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Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU Cooler E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling
Written by David Ramsey   
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU Cooler
Closer Look: Macho HR-02 Cooler
Thermalright Macho Detailed Features
Heat Sink Test Methodology
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU Cooler

Manufacturer: Thermalright Inc.
Product Name: Macho HR-02
Price As Tested: $39.95 MSRP

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Thermalright.

If you're overclocking your CPU, you're going to need a better cooler than the one that shipped with your CPU. There are many aftermarket alternatives, but enthusiasts know that Thermalright's products should always be on their short list. The problem is the high-performance coolers can cost quite a lot, with prices of more than $75 for top-end air coolers and well over $100 for good all-in-one water coolers. Thermalright tries to address this problem with the Macho HR-02 cooler, which they pitch as their "mainstream enthusiast" product. At an MSRP of $39.95, it comes in well under most high performance coolers, but will its performance match theirs? Benchmark Reviews puts this product to the test.

As CPU design migrates to a 32nm process (such as Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors and AMD's forthcoming Bulldozer CPUs), power consumption and heat production go down, and the need for monster cooling systems decreases. But there are still a lot of very hot CPUs out there, such as the overclocked and overvolted Core i7-950 I use in my heat sink test machine.


Any CPU cooler's primary task is to cool the CPU. Since retail CPUs come with perfectly adequate coolers, the main reason to buy an aftermarket cooler is for conditions that the stock cooler can't handle...namely, overclocking. Air coolers aimed at overclockers can cost more than $75, and with the Macho HR02, Thermalright's trying to bring this level of performance to a lower price point.

Thermalright Macho HR-02 Specifications

  • Cooler Dimensions: Length 140mm x Width 102mm x Height 162mm
    Cooler weight: 860 g (excluding fan)
  • Heat-pipe: 6mm heat-pipe*6 units
  • Cooler Base Material: C1100 Pure Copper with Nickel Plating.
  • Fan Dimension: Length 160mm x Width 26.5mm x Height 140mm
  • Fan Speed: 900~1300 RPM (PWM)
  • Fan noise level: 19-21dBA
  • Fan Airflow: 56-73CFM



# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerRobert17 2011-07-10 06:07
Nice review David. Thanks. I think the only thing you left out was mounting it on a system that was running.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerDavid Ramsey 2011-07-10 07:37
i think trying to mount a heat sink on a running system would be a bad idea...
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# RE: RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerRobert17 2011-07-10 13:11
I was just goofin' on ya. You were very thorough.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerReality checked 2011-07-11 10:22
Noise benchmarks would be nice for the fan. I know you say it's quiet but relative to what.

Noise is a performance feature.

Personally I always make a choice based on noise and cooling power.

I dont care if a cooling system can get the cpu an extra 5 degree c cooler
IF it sounds like an aeroplane taking off
or like an industrial pump empting a swimming pool.

Noise benchmarks matter.

** Also , benchmarks would greatly benefit if they encompassed a wider range of products.

Eg... comparing Sandybridge cpu with latest AMD phenom.. ok a direct comparison.
compare them both to an older P4 and AMD Athlon , and a few laptop based cpu's.

Reviews comparing green paint with another shade of green paint are boring. And useless as far peripheral vision of the whole landscape is concerned.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerDavid Ramsey 2011-07-11 11:44
Sadly, I don't have the equipent to accurately measure fan noise. But it's a very quiet cooler. In most cases it will be inaudible.
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# mrdev 2011-07-11 23:07
I have to say again that I'm puzzled by your logic. This is a low rpm to fanless heatsink yet you are comparing it to products which come with very high rpm loud fans.

In your apple to apple comparison you use a high rpm Delta. How is that relevant for this kind of product?
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# RE: mrOlin Coles 2011-07-11 23:38
Do you understand the principal of apples to apples, right? That's kind of important, when you're testing two products that serve the same purpose.
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# RE: mrDavid Ramsey 2011-07-12 07:20
I compared it to heatsinks with loud, high RPM fans because they're the competition. Thermalright markets the HR02 as an "enthusiast" heat sink, so that's what it gets compared to.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerDoug Dallam 2011-07-12 00:09
I may never OC again given that I probably won't upgrade my current 3.8Ghz OC's Bloomfield 920 anytime soon, but I always like reading reviews and comparisons of CPU coolers. You would think there would be less discrepancy between coolers given the laws of thermal dynamics.

