Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

SilverStone AR01 & AR02 CPU Air Cooled Heatsink Review

SilverStone comes to us today with a new series of air cooler for your AMD or Intel branded processor. The Argon series is pointed squarely at the lower cost end of its product stack. So how do these 6mm heatpipe units with "Direct Export Technology" stand up to testing in a world of great air coolers with much higher prices?

Introduction

SilverStone has been very active in the cooling segment for the past few years. It was one of the first brands we tested on our new platform and we have covered more coolers from it than any other company during the same time. That kind of dedication gets a lot of attention around here and we are happy to keep that tradition going with yet another cooler from the company that used to be most known for its power supplies and cases.

SilverStone is a company that I would describe as seizing the opportunity to try new things. After the hugely successful Heligon HE01 cooler, SilverStone went big with the HE02. When that cooler didn’t perform as hoped, SilverStone made a u-turn and went small. The Nitrogon NT06-Pro performed so well it was able to beat entry level water coolers all while being no bigger than the radiator of said coolers. Impressive.

Today would be the Goldilocks page in the book of coolers from SilverStone. Not too big and not too small. Continuing with the naming convention similar to that of gases from the periodic table we have the SilverStone Argon AR01 and AR02.

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System Setup

Today's review utilizes our third generation [H]ard platform. The testbed consists of the ASUS P8Z77-V motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7 3770K.

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Test Methods

CPU

The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted their methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.

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GPU

For the first time, we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.

Case

Corsair was kind enough to provide us with their Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the paste of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do their job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-five minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-five minute period of 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using Prime95 v27.7 set to in-place large FFTs mode. In this way we can place the maximum amount of heat into the CPU. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.