Thermalright HR-01Apr 27th, 2006 | By Archive
: 04/28/06 – 12:36:10 AM
Page 1 : Index
Thermalright is a name most hardware enthusiasts associate with quality, innovation, and clever design. My introduction to them occurred during the heat wave that was summer 2005. I was running my main box with a 50% overclock in a home without air conditioning. After trying a number of different, unsatisfactory solutions I purchased a Thermalright SI-97 heatsink, attached a 92mm fan, and thankfully found that my peak temperatures had lowered back to a reasonably tolerable level. I was impressed with the performance of such a light and easily mountable heatsink. Fast-forward to today, Ive been using the recently reviewed Antec P180 case. While the case has many merits, Ive been craving less noise while at the same time eyeing the placement of the two fans that frame the CPU mount. As soon as I saw the HR-01 I knew I had to try it out. It seemed to me that it would be a perfect match for the P180. In this article Ill be looking at the performance of this assembly with regards to both stock and overclocked performance using an Athlon 3800+ X2 CPU.
Page 2 : Packaging
The HR-01 arrived packaged in its usual, distinctive, and austere brown cardboard box. The Thermalright name is printed on the top of the box and the model number is printed on the right side. There are no other markings on the package.
Along with the cardboard box there arrived a clear plastic box that housed a blue duct. This mildly flexible tube can be affixed to the heatsink and channeled to 120mm fan to vent the hot air directly from the fins of the heatsink to the exterior of the case. While this duct was originally an optional add-on for the K8 version, Thermalright has informed us that it will now be included as a standard accessory for every HR-01.
Ill discuss more about the duct further along in the article. While the packaging of the duct is fine, I think Id rather see the unit packaged in the typical cardboard box.
Inside the cardboard box you find the nicely protected HR-01. Along with the unit you get an instruction sheet, a Thermalright sticker, and the smaller box contains both the retention mechanism as well as a generous tube of Thermalright branded thermal compound.
Page 3 : Features, Specs, and Notes
Heres the rundown from the Thermalright website:
- Fanless design for low-noise operation
- Proprietary through holes on fins for efficient ventilation
- Multiple heatpipes for well spread heat around aluminum fins
- Soldered fins to copper base (nickel plated) to make effective contact
- Light weight and easy installation
Dimension: L110 x W60 x H159.5 (mm) Heat sink only
Weight: 525g (heat sink only)
AMD: Athlon64 FX 3200+ (socket 939/940) /Athlon64 3200+ (socket 754) and above
Intel: Pentium-4 socket 478 up to 3.2 GHz (Require P4-478 Heatsink Retention Kit)
Proper operational conditions for HR-01:
As is the case with any passive cooler, the normal operating range should be from low to mid CPU frequency. Premium condition for HR-01 is when your power supply unit has a 12cm fan placed at the bottom facing the CPU heatsink. An example would be the Antec PSU or the Enermax PSU. As for chassis ventilation, a proper setup would have an intake fan (8cm or 12cm) in the front and a 12cm exhaust fan in the rear as in the case of the Antec Performance series or the Lian Li V1000 series.
If you plan to operate at high CPU frequency, a 12cm fan is definitely recommended for the heatsink. For tips on how to install one, you can refer to this link for instruction.
Page 4 : Physical Description
The HR-01 certainly does look like a high-rise apartment building. The unit has 31 fins and four heatpipes.
The heatpipes attach to a nickel-plated copper base.
The surface of the base wasnt a high polish like we see from some manufacturers, but clearly the surface is entirely smooth and flat. While a polished surface looks nice, its the job of the thermal compound to fill in slight surface defects that might be present, and as such I dont place as much emphasis on this as some might.
The most distinctive aspect of the design is that to each fin, 50 small cutouts have been bent upwards; this adds both air flow and surface area.
What can you say about a collapsible, blue duct?
Heres a nifty link to a Flash animation that Thermalright made to show how the duct works. An Intel CPU mount is shown during this demonstration.
Page 5 : Installation
Installation of the HR-01 really couldnt be simpler with a socket 939 motherboard. Simply remove the current heatsink, clean the surface of the CPU, re-apply a thin coating of thermal paste to the CPU, mount the CPU, stand the HR-01 so that it is centered over the CPU core, place the retention clip so that the plastic pin is slotted in the central indentation of the block, hook the one end over the three standard lugs on the CPU mount, use a minimal amount of force to hook the other end over in the same manner, and finally flip the lock handle into place. It really is that easy. Heres how the HR-01 looks in the case:
Here is a link to Thermalrights AMD K8 illustrated installation guide. Note that I suggest applying the thermal compound directly to the CPU while Thermalright suggests applying it to the heatsink base. I find there is less excess seeping over the edges when the paste is applied directly to the CPU.
