Thermalright HR-22 CPU Heatsink

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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 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-22 is essentially a HR-02 on steroids, taking its asymmetrical design that alleviates memory interference issues, and super-sizing it in attempt to make an uber cooler. Its size is somewhat problematic, however, as the mounting system may not be quite strong enough to support its immensity adquately.The combination of our flat lapped CPU and the less-than-perfect tension as a result of the weight imbalance caused off-centered contact on our test system. We suspect that an unlapped CPU with a typical slightly concave IHS would make better contact with the HR-22 base and provide better results without any modification of the installation. Our compensation of removing some unnecessary washers brought the performance closer to what we were expecting. In any case, if you want the very best cooling performance, we recommend you take a close look at the TIM imprint before you seal up your case after installing the HR-22.

Even with our modification and the improvements over the HR-02 — the nickel-plating, extra heatpipes, and bigger body — the HR-22 failed to conclusively surpass its smaller brethren. There is a point of diminishing returns on size, and the HR-22 seems to be right at that point. As an actively cooled heatsink, its US$85~100 price tag isn't unreasonable compared to other high-end coolers, but the HR-02 offers better bang for your buck.

The HR-22's design is more promising as a passive cooler. It produced strong results on our fanless cooling test, handily beating out the HR-02 and SilverStone HE02, suggesting that a low TDP chip should be no trouble for HR-22 to handle fanlessly. Obviously the same applies if you opt to use the included duct along with additional case cooling as Thermalright recommends. Still, it doesn't seem like a pragmatic option: If you already have one, two, or more fans running, another low speed fan on the CPU heatsink isn't going to change the overall noise level. Using the HR-22 with a fan as well as the the duct seems like the most logical cooling strategy. We're giving the HR-22 a Recommended award, but only for its dual-fan role, and only at the lower end of its US$85~100 price.

Our thanks to Thermalright for the HR-22 CPU cooler sample.

Thermalright HR-22 is Recommended by SPCR.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Our Lapped CPU Heatsink Test Platform
Noctua NH-U14S Slim 140mm Tower Cooler
Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler
SilverStone Tundra TD03 Liquid CPU Cooler
NoFan CR-95C Copper Fanless CPU Cooler
Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler

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