I'd use any of those fans, really. I'd probably pick the cheapest one, since they are all cooling at or below 75C. Thanks for your efforts.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU Coolerdev 2011-07-12 00:42
Going by that logic Olin, there's really no difference between a car and a tractor since both have 4 wheels. :)

Some heatsinks perform much better at low rpms. Expressing a judgement after just one particular situation, which doesn't really suit all needs or products, is a bit wrong.

How long does it take to test with a low rpm fan?
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# RE: RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerWhynot 2011-07-12 03:51
Actually, I don't think you get the apples to apples thing since the function of a car and tractor are entirely different. A CPU cooler has 1 purpose regardless of if it has a fan, a low rpm fan or a high rpm fan (or even multiple fans) and that's to...well, cool the CPU and prevent it from over heating. If you want to get into the "Some heatsinks perform much better at low rpms" type of thought, then one would have to only test those coolers that perform best at higher RPM to those that also perform best at higher RPMS, lower to lower, fanless to fanless. Heck, let's throw fan size into the mix as well because by your logic, only coolers with 80mm fans should be compared to other coolers with 80mm fans. That's getting pretty specific and far more detailed than the average system builder and even over-clocker would do. And let's be honest here, do you really care if the fan is a High or Low RPM fan as long as it gets the job done? I'd be willing to bet that 98% (+/- a couple %) really don't care.
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# Low RPM fan != better performanceendocine 2011-07-12 08:33
On what are you basing your claim that less airflow on some heatsinks will yield better performance, i.e. better heat transfer from the heatsink to the air?
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# RE: Low RPM fan != better performanceDavid Ramsey 2011-07-12 15:46
There are two things to consider for heat sink fans: air flow and static pressure. The latter is the air pressure the fan can maintain when blowing into a small enclosed space with no outlets. In general fans with high static pressure are better for heat sinks with closely-spaced fins (typically radiators in water cooling systems). A fan with high static pressure might have less measured airflow than a fan with lower static pressure, but provide better results in some circumstances.
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# RE: Low RPM fan != better performanceRMC 2011-07-12 20:39
An example of lower airflow providing greater performance is generally attributed to the Noctua coolers. Tests of their fans tend to show lower volumes of air movement and low static pressure. The phenomenon of lower air movement apparently removing more heat may be due to the air having a longer time to transfer heat from the heat sink, as the heat absorption function of air may not be entirely linear. High velocity air may not absorb heat as well as relatively lower velocity air.

I cannot say this is true since I don't know all the details and equations, but those are some of the usual explanations. This is rather complex science, where common sense may not be applicable, and a strong background in the physics of this is necessary to truly provide an accurate analysis.
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# RE: RE: Low RPM fan != better performanceFarnsworth Worthington 2011-07-13 21:13
It is not possible to move less air (at a given temp) through a heatsink and receive better cooling performance than moving more air (at the same temp) through that same heatsink. The little tricks come into play when considering what method you're using to increase the airflow.

There are two ways (that come to mind) to increase the mass flow rate of the air. One is to move the air through the heatsink faster, the other way is to make the air moving through the heatsink denser (increased static pressure?).

