Thermalright HR-02 Macho Review

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Today, I will be taking a look at a Thermalright offering: the HR-02 Macho heatsink. This is a revamped version of a heatsink introduced last year which now comes to us at a different price point. The original HR-02 came out several months ago and was aimed at the silent computing market, because it was designed to be fan optional while still dealing with the heat of an overclocked processor. The biggest drawback to it was the price it sold for. So, to cater to a lower price point while maintaining good cooling, Thermalright went back and redesigned the base and the mounting equipment and then added one of their TY-140 fans to the cooler, all at a new and much lower price point. We will be looking to see if Thermalright’s engineers did their job properly while meeting a lower price point.

Features and Specifications

(Courtesy of Thermalright)

  • Multiple support bracket system For Socket 1366/1156/1155/775 & AM2/AM3.
  • Proprietary through holes on fins for efficient ventilation.
  • Fanless design for low-noise operation.
  • Including one Thermalright TY-140 Utra-low noise 900~1300RPM PWM-Fan (MAX21 dBA).
  • Convex copper base design, to ensure the highest thermal conducting thermal efficiency between the cpu and the heatsink.

Specifications

  • Dimension: 140 x 102 x 162 mm (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 860 g (including fan and mounting brackets)
  • Heatpipe: six 6 mm heatpipes
  • Copper Base: C1100 Pure copper nickel plated

Fan Specification:

  • Dimension: 160 x 140 x 26.5 mm (LxHxW)
  • Weight: 140 g
  • Fan speed: 900~1300 RPM (PWM controlled)
  • Fan noise: 19~21 dBA
  • Airflow: 56~73 CFM
  • Connector: 4 Pin (PWM Fan connector)

As you can see from the specifications, Thermalright is still advertising that this version of the HR-02 is still good for fanless operation. Plus, it comes with a fan included, which the original didn’t have. It also comes with a mounting system that will mount the heatsink to all current Intel and AMD consumer class boards, so it is a true out-of-the-box cooling solution, no matter what type of system you are running. The original HR-02 only came with Intel mounting hardware and if you wanted it for an AMD CPU you needed to buy the AMD mounting hardware separately. The HR-02 Macho has a measured mass of 692 grams and the fan included with it has a measured mass of 164 grams, checked by my Ohaus Model 2610 triple beam balance.

Packaging

Instead of the usual sturdy and plain brown corrugated cardboard box that Thermalright usually packages their heatsinks in, this one comes in a a bright green and black thin-wall cardboard box. The normal boxes Thermalright uses are very sturdy and are well padded inside and I have even had a heatsink shipped to me from eBay once in the past with a label taped to the box and no damage was seen. However, you won’t be doing that with this box, as it won’t hold up under shipping without being in a protective cardboard box. The packaging does protect everything inside for normal handling and this is one way that they addressed the lower price point, by using more inexpensive packaging. Also, instead of being plain on the outside, the box has some pictures of the heatsink and some marketing bullet points and specifications printed on it.

Front of box.

Front of box.

Back of box.

Back of box.

Left side of box.

Left side of box.

Right side of box.

Right side of box.

Top of box.

Top of box.

Everything removed from box.

Everything removed from box.

The box itself measures 7 1/16 x 5 15/16 x 5 3/8 inches (179 x 151 x 139 mm) in size, which is small by Thermalright’s usual packaging standards.

