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.
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.