Presumably the low-rpm fans that have a reputation for quiet operation and good cooling are fans that have a noticeable effect in terms of increasing the pressure (aka density) of the air they output.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerPinakio 2011-07-12 02:22
A very good review, thanks David and BMR. Also it's good to see a sub $40 HSF holding its own when tested along with some of the best products in market. It would be great if you consider doing a sub $50 shootout someday.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerAthlonite 2011-07-12 08:04
Would have been nice to see ram clearances on an AMD mobo instead of just an Intel mobo again everyone knows intel mobos have their dimm slots further from the socket but AMD based mobos don't
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# Nice ReviewRMC 2011-07-12 10:36
I've always preferred BMR's CPU cooler reviews to others, their methodology makes more sense to me. Their recognition of one large variable, the supplied fan, is very important. Given the tremendous range of performance of fans, as anyone that has tried many types will know (I am a fan-natic), testing CPU coolers with a "reference" fan removes that as a variable, and allows us to see the performance of the cooler isolated from it's standard fan as a variable. Yes the reference fan is noisy and many would find it objectionable in actual use, but the point of using that fan is a pure cooling capability test. While it can be rightly argued that a cooler was designed with the fan it is supplied with, those results are given as well. If a cooler with an obviously lower speed/lower air volume fan does well with that fan, but poorly with the high speed/high air volume fan, then we just learned that fan speed alone does not tell the whole story. Results like that are important since really learning something from a review is unusual and benefits everyone. Many thanks for that and your reviews.
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# RE: Nice ReviewFarnsworth Worthington 2011-07-13 21:19
I remember when BMR reviewed the Super-Mega, they were kind enough to test it with a set of 140mm fans even, to see if the different airflow pattern would improve the cooling performance.

It'd be enormously educational if they ran a 3rd fan trial using some fan known for high static-pressure and low rpm (like an Air Penetrator? I'm not actually even sure what fans have this quality...), but I personally doubt that 120mm fans can provide a wide enough range of performance that they increase air density appreciably based on any other factor but fan speed. Also that would be a whole extra test on every heatsink - lots of time invested for a result that isn't likely to change any performance orders (and won't increase performance) compared to a high speed fan test.
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# RE: RE: Nice ReviewDavid Ramsey 2011-07-13 22:37
The Air Penetrators are 180mm fans and wouldn't fit...
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# RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewStupido 2011-07-14 02:52
If i'm not mistaking, there should be 120mm version of it...
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewStupido 2011-07-14 02:54
EDIT: I'm not mistaking
they have released AP121 series:
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewDavid Ramsey 2011-07-14 07:16
Ok, good to know! I'll see if I can order some; but it does only flow 35cfm, so I don't think it will work very well as a cooler fan...but we'll see.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewStupido 2011-07-14 08:18
it would be very nice if you share your findings... :)

maybe you can compare it with some standard 120mm fans with similar speed, so we can see the effect of the directed airflow...
also maybe you can include some of the corsair H-whatever coolers to see if it helps on the radiator side.

thanks in advance :)
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewDavid Ramsey 2011-07-21 09:25
I ordered and have the 120mm and 140mm Air Penetrator fans, and I'll see what they can do on coolers sometime. I suspect there won't be much improvement: the whole point behind the Air Penetrators is that their design sends a directed column of air, but since cooler fans are pressed right up against the cooler, I don't see what advantage this would have over a normal fan.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewRMC 2011-07-21 10:18
Good point. I've noticed while checking out fans while unmounted and powered by a wall wart device I found, that there are differences in the pattern or shape of the air column they produce. Some are more focused while others are more diffuse. That can be detected quite close to the front surface of the fan. The diffuse pattern fans seem to have a null zone or "hole in the middle" effect aligned with the center hub of the fan. The diffuse pattern fans also seem to push air out from the edges of the fan's frame, rather than a tight, direct column of air. These affects are all subjective impressions by feeling the air column of the fan with my hand and against my face, so non-scientific but surprisingly obvious once you try it.

The result of these differing patterns of air flow when the fans are used with a CPU cooler could be inconsistent volumes of air passing across all the fins of the cooler. The diffuse pattern fans would seem to have less air moved across the center of the heat sink, and more to each side. The focused air flow fans would seem by common sense to be superior in this application.

