Cooler Master Mars

Dec 7th, 2006 | By

Print this article


Cooler Master Mars


Date
: 12/7/06 – 07:27:57 AM

Author
:

Category
: Cooling


Page 1 : Index

Manufacturer:
Cooler Master Co., Ltd.

Price:
$45USD (Newegg.com) / $45CND (NCIX.com)

It didn't take me long and I am not quite done yet with the onslaught of Cooler Master CPU cooler reviews, one more is waiting in the wings of this four part mini-series. By this time, pretty much anyone reading the pages of Overclockers Online.com knows who Cooler Master is. If you are not then I suggest you head to your local computer hardware store and just have a look around.

OC Online Image

You will find full tower cases, water cooling units, HTPC enclosures, power supplies, case fans, and of course; CPU coolers. Cooler Master has been around for more than 10 years at the time of writing this article and the line-up of cooling accessories has steadily grown. The key behind their continual growth is the ability to produce top quality products that perform well and are marketed very efficiently. Today we will be looking at another one of Cooler Masters latest CPU coolers, the Mars.

OC Online Image

The Cooler Master Mars is very simple design that incorporates a large amount of aluminum fins sitting on a copper base with three heatpipes aiding in removing heat from the base. There is a fan in the center of this globe like cooler that forces air out all sides of the Mars thus removing the heat from the fins and heatpipes. The Mars isn't as small as the stock coolers from Intel or AMD but this universal cooler doesn't take up much more room then the stock units. We start, as always, with a quick look at the packaging the Mars comes in.


Page 2 : Package

The molded blister pack has become the favorite packaging type for memory and is quickly becoming the favorite for many of the smaller accessories associated with computers, including CPU coolers.

OC Online Image

Cooler Master uses the molded blister pack quite frivolously and why wouldn't they. It offers great protection for the products inside, it's cheap, and it provides a complete view of the actual product. The only additional material required is a small paper sheet with the graphics and information printed onto it. Plus, the molded blister pack makes it easy for retailers to display the package either on a shelf or with the eye lit, hanging from a hook.

OC Online Image

The bottom portion of the packaging gives some insight into the capabilities and compatibility of the CM Mars. The one thing of note here is the universal compatibility with AM2 and C2Ds as well as a pair of blue LEDs. If the name is the "Mars", why wouldn't the LEDs be red? Mars is the red planet after all. Perhaps I am off base associating the planet shaped Mars with the planet Mars…yeah, didn't think so. And kids, don't eat this one because it sure as heck isn't a candy bar!

OC Online Image

The rear of the package is identical to the front providing a complete 360 degree view of the Mars. There is a small compartment at the bottom which no doubt is for housing the mounting brackets and the top section has a small spot for some more information on the cooler tucked inside.

OC Online Image

I like the fact that Cooler Master provides the complete list of specifications on the package. Many people still walk into a computer store without a clue as to what they are going to buy. This information can really help in making a decision based on information and not just looks. I still encourage all consumers to do their homework before even going to the store though, reviews are a great way to make an informed decision..*wink* *wink*.

OC Online Image

Cooler Master doesn't waste any space on this package and provides even more features of the Mars on the lower section as well. The 3 Fans speeds are something we saw with the recent Cooler Master Eclipse review and is a welcome feature on the Mars.

OC Online Image

Before looking at the specifications section, I thought a quick look at the Mars resting in its package was appropriate. The molded shell does a good job of cradling the Mars.


Page 3 : Specifications

When looking at the package, we saw a number of specifications and features. For the most part, this is exactly the same information posted at the Cooler Master web site. Here is that specifications list from the CM web site:

OC Online Image

I already mentioned that the Mars is compatible with Socket AM2 and LGA 775 but CM lists the rest of the sockets the Mars will fit on here. The other important specs are the three fan speeds listed from 900RPM to 3000RPM but what I don't like is the fact that Cooler Master lists the noise level at an "average of 25dBA". That means the maximum is likely a good chunk over 30dBA. At 1.48lbs (675grams) the cooler is not light but certainly nothing to worry about.

While I was at the Cooler Master web site, I also saw this diagram which outlines the airflow design of the Mars.

OC Online Image

The fan located in the middle of the sphere like cooler appears to be designed to pull fresh air in through the top which cools the fins and heatpipes then flows out the base to help cool the motherboard. The theory is good, we'll see how it is applied in testing. For now, time to get a close up look at the Cooler Master Mars.


Page 4 : Package Contents

Usually the contents section is a little bit of a surprise because we get our first real look at the product but in the case of the Mars, there is no surprise.

OC Online Image

Safely secured inside the molded blister pack is the cooler, the Mars, and the little box in the base that houses our mounting brackets. We can already see that the Mars is pretty much all aluminum except the very bottom of the base and the heatpipes which appear to be copper.

OC Online Image

Inside the little purple package is the typical Cooler Master instruction booklet, which is written in a half a dozen languages, and a bag full of screws and the two different mounting brackets. We are also provided with a small tube of Cooler Master thermal paste.

