By using an upconverter, direct sampling mod, or experimental software driver the RTL-SDR can be used for HF reception. However, a problem with HF reception and the RTL2832U chip is that it uses a switching power supply in its design. This switching power supply causes significant amounts of noise spurs to appear in the HF spectrum.
Japanese RTL-SDR experimented ttrftech has recently posted about a modification to the RTL-SDR which he performed (note in Japanese, use Google translate to read). The purpose of the switching power supply in the RTL2832U is to step 3.3v down to 1.2v. In his modification, ttrftech disconnected the switching power supply and instead stepped 3.3v down to 1.2v by using three diodes. This works as each diode has a voltage drop across it of 0.7v.
His results show that there is a significant reduction in noise spurs at HF frequencies.