Thermalright Macho Heat Sink Family Round-Up

We've seen several versions of Thermalright's HR-02 Macho since 2011, including the smaller Macho 120 and the huge HR-22. We tested the latest iteration, which sports a new base plate optimized for Intel's LGA 2011-v3 interface.

For the past three years, Thermalright's HR-02 Macho has been a stalwart in the competitive CPU cooler segment. We've seen various Macho models offer good price-to-performance ratios, and as fan speeds are reduced, they show their real strength. In a recent review on Tom's Hardware Germany, we documented this by testing the black nickel-plated HR-02 Macho Zero, which doesn’t even ship with a fan.

Over the years, most of the changes to the HR-02 Macho family were minor adjustments. Sometimes the bundled fan was replaced by something newer. Occasionally, the heat sink's looks were updated. Moreover, Thermalright created smaller and larger derivatives of its box-shaped cooler.

The Macho 120 (we called it the Mini Macho) offers reduced height, helping it fit into slim, budget-priced enclosures. The huge HR-22 was intended to break into the semi-passive segment. Surprisingly, though, the standard-sized Macho Zero wound up beating it.

More recently, Thermalright introduced the HR-02 Macho Rev. B, the latest iteration of the standard model with a 14cm fan. Compared to its predecessor (the HR-02 Macho Rev. A), 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, but it also sports two technical innovations.

Until recently, Thermalright used its own TY-147 fan, which is replaced by the TV-147A. The new cooler complements the good performance of the HR-02 Macho at low fan speeds by offering a much wider RPM range (from 300 to 1300RPM) than its predecessor, which had a 900RPM floor.

The second technical innovation is the CPU contact plate. Thermalright's HR-02 Mach Rev. B uses a significantly larger base. In fact, it's the same one that adorns the Macho Zero. This is intended to improve cooling performance for the latest LGA 2011-v3 processor generation.

Inspired by the introduction of Thermalright's refresh, we arranged a family meeting of the various Macho models. Mounted on top of an Intel Core i7-5820K, they can demonstrate their individual strengths and weaknesses.

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  • nucas
    And... were is Noctua?
    If these coolers are the benchmark for competing brands, were are they.
  • gofasterstripes
    This is awesome. How does it compare to a Noctua d14?
  • youcanDUit
    the lack of comparisons makes me wonder...
  • 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.
  • Onus
    Quote:
    "...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.
    Quote:
    "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Calculatron
    117741 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • stoned_ritual
    How many nits could a nit picker pick if a nit picker could pick nits?

    Seriously, this is a "round up" of product line from thermalright. It does not state that this is a comparative review or "benchmark". This is a test of the new revisions of the thermalright macho series. If you could read, you'd have known that. It seems the internet is crawling with people who are on a hair trigger set to outrage at anything that doesn't exactly fit into their current model of reality.
  • gofasterstripes
    Well, while I see you point, surely it would make sense to have at least one or two comparisons, and even if that just consisted of pointing the readers to the german site.

    There's great comparison there, but why would the readership think to look, surely it would make more sense for the Tom's team to know about it?

    So, I don't want to pick nits [and the answer to your question is "lots" ] but at least one point of reference would have made the article much more universally appreciated, OR just mention/link to the other article.

    Cheers anyway, Kai
  • f-14
    i'm up in the air when it comes to coolers. the fans make a 30-40% difference in any coolers efficiency. i usually replace the stock fans because that is where the heat sink manufacturer cut cost and/or corners.
    you can have a great fan paired with a lousy heat sink optimizing that lousy heat sink to 100% or you can have a great heat sink that is advertised as low to 0 noise as it's designed to be able to be fanless and came with a $1 lousy fan either in noise or CFM &/ static pressure which ruins the whole experience of the heat sink until you replace the fan.

