We will start by looking at the packing the coolers are shipped in. They are by far the smallest boxes I have seen a cooler shipped in, but even so, they are quite sturdy and protect the cooler well.
With the boxes open, you can see that they are not much bigger than the coolers themselves.
With the coolers out of the box, we can get a feel for just how small they really are. From left to right: Stock Intel, Micro Silencer, and Nano Silencer.
Both the Nano and the Micro use what ThermoLab calls Power Clamping Technology, or PCT to assemble the cooler. The base has small grooves cut into it and the fins are pressed into the base. This not only increases the surface contact between the fins and the base, but it also removes a rattle point. No rattling fins means less noise. The orientation of the heatpipes is also the same on both coolers. ThermoLab says this arrangement allows the cooler to be unaffected by mounting orientation, but as we will see later on, most boards can only mount coolers one way due to the design layout.
Both coolers bases are of the same design, and both come with TIM pre-applied to the base. The Nano (above) has a slightly smaller cooling area than the Micro. If it wasn’t for the fin design, I would have a hard time pointing out which was a Nano or Micro base. Notice how the heatpipe loops stick out from the base, this is what will ultimately dictate how you mount the cooler on the board. I will show this in the next section. You may also notice the base looks off-center as well. It is off-center to the fins but it is on-center with respect to the entire footprint of the cooler.
Under that pesky stock TIM is a flat aluminum base with a nice finish.