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Thermalright Macho Heat Sink Family Round-Up

Comparison Test: Cooler And Fan

Cooler Comparison

While the changes made to the latest Macho cooler aren't earth-shattering, revision B of the HR-02 Macho does sport a few modifications.

The overall construction of the HR-02 Macho Rev. A (BW) and Rev. B is identical. A huge cooling block and a relatively large fin-to-fin distance of 3mm (0.012“) help these coolers perform well in a semi-passive application or at drastically reduced fan speeds.

Thermaltake punches U-shaped holes into the cooling fins and bends up the tiny tabs, which is supposed to break up the laminar air flow and thus enhance performance.

The most recent version of the HR-02 Macho comes with an updated design; its black top and nickel-plated heat pipes reflect the most recent design trends.

All told, Thermalright offers three different cooler sizes based on the same basic design. These range from the 6"-high Macho 120 with five 6mm heat pipes to the 6½"-high Macho HR-02 to the wider, deeper, but at 6.6"-high, only slightly taller HR-22, which sports a whopping eight 6mm heat pipes.

In spite of their large dimensions, the models are all compatible with front DIMM slots; the Macho family members stay clear of your system memory. This is achieved through the coolers' asymmetrical design. Half of the heat pipes (three on the two smaller models and four on the HR-22) are bent backwards, allowing the cooling tower to be moved back. This configuration is mostly geared towards the mainstream interfaces from Intel and AMD, where the only DIMM slots are in front.

While the coolers overlap some of the DIMM slots at the rear, they're also high enough to accommodate the installation of RAM with heat spreaders. For the Macho HR-02, DIMMs can be up to 2" tall. Incompatibilities should arise rarely, if ever.

However, the huge HR-22 overlaps all rear DIMM slots. And the first slot is right underneath the heat pipes, which doesn’t give you room for tall heat spreaders. If you own modules with big spreaders, make sure they don't touch the heat pipes. Otherwise, the RAM will be heated up beyond its spec.

The smaller Macho 120 Rev. A offers less cooling fin real estate, mostly due to the fact that it is lower, and sports only five heat pipes. This makes it an ideal choice for cases that are too slim for the regular-size HR-02. We used the first-generation Macho 120 in this test, the one without the Rev. A suffix. The only difference between them are the nickel-plated heat pipes and the black paint job on top. For a fair comparison, we mounted the Rev. A’s fan on the old Macho 120 cooler.

The real innovation of the HR-02 Macho Rev. B compared to its predecessor is the larger base plate. Since LGA 2011 processors have a large heat spreader, you want the base plate to approach or even match the heat spreader’s size. The new base was taken from the Macho Zero. In fact, the Macho HR-02 and the Macho Zero are all but identical if you disregard the black nickel plating of the former and the enclosed white gloves.

While the Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. A is available for $53, expect the Rev. B to cost a few dollars more. But the optimized fan, better looks and larger base plate are certainly worth a small premium.

Fan Comparison

Because the HR-22 is shipped without a fan, we also equipped it with the new TY-147A, the TY-147’s successor. Armed with identical fans, comparing the HR-22 and the HR-02 should be fair and accurate.

The new fan and its predecessor look the same, and even the TY-147 was famed for its quiet operation. While the TY-147A has the same frame, the same rotor blades and even sports the same maximum fan speed (1300 RPM), its minimum is now a mere 300 RPM, down from 900. If you want to do some testing of your own, keep in mind that these numbers vary in real life. Plus/minus 10% is not uncommon.

Our TY-147 sample operated down to a tad above 500 RPM, which is well below the minimum speed in its spec sheet. We expected the TY-147A to dip down to 330 RPM, allowing for 10% variation. We'll cover its actual floor in more detail shortly.

We also looked at the Macho 120 Rev A’s fan, the TY-121. This 12cm fan sports the same design of its brethren, but it is smaller and employs seven rotor blades. Its speed range is quoted as 600 to 1300 RPM.