The Thermalright Macho Zero

Being one of the oldest and most reputable manufacturers of advanced cooling solutions, Thermalright does not really need much of an introduction in such a review. Ever since 2001, Thermalright is totally focused on designing and producing cooling solutions for PC components, with the mere exception of a heatsink for the XBOX 360. The company greatly surprised us with their submission for this review. With this being a roundup review of top performance coolers, almost anyone would expect to see the Silverarrow or HR-22 (or a Copper TRUE? - Ian). However, Thermalright submitted the Macho Zero - a cooler optimized for passive performance and low airflow environments!

Thermalright supplies the Macho Zero in a very plain black cardboard box, with just a schematic of the cooler printed on it. Inside the box, the cooler is very well protected inside thick polyethylene foam pieces. Note that the Macho Zero is not supplied with a fan. For the means of this review, Thermalright supplied us with a single TY-147A 140 mm fan.

The bundle of the Macho Zero is the most thorough of this review. Thermalright nickel-plated the screws and retention plates necessary for the mounting of the cooler, supplies a tube of quality "Chill Factor III" thermal paste, anti-vibration rubber pads and wire clips for one cooling fan, provides a full size magnetic 150 mm shank Philips PH2 screwdriver and even gloves for the installation of the cooler.

Although the Macho Zero is primarily optimized for semi-passive cooling, meaning that it has been designed to make use of the airflow generated by the fans of the case, it is possible to install any 120 mm or 140 mm fan on it. For the means of this review, the cooler had to be in active configuration, therefore Thermalright supplied us with a TY147A 140 mm fan. The white bladed fan with the rounded frame is a model designed for efficient airflow and low-noise operation. This means that the fan is optimized for low impedance applications, such as to replace case fans. Normally, that would make it mediocre for a very dense cooler, but that is not the case with the Macho Zero. It has a maximum rotational speed of 1300 RPM and an "enhanced hyper-flow bearing", for which we could not find specific information about, but it definitely is a form of fluid sleeve-type mechanism.

The Macho Zero is an imposing, large single tower CPU cooler. Its fins are almost perfectly rectangular, with many openings across their great surface. There are not too many fins though, as the spacing between them is very large in comparison to other coolers. This has been done to optimize this cooler for very low airflow environments and greatly lowers its airflow impedance. For aesthetic purposes, Thermalright painted the top fin black, yet it does not cover the heatpipe endings. There is a fairly large hole near the rear side of the fins, meant for the screwdriver to go through for the mounting of the cooler. Note that for the mounting of this cooler, the front fan (if present) needs to be removed as well.

Typically, the Macho Zero is designed for use without a fan. An optional fan can be used of course, but remember that high airflow / low pressure options are likely to be far more effective than high pressure fans. The provided wire clips are an excellent fit for 140 mm fans with rounded frames, yet their configuration does not allow the adjustment of the fan's height. It would be wise to check the mechanical specifications of the cooler and make sure that the installation of a fan does not restrict the installation of RAM modules in slots that need to be used.

The base of the Macho Zero is of notable importance. The copper base is rectangular and wide to provide full contact with Haswell-E processors, with six 6 mm heatpipes going through it. The heatpipes are split into two groups, with heatpipes 1-3-5 expanding near the rear of the heatsink and heatpipes 2-4-6 near the front. This approach allows the localized generation of a heavy thermal load to be split across the surface of the fins. Everything is nickel plated and the contact surface is treated to a perfect mirror finish.

The SilentiumPC Grandis XE1236 Testing Methodology
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  • jenesuispasbavard - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    I've had great performance with the Spire Thermax Eclipse II for five years now, and for the last three years, even better performance when paired with two Corsair SP120's. It's still the highest rated heatsink on Frostytech; not sure why it isn't included here.
  • jenesuispasbavard - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    Edit: Maybe too old? Released in mid-2010 I think.
  • Iketh - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    did I miss the thermal medium? what paste is used? I've looked over the article twice
  • Beany2013 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Whatever was supplied - it's a test of the product as supplied (for most of them) or as recommended by the manufacturer (as in the TR one, where they provided a suitable fan when requested, as the rest came with one).

    Thermal pastes are best tested on *one* cooled as a known quantity, really, which would be a separate test of it's own, I'd say.
  • Iketh - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    also, EVGA's cpu ACX cooler should be in a cheaper roundup
  • creed3020 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the review! This is certainly your best review since joining AT, kudos to getting a good spread of products from around the world. There were a few in there that I hadn't heard of so it was great that the final results would be a surprise.

    The results were somewhat what I expected and nice to see where each of the companies's products sit. I have to say that not having the Cyrorig on the final recommendation is a bit sad as their products are simply bespoke. I don't have the R1 Ultimate but I do use their C1 in my SFF case on an overlocked Core i5 4690k and the temperature to noise performance is unbelievable, especially compared to some SFF coolers I've used in the past from other vendors.

    Looking forward to more of these, perhaps a SFF cooler showdown could be next...?
  • JimmiG - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    I went with the Phanteks PH-TC14PE back when I built my Haswell system back in 2013. It and my (de-lidded) 4770K are still holding up fine.

    All those coolers are really close though, especially at full fan speeds. We've probably hit the limit of air cooling with heatpipe technology at this point.
  • PPB - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    Why review the Macho Zero and not the True Spirit 140 Power or the IB-E Extreme? Those 2 are far a better match for the rest of the lineup that the one you reviewed from Thermalright.
  • katinacooker - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - link

    Cryorig stock is availble in the UK from Alternate

    I got my R1 Universal from there
  • DPOverLord - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - link

    You can't do a real air cooling review without the Thermalright Silver Arrow, this review is lacking.

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