At first glance, our initial test of Cooler Master’s MasterAir G100M revealed a good-looking CPU cooler that just couldn’t take the heat. However, our readers quickly pointed out that while the G100M is rated at 130W, the CPU in our overclocked, full-size testing rig was rated at 140W at stock settings. With that in mind, we decided to retest the MasterAir G100M on our 84W-rated Mini-ITX testing rig to see if it could earn some redemption. Unfortunately, further testing only revealed more problems.
First, a quick recap. The Cooler Master MasterAir G100M is a compact, downdraft style CPU cooler whose form bears some resemblance to that of a classic flying saucer UFO. Its design features a solid copper base that conducts heat from the CPU up into a copper vapor chamber that in turn dumps heat into an array of fins surrounding the core. Then, the cooler’s 90mm fan removes the heat. Said fan features built-in RGB LED lighting that accepts control via both motherboard software and an included controller. The G100M has a thermal design limit of 130W and supports all major CPU sockets, including Intel 775, 115x, 1366 and 2011x as well as AMD FM1, FM2(+), AM2(+), AM3(+) and AM4.
To install the MasterAir G100M LGA 1150 you press a set of anchor nuts into the cooler’s backplate and then place the backplate behind the motherboard. Included standoffs, which also function as attachment points for the cooler, secure the backplate in place. Once the backplate is in position, you apply a thin layer of thermal paste to the CPU’s heat spreader. Secure the body of the cooler to the motherboard with the provided hardware. Finally, install the cooler and motherboard into the case, followed by the rest of the components – provided the cooler isn’t in the way.
In our original review we discovered that the G100M’s not-so-compact size caused it to encroach on the motherboard’s RAM slots, limiting users to the use of low profile memory. This is a common issue among CPU coolers, and while it can be a bit of an annoyance to builders, especially those who are building a PC for the first time, it’s rare that we find a cooler that completely blocks the installation of system components. However, that isn’t the case here as the G100M was large enough to completely block access to the PCIe slot on our testing motherboard.
It’s worth noting that the placement of the CPU socket (in relation to the PCIe slot) matters here and that other boards from other manufacturers may not have this issue. That said, since we don’t use the GPU in our CPU cooler tests and it doesn’t significantly contribute to the overall results, we’re going to press on