First Look and Installation

Once you open the top of the box up, you see a fairly thin rectangular box inside, which holds the mounting hardware; the fan is actually clipped onto the heatsink as if it were installed inside a system. After removing the mounting hardware and heatsink, you see another change from the HR-02 that enables Thermalright to meet a lower price point. With the original HR-02, they had a rather nice long shank #2 Phillips screwdriver included with the heatsink for mounting it to your motherboard. With the HR-02 Macho, the screwdriver no longer is included. They do include a rather cheap stamped steel wrench that you can use to tighten the mounting screws down with though. When you remove the heatsink from the box, you will see that instead of having nickel plated heatpipes as on the HR-02, they are left in their copper finish. You will also notice a slightly different design on the fan clips that ship with the Macho as compared to the HR-02 (Aside: just like the original HR-02, the macho can also use the Venomous X/MUX-120 type of fan mounting clips). The stock clips cannot mount a fan thicker than 25-26 mm since it clips onto the outside edge of the fan flange. The Venomous X style clips hold the fan on the flange area closest to the heatsink and so do not depend on how thick a fan they are holding on. The only drawback to that style of clip is the fact that you have to use open corner fans with it.

Front view.

Front view.

Side view.

Side view.

Back view.

Back view.

Bottom view.

Bottom view.

The base of the HR-02 Macho is still pretty well finished, even though this is a low-cost version compared to the original. The base is still nickel plated for corrosion protection. Like other Thermalright heatsinks, the base is convex on the long axis and flat on the other axis.

Slight machining marks in the base.

Slight machining marks in the base.

Flat base this way.

Flat base this way.

Slightly convex in this direction.

Slightly convex in this direction.

If you have ever seen the original HR-02 before, you will notice that it used the same style base block as their other modern offerings. With the HR-02 Macho, you immediately notice that it doesn’t have the indentation in the top of the base block like the HR-02. I knew something else looked different about the base, but didn’t realize what it was until I went to see how it would work with their older style mounting designs, at which point I found out that the whole base block is smaller and thinner. The HR-02 Macho has a base block with the dimensions of 42 x 40 x 10 mm. The base of the HR-02 and the rest of Thermalright’s other premium offerings have the dimensions of 50 x 40 x 15 mm for the base block, which means that you can’t use the Macho with any other Thermalright mounting system besides the one that comes with this heatsink. Again, I think that this change was made to meet a lower price point for this offering. We will see shortly whether this change has any noticeable effect on cooling performance. The following pictures highlight the difference in base design between the Macho and most of Thermalright’s other offerings, represented here by a True Spirit.

HR-02 Macho on left, True Spirit on right.

HR-02 Macho on left, True Spirit on right.

HR-02 Macho on left, True Spirit on right.

HR-02 Macho on left, True Spirit on right.

HR-02 Macho on left, True Spirit on right.

HR-02 Macho on left, True Spirit on right.

The mounting hardware is a total break from Thermalright’s other offerings. They use a stamped steel universal backplate with the proper holes drilled for mounting on any modern Intel or AMD system. Along with the backplate, you also find another mounting plate to go on the top side of the motherboard and some spacers that screws go into, to give the front mounting plate proper spacing, along with a bag full of screws. To install with this new mounting system, you run four screws through the proper holes in the backplate, then use the proper plastic washers for the system you are mounting to (Intel or AMD). On the front side of the motherboard you install the spacers by screwing them to the screws you ran through the backplate and motherboard and tighten them down. Once all four are screwed together with the backplate and motherboard, you then mount the front side mounting plate to the spacers with another four screws. This front side mounting plate is also universal and used for both Intel and AMD mounts. Once the mounting plate is tightened down, you are then ready to mount the heatsink to the motherboard by installing a stamped, wide crossbar across the top of the base and screwing it to the front side mounting plate. And here is where you will find that a long shank screwdriver is much preferred over the steel wrench included with this heatsink. Using the wrench, you will only be able to install the heatsink with the motherboard removed from the chassis, as you just don’t have the room inside a case to use it properly. The heatsink still has the same hole cut out of the fins the HR-02 has, so you can simply run a long shank magnetized screwdriver through the hole with the mounting screw and mount the heatsink with no problem, even with the motherboard installed inside a case. I normally use a long shank Klein screwdriver that has a 7 inch shank on it for working on computers, which is plenty long for this task. You don’t need to spend that kind of money for a long shank screwdriver, but it is nice to have premium quality tools when working with your computer equipment a lot. Looking around a bit, Home Depot has an 8 inch shank Phillips for less than $3.