All subjective, non-scientific impressions and conclusions, which IMO seem to make sense, but only real testing would reveal any difference.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewDavid Ramsey 2011-07-27 21:09
I've run some informal tests with the Air Penetrators and it looks as if they will make very poor heat sink fans. The simply don't move as much air as a heat sink needs, and the focussed column of air isn't much of an advantage when the fan is pressed right up against the heat sink.
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# RE: RE: RE: Nice ReviewAthlonite 2011-07-14 16:10
There are 120mm versions of the SilverStone Air Penetrator fans as I have one running on my Thermolab Baram
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# Interesting David...RMC 2011-07-28 00:40
... that what you found is the case. As I wrote earlier, common sense has me thinking those fans would be appropriate for CPU cooler usage, but reality can be quite different. I cannot challenge or confirm your findings, since I don't have any data to do so, and that is what counts in the end. This is a fascinating topic, as I have just started noticing the differences in air column/flow patterns of fans. What surprised me is how much the air flow of a fan is changed when the fan is no longer in free space. If you have a PC case that allows mounting fans on it's removable side panel, try it some time. Take the side off completely, and compare the fans air flow when it is simply in free air, and then put it up against the fan grill or vents, both as intake and exhaust. Try different grills or filters. Sure you expect the air column to be disturbed and reduced, but I was shocked by how much the air flow and pattern changed. A fan in contact with many types of grills and vents will have it's flow rate reduced to a fraction of it's free air capability. The air flow pattern or column will also be significantly changed. I've made one discovery regarding fan mounting in this situation which goes against common sense, but seems to work, and I'm still testing it. Who knows whether or not manufactures take things like this into account with their products. One thing I do know is, you truly do not know until you try it. Thinking something should or should not work because we "know" is human nature, but not reality in many cases.
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# RE: Interesting David...David Ramsey 2011-07-28 08:08
As you know, the Air Pemetrator fans have integrated grilles, and you're presumably not suppose to occlude the air flow with other grilles. As case fans, they're spectacular (see my test of the 180mm versions compared to the non Air Penetrator fans in a Silverstone FT-02 case last year). But your point about the behavior of fans blowing through obstructions is a good one. My recent tests were very casual and on a single heat sink that I was testing at the time (the amazing Cooler Master Hyper 612), but temps were a a good 5 degrees higher with the 120mm Penetrator.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU CoolerAthlonite 2011-07-28 18:27
well I'm using an SS Air Penetrator 120mm on my Thermolab Baram in an push pull config and found that using the AP as push is better than using it as pull for the pull fan I'm just using an CM R4 and there's a marked difference in temps....

AP120 pull CM R4 push = 29c idle and 52c loaded
CM R4 pull AP120 push = 25c idle and 49c loaded
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# Orientationkeskiverto 2011-08-20 12:40
I was considering this cooler for Silverstone FT-02 case, but the orientation of the cooler in that case is rather restricted and if the heatpipes of Macho really are affected by orientation, then it no longer looks like a good choice. Any comments on such combo?
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# RE: OrientationOlin Coles 2011-08-20 12:45
That really depends on what you're using it for. If it's for a stock LGA1366 CPU it should be fine. If it's for any LGA1155/1156 CPU it will be fine. The only problem I see is an overclocked LGA1366 i7.
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# RE: OrientationDavid Ramsey 2011-08-20 12:46
As long as you can mount the HR-02 in the Thermalright- recommended orientation, it should provide excellent performance.
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# RE: RE: OrientationDavid Ramsey 2011-08-20 12:48
Never mind, I overlooked the fact that you were talking about at FT-02 case. In that case you can't mount the cooler as Thermaltake recommends.
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# RE: RE: RE: Orientationkeskiverto 2011-08-20 14:53

You had both HR-02 and HR-02 Macho in the test. You did start with "horizontal pipes", but then measured "vertical pipes" for Macho and had the difference.

How about the original HR-02? Do you know whether it suffers too?

