SilverStone Argon AR01 & AR03 CPU Coolers

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SilverStone Argon AR01 & AR03 CPU Coolers

June 17, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

SilverStone Argon AR01 CPU Cooler SilverStone Argon AR03 CPU Cooler
Street Price
US$35 US$50

SilverStone's interest in CPU heatsinks started off simply as a way to complement their much larger PC chassis business. Their first coolers were not proprietary but they were designed with the expressed interest of taking advantage of the airflow and layout of specific SilverStone desktop style cases. The introduction of the Heligon series marked a broadening of their horizons. The HE01 and HE02 were large, heavy duty offerings, targeting enthusiasts with hot, high power towers of various makes and models.

The Argon series ships in aesthetically pleasing baby blue boxes.

The packaging is economical, with the heatsink immobilized inside a cardboard cradle with mounting hardware slipped into pockets on each side.

The Argon series is a line of more economical cooling solutions, utilizing the same technology found in many of today's value-oriented heatsinks: direct-touch heatpipes. As the name implies, they touch the CPU heatspreader directly; portions of the heatpipes are flattened to form the base rather than using an additional copper plate. In theory, direct-touch is a more efficient heat transfer method, but there are many real world and execution limitations that prevent them from reaching elite status.

One key ingredient to heatsink performance is contact between the base and CPU heatspreader: The tighter this mating is, the better heat transfers. Unfortunately heatpipes vary in quality of construction, and being hollow, they are quite weak even when properly fabricated. A few unlucky enthusiasts attempted to lap the base of some of these heatsinks, resulting in irreparable damage. Thus far, manufacturers have been hesitant to use mounting systems that exert a large amount of pressure on direct-touch heatpipe heatsinks. Thus, while we have encountered many good direct-touch heatpipe coolers, there are few truly excellent ones.

AR01 and AR03, with fan and accessories.

The Argon series is available in three different flavors, the larger AR01 and AR03 with 120 mm fans which we'll be testing today, and the smaller AR02 with a 92 mm fan. The AR01 has 3 x 8 mm thick heatpipes while the AR03 utilizes 6 x 6 mm thick heatpipes and is also wider by 2 cm. Neither heatsink is particularly big, standing 160 mm tall by our measurements. Both coolers come with the same accessories: A white 120 mm fan with a blue frame, a packet of thermal grease, two sets of soft fan clips, and Noctua/Prolimatech/Thermalright style installation gear which just might solve the aforementioned mounting pressure issue.

SilverStone Argon AR01 & AR03: Specifications
(from their respecting product web pages here and here)
Model No. SST-AR01 SST-AR03
Material Copper heat pipes with aluminum fins Copper heat pipes with aluminum fins
Application Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011
AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011
AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2
Heat Pipe Type Ø8mm heat-pipe x 3 Ø6mm heat-pipe x 6
Cooling System 120mm x 120mm x 25mm fan 120mm x 120mm x 25mm fan
Noise 16.4-33.5 dBA 16.4-33.5 dBA
Bearing Sleeve Bearing Sleeve Bearing
Net Weight 420g (without fan) 560g (without fan)
Voltage Rating (V) 12V 12V
Start Voltage (V) 7V 7V
Air Flow (CFM) 37.2~81.4CFM 37.2~81.4CFM
Speed (R.P.M.) 1000~2200RPM 1000~2200RPM
Life Expectance (hrs) 40,000 hours 40,000 hours
Dimension 120mm (W) x 50mm (D) x 159mm (H) (without Fan) 140mm (W) x 50mm (D) x 159mm (H) (without Fan)
Differences in bold.

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