Hardware packed securely in plastic from Thermalright.

Hardware packed securely in plastic from Thermalright.

Removed from protective plastic packaging.

Removed from protective plastic packaging.

Backplate with screws & washers, ready to be installed.

Backplate with screws & washers, ready to be installed.

Backplate mounted on motherboard.

Backplate mounted on motherboard.

Spacers mounted to backplate on motherboard.

Spacers mounted to backplate on motherboard.

Top bracket installed; ready for heatsink mounting.

Top bracket installed; ready for heatsink mounting.

 

Mounting hardware on an AMD board.

Mounting hardware on an AMD board.

I also test mounted this heatsink on a LGA775 board and an AM2 board and no problems were encountered with mounting on either of those platforms. The following pictures are of the Macho mounted on both those platforms.

HR-02 Macho on an AM2 motherboard.

HR-02 Macho on an AM2 motherboard.

Top view, mounted on AM2 motherboard.

Top view, mounted on AM2 motherboard.

Another side view. Note it does clear all ram slots.

Another side view. Note it does clear all ram slots.

Mounted on LGA775 board.

Mounted on LGA775 board.

Another view on LGA775. Also clears all ram slots.

Another view on LGA775. Also clears all ram slots.

The fan included with this heatsink is the TY-140 which is a round shaped fan that actually uses 120 mm fan hole spacing, so you can also use this fan in spots where a 120 mm fan is normally mounted. The rotor on this fan has seven blades and the blades have rounded edges to them. It is also a PWM fan so that the motherboard can be set to change fans speeds as processor temperatures change. However, I will be testing with this feature disabled. This fan is also included with some of their other premium heatsink offerings such as the Archon and Silver Arrow, so this isn’t just some budget fan they threw in the kit. Here are a couple of pictures of the fan for you to examine.

Exhaust side of fan.

Exhaust side of fan.

Intake side of fan.

Intake side of fan.

The mounting instruction sheets that come with this heatsink are typical Thermalright: thorough and with plenty of illustrations. And instead of putting several languages on the Intel mounting and AMD mounting sheets, they printed up different sheets in different languages. Here are some pictures of the English mounting instructions.

Parts sheet.

Parts sheet.

Intel mounting instruction sheet.

Intel mounting instruction sheet.

Other side, Intel instructions.

Other side, Intel instructions.

AMD mounting instructions.

AMD mounting instructions.

Other side, AMD instructions.

Other side, AMD instructions.

Here we have the HR-02 Macho mounted on my test system with various fans mounted to it. The heatsink sits too close to the case exhaust fan to try a push pull setup on it with fans, but being that close to the case exhaust fan should pretty well ventilate the heat right out of the case. I also tested this heatsink in fanless operation, but I also used a gutted out 120 mm fan frame to act as a duct to the exhaust fan on the case. That way I should get directed airflow through the heatsink from the case exhaust fan.

Macho with stock fan mounted on test system.

Macho with stock fan mounted on test system.

Using MUX-120 fan clips, 38 mm fan mounted on Macho.

Using MUX-120 fan clips, 38 mm fan mounted on Macho.

MUX-120 fan clips even hold The Beast securely to the Macho.

MUX-120 fan clips even hold The Beast securely to the Macho.

Using gutted fan frame, rigged up for fanless operation.

Using gutted fan frame, rigged up for fanless operation.

