Thermalright HR-01 CPU Heatsink

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On the test bench. Note that the position of the 120mm fan allows some airflow to be deflected down to the board level.
This can be important for cooling of the voltage regulator components around the CPU socket.

Test Platform

  • Intel P4-2.8A The Thermal Design Power of this P4-2.8 (533 MHz bus) is 68.4 or 69.7W depending on the version. As the CPU is a demo model without normal markings, it's not clear which version it is, so we'll round the number off to ~69W. The Maximum Power, as calculated by CPUHeat & CPUMSR, is 79W.
  • AOpen AX4GE Max motherboard - Intel 845GE Chipset; built-in VGA. The on-die CPU thermal diode monitoring system reads 2°C too high, so all readings are compensated up by this amount.
  • OCZ DDRAM PC-3200, 512 MB
  • Seagate Barracuda IV 40G 1-platter drive (in Smart Drive)
  • Seasonic Super Tornado 300 (Rev. A1)
  • Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound
  • Nexus Real Silent 120mm fan
  • Two-level plywood platform with foam damping feet. Motherboard on top; most other components below. Eases heatsink changes and setup.

Measurement & Analysis Tools

  • CPUBurn processor stress software
  • SpeedFan version 4.25 software to show CPU temperature
  • A custom-built fan controller that allows us to dial in exactly what voltage is powering the fan
  • B&K model 1613 sound level meter

Load testing was accomplished using CPUBurn to stress the processor, and the graph function in SpeedFan was used to make sure that the load temperature was stable for at least ten minutes.

The ambient conditions during testing were 18 dBA and 20°C.


As per the design of the High-Riser, our initial testing was done completely passively, without a fan. This is an extremely difficult situation because passive heatsinks are designed to take advantage of system airflow. Our test bench, however, has no system airflow at all. Furthermore, its horizontal orientation means that the heatsink can't even use convection cooling, where airflow is generated by rising heat.

Not surprisingly, the processor quickly shot up to 67°C and began to throttle. In this respect, it is no different from the Scythe Ninja, which is also designed for passive use. However, before strapped a fan on, we decided to give the High-Riser a second chance, this time in a vertical orientation so that it could take advantage of convection cooling. But, even this configuration did not prevent the processor from throttling.

The test bench was tilted sideways to see if it could perform passively — it couldn't.
It would be wise to rig up some kind of support to hold up the far end of this HS.
A cable tie or stiff insulated wire to the PSU might do it.

Because our test bench does not closely simulate an actual system, in which there would always be peripheral airflow around the CPU area from other fans, such as the back case exhaust fan and the PSU fan. So, we decided to attach our usual 120 mm reference fan, a Nexus. Testing proceeded as usual, with measurements taken with the fan at 12V, 9V, 7V, and 5V.

Thermalright HR-01 with Nexus 120 mm fan
Fan Voltage
Load Temp
°C Rise
CPU Throttled
CPU Throttled
Airflow: Measured in Cubic Feet per Minute mounted on the HS
Load Temp:
CPUBurn for ~20 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient at load.
°C/W MP / TDP: Temperature rise per Watt, based on CPU's Maximum Power (79W) or Thermal Design Power (69W) rating (lower is better)
Noise: SPL measured in dBA/1m distance with high accuracy B & K SLM

The noise profile for the Nexus reference fan is well known, so details about the noise it makes will not be reproduced here. In any case, it was added for testing purposes only; in an actual system it would probably not be needed. In summary: It produces a smooth, quiet hum at full speed, and drops below the ambient noise level in our lab somewhere between 7 and 9 volts. It does not provide much airflow in comparison to other 120mm fans.

Once the fan was added to the test, the High-Riser's performance improved tremendously. The amount of airflow seemed to matter very little. The difference in performance between full speed and 5V was a tiny 4°C. This means the High Riser performs very well with only a minimum of airflow, and would probably continue to perform well with even less airflow than our reference fan provides.

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