MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition by Cooler Master review — pretty TUF air cooler!
+ It looks really TUF!
+ Hardware-based temperature responsive lighting is amazing
+ Acceptable performance even when put to task cooling down 200W+
+ Respectable noise levels
- ARGB control is limited
- You are paying more for aesthetics than raw performance
While most people nowadays opt for AIO liquid coolers due to the sheer ease of installation and also the higher performance offered, air coolers have yet to lose their charm. Aside from the fans which might die after a few years, air coolers practically last forever. That’s in contrast to liquid coolers which will invariably lose the liquid running within them and begin to fail. Not to mention the entire cooler relies on a pump to work, and motors do fail over time. With that in mind, let’s check out the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition, which features TUF Gaming’s signature colors and camo pattern.
The packaging makes it clear that this is the TUF Gaming Edition. Cooler Master does sell the standard variant, which does not feature the TUF Gaming branding.
Here we find the highlighted features of this cooler. So this cooler uses Continuous Direct Contact (CDC) 2.0 Technology, which exposes the heatpipes to directly wick heat away from the CPU’s IHS.
Inside the rather compact packaging, there is actually a whole slew of accessories. It comes with a basic ARGB controller, mounting for all recent sockets and also a small tube of MasterGel Pro thermal paste.
The MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition is a pretty standard looking 120mm tower cooler. It features a shroud which improves the general aesthetics aside from directing airflow towards the rear fan. The fans here sport yellow vibration dampeners as well as the TUF Gaming Alliance logo on the fans.
Cooler Master slapped on a plastic shroud which also covers the top of the cooler to hide the naked tips of the heatpipes as well as to protect the top fin from grubby fingers which will invariably stain the aluminium if exposed. The plastic panel also serves as an embellishment for the hollow core of the heatsink which will allow the light to emanate from the center.
The sides are covered by the shroud to direct the airflow better to the rear fan. Here’s where the 28 addressable RGB LEDs in the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition are hidden. Light will leak out of the cutout in the shroud, along with some hot air.
Cooler Master soldered the heatpipes as close to each other as possible, to maximize the contact area as well as reducing the amount of thermal paste you need to apply. For those who love a mirror-like finish, you won’t get that with CDC 2.0 though.
One thing to note about this cooler is that Cooler Master used translucent fans which does not feature any lighting. What we are seeing here is the 28 LEDs shining through the fans, and thanks to the embedded thermal sensor, you get temperature-responsive lighting. You might not want to rely on this for thermal monitoring though, as it is actually quite delayed.
The holes in the center and around the heatpipes diffuse a little bit of light at the top, for a pretty cool effect. Depending on your settings, you can have quite the psychedelic light show at the top.
Being the nearest to the LEDs, the side vents feature the most vibrant lighting. It definitely doesn’t shine like the box art, but it does look pretty cool. This is probably a view few will get to enjoy though.
|CPU socket compatibility||Intel LGA 115X / LGA 1366 ~ LGA2066
AMD AM2 ~ AM4 / FM1 ~ FM2+
|Heatsink dimensions||165.1 x 130.9 x 111.8 mm|
|Fan(s)||Size||120 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Speed||600 ~ 1800 rpm|
|Airflow||53.38 CFM (max)|
|Air pressure||1.65 mmH2O (max)|
|MTTF||40 000 hours|
|Noise||31 dBA (max)|
|Included accessories||Lots of screws, lots of mounting mechanisms, MasterGel Pro thermal paste|
The fans are pretty unique, as both the fans have the hub on the inner side. It might make installation just slightly confusing, but once you recognize the orientation of the blades, you will find it very easy to install them. Other than that, the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition is a pretty standard air cooler with the TUF Gaming theme slapped onto it.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.125 GHz|
|GPU||ROG Strix Radeon RX 480 8GB GDDR5|
|Memory||4 x 4GB Kingston HyperX Predator 3000 MHz CL15|
|Storage||Kimtigo 120GB SSD|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V850|
Our Intel Core i7-5820K CPU will be clocked at 4.125 GHz, with a Vcore of 1.11V set in the BIOS. The thermal paste of choice will be the MasterGel Maker, sponsored by Cooler Master. To test the performance of CPU coolers, we run LinX 0.6.5 for 40 minutes, with a problem size of 23118. The fan(s) (and pump(s), if available) will run at maximum speed to gauge maximal performance. Ambient temperatures are fixed to 25°C, in an air-conditioned room. Noise levels are recorded approximately 50cm away from the bench rig.
While Cooler Master did try their best to minimize the space between the heatpipes, the base still has grooves between the heatpipes, you might want to apply some extra thermal paste to fill up the grooves. Now you see some nice holes here, which should be for the mounting mechanism, right? WRONG.
Cooler Master decided that this mounting mechanism is better. It’s probably up for debate, as this X-thingy works with all the supported sockets, while if Cooler Master used the mounting points on the cooler, they would need to provide two sets of mounting mechanisms. I honestly don’t see the problem in that though. So what you have to do is install the backplate if you aren’t using a high-end socket like we do, and then adjust the screws to their appropriate positions and screw them in. Pretty straight forward. You do however need to remove the fans to access the screws, so that’s a bummer.
Once installed, we found good clearance between the RAM slots and the fan. It shouldn’t run into any clearance issues on most builds. Just beware of that 165mm height. Quite a number of cases do not support such tall coolers, despite it being a pretty common height for a 120mm air cooler. With that out of the way, let’s get down to testing.
The MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition is the second smallest cooler we have tested in recent times, and the performance difference does show. Of course, we must remind everyone that we are testing it on an overclocked Intel Core i7 5820K. If you run a more mainstream Intel Core i5 or i7 you should be able to get away with some mild overclocking with the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition.
Noise levels are just a tad higher than the Noctua NH-D15, which is a pretty good showing from Cooler Master. It is a lot quieter than any of the liquid coolers we have tested too, so if you are into a quiet build, this might be one of the ways forward.
Cooler Master bundles the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition with a pretty basic ARGB controller. At the time of testing, the MasterPlus+ software has yet to be released. The software is supposed to allow you to control the lighting effects via software. As for now, you can allow it to color cycle, rainbow or just respond to temperatures, which is definitely our favorite effect of the few. So for now, the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition has cool lighting effects, but customizable, they aren’t.
For RM245, the MasterAir MA410M TUF Gaming Edition is a pretty good deal. You get a cooler that runs pretty quietly, nice lights and even a simple way to keep tabs on your CPU temperatures. The main selling point of this cooler is of course the TUF Gaming theme though. You could save a few ringgit by getting the standard MasterAir MA410M, which drops the TUF Gaming Alliance branding for standard black vibration dampeners and shroud, but where’s the fun in that? If you have a build based on an ASUS TUF Gaming motherboard, you might want to look into getting this cooler as well just to match the rest of the theme.