Unboxing and Overview
Silverstone does not operate a web shop in the USA, and thus we begin directly with product packaging.
The box itself is fairly petite but that has not stopped Silverstone from filling it up with details and marketing features as with any other product from any other company. The Silverstone blue and white colors adorn the box, with an illustration of the product around it as well which is nice. There is a double flap as well as a seal keeping the contents inside in check and I like this as well- helps reassure a buying customer that no one has tampered with the contents.
Open the box and a manual greets you (online version here) which is unfortunately disappointing. In a quest to have multiple languages, the details are woefully lacking here and for a CPU cooler this simply will not do. This is one of the things I will be scoring on henceforth, so it’s not the best of starts foor the AR08.
Below lies the fan and the accessories on the side, so let’s take a look at the latter first. There are two ziplock pouches and some just put in as-is. Pouch 1 has the Intel and AMD mounting brackets, and there is no mention of support for the new AMD AM4 platform although that might change soon. Pouch 2 has the mounting hardware- 4 each of metal locking nuts, mounting posts for Intel LGA 2011(-3), Intel LGA 775/1366/115x and AMD sockets, bracket screws and insulating washers. Also included here is a pouch of no name TIM which will suffice for this cooler. Finally, loose in the left accessory cutout are the fan clips (4), the Intel backplate and a piece of rubber pad presumably intended to help decouple the fan from the heatsink. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the fan now:
The fan included is a square (ish) 92 x 92 x 25 mm in the Silverstone blue and white colors. It has a rounded frame but this will not be as big as issue on a heatsink tower as it would be right up against a radiator with more fins/heat transfer area. This has a sleeve bearing, a long life one rated at a life expectancy of 40,000 hours, so it could definitely have been better, but I expected no less with this cooler and it should be mostly okay with the cooler and fan generally going to be mounted vertically. This is a high speed 1500-2800 RPM fan so expect noise to be on the higher side of average at or near full speed- it comes with the territory of a small fan as this unfortunately. Due to the high speed rating, it also has a relatively high current draw of 0.3 A (3.6 W) including start up boost, and in operation consumed a max of 0.17 A (~2 W). Given there are 4 mounting clips provided, you could add in a second 92 mm fan and the SST-FW91 is a retail match so you could power and control both fans from teh same fan header too. The cable is not sleeved, so some minor points will be docked for this- the very minimum in 2017 should be the use of black insulation on the wires if you are not going to sleeve them.
On to the heatsink now:
The heatsink is a single tower as mentioned before, and employs a new fin stack design which is the same in both sets of directions thus making it not necessary to align the fan in one particular way. Gone are the criss-cross style fins with directed airflow as in the AR02 and instead we have interweaving diamond edged fins which Silverstone claims helps with better performance. The fins are moderately thick at ~75 microns and a fin density of 14 FPI although that did vary closer to the ends. There are three 6 mm copper heatpipes here so let’s take a look at how they traverse through the tower:
All three terminate at the top, as with most heatsinks, and there is no plating or end caps for aesthetics here- again to be expected considering the cooler application and intention. Each heatpipe goes the length of the heatsink with solder connections to the fins continually and through the cold plate, and then on to the other side.
The cold plate employs a direct contact of the heatpipes with the CPU IHS, and I have seen this used before- in the AR02 as well as other coolers from competitors- but never has this worked very well. Thermal paste inevitably gets in between the space around the heatpipes and results in an uneven TIM spread which counters any benefits from the direct contact here. Let’s see if things are any better with the AR08 shortly, and keep an open mind till then. On to the next page for installation!