Packaging and A Closer Look
Thermalright clearly knows their market here; no wasted flash or gloss on a box that’s getting thrown out or stuffed in a closet in an hour’s time. Opening it up, we see that the contents are very well padded. Conspicuously absent is the sort of demented origami packaging that some manufacturers delight in suprising us with; getting the contents back into the box is as easy as getting them out. This is a minor point, but it says good things about their attention to detail.
The accessories package is similarly utilitarian; a plastic bag containing the brackets and fasteners and pads shares space with the instruction pamphlet, a parts list, and–in a welcome deviation from the norm–a full-sized, long-blade magnetic screwdriver. Given that most tower coolers of this stripe practically require such a tool, its inclusion is quite welcome. Notably absent is any kind of AMD mounting bracket–this is quite damning when the cooler is advertised as being AM2/AM3 compatible. I was able to obtain a compatible mounting bracket through other channels, but this is a problem worth noting if you’re considering pairing the HR-02 with an AMD CPU. Also absent is any kind of fan; this CPU cooler is meant to be able to run passively in many systems. If this will not work for you for some reason–hot-running CPU, sub-optimal airflow, enforced transverse mounting–brackets are included to accommodate a 120mm or a 140mm fan.
The cooler itself is firmly encased in a styrofoam shock mount, with a plastic bag to keep out any possible debris and a static-cling sticker to keep the mating surface pristine. With all that removed, it’s clear from the outset that this is a high airflow design, though only in one direction. If you plan on using this cooler in passive mode, lining up the front of the heatsink with the intake and exhaust fans on your case is key.
Looking at the side, the directionality of the airflow is reinforced; the numerous tabs will serve to block most airflow coming in from the sides. Also apparent from this angle is the off-center placement of the mating surface; it’s been moved as far forward as possible, so that the cooler will (hopefully) not block the first few ram slots on your motherboard with a fan installed. The view from the top introduces another novel design choice: each plate–I hesitate to call them fins when they’re this large–has a roughly hexagonal hole cut out of it near the rear. This is deliberate, and meant to accommodate the Intel mounting brackets’ screw holes.
The mating surface is one of the key components of any heatsink; it is what ultimately determines how much heat goes from your CPU’s heat spreader to the rest of the heatsink for dispersal. The goal here is flatness; the more perfectly even the mating surface is, the more of it comes in contact with the heat spreader. Thermalright has done an excellent job here; the mating surface is extremely smooth, and as you can see, is even moderately reflective. It’s not a perfect mirror finish, but as no amount of polishing is going to remove the need for thermal grease, that’s not an issue.