Unboxing and Overview
Silverstone does not operate a web shop in the USA, and thus we begin directly with product packaging. Click on the thumbnails to be taken to a larger resolution image, if desired.
As before, the product box itself is small in volume 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 continues to be lacking. As with the manual for the AR08, Silverstone have included support in multiple languages which is great, but the actual details are on the lower side and can confuse the end user. This is especially true in the fan installation section where an isometric view really does not help out. Below lies the fan with the cooler at the bottom, and the accessories come in separate compartments on the sides, so let’s take a look at the latter first. Some of the accessories come in plastic pouches, and others come loose in the box. For example, we see above the fan clips (Silverstone is nice about providing four, even though you just need two for the fan included) and vibration dampening pads and then a plastic pouch that has the mounting hardware. Here we see four each of metal locking nuts, threaded screw posts for Intel LGA 2011(-3), 2066, 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.
Pouch #2 contains the Intel and AMD mounting brackets as well as the cooler backplate for Intel LGA 775/1366/115x. The mounting bracket for Intel sockets is a 2-piece solution, and everything here is made of thick metal that is nice to see. There is an insulating layer on the cooler backplate to prevent electrical shorting when up against the motherboard PCB.
The fan included is a square (ish) 140 x 140 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 so-called long life sleeve bearing with a rated life expectancy of 40,000 hours, so it could definitely have been better, but again is not a real issue with vertical installations. I tested the fan in both horizontal and vertical installations for ~15 hours each without any problems, but do note that longevity testing is beyond the scope of the review. There are 11 blades on the rotor with a thick, sweeping leading edge to tackle airflow restriction well. The frame also has arrows on one side to depict the direction of rotation and also airflow for those who wanted to be sure. The corners are open and without any padding, there are barely any corners at all if I say so myself. This is where the provided rubber pads come in, and we will take a look at the installation section on the next page.
One of the major advantages of going with a larger fan is that you get similar airflow as a smaller fan, but at lower speeds which in turn translates to lower noise levels. The provided fan here, for example, has a rated speed range of 800-1500 RPM which in theory sounds great for the single tower 140 mm cooler. It is surprising then to see the relatively high current draw of 0.3 A (3.6 W) which, to be fair, includes start up boost. For what it is worth, in normal operation the fan consumed a max of 0.16 A (1.92 W). Given there are 4 mounting clips provided, you could add in a second 140 mm fan and both, with the use of a PWM 1:2 splitter cable, can be powered and controlled off the same fan header. Solder job on the PWM pads in the PCB was well done and, while sleeving begins only from the edge of the frame exposing colored individual wires on the other side, the sleeving is also satisfactory with a heatshrink application and a black and white color scheme including the actual 4-pin PWM header.
The heatsink is a single tower as mentioned before, and employs a a similar fin stack design as with the AR08, with the fins placed identically 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 8 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 AR08 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. On to the next page for installation!