Thermalright HR-02 Review
Reviewed by: airman
Reviewed on: August 11, 2010
Founded in 2002, Thermalright has been a part of the computing world for nearly a decade. Throughout their presence in cooling market, Thermalright has not ceased to manufacture top-of-the-line cooling products for CPUs, GPUs and RAM - since the introduction of the first generation AMD Thunderbirds. Thermalright has been known for their absolute focus on performance, straying away from flashy plastic housings and bright lighting. Today, I will be reviewing the Thermalright HR-02, which can be used passively - without any fans. The benefit for some users of being able to run a passive heatsink is the absolute lack of noise. People who prefer no noise but still wish to run high end computer parts without the hassle of water cooling may have trouble finding heatsinks that are up to the task. The Thermalright HR-02 is specifically designed to perform passively, though it does have the ability to accept one or two fans. This review will contain a complete evaluation of the Thermalright HR-02's unboxing, appearance, construction and installation, specifications and features, followed by rigorous testing.
Thermalright has always been minimalistic in the packaging of their products, where their boxes lack expensive printing and graphics. The HR-02 is packaged in a plain brown cardboard box with the Thermalright logo printed on top, and the model name printed on either side. The HR-02 is protected in a large block of Styrofoam and is wrapped in a plastic bag. To the right of the block of Styrofoam is a white box that contains all of the mounting hardware, including fan clips, thermal paste, and the user's documentation sheets.
I have always appreciated Thermalright's packaging. They save money on presenting their product with something that is likely to be thrown away, and invest that money into the performance of their product. Now that the HR-02 is out of the box, I will be taking a closer look of it on the next page.
The Thermalright HR-02 is a large volume cooler with fins that are spaced apart slightly more than you would find in other coolers. The fins themselves have holes stamped into them that will help with the passive nature of this cooler. There are six heat pipes that conduct heat from the base and allow it to travel as evenly as possible to the fins. The use of more heat pipes accelerates the conduction of heat and thus improves the performance of the cooler, regardless of the use of fans or not. A unique thing about the HR-02 is that the base is not centered underneath the rest of the heatsink. I am not sure why Thermalright chose to do this to the HR-02, but I'm sure that there is a reason behind this.
Taking a look at the top of the cooler shows the many small holes stamped into the fins, the layout of the heat pipes, as well as a larger hole stamped into the center of the fins that provides access to one of the mounting screws. The small holes should help passive airflow, improving the performance of the cooler without requiring any fans. The bottom of the heatsink gives another look of the heat pipe layout and shows that the small perforated holes in the fins continue entirely through the HR-02. The base has a protective film over it that makes sure the user knows to remove it before installing the heatsink. I have always been pleased with Thermalright's attention to the finishing of their bases, and they certainly didn't cut any corners on the HR-02. It is nearly a mirror finish with no detectable concavity, and is sure to have negligible thermal resistance in the interface from this.
So far, the HR-02 looks like a solid specimen for a passive cooler capable of withstanding a lot of heat from the latest hardware. Installing the HR-02 requires fastening the backplate to the anchoring mount, which the heat sink is clamped onto. Even though the cooler is specified to weigh come in at 860 grams without fans, the mounting hardware applies plenty of pressure to the motherboard and does not cause any noticeable warping.
With the HR-02 installed, it is now time to put the heatsink to the test after the manufacturer listing of specifications and features.
110mm x 140mm x 160mm
860g (excluding fan and bracket system)
C1100 pure nickel plated copper
- Fanless design for low-noise operation
- Proprietary holes through fins for efficient ventilation
- All nickel plated
All information provided courtesy of Thermalright @ http://www.thermalright.com
Testing and Setup:
The testing of the heatsink will consist of a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios. Both idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage after one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed on the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 25 °C throughout testing of the HR-02, as well as the comparison heatsinks. All the data shown in the graphs is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Thermalright will be used during testing, and thermal pastes as packaged from the other coolers were used with each heatsink respectively. Even though this heatsink is supposed to be passive, I will also be testing it using a CoolerMaster fan regulated to 1300 RPM to test the low noise performance of the HR-02. This same fan will be used on the only other heatsink in the comparison listing that does come without a fan, the Super Mega. Two fans are used with the Super Mega in a push/pull configuration at the fans rated maximum speed of 2200 RPM each pushing / pulling 94CFM. All other comparison heatsinks are tested with the fan system that was factory installed.
- Processor: Intel i7 920 (Stock 2.66GHz and Overclocked to 3.40GHz @ 1.27V)
- Motherboard: MSI Eclipse SLI
- Memory: Mushkin Ridgeback 12800 6-8-6-24
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX260
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD-RW
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
- Ambient Temperature: 25 °C
- CPU Heatsink: Thermalright HR-02
Operating passively, the Thermalright HR-02 performs exceptionally well. Run passively the HR-02 delivered a better cooling performance than two of the four heat sink it is compared against. When paired with a low speed (1300 RPM x 1) fan the HR-02 hangs within 6 degrees of the top of the line offering from Prolimatech (2200 RPM x 2) in the load testing while using only the one fan, actually beating it in the idle scenarios with much less noise. This is most likely due to the larger amount of surface area on the fins, which allows heat to be dissipated more quickly. On the next page, I will wrap up this review in my conclusion.
The Thermalright HR-02 has thoroughly impressed me with its performance. Even fanless, it hangs out with other coolers in its price range. Even though the HR-02 comes in at a stout 860 grams without any fans the mounting mechanism and the hardware handles it just fine. With the addition of a low speed fan, it pulls up to some of the high end coolers that are currently on the market while still keeping fan noise to a minimum. The idle temperatures are outstanding, and the load temperatures are definitely acceptable for a passive cooler handily beating the Intel stock cooling solution. Thermalright has certainly made an excellent cooler capable of running passively, even on an overclocked i7 processor. I applaud Thermalright for the excellent cooler that the HR-02 is and I definitely hope to see what's next in their cooling lineup. Although the price is currently unreleased, I would expect this cooler to be around $60+ USD once it hits the market.If low noise is your game the HR-02 delivers. You cant get much quieter than no noise, at any price!
- Can run passively
- Accepts 120mm and 140mm fans
- Even better performance with an added fan
- Low / No noise performance