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CPU coolers retain compatibility with Socket 2011 - Thermalright HR-02

by on28 February 2012



Review: All you need are four new screws

Intel‘s Socket 2011 is new solution for high-end desktop, workstation and server processors. We know that the new socket retained compatibility with Socket 1366 cooling solutions, but old CPU coolers will require a special mounting kit. Today, we’ll show you the parts we had to order for Thermalright’s HR-02 and briefly cover existing coolers that are compatible with Socket 2011. Note that we only chose a few randomly picked CPU cooler manufacturers so the list is not complete.

Mounting high-end CPU coolers on LGA2011 has been simplified compared to LGA1366, because there’s no need to mount a backplate. Socket 2011 is fixed on the motherboard and will take the weight of the heaviest and largest CPU coolers.


As you can see from the picture below there are no traditional holes through the PCB. There is now a metal bracket that has been tapped to accept M4 screws.


Socket 2011 is huge, it requires two retention levers.



Thermalright’s HR-02 cooler was launched almost two years ago and the original mounting kit is not compatible with Socket 2011. Still, it would be a pity to waste such a great cooler so we decided to order the Socket 2011 mounting kit.

For Thermalright’s Silver Arrow/HR-02/Archon/Venomous and models with the VenomousX BTK pressure plate kit, Thermalright has a minimalist LGA 2011 Adapter Kit with 4 2011 Screw Pillars. We got these screws via priced at € 1.99, here.

hr-o2 mounting kit 2

For Thermalright’s HR-02 Macho/True Spirit 140/True Spirit and all models using the new universal Intel/AMD bracket, there is the new LGA2011 Retention Kit, comprising of a new 2011 Retention Bracket and 2011 Screw Pillar Type B.

hr-02 macho mounting kit

You can see the LGA 2011 Adapter Kit with 4 2011 Screw Pillars for HR-02 cooler on the picture below.  

hr-02-mounting kit1

Socket 2011 simplifies mounting of CPU coolers since it does not require a backplate. This means that you can mount it with the motherboard already inside the case.

We mounted Thermalright-s HR-02 cooler on EVGA’s X79 FTW motherboard. For our testing, we used Sandy Bridge-E CPU Core i7 3820.

socket 2011 HR-02 mounting1

The picture below shows the back of the socken on our X79 FTW motherboard; the holes in the PCB around the socket are sealed as the backplate is part of the socket itself.

socket 2011 HR-02 mounting2

Mounting HR-02 coolers on socket 2011 is basically the same as with socket 1366, with the exception of the first step, i.e. mounting a backplate. The four screws we got are screwed into the metal bracket tapped to accept M4 screws (picture below).

 socket 2011 HR-02 mounting3



Thermalright’s HR-02 has proven to be a good cooler for semi-passive cooling so we decided to use it for testbenches of graphics cards on the new EVGA’s X79 FTW motherboard and Sandy Bridge-E CPU. We published a full blown review of this cooler some year and a half ago, and you can find the results here.

Sitting in Corsair’s Cosmos II Ultra Tower case, Core i7 3820 didn’t exceed 70°C thanks to our HR-02 in semi-passive operation mode.

hr-02 cpu test 1

hr-02 cpu test 2

hr-02 cpu test 3


Thermalright HR-02 is an old but CPU cooler, but its quality is undeniable. Namely, it easily manages to cool Sandy Bridge-E CPUs on Socket 2011, despite the age difference. If you’re planning on exchanging Socket 1366 for Intel’s Socket 2011, all you need to do is order four screws, which cost us €2 here. In fact, you’ll find that mounting coolers on Socket 2011 is much simpler than with the 1366.

Anyhow, if you already have a good CPU cooler, we’d recommend not buying a new one but rather ask around whether your CPU cooler manufacturer offers adapter kits. On the following few pages you’ll find what CPU cooler makers have done with their existing products in order to ensure compatibility with Intel’s socket 2011


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Last modified on 28 February 2012
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