Articles: Cooling

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Design and Functionality

The Thermalright HR-02 can be characterized as monumental and huge. This tower-design heatsink weighs 860 grams and measures 112x140x160 millimeters.



It is but slightly smaller in comparison with the Noctua NH-D14.


The total heat dissipation area of the Thermalright HR-02 is 10,690 sq. centimeters which is 11% smaller in comparison with the Noctua NH-D14 (12,020 sq. centimeters).

Consisting of thick fins, the HR-02 is robust and seems monolithic, even though it is actually a composite structure. It is based on six copper heat pipes, 6 millimeters in diameter, which go through a copper base. Perforated aluminum fins, 0.5 millimeters thick and 3 millimeters apart from each other, are put on those pipes and soldered to them.


The perforation, the thickness of the fins and the large spaces between them indicate that the HR-02 is meant for fan-less mode or for low-speed fans. As you can see in the right photo, the heatsink is somewhat shifted relative to the cooler’s base. Thermalright says this moves the top of the heatsink away from the back-panel system fan for easier installation but enthusiasts say that this slanting design may facilitate the airflow at the bottom of the heatsink (below the fins) and improve the cooling of the mainboard’s power components. The heatsink is nickel-plated.

Each of the aluminum fins is perforated and has 62 slits with one edge curved up. There is also a large intricately shaped central opening.


This perforation makes the airflow inside the heatsink more turbulent to improve the transfer of heat from the fins. The only thing we are confused about is the size of the large opening. Judging by the user manual, it is meant for the long screwdriver included into the box: you insert it in there to tighten one screw of the cooler’s fastening. But why is it so large and figured? This may serve an aesthetic purpose but the loss of some of the heatsink area is obvious. There is also a loss in the total heat dissipation area due to the large clearance: the distance from the bottom fin of the heatsink to the cooler’s sole is 50 millimeters (57 millimeters to the mainboard surface). Of course, this is meant to ensure compatibility with memory modules equipped with tall heatsinks but the Thermalright HR-02 is kind of leaning forward and does not hang above the memory modules if you orient it properly (as explained below).


Some 4 or 5 fins might have been added to increase the heatsink’s total area and improve its performance. It would also be good to get rid of the large hole for a screwdriver.

You may have already noticed the way the heat pipes are positioned in the heatsink body. Thermalright was the first manufacturer to place the heat pipes in the heatsink alternately in order to distribute the heat uniformly in the fins. Other makers have adopted this solution, too. The HR-02 shows a more fundamental approach of this problem: the heat pipes go through the base and alternate and pierce the heatsink in two pairs of separate rows, each consisting of three pipes. Thus, neighboring heat pipes have a dedicated non-overlapping heat dissipation zone in the heatsink fins and work more effectively than if they were placed alternately or linearly.

The cooler’s sole is typical of Thermalright products:

There is no mirror shine but the surface is finished well. The pipes are soldered in the base, the minimum thickness of the copper plate below the pipes being 1.7 to 1.9 millimeters.

The cooler’s sole is far from ideally flat.


With the new high-pressure fastening mechanism the HR-02 left a good-looking trace on our CPU.

The cooler’s base is 42x40 millimeters large.

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