What if I had both original and Macho and would swap the towers, attaching the original with Macho's bracket to AM3 in FT-02, and then place the Macho tower in recommended orientation to regular case with original's bracket on LGA1155? Both with TY-140.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: OrientationDavid Ramsey 2011-08-20 15:20
We only had the HR-02 Macho to test. I don't think we've ever tested the previous HR-02.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU Coolerkeskiverto 2011-08-20 15:30
My mistake from reading too many reviews.
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# RE: Thermalright Macho HR-02 CPU Coolerkeskiverto 2011-08-21 01:58
EDIT: Based on review(s) of original HR-02 it does suffer in the upward orientation just like Macho.
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# regarding orientationSwiftdeathz 2011-09-22 20:20
Can someone clear this up for me then because it is still not clear to me. Does it matter or not with the HR-02 macho as far as orientation regarding fan pointing up vertically to an exhaust or horizontally towards rear of case exhaust? Thanks.
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# RE: regarding orientationDavid Ramsey 2011-09-22 21:12
I though I made it pretty clear: "Thermalright was concerned with our initial performance figures and suggested we re-test with the Macho HR02 installed so that the fan blows out the back of the computer case, rather than the top. We re-tested and recorded significantly improved results with this orientation."

So yes, it worked better with the heat sink oriented horizontally, blowing out the rear of the case.
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# RE: RE: regarding orientationSwiftdeathz 2011-09-22 23:27
Gotcha, understood. I guess I confused myself with all the posts and whatnot. I re-read the article from start to finish and now it's clear to me. Thanks for the review btw, it was very well put together.

Now hopefully these things actually start to become available for purchase and I'll be all over it. :)
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# availabilitymike 2011-09-22 21:08
Anyone found some place selling these? Can't seem to find anything.
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# mr.ron 2011-11-11 20:57
wouldn't bother with anything thermalright. i used to be a fan - no a loyal customer -till they sent me a load of mounts that were useless.
thermalright told me to work out what was wrong myself - 1 was the design - 2nd was screw length. couldn't even confirm proper screw length to me.
When sockets are changing yearly Thermalrights refusal to support, and the inability to send out proper parts to support expensive coolers is totally unforgiveable.
thermalright clearly have no environmental concern, and want customers to throw their coolers away and just buy another regardless of the total waste. Supporters of this company are ignorant of the environmental damage boutique companies cause the planet with its planned obsolescence, which is totally avoidable.
if you perform just 1 green act this year buy yourself a different cooler from a different company that supports its coolers, and enable reuse - o hand you'll save money too!
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# The accuracy myth?Andrew Limareff 2012-03-22 20:27
"This means that if the diode reports 40C when it's actually 43C, then it will also report 60C when it's truly 63C."

What you're describing is the linearity of a temperature sensor - unless you've sighted the data plots for the specific sensor on a chip, you're simplifying (and misleading) on this point.
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# Just ordered todayferalshad0w 2013-04-08 22:16
So I just got this today. I got a noctua NF-f12 sitting on my desk unopened and I am wondering if I should put it into push-pull with the included fan when it comes... or if I should return it for a noctua 14cm fan.

The idea is that I would put the noctua on the push side because the focused flow is designed for more concentrated pressure and the included fan on the pull side.

Anyone have any ideas?
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# RE: Just ordered todayOlin Coles 2013-04-09 07:04
Put the stronger fan as the 'pusher', and the less powerful fan as the 'puller'. Of course, you might not need this much air flow, and you might not like the added noise.
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# RE: RE: Just ordered todayferalshad0w 2013-04-09 08:31
yeah, the noctua is the stronger fan, but its also a focused flow and has a narrower outflow. I got a i5 3570k on an asrock z77 extreme4 so I plan to overclock to 4.8 to push my gtx 680 4gb. I do have a concern with noise, but he noctua has a peak noise of 22, and the included fan is rated at 21. I don't think it will be too loud...

I am currently running a zalman 9700nt on a phenom II x4 940 at 3.4 gh. While the 9700nt holds the temp at 45c the fan kicks in to full and is pretty loud at its rated 36 db. I was thinking that these two fans (even together) will be quieter than that is.

I also have the antec 300 case with 3 antec 120 tricools set to medium as intake and the included 120 and 140 fans set to low for exhaust for some positive air pressure in the case.

Anyway... the macho and the ram come tomorrow so I can start installing. I am trying to decide on whether to open the noctua focused flow or not. I am kind of set on 2 quiet fans in push-pull because I think it will be quieter than a single high power fan.

Any advice or stories of previous experience would be appreciated. Thanks.
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