SilverStone Heligon HE02: Monster Fanless CPU Cooler

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Passive Performance

For our passive test we pitted the Heligon HE02 against the Thermalright HR-02 Macho. We ran Prime95 with only four threads instead of eight (to lower the power demand somewhat) and recorded the temperature at 60 second intervals until the heatsink failed (when the CPU throttled to prevent heat damage). The t HR-02's through holes on the top fin were also blocked off to prevent any advantage due to the horizontal orientation of our test platform.

Passive Test Results: SilverStone Heligon HE02 vs. Thermalright HR-02 Macho
Time Elapsed
CPU °C Rise
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
SilverStone Heligon HE02
Start
14
14
1 mins
41
37
2 mins
48
43
3 mins
53
49
4 mins
59
54
5 mins
65
60
6 mins
71
64
7 mins
76
68
8 mins
79
73
9 mins
fail
76
10 mins
fail
fail

While the HR-02 is the far superior cooler with fans attached, in passive operation, the HE02 persevered, lasting about one minute longer before failing. Starting at the same thermal rise of 14°C, the rate of temperature increase was noticeable slower with the HE02 taking 6°C to 8°C leads toward the end of the test.

In our HR-02 review, we tested the Macho with a slightly overclocked/overvolted quad core Core i5-2400 inside a Fractal Design Define R3. With its two system fans at 5V for a quiet system noise level of 15~16 dBA@1m, on load, the CPU temperature stabilized at 83°C on load (61°C thermal rise). You can expect a moderately better result with the HE02.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As a passive CPU heatsink, the SilverStone Heligon HE02 is very well designed for its purpose, with its wide fin spacing and a massive amount of exposed surface area. Its asymmetrical shape is key for taking advantage of the available space as a symmetrical model would run out of room, surpassing the top edge the motherboard tray on most tower style cases. The mounting system is solid, using a tried and true formula that is found on many of the best heatsinks on the market. There is room for improvement though as we found the contact between the base surface and CPU heatspreader wasn't optimal. It would benefit greatly from a convex base like those found on Thermalright coolers.

Despite this, in our fanless test, it edged past the Thermalright HR-02 Macho. Paired with a 95W CPU, it shouldn't have any trouble, assuming some system airflow is available. A fanless cooler isn't truly fanless — without some airflow passing through it, however little, even the HE02 would eventually succumb to CPU overheating. This isn't an issue we have with the HE02 specifically, but with the whole notion of passive CPU cooling: if you need to have at least one fan in a system, why not put it on the CPU heatsink where it does the most good?

With fans, the HE02 isn't nearly as effective, lagging well behind the current crop of top tier CPU coolers. It takes a significant amount of active airflow to achieve good performance due to its substantial width and the distance between the center of the heatsink and the fans. Our sample was also prone to fin vibration, especially when two fans were mounted, making it noisier than competing products. The HE02 is really a uni-tasker compared to the more versatile HR-02 Macho. If you prescribe to the notion of the fanless CPU cooling, the HE02 is a solid candidate for consideration. If you don't, its rumored price of US$70 combined with its enormous size and lackluster fan-equipped performance makes it unworthy of consideration altogether.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Heligon HE02 CPU cooler sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Prolimatech Panther CPU Cooler
Phanteks PH-TC14PE Dual Fan CPU Heatsink
GELID GX-7 & Tranquillo Rev.2 CPU Coolers
be quiet! Dark Rock 2 Tower Heatsink
Enermax ETS-T40: Direct-Touch Heatpipe Cooler
Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler

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