Thermalright HR-01 CPU Heatsink

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Our standard test bench uses a Socket 478 processor, so Thermalright provided us with the optional P4-478 Heatsink Retention Kit so we could mount it. Thermalright provides official instructions for how to install the High-Riser on both Socket 478 and K8-based motherboards.

Regardless of the platform, the installation process is pretty much the same. The only difference is which clip you use to secure the heatsink.

First (of course), a layer of thermal grease is applied to the base of the heatsink. The base is nickel-plated copper. The base on our sample was smooth and flat. Oddly, the nickel-plating seemed to have a fine grain to it, as though it had been lapped on fine sandpaper.

A smooth, nickel-plated base makes for good heat conduction.

Once the thermal grease is applied, the heatsink is placed upright on top of the CPU. There is a small indentation in the center of the base where the clip applies pressure to the heatsink. The design is quite elegant: It ensures that the heatsink is aligned correctly over the processor while making sure that the pressure from the clip is evenly distributed across the base.

The indentation in the center is the sole point of contact between the clip and the heatsink.

No matter which clip is used, the final step is quite simple: The clip is threaded between the fins and the base, hooked into the existing retention bracket on the motherboard, and tightened according to the type of clip. The entire process takes less than a minute.

Everything needed for installation is included: The K8 clip, and a generously-sized tube of thermal goop.

The Socket 478 clip requires one extra step, as the clip is shipped unassembled. Assembly consists of screwing the arms onto the base of the clip and takes an extra thirty seconds.

Everything that comes in the P4-478 Heatsink Retention Kit.

The clip fully assembled.

One small complaint is that the High-Riser has no provision for installing a fan. This might be a petty complaint for a heatsink that is supposed to be passive, but it's obviously one that Thermalright anticipates. The FAQ has one question on it: "I have a HR-01 and I would like to install a 12cm fan on it. Is there a fan wire clip that can be purchased?" At the time of writing, Thermalright does not supply a fan clip — there's nowhere on the heatsink to attach it anyway. Instead, they recommend using cable ties to attach the fan.

The large size of the High-Riser was not a problem on our test board, as the fins are a suitable height above the base. It is fortunate that the heatsink happens to fit with its long edge parallel with the top of the motherboard. Turned 90 degrees, the side of the heatsink would extend above the top edge of the motherboard, potentially causing a compatibility problem.

This orientation would also give a performance advantage when the High-Riser is installed without a fan on it in a system, as the heat will not have as far to travel between the bottom and the top of the fins. It also works well with Thermalright's recommendation that a power supply with a bottom-mounted fan be used to draw air up through the heatsink.

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