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.