Test Setup

The fans used for testing this heatsink are as follows:

Fan Size (mm) RPM CFM dBA H2O Static Pressure (in H2O) Wattage Mass (g)
 Thermalright-TY140  160x140x26.5  900~1300  56~73  19~21  0.0614  2.4  164
 Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B5AP-15  120×25  1850  58.0  26.0  0.081  1.0  195.5
 Scythe S-Flex SFF21G  120×25  1900  75.0  35.0  0.15  2.88  182
 Sanyo Denki San Ace 109R1212H1011  120×38  2600  102.4  39.0  0.26  6.24  243
 Delta FFB1212VHE  120×38  3200  151.85  53.0  0.445  12.0  403
 Sanyo Denki San Ace 9CR1212P0G03  120×76  6200/3800(compound)  300.0  70.0  1.93  86.4  753

The testbed system is configured as follows:

  • Case – In Win Dragon Rider. The 220 mm side door fan has been shifted downward to give clearance for tall heatsinks. No other alterations have been made to this case.
  • Motherboard – Asus P6T
  • Processor – Intel Core i7 930, overclocked to 4000 MHz @ 1.304 v.
  • RAM – Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600
  • Video Card – eVGA 7900GTX
  • Power Supply – HEC Cougar series S700
  • Hard Drive – Western Digital Caviar 250 GB SATA hard drive
  • Optical Drive – Lite On DVD-RW drive
  • OS – Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Service Pack 2
  • Arctic Cooling MX2 thermal paste was used for testing as I have found it to give good consistent results with no appreciable break in and it applies and cleans up easily.
  • All testing was done with the side door fastened in place on the case except for the Sanyo Denki 9CR1212P0G03 compound fan. I left the side door off on that one to keep from trapping air, since that Beast moves so much of it.

Test Methodology

The testing methodology used is the same as I used with my previous reviews:

All energy saving features of the motherboard and processor were turned off to keep it from down clocking the processor speed and vcore. All fan control functions were turned off in bios to keep the fans at maximum speed. For processor temperature monitoring purposes, I am using Real Temp 3.46, with logging enabled at 2 second intervals. For room temperature monitoring, I am using a Fluke Model 52-2 and using a “K” type thermocouple that is inserted into the case front where the front intake fan is mounted. The Fluke records the maximum, minimum and average temps during the run at 1 second intervals.

Temperatures in my computer room were maintained as close as possible to around an 18 °C average during the run, as measured at the lower front intake fan by the Fluke. At the end of the test run, I logged the maximum, minimum and average temperature. The maximum and minimum temps in the charts are given as recorded by Real Temp, but the average temperatures have been adjusted to a constant 18 °C as derived from the Fluke average temps.

For loading the CPU, I used Prime95 version 25.8 using in-place large FFT’s and ran it for 30 minutes to stabilize temps. After 30 minutes, I would exit Prime95 and let the CPU idle for at least 10 minutes. The highest recorded temperature from the hottest core for each run was then recorded off of the Real Temp log, the lowest temperature on any core was recorded and the average temperature on the hottest core was calculated during the load portion of each run and adjusted to a constant 18 °C.

Each fan configuration was tested with three remounts of the heatsink, and the lowest average temperature run recorded, to minimize any problems between mount to mount installations.

The Results

First up is the fan performance chart of the HR-02 Macho running on my testbed system from fanless operation to the monster Sanyo Denki compound fan.

The HR-02 Macho is a good performer and even when running totally fanless kept the average temperature of the hottest core on my i7 930 well under 80° C. In my book, that is simply outstanding that this heatsink can handle over 200 watts of heatload using just the natural airflow in the case. For configurations with a fan installed on the Macho, the temps were good to very good and showed some decent scaling as the CFM and static pressure went up.

Next up is a chart comparing the HR-02 Macho to Thermalright’s economy heatsink, the Cogage True Spirit. Actually, this comparison is a little bit unfair for the Macho, because except for the True Spirit’s stock fan and extreme fan configurations, it ran with two fans in a push pull setup as compared to a single fan on the Macho for all tests.

As you can see here, the True Spirit does beat out the HR-02 Macho by a little bit in all configurations. Except for the extreme fan comparison, the average temperature difference was less than a degree and even at the extreme end, the difference was less than 1.2 degrees. And there is no way on Earth that a True Spirit could ever complete a run without a fan installed, unlike the HR-02 Macho. Plus, while the True Spirit can be had for around $10 cheaper than the Macho, it only comes with a mounting system compatible with LGA1366. Unless you are running that platform, you will be spending at least that much, if not more, to get a mount for LGA1156, LGA775 or AMD platforms for a True Spirit.

