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Thermalright HR-22 CPU Heatsink

The Thermalright HR-22 is a substantially bulked up version of the HR-02, weighing in at 1.17 kg. A plastic air duct is included to create a quasi-passive cooling solution. Is it worth a C note?

Thermalright HR-22 CPU Heatsink

November 5, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Thermalright HR-22
CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
Thermalright
Street Price
US$85~100

The HR-02 Macho is one of our favorite Thermalright coolers, hitting almost every important mark we consider in a CPU heatsink. Not only does it boast elite performance and a sound mounting system, its asymmetrical design defuses memory compatibility issues, its stripped down construction lowered its price against comparable solutions, and its size and wide fin spacing even made it a suitable candidate for passive cooling. Its versatility is pretty much unbeatable. Hoping to improve on this is the HR-22, a bigger, beefed up version of the HR-02.


The HR-22 box.


Package contents.

The HR-22 shares a similar design with the HR-02, using what Thermalright calls DPAS (Directed Passive Airflow system), a combination of features that takes advantage of the natural airflow and layout found in most PC cases. The heatsink is asymmetrical to prevent memory interference problems, the gaps between the fins are large and through holes (multiple slits forming vertical columns through the fin stack) are used to maximize ventilation in a low airflow environment. There is one notable new addition, the "Airflow Tunnel Add-on Kit," essentially a plastic duct connecting the heatsink to a 120 mm exhaust fan. Thermalright is advertising the HR-22 as "0 CPU Fan passive cooling" provided if you use the included duct and your case has some airflow.

Compared to the HR-02, the HR-22 is wider by 18 mm, broader by 10 mm, and at 1.17 kg, it’s heavier by a massive 480 g according to our measurements (the difference is 420 g according to the specifications). Thermalright has added two heatpipes (eight total) and the entire structure is nickel-plated like most of their other coolers. It always seemed odd to us that the HR-02 resembled a Scythe heatsink more than a Thermalright, but we didn’t complain as it kept the price down. The HR-22 on the other hand reverts back to Thermalright’s old ways. It’s a premium air-cooler, retailing for about US$100.


"Airflow Tunnel Add-On Kit."

The duct is fairly stiff and an unattractive shade of yellow. There are no screws or clamps to keep either end in place so you simply fit it around the one side of the heatsink and a 120 mm fan, presumably at the rear or the top of the case. Ideally you would have a fan on the heatsink itself as well but according to Thermalright, the HR-22 can handle a high power processor with system cooling alone, though it’s irrational not to mount a fan on the CPU just so you can claim it’s passively cooled.

Thermalright HR-22: Specifications
(from the product
web page
)
Dimension: L150mm x W120mm x H159mm
Weight:1120g
Heat pipes: 6mm heatpipe*8 units
Fin: T = 0.5 mm ; Gap = 2.8 mm
Fin Pcs: 35 PCs
Copper Base:C1100 Pure copper nickel plated
Motherboard to Fin: 36 + 8 = 44 mm 46 + 8=54 mm

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The Thermalright HR-22 is composed of 35 aluminum fins, 8 ix 6 mm thick copper heatpipes, and a copper base, all nickel-plated. According to our measurements, the heatsink’s dimensions are 150 x 120 x 160 cm (L x W x H) and its weight is a whopping 1.17 kg (around 1.33 kg when paired with a typical 140 mm fan).


Like previous members of the HR line, its through holes are noticeable. Such a big heatsink would be a good candidate for a second fan but only one set of fan clips is included, and the second set of ridges where they would grip on to is pointed in the wrong direction.


The HR-02 was a departure for Thermalright in that it had a budget build quality with plain copper heatpipes and aluminum fins which made surprisingly affordable. The HR-22 goes back to tradition in that it’s an all nickel-plated affair. Given the cooler’s thickness an unbalanced shape, a large hole is provided for screw driver access to secure the final step of installation.


The HR-22 is 18 mm wider than its predecessor but shares its lopsided asymmetrical structure. This design allows a fan to be installed without interfering with any DIMM slots next to the CPU socket, while bringing the other side closer to the exhaust fan.


Strangely, the heatsink is uneven on the broad side as well. The HR-22’s 35 fins are substantial but loosely arrayed, approximately 0.53 mm thick and spaced 2.74 mm apart, on average.


The base is noticeably rectangular rather than square in order to accommodate all the heatpipes. Gobs of solder are noticeable all around the intersecting area, ensuring proper heat transfer.


The finish on the base is almost mirror-like but some horizontal banding is noticeable up close. The surface is slightly convex.

