Mention Cooler Master and you're more likely to get nods rather than blank stares. After all, the company is one of the more familiar names in the industry, given their long history in providing thermal solutions for processors and graphics, along with a comprehensive range of power supplies and casings. Hence it's always worth taking a look at Cooler Master's products, particularly when it has a new CPU cooler, like the Cooler Master Eclipse.
Despite the emphasis on thermal efficiency from both AMD and Intel, which should mean less power consumed and less heat generated from the processors, CPU coolers have been paradoxically getting larger with each new design. We have previously seen a tall tower in the form of the ASUS Silent Square and the Cooler Master Eclipse is, while slightly shorter, not that far off, measuring around 13cm from the base to its maximum height when mounted.
The sheer amount of volume taken up by these coolers is mostly occupied by its aluminum fins. The general idea is that a larger array of fins will lead to better heat dissipation and reduce the need for a more powerful fan. Obviously this will then lead to lower noise output. The Eclipse is rated with a minimum noise level of 17dBA and an average of 24dBA, which is better or on par with the competition. Also, you can expect the standard 4-pin fan connector with pulse width modulation (PWM), meaning that it's a so-called 'smart fan', which can vary its speed according to the temperature of the processor. Eschewing thermal detection, you can also set the fan modes manually through a simple jumper based switch and there is a choice of a quieter Silent mode and a louder Performance mode.
Like many other coolers nowadays, the Eclipse is an aluminum/copper hybrid, with a copper base and copper heat pipes, transporting heat to aluminum fins. The four copper heat pipes spread out so as to distribute the heat equally throughout its aluminum fins.
The copper base however, seems a bit too unpolished for our liking and while it's adequate for most users, the fussy ones may want to polish it to a shine. There is also the technical aspect to it that may impede cooling performance because of a blemished surface.
Gone are the days when the job of a CPU cooler starts and ends with the processor. Now, CPU coolers are expected to help out when it comes to keeping cool the various components of a motherboard. This has been the trend for quite a few recent CPU coolers including Cooler Master's previous attempts like the Hyper TX. The same idea is used in the Eclipse as it has an adjustable plastic shroud over the aluminum fins. This is actually a fan duct that helps to channel airflow to the surrounding regions around the processor.
With a more universally designed cooler, air can be regulated outward in all directions, but the Eclipse was designed to direct air at more important components, which happens to be the motherboard MOSFETs, capacitors and RAM slots. Since most of the motherboard components are passively cooled, you can see how just by improving the ambient airflow, the Eclipse will already have contributed positively to the overall heat situation in your casing.
The Cooler Master Eclipse supports quite a variety of processors and sockets from both AMD and Intel. The whole list of compatible processors can be found on its website, but if you have bought your CPU within the past two years, you should have no problems with the Eclipse. Installation is straightforward, though the manual could have been better put together for the layman. Overall, the Eclipse looks like a very capable CPU cooler suitable for the modern processor and motherboard. Available locally at S$99 (US$64), it is not exactly priced for the average consumer but enthusiasts may appreciate the cooling 'side-effects' from the fan duct.