OC Online Image

Turning our attention to the Mars itself, you can really see the build quality with close up photos like this one above. The aluminum fins are meticulously spaced and the design is quite precise.

OC Online Image

Peering into the Mars we see the housing in the middle that lays claim to the 90mm fan. The large block of aluminum right above the copper base sandwiches the three heatpipes. I would have liked to see the heatpipes closer together in this region to help pull more heat out of the center portion of the base. That is where the majority of the heat is generated on a CPU and the space between the heatpipes only has one heatpipe directly over the center of the base.

OC Online Image

Cooler Master took into account that space around the CPU socket is at a premium when they designed the Mars. The stepped design keeps the girth at the top and allows for a very small footprint around the CPU socket at the base. During installation we will see if any of the motherboards I have will interfere with anything.

OC Online Image

The other open side of the Mars has the fan cable coming out of it and where two of the three heat pipes rise up and connect into the top piece.

OC Online Image

Finishing off the clean exterior of the Mars is another aluminum chunk with a Cooler Master logo smack dab in the middle.

OC Online Image

In the specifications we learned that there were 3 selectable speeds on the Mars which include low, high, and PWM. This jumper is responsible for selecting which mode the fan is in and is wired inline with the power connection.

OC Online Image

Our contents section finishes off with a quick look at the copper base. We can see that the heatpipes have a thermal paste where they interface with the base but again, I would have liked to see them closer together. Time to see how this bulb of a CPU cooler installs on a handful of AMD and Intel based motherboards.


Page 5 : Installation

Time now for what I like to refer to as a motherboard key party. For those too young to understand what that means, ask your parents.

OC Online Image

Before I go and introduce our good friend here, "Mars", to a handful of motherboards it has never met, I thought a good shot of its bottom was in order. The finish on this base is quite smooth and almost has a polished finish to it. Hopefully this is indicative of a flat surface for good contact.

OC Online Image

The Mars comes with two mounting brackets, one for each Intel and AMD. I have dressed the AMD bracket for the first item of show and tell today, a Socket 939 motherboard.

OC Online Image

The overclocking legend, DFI nForce 4 Ultra-D, has plenty going on around the CPU socket and the CM Mars really fits nicely.

OC Online Image

Both sides are pretty much out of the way of everything but the top PCI-E X1 slot would be a tight fit with the Mars's overhang. Of course, you would have to have something in that X1 slot and let's be honest…that isn't likely.

OC Online Image

Memory definitely isn't an issue thanks to the stepped design of the Mars. Installing the Mars was quite easy too. It is just a matter of securing the two nuts on the underside of the motherboard.

OC Online Image

Next up on the agenda is an AM2 mount so I have adjusted the mounting bracket for an AM2 motherboard. Notice the extra four holes not being used on the underside of the cooler. This allows the base to be installed in either direction. Being a perfectly round cooler though, there shouldn't be a need for that.

OC Online Image

Much like its 939 brother, the DFI SLI-M2R/G looks like a nice match for the Cooler Master Mars. The large heatsink on the digital PWM to the left doesn't cause an issue and the memory slots to the right clearly have plenty of space.

OC Online Image

Pulling back we can see that the top X16 PCI-E slot has more than enough space between it and the Mars for even the most obtrusive GPU coolers. I don't foresee too many issues with the Mars at all because it has a small footprint and doesn't have a big overhang.

OC Online Image

Moving over to the Intel Socket LGA775 motherboards is a simple process but does require the mounting bracket to be switched out. Four screws later, however, and we are ready to roll. Again, I installed the rubber grommets and mounting screws on the bracket so all that is left is to mount the Mars to the motherboard.

OC Online Image

The last LGA775 motherboard I reviewed was the Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H and it will get fitted for the Mars first. Like the SLI-M2R/G, there is a tall heatsink on the digital PWM of the 975X7AB and there is also a rather tall chipset cooler not far from the socket. Neither of these obstructions comes close to the Mars but both will benefit from the airflow created by the Mars.

OC Online Image

With the socket so close to the top of the motherboard there is a bit of overhang from the Mars but it isn't that much and shouldn't interfere with power supplies in most any case.

OC Online Image

As seen by this photo, the memory slots to the right are clearly not close enough to the Mars to be interfered with. Even had they been tighter to the CPU socket, the stepping of the Mars would allow for easy fitting like we saw on the AMD boards.

OC Online Image

When it came time to install the Mars on the Asus P5B-Dlx for testing, I went back to the little trick I learned from my CM Eclipse review and setup a small workstation with a couple motherboard boxes. Setting this up allows for the easiest mounting of the Mars and provides a way to get perfect contact with the CPU. It isn't really necessary but I find it to work rather well so why not?

OC Online Image

Test fitting the Mars was quite easy on the P5B-Dlx like it was on the other motherboards. Despite large coolers, like the Zalman unit I use on my northbridge, the Mars doesn't have any issues. It sits just high enough and the stepped design allows for plenty of room around the socket area.

