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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  • kraznal - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    LOL - "Liquid-based cooling solutions are becoming easier to install and AIO kits generally are hassle-free, yet they are still not favored by the majority of the users. Their space requirements, increased complexity and price hold most people to simple air-based cooling solutions."

    so they become easier to install, hassle-free but somehow managed to keep their complexity? what are talking about??? :)

    anyway, I am sure you know this and you just overlooked this fact to support your own story, liquid cooling sets are NOT more expensive (Corsair H50 costs $60 shipped), are NOT bigger (H50 compared to any of the air coolers here for example), and are NOT complex (whatever you mean by that), or even the noise factor where air coolers need to run on higher RPMs to achieve same cooling effectiveness as liquid coolers - simply there is no comparison between liquid solution and air solution. Cheap Corsair H50 is far superior in every way than those colossal monstrosities you are reviewing here now. Smart user would never chose an air cooler simply because it doesn't make sense to chose an old and less effective idea.

    Therefore please do not spread bullshit just so you can cash a check for an article.
  • rleigh - Saturday, July 25, 2015 - link

    Liquid cooling doesn't always work well. I got a Corsair H60 to put in a Corsair Obsidian case with an ASUS Sabertooth R2.0 mainboard and an AMD FX8350 processor. It worked brilliantly with CPU temperature at ~35C under load. Unfortuately, the layout of the case and lack of airflow around the CPU heatsink lead to the VRMs/MOSFETS around the CPU reaching temperatures of over 85C, no matter how I arranged the case fans. I replaced it with a Noctua cooler similar to this one which also kept the CPU nice and cool, but with the side effect of the large 14mm fans producing sufficient airflow onto the mainboard to eliminate the dead space which caused overheating.

    This isn't to say that closed loop coolers are bad; their performance can be very good. But they aren't compatible with every case/mainboard.
  • kraznal - Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - link

    First: it's been almost a month - E. Fylladitakis - must be on vacations since he has yet to reply to my comments.

    Second: rleigh - very sorry to hear that you had to install additional cooling for your motherboard. It is best to keep high air flow inside the case, if you didn't provide that then no wonder you had an overheating problem.
  • Cvengr - Friday, December 25, 2015 - link

    Here's an interesting link regarding the use of water cooling in data centers (limited to air cooling). Primary issue is safety.
  • alexbagi - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    Good picks. I'd also suggest looking at for guidance.

    I am going with the 110i myself, as I need water cooling.

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