Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.


The Thermalright HR-02 Macho was able to passively cool our mildly overclocked Sandy Bridge quad core processor with very little case airflow, though the temperatures were rather high as one would expect; we wouldn't attempt it with anything more demanding like a Bulldozer, Nehalem or Sandy Bridge Extreme chip. We should also note that this isn't our preferred cooling strategy, not when you have the option of putting a fan directly on the heatsink.

On our higher power Nehalem open testing platform, its single fan performance was excellent, producing numbers similar to the likes of the Thermalright Venomous X and NZXT Havik 140. The Macho shone even brighter with two fans, edging out most of the dual 140 mm fan coolers save the Prolimatech Genesis. It's a shame that Thermalright didn't include a second set of fan clips.

Despite its size, the Macho is considerate with regards to compatibility. The 161 mm height allows installation in most standard sized towers. It also doesn't interfere with the system memory (typically a problem for DIMMs with tall heatspreaders) because some of its mass is cleverly shifted toward the opposite side, which incidentally, brings it closer to the rear exhaust fan in most cases. The HR-02 lacks the nickel-plating of most high-end heatsinks and has only 31, very thin fins that are spaced widely apart. So while it's quite thick, measuring 102 mm wide, its weight is on the light side for a cooler of its capabilities.

Fortunately these cutbacks along with the decision to omit the second fan, help keep the cost of the Macho down. With a street price of about US$55, the HR-02 is not only an excellent buy, but a worthy heir to the HR-01/Plus.

Our thanks to Thermalright for the HR-02 Macho CPU cooler sample.

Thermalright HR-02 Macho receives the SPCR Editor's Choice Award

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Cooler Master GeminII M4 Low Profile Heatsink
Reeven Kelveros & Arcziel CPU Coolers
Thermalright Archon SB-E 15cm Fan CPU Cooler
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 & Reeven Vanxie CPU Coolers
Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler
Antec Kühler H20 620 & 920 CPU Water Cooling Units

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