BASE & INSTALLATION

The most critical aspect of installation is that the heatsink be securely
mounted. A firm mating results in good contact between the cooler’s base and
the CPU heatspreader and more efficient heat conduction. Ideally it should
also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces of
hardware as possible.


The mounting system is essentially the same as the HR-2 with a few minor
improvements. The small screws that secured the support frame have been
replaced with thumbnuts, the nubs on the Intel backplate slide firmly
to the desired hole without having to be assembled, and the crossbar has
a knob at the center to produce extra tension at the center.


Thermalright’s installation scheme is essentially sound but due to the
HR-22’s massive asymmetrical weight, we might recommend a thicker mounting
frame. After testing, we noticed the frame had become slightly curved
on two sides. It isn’t clear whether the frame began that was or bent
under the pressure.


Our initial test run produced subpar results, about 2°C poorer than
the HR-02. A close examination of the TIM imprint on our lapped CPU showed
surprisingly poor contact between base and CPU, with the best contact
point being off center to one side. This suggested that the mounting system
could not compensate fully for the asymmetrical weight of the HR-22, which
on our
flat lapped CPU
, caused the center contact to be offset.


After further examination of the entire mounting system, we removed the
plastic washers from the metal spacers, to create higher tension to compensate
for the imbalanced weight and slightly bent mounting frame. These washers
are unnecessary as there is nothing that can be short-circuited on the
board underneath. We also experimented with the center pressure screw
on the crossbar and realized after a few more test runs that tightening
this all the way actually seemed to
reduce total pressure
on the CPU/base mating. Best results were obtained when the knob was tightened
only to the point where resistance was met.


Fully installed. Notice the bowing on the fan clips where they hook onto the fan. The clips are fairly loose.


Tightening the center knob pushes a column down into a shallow hole above
the base. This is meant to increase the pressure obetween base and CPU,
but the crossbar appears to bend upward, which might reduce the pressure
instead. We recommend tightening it until a gap just starts to appear
above the base. There is some wiggle room during this final step; care
must be undertaken to ensure the heatsink is properly centered.


After mounting and testing the heatsink with our minor adjustments, we
found a faint spread of thermal compound imprint at the center, an indication
of strong/tight contact where it is most needed, unlike the off-center
imprint seen at first.


On our test board, the heatsink edge lined up almost perfect with the top of the motherboard. This might be an issue depending on how much clearance is in this area.


For the few occasions when’s it’s prudent to test a cooler inside a case, we use an Antec P280. Unfortunately in our case, the heatsink was so close to the exhaust fan it was impossible to use the included duct. There would be more room on a LGA115x model as the CPU socket would be shifted further to the right side.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Weight
1170 g
Height160 mm
Fin count35
Fin thickness
0.53 mm
Fin spacing
2.74 mm
Vertical Clearance*
38 mm
* measured from motherboard PCB to bottom
fin of heatsink
Large Heatsink Comparison:
Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
SilverStone Heligon HE02
0.52 mm
3.30 mm
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
0.34 mm
3.12 mm
Thermalright HR-22
0.53 mm
2.74 mm
Scythe Ninja 3
0.39 mm
2.64 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Thermalright Archon SB-E
0.49 mm
2.33 mm
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
0.40 mm
2.30 mm
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
0.39 mm
2.30 mm
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
0.31 mm
2.25 mm
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
0.40 mm
2.21 mm
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
0.38 mm
2.22 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Ashura
0.43 mm
1.97 mm
Scythe Kabuto & Zipang 2
0.34 mm
1.94 mm
NZXT Havik 140
0.41 mm
1.91 mm
Scythe Mugen-2
0.31 mm
1.89 mm
SilverStone Tundra TD03 (radiator)
0.43 mm
1.86 mm
Swiftech Polaris 120
0.43 mm
1.85 mm
SilverStone Argon AR01
0.30 mm
1.85 mm
Thermalright Venomous X
0.53 mm
1.84 mm
Scythe Mugen 4
0.30 mm
1.82 mm
Noctua NH-C14
0.38 mm
1.79 mm
Enermax ETS-T40
0.40 mm
1.79 mm
Scythe Yasya
0.32 mm
1.78 mm
Noctua NH-U14S
0.42 mm
1.72 mm
SilverStone Argon AR03
0.42 mm
1.72 mm
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
0.40 mm
1.70 mm
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
0.30 mm
1.70 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Reeven Kelveros
0.47 mm
1.61 mm
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
0.16 mm
1.59 mm
Thermalright Silver Arrow
0.32 mm
1.57 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
0.56 mm
1.52 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
0.42 mm
1.50 mm

Testing on larger heatsinks are done on our
lapped LGA1366 heatsink testing platform
, while smaller coolers tackle our LGA1155 heatsink testing platform. A summary of the test system
and procedure follows.

