Thermalright HR-22 CPU Heatsink

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The most critical aspect of installation is that the heatsink be securely mounted. A firm mating results in good contact between the cooler's base and the CPU heatspreader and more efficient heat conduction. Ideally it should also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces of hardware as possible.

The mounting system is essentially the same as the HR-2 with a few minor improvements. The small screws that secured the support frame have been replaced with thumbnuts, the nubs on the Intel backplate slide firmly to the desired hole without having to be assembled, and the crossbar has a knob at the center to produce extra tension at the center.

Thermalright's installation scheme is essentially sound but due to the HR-22's massive asymmetrical weight, we might recommend a thicker mounting frame. After testing, we noticed the frame had become slightly curved on two sides. It isn't clear whether the frame began that was or bent under the pressure.

Our initial test run produced subpar results, about 2°C poorer than the HR-02. A close examination of the TIM imprint on our lapped CPU showed surprisingly poor contact between base and CPU, with the best contact point being off center to one side. This suggested that the mounting system could not compensate fully for the asymmetrical weight of the HR-22, which on our flat lapped CPU, caused the center contact to be offset.

After further examination of the entire mounting system, we removed the plastic washers from the metal spacers, to create higher tension to compensate for the imbalanced weight and slightly bent mounting frame. These washers are unnecessary as there is nothing that can be short-circuited on the board underneath. We also experimented with the center pressure screw on the crossbar and realized after a few more test runs that tightening this all the way actually seemed to
reduce total pressure on the CPU/base mating. Best results were obtained when the knob was tightened only to the point where resistance was met.

Fully installed. Notice the bowing on the fan clips where they hook onto the fan. The clips are fairly loose.

Tightening the center knob pushes a column down into a shallow hole above the base. This is meant to increase the pressure obetween base and CPU, but the crossbar appears to bend upward, which might reduce the pressure instead. We recommend tightening it until a gap just starts to appear above the base. There is some wiggle room during this final step; care must be undertaken to ensure the heatsink is properly centered.

After mounting and testing the heatsink with our minor adjustments, we found a faint spread of thermal compound imprint at the center, an indication of strong/tight contact where it is most needed, unlike the off-center imprint seen at first.

On our test board, the heatsink edge lined up almost perfect with the top of the motherboard. This might be an issue depending on how much clearance is in this area.

For the few occasions when's it's prudent to test a cooler inside a case, we use an Antec P280. Unfortunately in our case, the heatsink was so close to the exhaust fan it was impossible to use the included duct. There would be more room on a LGA115x model as the CPU socket would be shifted further to the right side.

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