Either you didn't mention it or maybe I missed it, but did you try to clean and apply fresh TIM to the socket before changing out to the 212?
Don't get me wrong, I am on my 5th or 6th Hyper 212 EVO. In fact I recently purchased my latest one to go with my Streacom BC1 open bench table. As many sockets as the EVO covers it was a no brainer for a solid performance CPU cooler to box up and have on hand when I am doing any new build. Whether for client or for personal use. I use custom cooling loops, so knowing the state of my systems prior to blocking and tubing is very important. You simply don't just dive right in and start putting together your cooling setup without knowing whether or not you have an issue with any component. Doing so is living dangerously, because if you have an issue with a motherboard or CPU, you have to drain your loop and then dismantle it to be able to remove the offending component. It's bad enough when you have to do so with an Air cooler. Even worse when it's custom cooling.
I've only had one negative experience with the 212 EVO and that was when I had to remove it to block my CPU on my CIVFormula. The thumbscrews were so tight that I could not remove it as it was installed. I had to remove the MB from the case in order to access the backplate(this was back when CPU cutouts were not so large) and remove it by unscrewing the backplate. Not that big of a deal for me since I had to install an EK backplate anyway. But for someone who only needed to change out their CPU or TIM that could be a bit more of an irritant as it was for my experience. I've since learned not to overdo it on the tension. I simply screw each thumbscrew all the way down and back out about a quarter turn to make sure that I don't have to worry about this issue.
As far as performance? Well I simply have zero complaints about these CPU coolers. My first EVO was 2nd hand IVGC to replace my Corsair H50 when I decided to custom cool the previously mentioned system which was running a lapped 955BE at the time. I contacted CoolerMaster about the fan brackets for the 2nd fan setup and they sent me the fan brackets free of charge. Didn't even bother charging me for shipping. IIRC that cooler on my lapped CPU put sub 40 temps on my screen @ Idle and mid 40s under load. I currently have this one on my Black Snow build while I compile my setup and get it ready for a the new Case. Low 40*c's @ 3.6ghz.
I cannot speak to what anyone does and their results with their 212, but I don't use the stock paste and I spread my TIM over the entire surface of the IHS. This means there are no issues with coverage or with less TIM or bubbles in the paste when mounting the Cooler. It also means less time wasted on reseats or reapplications. I use G751 or Ectotherm and both are still relevant today with TIM like ThermoGrizzly available. I've tried that stuff, and while many many many more people have nothing but high praise for it, my experience with it was not a good one. I couldn't get more than 1 application out of it and that first one, wouldn't push out of the tube easily at all. While at least CM paste does what it's meant to do and for much cheaper.
I did actually purchase a 3g tube of Ecto last February so I have more than enough for my needs and it should last me for the rest of the year due to my application process.