Key Components in LGA1366 Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme
    Nehalem core, LGA1366, 3.2GHz, 45nm, 130W TDP.
  • Asus
    P6X58D Premium
    ATX motherboard. X58 chipset.
  • Asus
    EAH3450 Silent
    graphics card.
  • Intel
    X25-M
    80GB 2.5" solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 3GB QiMonda
    DDR3 memory. 3 x 1GB DDR3-1066 in triple channel.
  • Seasonic X-650 SS-650KM
    650W ATX power supply. This PSU is semi-passively cooled. At the power levels
    of our test platform, its fan does not spin.
  • Arctic Silver
    Lumière
    : Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed
    specifically for test labs.
  • Noctua 140 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 140x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 120 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 92 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 92x25mm
    fans)

The system is silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling
fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details
of which are shown below.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
9V
990 RPM
21 dBA
8V
880 RPM
18 dBA
7V
770 RPM
15~16 dBA
6V
660 RPM
13 dBA
Reference Nexus 120 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1080 RPM
16 dBA
9V
880 RPM
13 dBA
7V
720 RPM
12 dBA
Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1470 RPM
17 dBA
9V
1280 RPM
14 dBA
7V
1010 RPM
12 dBA

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system
    power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate
    the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer:
    SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital
    audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber
    with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our
    standard fan testing methodology
    .
  • SpeedFan,
    used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated,
    so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95,
    used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications.
    All instances are used to ensure full stress.
  • CPU-Z,

    used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.

  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform
    and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from the lab’s variable DC
power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise
did not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor, and the
graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable
for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core
reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good
cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.

TEST RESULTS

Test Results: Thermalright HR-22
Fan Voltage
Single Ref. 140 mm Fan
Dual Ref. 140 mm Fans
SPL@1m
Thermal Rise
SPL@1m
12V
29 dBA
37°C
35°C
32 dBA
9V
22~23 dBA
39°C
36°C
25 dBA
8V
19 dBA
40°C
37°C
21~22 dBA
7V
15 dBA
42°C
38°C
17~18 dBA
6V
12~13 dBA
44°C
39°C
15 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The HR-22, mounted on our system with the minor adjustment described earlier,
provided excellent results: Thermal rise above ambient of 44°C at 5V and
37°C at 12V using our reference Noctua NF-P14 fan. It was resilient as the
fan speed was reduced, never heating up by more than 2°C at each step.

While mounting a second fan on the heatsink itself isn’t supported, its size
seemed suitable — it is precise what would happen anyway if the duct was
used to couple the heatsink to the case exhaust fan — so we strapped one
on with a couple of zip-ties. Typically we see a 2~3°C reduction on an average
high performance heatsink after adding a second fan which often isn’t enough
to justify the increase in noise. The HR-22 bucked this trend hard, becoming
increasingly effective as the fan speeds were slowed to quiet levels. At 7V
and 6V, there was a 4°C and 5°C advantage respectively. When we tested
the HR-02, it also displayed surprisingly strength in this scenario.

Passive Cooler Comparison: Thermal Rise
(Core i7-965 @ 3.2 GHz, 1.2V, Prime95, half load)
Time Elapsed
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
SilverStone Heligon HE02
Thermalright HR-22
NoFan CR-95C Copper
Start
14°C
14°C
14°C
15°C
1 mins
41°C
37°C
34°C
41°C
2 mins
48°C
43°C
39°C
49°C
3 mins
53°C
49°C
42°C
53°C
4 mins
59°C
54°C
46°C
55°C
5 mins
65°C
60°C
50°C
57°C
6 mins
71°C
64°C
54°C
58°C
7 mins
76°C
68°C
58°C
59°C
8 mins
79°C
73°C
61°C
60°C
9 mins
FAIL
76°C
64°C
61°C
10 mins
FAIL
68°C
11 mins
72°C
12 mins
75°C
62°C
13 mins
78°C
14 mins
FAIL
>15 mins

As a passive heatsink, the HR-22 isn’t stellar, but it is better than most, lending credence to Thermalright’s claim that it can adequately cool a high-end CPU with system fans alone (with the heatsink ducted to the rear exhaust fan). During our half-load fanless test, with each passing minute the thermal rise increased fairly consistently by between 3°C and 4°C, significantly slower than the HR-02 and SilverStone HE02. While the temperature never showed any signs of stabilization, eventually failing our test, it survived a full 5 minutes longer than its little brother.

