Thermalright HR-05 Northbridge Cooler Page: 1
Introduction

Thermalright have an excellent reputation when it comes to making top-line air coolers.

The HR 05 is a cooler that is trying to combat the extreme temperatures that North Bridges are getting to nowadays. We take one incredibly hot ATI RD600 North Bridge and put the HR-5 to the test.

Packaging

As is usual with Thermalright products the packaging is minimal but excellent.

thermalright hr05

Whilst not "stand out" in retail stores, it will do it's job.

thermalright hr05 thermalright hr05 packaging

As you can see the inside of the box shows just how well the HR05 is packed. Plenty of foam to protect the cooler itself from the worst of couriers.

Package
The Thermalright HR-05 comes with a total package covering everything you'll need for installation:

thermalright hr-05 package

Brackets for installation on:

ATI: Radeon Express 200, Radeon RD600
Intel: 975X, 955X, 945G, 945P, 945PL, 925X, 925XE, 915G, 915P, 865PE, 848P
nVidia: nForce4 SLI Intel Edition
SiS: SiS 656, SiS 661FX/964
VIA: P4M800, PT880 Ultra

Also included is:

* Thermalright Thermal Paste
* Instruction manual for installation on all chipset types
* Foam Padding for chipset surround
* Thermalright Sticker

All in all everything you would want to have with a North Bridge Cooler.



Thermalright HR-05 Northbridge Cooler Page: 2
Thermalright HR-05 - Up close

The HR-05 is built to the same solid standards that I had come to expect of Thermalright. Certainly handling the cooler gives you confidence in the build quality of it.

The cooler is very tall for a North Bridge cooler and you may have to beware of this if your case has a problem as far as height is concerned. However it does mean that it is very thin leaving a lot of space either side of it once installed.

thermalright hr05 cooler itself thermalright hr05 side view

The base of the HR-05 does not have a mirror finish but instead has a roughened appearence. This is very flat as I found out when I tested it with a plate of glass, so the contact should be good.

thermalright hr05 base

The base is copper plated with Nickel, like most Thermalright coolers. I have found that the Nickel plate does not affect performance much at all, but the most hardcore enthusiasts amoung us would perhaps lap it to get the 1°C improvement that it would give.

Overall the cooler is great looking and is pretty impressive once installed (see later pages).The build quality is top-notch and I was impressed by the quality of the welds on the heatpipes to the base.

Specifications and Features (taken from Thermalright )

Features:
* Passively cooled heatsink design for no-noise operation (70mm Fan optional)
* Proprietary through holes on fins for effiecient ventilation
* Soldered fins to copper base (nickel plated) to make effective contact
* Light weight and easy installation

Technical Spec.:
Dimension:L77.9 x W19(fin), W30(base)x H105 (mm), without fan
Weight:145g (heat sink only)
Optional FanAny 70x70x15mm fan
Motherboard Compatibility: Intel Pentium-4 LGA775 platform
ATI: Radeon Express 200
Intel: 975X, 955X, 945G, 945P, 945PL, 925X, 925XE, 915G, 915P, 865PE, 848P
nVidia: nForce4 SLI Intel Edition
SiS: SiS 656, SiS 661FX/964
VIA: P4M800, PT880 Ultra Intel Pentium-4 Socket 478 platformIntel: 865, 865G, 845, 845PE, 875



Thermalright HR-05 Northbridge Cooler Page: 3
Test Setup

For the testing I used the following PC Specifications:

Intel Core2Duo E6600 @ 3.37
DFI ICFX3200 RD600-based Motherboard (running 375 x 9)
Mushkin HP2 6400
Hitachi 7K160 SATA 300 HDD
Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS
Custom Watercooling
Lian Li PC75b Customised <<|Black3D|>>

North Bridge Coolers used:

stock cooler with fan  icfx3200 stock cooler

Stock ICFX3200 Plated Aluminium Cooler with 80mm Fan

Thermalright HR05 (Passive)

I used ITE Smart Guardian to monitor temperature. Whilst this is not 100% accurate, it is good to use as a comparison and a thermal probe backed up the temperatures to whithin a degree centigrade, including the temperature difference.

