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Thermalright Macho Heat Sink Family Round-Up

Thermalright's Macho Evolves

The brand-new Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. B improves on its predecessor by offering a slightly better fan, a few design enhancements and an enlarged base plate that's aimed at LGA 2011-based systems. Since the price tag is only up a few dollars, the question of whether the new revision is worth a premium seems moot. But let’s discuss this anyway. Is revision B worth a surcharge?

Consider the most important fact: the HR-02 Macho Rev. B does offer slightly better cooling performance than its predecessor. Normally, we’d dismiss a temperature advantage of approximately one Kelvin as insignificant, caused, perhaps, by measurement inaccuracies. But for this comparison of two almost identical revisions of the same cooler model, we pulled out all the stops and ensured a perfectly stabilized test environment, accounting for ambient temperature and even humidity. We also removed and re-attached each cooler on the Intel Core i7-5820K repeatedly, thus minimizing the influences of thermal paste thickness variations. While one Kelvin is not an earth-shattering difference, we are certain that the new cooler revision performs better than the old one.

The larger base plate of the HR-02 Macho Rev. B confers another advantage: it is easier to mount the cooler on the CPU, since its tendency to slide forward or backward is reduced. This makes it easier to attach to the mounting frame.

Speaking of the mounting frames, the Rev. B model adopted the Macho Zero's slightly slimmer frame, improving compatibility with some high-end AMD motherboards. While the smaller Macho 120 holds its own compared to the larger models, we were irritated by the fact that Thermalright's significantly larger HR-22 does not achieve the thermal performance of its mainstream brother, the HR-02, even as it costs a whopping $88!

We like the HR-02 Rev. B's design. Nickel-plated heat pipes and a black top plate are pure eye candy. Since the competition is also working on aesthetics, the HR-02 Rev. A is looking dated.

Last but not least, the new fan offers a small improvement, too. While the visual and mechanical design of the previous TY-147 and new TY-147A appear identical, the more modern model spins at a lower minimum speed (300 RPM) and serves up a more attractive RPM curve.

The massive HR-02 Macho is ideally suited for slow-turning fans, and while the TY-147A is PWM-controlled, it intentionally postpones revving up. This minimizes noise, especially when the CPU fan is controlled by the motherboard, since integrated fan controllers are known for aggressively revving up the fan speed.

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Verdict

All in all, we're dealing with several slight improvements. Taken together, they are not insignificant, making the Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. B a better choice than what came before. Indeed, the HR-02 Macho Rev. B stands out from the crowd. Its combination of an ultra-quiet fan, excellent cooling performance with low air flow and the option of semi-passive operation is hard to find.

Once again, Thermalright raises the bar with its HR-02 Macho Rev. B and the previously-introduced Macho Zero. It is up to you to decide which of the two models to buy. The Macho Zero doesn’t ship with a fan, but sports an all-black look and comes with a fan duct, whereas the HR-02 Rev. B comes with the ultra-quiet fan we just finished characterizing.

Be that as it may, both variants deserve our recognition. These two Thermalright heat sinks remain the benchmark for competing brands in the CPU cooler marketplace.

  • nucas
    And... were is Noctua?
    If these coolers are the benchmark for competing brands, were are they.

    Reply
  • gofasterstripes
    This is awesome. How does it compare to a Noctua d14?
    Reply
  • youcanDUit
    the lack of comparisons makes me wonder...
    Reply
  • cib24
    This was a great read and very informative with regards to the Thermalright CPU coolers. I hope that the next article by Kai Tubbesing is a comparison test of CPU coolers and is written with the same attention to detail and careful testing procedures.
    Reply
  • Onus
    "...the updated model not only comes with a few design improvements like nickel-plated heat pipes and a black paint job for the topmost cooling fin..."
    Please use the word "changes" instead of "improvements" unless you can show better cooling performance attributable to these two things.
    "Indeed, the HR-02 Macho Rev. B stands out from the crowd."
    With not a single other member of "the crowd" in these tests, this statement is meaningless marketing drivel, and the whole article nothing more than an advertisement. Particularly as a Moderator, I try not to be critical of the site, but this might be the worst example of misrepresentation I've ever seen here. I think you can do a LOT better.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    Alas I agree, without comparisons to existing coolers (and please dear grud
    include a normal TRUE!) the article is useless. Are any of these better than
    the venerable NH-D14? The equivalent Phanteks? What about an H80? One
    cannot make a purchasing decision based on the summary. I'm sure toms
    wouldn't do a GPU roundup based on a single manufacturer's product line,
    eg. Zotac; readers would rightly want to know how they compared to ASUS,
    EVGA and all the others.

    I'm glad I started doing a particular thing with cooler reviews before I invest
    time reading from the start: I go straight to the results page, and if it doesn't
    have coolers from other vendors then I don't bother reading. What people
    want is something like this. Ditto reviews for fans, etc.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • jtd871
    SPCR's recommended heatsinks summary provides a good comparison of heatsink performance (cooling performance/noise level) and links to the original reviews for more detailed information. It helps that SPCR has standardized on a 130W TDP CPU as the heat source in order to provide an 'apples to apples' comparison.

    I will credit Tom's for doing a better job of reporting on performance and noise over the range of the fan speeds recently.
    Reply
  • Calculatron
    15183168 said:
    Alas I agree, without comparisons to existing coolers (and please dear grud
    include a normal TRUE!) the article is useless. Are any of these better than
    the venerable NH-D14? The equivalent Phanteks? What about an H80? One
    cannot make a purchasing decision based on the summary. I'm sure toms
    wouldn't do a GPU roundup based on a single manufacturer's product line,
    eg. Zotac; readers would rightly want to know how they compared to ASUS,
    EVGA and all the others.

    I'm glad I started doing a particular thing with cooler reviews before I invest
    time reading for the start: I go straight to the results page, and if it doesn't
    have coolers from other vendors then I don't bother reading. What people
    want is something like this. Ditto reviews for fan reviews, etc.

    Ian.

    Boom goes the dynamite.

    http://www.tomshardware.de/cpu-kuhler-test-prozessorkuhler-cooling-cpu-cooler,testberichte-241700-7.html

    The German Tom's Hardware team has been delving into cooling for the last couple months, which explains why we have been getting some of the articles we have being thrown our way. (This article was published about a month ago, I think?)

    I actually hope that Tom's Hardware does more round-ups like this, and I hope that they do the testing for the True Spirit family of Thermalright heatsinks next. The more data we have that is like this, and have it in one place, the better off we all are. And the less we'll feel the need to see it as a requirement to include something like an Noctua NH-D15, or Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.

    Reply
  • Onus
    Yes, but this wasn't a "round up;" it was a showcase of a single company's products. The data presented may be 100% reliable (and I hope I didn't imply that it wasn't), but without comparative results from other products, does not assist in making a buying decision or otherwise judging the merits of the coolers.
    Reply
  • dovah-chan
    Well considering how many benchmarks there are including all the coolers such as the Phanteks PH_14TCPE, Noctua NH-D15, Cryorig R1 Universal, be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3, and many others, it should be pretty obvious where/what these products stack up at.

    This is just a general evaluation of a lineup of coolers. Just go find another site that benches at a similar setting with a 5820K or comparable socket 2011 CPU and go look at it and stop complaining about them not having results when there are already tons out there that you can take two minutes to look up and compare to.
    Reply