HEATSINK COMPARISON TABLES

°C Rise Comparison:
CPU Coolers with Single 140 mm Reference Fan
Heatsink
Fan voltage / SPL @1m*
9V
(~21 dBA)
7V
(~15 dBA)
6V
(~13 dBA)
Thermalright Archon SB-E
37
40
42
Noctua NH-U14S
38
41
44
Thermalright HR-22
39
42
44
Prolimatech Armageddon
39
42
45
Scythe Mugen 4
39
42
45
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
39
43
45
NZXT Havik 140
40
43
47
Scythe Ashura
41
44
46
Noctua NH-C14
(top mounted)
40
44
48
Noctua NH-C14
40
44
49
Thermalright Silver Arrow
39
45
49
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
42
45
48
SilverStone Heligon HE02
45
48
50
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
49
51
53
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

Paired with one of our reference 140 mm fans, the HR-22 lands a top three spot, just behind the Noctua NH-U14S. Given its size and price, we wouldn’t expect any less, though it’s notable that the smaller and cheaper HR-02 trailed by about 1°C.

°C Rise Comparison:
CPU Coolers with Dual 140 mm Reference Fans
Heatsink
Fan Voltage / SPL*
8V
(~21 dBA)
7V
(~17 dBA)
6V
(~14 dBA)
Prolimatech Genesis
36
37
39
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
36
37
40
Thermalright HR-22
37
38
39
Noctua NH-C14
37
39
41
Thermalright Silver Arrow
37
39
41
Noctua NH-U14S
39
39
40
Noctua NH-D14
38
40
42
Scythe Mugen 4
39
40
42
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
39
41
43
NZXT Havik 140
39
40
43
Scythe Ashura
40
41
43
SilverStone Heligon HE02
43
44
46
*Note: there are minor differences in measured SPL due to the variety of fan orientations and mounting methods offered by the compared coolers.

Like the HR-02, the HR-22 benefits greatly from a second fan at low fan speeds, but not enough to overtake its little brother. In this dual fan configuration, the HR-22’s more rotund body turned out to be a hindrance, with the push-pull setup not quite as effective.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system
inside SPCR’s
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber
, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We’ve listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn’t hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn’t record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan
at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that
the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don’t change the volume
setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Thermalright HR-22 is essentially a HR-02
on steroids, taking its asymmetrical design that alleviates memory interference
issues, and super-sizing it in attempt to make an uber cooler. Its size is somewhat
problematic, however, as the mounting system may not be quite strong enough
to support its immensity adquately.The combination of our flat lapped CPU and
the less-than-perfect tension as a result of the weight imbalance caused off-centered
contact on our test system. We suspect that an unlapped CPU with a typical slightly
concave IHS would make better contact with the HR-22 base and provide better
results without any modification of the installation. Our compensation of removing
some unnecessary washers brought the performance closer to what we were expecting.
In any case, if you want the very best cooling performance, we recommend you
take a close look at the TIM imprint before you seal up your case after installing
the HR-22.

Even with our modification and the improvements over the HR-02 — the nickel-plating,
extra heatpipes, and bigger body — the HR-22 failed to conclusively surpass
its smaller brethren. There is a point of diminishing returns on size, and the
HR-22 seems to be right at that point. As an actively cooled heatsink, its US$85~100
price tag isn’t unreasonable compared to other high-end coolers, but the HR-02
offers better bang for your buck.

The HR-22’s design is more promising as a passive cooler. It produced strong
results on our fanless cooling test, handily beating out the HR-02 and SilverStone
HE02
, suggesting that a low TDP chip should be no trouble for HR-22
to handle fanlessly. Obviously the same applies if you opt to use the included
duct along with additional case cooling as Thermalright recommends. Still, it
doesn’t seem like a pragmatic option: If you already have one, two, or more
fans running, another low speed fan on the CPU heatsink isn’t going to change
the overall noise level. Using the HR-22 with a fan as well as the the duct
seems like the most logical cooling strategy. We’re giving the HR-22 a Recommended
award, but only for its dual-fan role, and only at the lower end of its US$85~100
price.

Our thanks to Thermalright
for the HR-22 CPU cooler sample.


Thermalright HR-22 is Recommended by SPCR.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Our
Lapped CPU Heatsink Test Platform

Noctua NH-U14S Slim 140mm Tower Cooler
Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler
SilverStone Tundra TD03 Liquid CPU Cooler
NoFan CR-95C Copper Fanless CPU Cooler
Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler

* * *

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