Ambient temperature was 22.7°C.

Artic Ceramique was used for both coolers.

Idle temperature was taken after 30minutes of running time and monitored for 30minutes. Load temperature was taken after 30minutes of Orthos (Dual Prime95 stress test), running a blend test to stress RAM and CPU.

Installation

The installation onto the ICFX3200 was very easy. I placed the foam spacer onto the North Bridge and made sure it stuck down.

The clips that come for Intel 775 (hoop connectors) don't look like they will hold much at all. Once the cooler is in place they also allow for some slight movement. However after using watercooling on several North Bridges I have concluded that tightening very hard down on a North Bridge does not work very well, so I don't see this as a problem.

The HR05 is very easy to install after this, especially after I have had a few hours frustration installing various different coolers to several different boards. Whilst the boards "loop" connectors aren't a very good installation solution, Thermalright seem to have made the best of a bad job.

thermalright hr05 installed  thermalright hr05 installed

I chose to have the cooler at a slight angles like this as it seemed to have better contact like that. It did rotate slightly more thus avoiding the graphics card by quite a way, but i did not see this as a problem as the distance between the two is sufficient enough for me not to worry about shorting etc. Note that the ICFX3200 has the North Bridge very close to the top PCI-e x16 slot and most other motherboards would give the cooler significantly more space.

thermalright hr05

Here you can see the foam insert and the slight angle that the cooler seems to rest the best at.

Overall installation was very easy, especially for a North Bridge cooler and I was thoroughly impressed.


Thermalright HR-05 Northbridge Cooler Page: 4
Testing

As stated before for the idle temperatures I ran the PC 30minutes from startup and took the temperature at regular intervals for 30minutes. For the load temperature I ran Orthos on blend stress test for 30 minutes, then took the temperature at regular intervals for a further 30minutes.

This procss was repeated three times, as we do in all of our testing to ensure accuracy.

Results

The results were as follows. Please remember the stock cooler had an 80mm fan blowing directly onto it for the duration of the stock heatsink tests as the RD600 got too hot to have the stock cooler passive. Ambient was 22.7°C

test results

The Thermalright performed 9°C better at idle than the stock cooler and a full 11°C better at load. Also bear in mind several factors:

* The RD600 North Bridge is a very hot chip (stock cooler runs at 65°C idle with no fan)
* The Thermalright HR-05 was a passive solution in the testing
* The North Bridge is right next to a very hot 8800GTX

This makes the results very impressive indeed in my opinion.

Update

I used a SilenX 80mm fan on the cooler and immediately the difference was very good. Ambient a slightly lower 22.3°C for the fan test, so factor this in when comparing.

thermalright cooler with fan

So as you can see the HR-05 performs extremely well with an 80mm Low-dB fan on it. 47°C for this chipset is simply amazing.


Thermalright HR-05 Northbridge Cooler Page: 5
Conclusion

Thermalright have managed to impress me once again with their excellent heatpipe cooling solutions. The Thermalright HR-05 is a great solution for several groups of people:

* The quiet computing enthusiast
* HTPC/Media PC owners
* Hardcore Enthusiasts

The fact that the cooler fits a huge range of motherboards and is also available in an SLI version as well makes the Thermalright HR-05 very versatile.

Recommended e-tailers:

£14 inc VAT @ SpecialTech non-SLI version
£17 @ SpecialTech - SLI version

From these awesome prices the Thermalright HR-05 is a big winner on the price front too.

I will not hesitate to give the Thermalright HR-05 the coveted OC3D "Editors Choice" Award, as well as the "Value For Money" Award. A top-notch product.

Editors Choice Award Value For $$ Award

Pro's
+ Great Cooling
+ Passive Solution
+ Option for fan if desired
+ Great motherboard support
+ Great Value For Money
+ Great looks

Con's
- A little tall
- Could possibly have had a 4-way clip

Thanks to SpecialTech for providing the Review Sample

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