Inside the box
Have a look at the contents of the package:
Upon opening the package one is greeted with 2 plastic bags and a manual. The first plastic bag contains the cooler, while the second contains the necessary equipment for installation. These include one 1,5mm thick thermal pad, which is used for single sided memory modules, and two 0,3mm thick thermal pads for use with double sided memory modules. Furthermore, the necessary mounting gear to apply an optional 70mm, 80mm or 92mm fan is present as well. To be complete, a Thermalright sticker is put into the package as well.
The included manual is an A4 black and white document, and is very precise and clear. Everything you need to know is there and needs no further explanation. The manual (.pdf)
is also provided online by Thermalright, something I always appreciate.
two boxes for dual channel operation, contents of a box, manualInstallation
Before we can get to the testing sections, the coolers have to be installed of course. Thermalright claims that a tool-less installation is possible, and for what the coolers themselves are concerned, they're absolutely right. There is one little thing of course, and they describe it as follows:
Important Note: In order to install HR-07, you will have to remove the heat spreader on your memory module. However, Thermalright is not responsible for any problems or damages that may occur during the removal of memory heat spreader. Users will be at their own risk. If you are not sure or do not know how to remove/uninstall your heat spreader, please contact your memory manufacturer for instructions.
So how should you proceed? Let's walk through the installation procedure, and let me start by introducing our guinea pig of the day:
our guinea pig of the day : the OCZ PC6400 ATi Certified
First of all, the heat spreaders of the original memory modules have to go. As every memory manufacturer has its own design, uses different materials and ways to attach them to the memory chip, I really can't give you a "good for all" removal guide. Actually, there are 2 main ways in which memory heat spreaders are attached: the "classical" way is the use of a clipping system: the metal heat spreaders are held in place by metal clips from the top which press the heat spreader firmly onto the memory chips. Most of the time two clips are used, and by removing them the heat spreaders just fall off. Kingston still uses this method, as you can see in the thumbnail below.
The second method has become the most used by far these days: the metal heat spreaders are simply glued to the memory chips with a special, heat conducting glue, or an adhesive strip which are designed for this specific use. The latest Corsair Dominator ram, the team Group ram and also our OCZ memory of the day are equipped with these kind of heat spreaders.
Finally, there are manufacturers that use a mixture, like Mushkin. First you have to remove a clip (which is easy), after that you'll have to find a way to dissolve the glue...
left to right : Kingston, Corsair, Team Group, Mushkin
This is of course where the biggest drawback of the HR-07 becomes obvious. None of the memory manufacturers is actually providing an easy way to remove the heat spreaders. In fact, all of them actually state that any removal of the heat spreaders will void the warranty of the memory. When you've just invested $400 or more on a pair of Micron memory chips for example, I'm not so sure you'd want to ravage them right away. On the plus side, Thermalright has been negotiating OEM contracts with memory manufacturers like Team Group to apply the HR-07 onto some of their memory modules from the start, and in that case the warranty issue is non-existent of course.
In our case, we got to work with a sharp and very flat knife, a hairdryer and some protective gloves (for the heat). I guess the installation won't be tool-less after all.
After heating the heat spreaders a little, the glue of our OCZ heat spreader was weak enough to pry a knife between them, and loosen them up without damaging the ram chips. To be honest, I didn't use my most expensive ram kit for this test, as I didn't know beforehand how it was going to work out. I also tried the same process with some Team Group ram, but that seemed to need a lot more heat than our OCZ sticks to begin with, and I gave up after a while as I didn't want to damage them...
Let's see the result of our efforts on the next page ->