    when i see these reviews i don't just take them with a grain of salt, i take them with a 50# bag of salt. the review should contain testing with the stock fan, but also the standard lousy and or noisy fan and also a quiet fan 20db or less same size as the stock fan, and also a fan designed for the heat sinks size, none of those 92mm or 120mm fans on a sink designed for 140mm and respective ratios while also being the highest CFM that is under 35db. then you should have the shop vac test where the constant fan is a sears/hoover shop vacuum of say 6HP drawing air thru the heat sink (think pull) test and should never be changed piece of equipment that is the one constant baseline for every test.

    and we haven't even breached the subject of push or pull and push&pull dual fan configurations, but i think we can all consider dual fans as a perk bonus, and not a necessity that has to be tested unless the heat sink came with 2 fans.

    i'm not going anywhere near the rpm issue. that has more to do with a fans life and durability but is noted as a significant cause of noise that requires factoring bearing type and lubrication type as well as life span. (fans just need a whole article and chart of their own)

    even worse we haven't broached the subject of radial fans vs axial which would be to difficult to test as there are not sufficient fans of these types supplied at retail/online computer stores for all of us to access. (this is more of a commercial vendor specialty type business aimed at bulk / business to business sales)

    i will say this my use of most of the fans i use being cooler master fans that has been decided basically on the lowest 20<db with highest CFM atless than $10 per fan for which i am using the sickle flow series because they meet these requirements ( 19<db@2000 rpm max & 69CFM) and are illuminated so that i can visually judge the fans rotational speed as well as see how dirty they are as the winning bonus factors.

    at the 30<db range i go with areocool shark fans as they have 27db with 86CFM @1500 rpm max+/-10% for $15 with again the same bonus factors: are illuminated so that i can visually judge the fans rotational speed as well as see how dirty they are.

    there are alot quieter fans, they spin @less rpms max and there are alot higher CFM fans but sit closer to 35db range. i try to keep balance that i would tolerate if the machine was on top of my desk infront of me, as alot of my builds are people in business environments who are on the phone alot, old people with hearing problems, and most people who generally don't like noise over 15db but leave everything in their homes running even when they leave for hours/days at a time. (tg4wpwm)
  • wiyosaya
    I've been using Thermalright for a long time, and I have been quite happy with them. I have to agree with others here, though, that a comparison against the competition would have made this article much more interesting.

    For me, I have a True Spirit 120 running on a stock speed i7-3820, and I have been pleased with the less than 40C temps I generally see. Also, I replaced the TS' stock fan with a Scythe because Scythe has significantly better noise figures for the same or better CFM ratings. This setup works great for me. The TS series, even with its small size, seems to perform quite well.
  • mikepark
    While I agree that mention of and links to reviews of competing products would have added value, I liked the "roundup". I'm considering a new build using the i7-5820K and I only do mild overclocking, so I am interested in which coolers do a good job,and are quiet and reasonably priced. I know there are a lot of good coolers out there, but I don't need to know which one is the absolute "best". I've already read other reviews and have some idea of what's available. I appreciated having this roundup of Thermalright's products. In comparative reviews they can't afford the space to show a lot of different models by each vendor. I've never used a Thermalright cooler and liked having their product line explored in more depth than would have been possible in a more balanced review (which are not that hard to find).
  • mapesdhs
    Without other results though, there's no frame of reference. Are they better than older well known Thermalright models like
    the TRUE, VenomousX, etc.? Who knows, the data offer no way to compare.

    Ian.
  • Myrkvidr
    FYI:
    My tesing platform blew up a couple of days before the review - which is the main reason why I did this Thermalright ONLY review and just did not have any comparable results.
    I just ripped a couple of parts out of my own gaming PC to review the coolers, because we were already discussing using a whole new platform for 2015.
  • gofasterstripes
    @Myrkvidr

    That makes sense, yes, but it might have saved a bit of angst if you'd mentioned it in the intro to the review :)

    Thanks for the hard work, nonetheless.
  • BigNick10
    Quote:
    This is awesome. How does it compare to a Noctua d14?


    Performs the same as the d14 at the same sound level if not quieter as well as $13 cheaper but it only has a 2 year warranty compared to noctua's 6 year.