Thermalright HR-03 Plus 20

Thermalright HR-03 Plus Review

Installation »

The Package

The HR-03 Plus comes in a brown cardboard box. Inside the package is heavily padded with soft Styrofoam making sure that the cooler arrives without a scratch on it.

The HR-03 Plus comes bundled with everything you need to install it on an 8800-series card. Besides the HR-03 GPU cooler you also get both RAM and MOSFET heat sinks. The only thing that you need which doesn't come bundled with the cooler is a fan. If you are going to mount the HR-03 Plus cooler on an 8800-series card it's recommended that you install a 92 mm fan on top of the main profile. Thermalright supplies some fan clips that you can use to fasten a 92mm fan on the profile with. You can also mount a smaller fan with the clips. If you fancy something bigger it's also possible to mount a 120 mm fan with some plastic strips.

Thermalright also supplies some really nice thermal interface with this cooler. It's easy to work with and cools better than most generic pastes.

Closer Examination

On the picture above you can see the Thermalright HR-03 Plus from the bottom / top depending on what orientation you mount it in. One of the things that surprised me a bit was that it's so large. I had figured that it was big, but I had no idea that it would be this huge.

Thermalright includes two different kinds of RAM heat sinks with this cooler. The first is the traditional fin design, but the other is a flat version. The flat RAM heat sinks are used for the four RAM chips that the heat pipes will go over, and to avoid interference with the cooler these are flat with only a couple of grooves in.

The small I/O chip on the 8800-series cards is also covered by the HR-03 Plus cooling solution. You get a rectangular aluminum profile which you mount over the I/O Chip with two push pins. The I/O chip profile is the only one without a thermal pad which means that you need to apply some thermal paste to the chip before mounting the profile otherwise you might damage the card.

It seems that Thermalright has every hot component on an 8800-series card covered with the HR-03 Plus kit. The kit even includes MOSFET heat sinks. As with all the other heat sinks the MOSFETs have a small adhesive thermal pad on the bottom.

The HR-03 cooler can be mounted in two different ways. You can either have the fins above your graphics card or underneath your card. This means that you can use this cooler in a SLI setup. On the two pictures above you can see that the cooler has two machined surfaces.

The base of the HR-03 Plus is well constructed. Each of the six heat pipes are soldered to the double sided base. The mounting of the heat pipes shows that this cooler is a quality one. Each pipe has its own profile cut into the base, this maximizes contact area. This means that the base is more effective at transferring heat away from the base and into the heat pipes.

Above you can see the other side of the base. The heatpipes go all the way through the base and are sealed off on the outside of the base. This means that the heat pipes remain at their full diameter until it doesn't matter performance wise.

The heat pipes are also soldered to each of the fins. This should ensure optimal heat transfer from the heat pipes to the fin array. As you can also see on the right picture above the HR-03 Plus is actually a two piece construction. Each of the small fins are hooked onto a large one via a small profile. The small profile can't stand as much abuse because of the way it's hooked on. When you insert the fan clip you can actually feel the clipped on fin giving way to pressure.

When it comes to the construction of the fin array this cooler features one of the most sophisticated I have seen in a long time. Every fin features a lot of rectangular holes where the excess material is bent in a 90° angle. The little piece of copper sticking out is what spaces the blades out making sure that there is the correct amount of space between each fin. The copper plates are all nickel plated and to my surprise they are quite thick compared to the fins on the Zalman VF-1000 LED. The profile of the fins features a guide rail for installing a 92 mm fan.
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