Finally, we have a chart comparing the HR-02 Macho to the rest of the heatsinks I have tested on my testbed system.

As seen in the above chart, the HR-02 Macho does very well as compared to the rest of the heatsinks that I have tested on my present testbed system. It’s not the leader, but it is well in the top half of the heatsinks I have tested. Most of the ones ahead of it are much more expensive too, making the HR-02 Macho a very high performer in the cost/performance realm.

Conclusion

As seen above, the Thermalright HR-02 Macho is a strong performer and can easily handle an overclocked Bloomfield processor, and better yet, you can get this kind of performance for a MSRP of $39.95. Speaking of buying one, they are still hard to find for sale here in the United States. I am sure that availability will improve in the coming weeks, but for now the only place I can find them listed for sale is at Nan’s Gaming Gear. They do have them listed at the MSRP of $39.95, but I have never dealt with them or even heard of them until recently. I did find them linked from Thermalright’s website, so I take that as a positive sign with a relatively unknown company.

From previous correspondence with Thermalright, I know that the MUX-120 series will be discontinued. So I assume that the HR-02 Macho is its replacement in the mid priced category. It proves today that it is a worthy replacement for the MUX-120, in that it slightly tops the MUX-120 Black in performance, and at a lower price point. It also comes ready to mount on all modern systems, just like the MUX-120 Black. The only drawback that I find to this new version of the HR-02 is the deletion of the screwdriver. Sure, I know that you are trying to keep costs down and the screwdriver that was included with the original HR-02 wasn’t a 99 cent piece of junk, but a lot of folks don’t have a long shank Phillips screwdriver handy. For mounting and removing the heatsink inside a case, the screwdriver is pretty much a necessity. Even so,  the Thermalright HR-02 Macho easily earns itself an Overclockers Approved rating for very good performance at an attractive price point.

In closing, I would like to thank Thermalright for supplying this HR-02 Macho heatsink for review. You guys show that your engineering team takes a back seat to nobody when it comes to producing stellar cooling systems at all price points. Stay tuned my friends. I have a couple other heatsinks in the review pipeline coming soon

– Jim Gautreaux (muddocktor)

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Discussion
  1. Thank you David.
    I figured this one would gather some attention right away, especially with it's performance for the price it sells for, but I guessed wrong. :confused:
    Interesting.. Never seen a heatsink with holes/slots in the fins before.. Are there any others that are like that as well?
    Also, what size are they? Ok its a slot and not a hole, but if you drill a hole in a plate, you actually lose surface area when the hole diameter is twice that to the plate thickness, so something similar will occur if too big slots are used. At least from the pictures they seem big enough to do that..
    Wouldn't losing surface area be bad for dispersing heat, or am I getting something wrong here.. Or! Is it to, again, reduce cost? :confused:
    Argh.. Have to stop thinking too much into heatsink design. It's hurting my brain.
    The big hole in the middle area of the heatsink is to give you access to the mounting screw with a long shank screwdriver to mount the heatsink. The slots are there to help promote airflow between the fins I guess, in fanless mode. This heatsink was originally designed a year ago or so to run without a fan; just using normal case airflow for cooling. I'm no thermodynamics engineer that can give you a scientific reason for them though.
    This is an impressive cooler. Especially at that price. Great review as usual. Looking forward to more availability of these. I may have to pick one up.
    I had wanted to use this HS for a build ~1.5 months ago (think it was announced 3-4 months ago), but was disappointed to discover it really was unavailable anywhere, which still appears to be the case :(
    Well, not that I would have any use for one now =p
    If you are worried about buying from Nan's, they also sell through Amazon too and for the same price. That way you have Amazon guaranteeing that you will have your goods delivered.