OC Online Image

From this angle we can see that there is no overhang at the top of the motherboard and even if the stock cooling setup was still installed on this P5B-Dlx, there would be plenty of room for the MOSFET cooler that stands about as high as the serial port on the rear I/O panel. Overall, the Mars installed very easily and quickly on all the motherboards and I can't see how there is a motherboard out there that would not be able to accommodate the Cooler Master Mars.


Page 6 : Performance

The CM Mars is another universal cooler as we saw from the specifications page and the installation photos so I might as well make this a universal review with both an AMD and Intel section for testing. First up on my dance card will be AMD, followed shortly by Intel.

AMD Control Setup:

CPU: AMD64 X2 4000+ Stock @ 2000MHz (1.375v)
MB: DFI LanParty NF590 SLI-M2R/G
RAM: OCZ DDR2 PC2 7200 Platinum XTC EPP
GPU: PowerColor X1650PRO 256MB
PSU: OCZ GameXStream 700W
HD: WD SATAII 250GB 16MB Cache
OS: Windows XP SP2 (with all updates)
Ambient Temperature: 22C~23C

CPU Cooling:

Stock AMD retail box cooler

Cooler Master Mars

Since the Mars appears to be more of a stock cooling replacement, I will be doing testing at stock frequency and voltage.

I recently outlined my testing method in the <a href=']CM Eclipse[/url' target='outside'> review and will simply quote that here:

To put load on the CPU I will run Orthos Beta (Prime95 based) which stresses both cores at the same time and generates pretty much the most heat a processor will see. Orthos will be run for a total of 3 hours and I will take 3 readings throughout that time. Those temperatures will be averaged out for the results graph. I will not only be taking CPU readings but also PWM readings as that will give us an indication of how much air is hitting the motherboard and cooling the components around the CPU socket. A combination of SmartGuardian and CoreTemp will be used for recording the temperatures.
OC Online Image

I was hoping for a bit more out of the Mars but it did seem to keep up with the stock cooling unit on the low fan setting and that is good. The low fan setting is much quieter than the stock AMD cooler so with equal or better performance, it would be a good choice. The high fan setting did lower temps a bit more but the added noise isn't really worth the small gains.

The results were certainly interesting on my AM2 bench system, let's now see how it handles my Intel bench rig.

Intel Control Setup:

CPU: Intel C2D E6300 (L626A453) Stock @ 1860MHz (1.310v)
MB: Asus P5B-Dlx Wifi
RAM: OCZ DDR2 PC2 7200 Platinum XTC EPP
GPU: PowerColor X1650PRO 256MB
PSU: Silverstone Zeus 560W
HD: Seagate SATAII 80GB 8MB NCQ
OS: Windows XP SP2 (with all updates)
Ambient Temperature: 22C~23C

CPU Cooling:

Stock Intel retail box cooler

Cooler Master Mars

Based on the results on the AMD system, the Intel testing should be an interesting fight between the stock cooler and the Mars. This is how the setup looked during testing:

OC Online Image

The same testing method will be used as above but the programs used for monitoring CPU temperatures will get changed up only slightly. CoreTemp will still be used as the primary indicator of CPU temperature but Asus PC Probe II will also be used for some temperature readings. Let's see how the CM Mars fairs.

OC Online Image

These numbers are more what I was expecting from the Mars. The E6300 seemed to respond much better to the Mars and really did a good job cooling the CPU when compared to the stock Intel cooling unit. Even on the low fan setting, the Mars did a much better job on both the CPU and the MB sensor. The high fan setting provided further cooling and brought the CPU temp down a solid 10 degrees from the stock cooler.

OC Online Image

For those with case lights in the color blue, the Mars is a perfect fit for you as it has a pair of blue LEDs, one on each side. I wish I would have had this cooler for the Antec Nine Hundred review I did a short while ago. The Mars would have complimented the blue LED case fans nicely.


Page 7 : Conclusion

Overall I was pleased with the Cooler Master Mars. The size and design of the Mars compliments installation on a number of motherboards and the mounting hardware included with the Mars makes it a snap to install on AMD or Intel. Performance wasn't quite were I was hoping in the AMD testing but the C2D from Intel responded quite well to the Mars.

OC Online Image

With the blue LEDs and unique appearance, the Mars could be not only a solid performance upgrade but can act as a nice esthetic enhancement as well. I don't think any motherboard has to be concerned with installation issues and the build quality on the Mars is your typical CM quality. In the end the Mars is another fine offering from CM that will appeal to many users out there.

Advantages

Looks great
The low fan speed is very quiet
Blue LEDs are a nice touch for those with other blue lighting
Should fit almost any motherboard

Disadvantages

Performance wasn't as good as I hoped
High fan speed is quite loud without a big gain in performance

Overclockers Online would like to thank Cooler Master for the review sample.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.