logged using AIDA64 Engineer. To rule out a given case's cooling performance as a factor, we ran our tests on an open bench. The ambient temperature in our testing environment was about 70 degrees F. Noise measurements were performed 6" directly above each cooler using an iPhone 6S Plus running the Faber Acoustical SoundMeter application. The CPU cooler and power supply fan were the only noise sources present in the testing environment.

I tested the MasterAir Maker 8 against Cooler Master's Nepton 240M all-in-one liquid cooler. Each cooler's fans were connected to the motherboard's CPU fan header using a PWM fan splitter. Using ASRock's Windows utility, I set a custom fan speed curve for both coolers that used minimum fan speeds for CPU temperatures up to 30° C, followed by a gradual ramp up to 100% fan speeds past 80° C. I used Cooler Master's included thermal paste for both coolers in this test.

The tests and methods we employ are publicly available and reproducible. If you have any questions about our methods, join us in our forums to discuss them, or post a comment on this article.