Thermalright HR-01 CPU Heatsink

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December 22, 2005 by Devon Cooke

Thermalright HR-01
K8 compatible CPU heatsink

P4-478 Heatsink Retention Kit
Adapter to allow Socket 478 compatibility
~US$50 (Heatsink) / ~US$4 (S478 Adapter)

Thermalright has been making heatsinks for a long time, and several of its past models have been SPCR favorites. In the past year or so, their offerings have been overshadowed by several newcomers, notably the gigantic Scythe Ninja that is designed for passive cooling. Thermalright has responded with a suitably massive and passive tower heatsink of their own: The HR-01.

The first glimpse of the HR-01 leaves no doubt that Thermalright intends to compete with Scythe (and anyone else using a tower configuration). The heatsink is tall, uses widely spaced fins, and has heatpipes aplenty. In other words, it looks like a similar, serious competitor. Unless Thermalright has done something seriously wrong, we can expect it to put up a good fight.

A plain cardboard box holds the HR-01 inside. (Mouse shown for scale.)

Thermalright eschews fancy retail packaging and has stuck with a plain, sturdy, corrugated cardboard box. Thermalright's confidence shines through here: They don't need impulse buys based on appearance alone; they know that their customers will ask for the HR-01 by name. On the other hand it's the same style of packaging they've been using for over four years now, so it's a tradition, which happens to be environmentally friendly. It may also be that much of their sales come from online retailers who have little need for visual packaging but do need good shipping protection.

Whatever the rationale behind the plain box, the HR-01 is certainly well packaged. It lies nestled in a bed of foam that holds it firmly in place. The box is snugly packed, and there is little chance of the heatsink shifting during transit.

Now that's a well protected heatsink.

Thermalright HR-01: Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
Fanless design for low-noise operation
Fanless is definitely low-noise, but requires good system design to pull off properly.
Proprietary through holes on fins for efficient ventilation
Helps the heatsink take advantage of system airflow.
Multiple heatpipes for well spread heat around aluminum fins
Four U-shaped heatpipes (for a total of eight heat paths) should be plenty.
Soldered fins to copper base (nickel plated) to make effective contact
Soldered fins may transfer heat more efficiently than press-fitted fins.
Light weight and easy installation
Past Thermalright products have been tricky to install; we hope this one is better.

Thermalright HR-01 Specifications (from the product web page)
Heatsink Dimensions (L × W × H)
110 × 60 × 159.5 mm
525 g
Motherboard Compatibility
Athlon64 FX 3200+ (socket 939/940) and above
Athlon64 3200+ (socket 754) and above
Motherboard Compatibility
Pentium-4 socket 478 up to 3.2 GHz
(Require P4-478 Heatsink Retention Kit)

In its stock form, the HR-01 is compatible only with AMD-based motherboards. This seems to be intentional. It's well known that AMD CPUs run cooler than Intel-based CPUs, so naturally they are better suited to passive cooling. Let's put that another way: Unless you are a very skilled system builder, you probably won't be able to cool an Intel processor passively.

The exceptions to this general rule are Intel's previous generation of CPUs, the P4-Northwood chips. Because these chips are compatible almost exclusively with the now out-of-date Socket 478, Thermalright has chosen to release an optional Retention Kit that allows the HR-01 to be installed on a Socket 478 motherboard.

At the time of writing, there is no equivalent Retention Kit for Socket 775, which means that none of Intel's current CPUs are supported. However, the FAQ for the HR-01 lists an appropriate part as "Coming Soon", so there may be hope for compatibility some time in the future.

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