From what I read, the S1284's 4 heatpipes aren't efficient with Intel's smaller integrated heatspreaders but work well with AMDs. I don't think that it can be oriented front-back though, based on the mounting system.
I had a lot of trouble deciding which heatsink to purchase when I was building my AMD system, not made any easier by the lack of choices for a front-back airflow configuration on AM2, and limited retail availability where I live.
In the end, I chose a top-down cooler, Xigmatek HDT-D
1284, probably a better choice in my situation. It has 4 8mm heatpipes, better suited to the AMD heatspreader as it's larger than the Intel's. The 4 heatpipes cover most of the heatspreader, with just a tiny overhang on both sides. With sufficient thermal interface material on heatspreader and heatpipe base, it does a great job at keeping my AMD Athlon X2 4850e cool. It idles around 29-33Â°C. A significant improvement on my AMD Duron 1300 which is idling now at 54Â°C. I live in a warmer climate as well, so I'm happy with the results so far.
With the Xigmatek heatsinks (the no-nonsense ones anyway), you get a good performer at a budget price. My D1284 only cost me $38AUD.
I did not go for the Thermalright HR-01 Plus because it seemed a bit problematic for my setup. I also read in several places that the base of Thermalright heatsinks are deliberately made convex to suit Intel heatspreaders, at the expense of AMD heatspreaders. The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 would force the fan to blow up into the power supply on an AM2 system, which wasn't preferable. So I am using the top-down method. I am happy with it so far.
If I was building with Intel, I would probably still go for a Xigmatek, the HDT-S1283 with the optional backplate.
However, this doesn't help the OP, and I understand his frustration at not getting the information he wants for his setup.
FWIW, I don't think the OP is trying to make things difficult. There are so many variables in product behaviours that he is just trying to get some collective end user opinion before he spends his hard earned cash on hardware that is in most cases very hard to return once bought. What gets sold in retail channels is sometimes not as good as handpicked review samples.
I also think some forum regulars get tired of recommending stuff that in their opinion should be a known quantity by now.
2. User opinions are always good as they happen in 'Real Word' environments. Plus the more 'User' reviews the better as a better / bigger overall picture will make for making up someones mind.
Asking for end users' opinions is a good idea, as they deal with the product on a daily basis over a longer course of time, notice things that don't get picked up in the review, and have to deal with any side affects and warranty issues should anything go wrong. As opposed to reviewers who may only have it for a week, a day, or a few hours, send the sample back and move on. But SPCR is a lot better than most other hardware reviewers. MikeC and co. often use the reviewed hardware themselves and sometimes retest for our benefit.
Just my thoughts.