First off, it should be noted that the use of the duct is optional. The duct is offered as a way to channel air directly from the fins to an adjacent 120mm case fan rather than let the airflow in the case dictate where the heat is exhusted. Ill discuss the performance of this option later in the review. Given the best case scenario, you will place the heatsink end of the duct over the fins (there are four small tabs to grab onto the fins) and then direct the other end so that it surrounds the casing of the 120mm fan. Thermalright provides double-sided tape and tapping screws to aid in the attachment but I imagine, given the proximity of CPU mounts to case fans in most instances, these would only be needed in unusual circumstances. There are a couple of issues regarding the installation of the duct that may or may not cause a problem depending on your setup. Youll see the limitations of using the duct in my setup here.
As you can see in the following picture, there is no way to attach the duct to the rear fan, nor, despite a valiant attempt, is there enough room to attach it to the top fan.
As the HR-01 is a rectangular design, the orientation of the lugs on the CPU mount will determine which direction the duct will have to face. While there are a few socket 939 motherboards whose orientation runs up and down, it appears the majority run left and right as it does on my Asus A8V Deluxe. Thus, only users who own specific up/down oriented motherboards will be able to vent directly to the rear of the case. This does not appear to be an issue with socket 775 motherboards.
For the sake of experimentation, I removed the top fan from the inside and mounted it on the outside of the case. Although there was no way to attach the duct directly to the fan, I managed to get the unit in place. You can read about the performance in the next section.
For those of you without a top vented fan and a horizontal motherboard mount, youre out of luck regarding the use of the duct with a motherboard having a left/right orientation.
The second potential issue with the duct is how well the fins of the heatsink and the fan line up. While the duct itself is quite flexible, its collapsible design renders it increasingly rigid as it is compressed. Though it isnt obvious from the image above, given the small space I have, Im unable to properly line up the duct to the top vent. I would imagine that if you had a vertical orientation youd probably have a little more flexibility to line up with a rear fan.
The only real surprise that occurred during installation came up upon first boot. I was greeted with this BIOS message:
After a quick BIOS adjustment, disabling CPU fan detection, I was off and running.
In conclusion, the HR-01 is easy to mount and the duct is easy to work with.
Page 6 : Performance
The test setup consists of my primary work machine:
Asus A8V Deluxe
AMD Athlon64 X2 3800+
Antec P180 w/ case fans set to 1600RPM and lower chamber fan set to 1200RPM
Vantec Stealth front case fan at 1500RPM
ATI AIW X800XT w/ AC Silencer
2x1024GB OCZ EL DDR PC3200 Dual-Channel Platinum
Enermax Liberty 500watt PSU
4x Maxtor 250GB 16MB Cache SATA Hard Drives
Creative Audigy2 sound card
Pioneer DVD drive
Plextor PX-716A DVD Burner
3Com Network Card
Stock AMD Cooler
And just so we dont forget, its silent!
The first two graphs show the same data in different ways. The first graph shows temperatures sorted by task (CPU and motherboard), the second sorted by configuration. When reviewing the CPU temperatures, it is clear that the Thermalright unit is outperforming the stock solution handily. Its truly amazing to see a 13 degree difference under load and the even larger 16 degree drop during gaming when comparing the stock solution to the HR-01 with the duct and inverted fan.
For clarification, the inverted fan is blowing down, through the duct, and over the fins and into the case. This accounts for the slightly higher motherboard temperatures. However, given the layout of the P180, the warmer air is quickly vented out the rear exhaust fan.
This graph compares the relative merits on the HR-01 as it relates to CPU speed and voltage. While it is obvious that slower speeds and less voltage will show reduced temperatures, its worth noting that running the X2 3800+ at stock speeds with the HR-01 shows an 8 degree drop over the 17.5% overclock.
The results speak for themselves and are quite impressive. Now I just have to find a way to create a more permanent solution so that I can utilize the duct with the inverted fan.
Page 7 : Conclusion
The HR-01 is well made, has a striking appearance, is silent, and utilizes a clever design. While I think a 16 degree drop in the CPU during extended gaming over the stock solution is enough to warrant serious consideration, when you add this impressive performance to its silence and the relative ease of installation you simply cant ignore the HR-01. While everyones mileage may vary with Case/CPU/motherboard combinations, about the only think I could see adding, is some kind of optional mounting for socket939 motherboards so you could align the fins either horizontally or vertically within the case. However there is no question in my mind that if you are using an X2 CPU or the Antec P180 case you should seriously consider this Thermalright heatsink.
Im not someone who is easily impressed, so it should be all the more satisfying for the engineers at Thermalright to know that for the very first time, Im granting a product, the Thermalright HR-01 heatsink, the Overclockers Online Editors Choice Award!
- Excellent performance
- Easily installed
- Mounting orientation may pose issue
- Duct use may by hindered by orientation
Overclockers Online would like to thank Thermalright for providing this sample for review.