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SilverStone Argon Series AR03 CPU Cooler Review

Today on spotlight, we have a new cooler from SilverStone. The cooler comes in the form of the AR03 from the Argon family of coolers. The SilverStone Argon AR03 was built to give a higher performance low-cost solution for your new processor. The largest of the Argon has six large 6mm heat pipes that come in direct contact with the CPU. Is it enough to outperform some of the other coolers we have tested lately? Let’s find out!

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Today on spotlight, we have a new cooler from SilverStone. The cooler comes in the form of the AR03 from the Argon family of coolers. The SilverStone Argon AR03 was built to give a higher performance low-cost solution for your new processor. The largest of the Argon has six large 6mm heat pipes that come in direct contact with the CPU. Is it enough to outperform some of the other coolers we have tested lately? Let’s find out!

SilverStone Argon Series AR03 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction

Today on spotlight, we have a new cooler from SilverStone. The cooler comes in the form of the AR03 from the Argon family of coolers. The SilverStone Argon AR03 was built to give a higher performance low-cost solution for your new processor. The largest of the Argon has six large 6mm heat pipes that come in direct contact with the CPU. Is it enough to outperform some of the other coolers we have tested lately? Let’s find out!

SilverStone’s take on the AR03

The SilverStone Argon series coolers are designed to provide the best cooling solution for your CPU. The SilverStone Argon AR03 features six 6mm thick copper heat pipes connected to the base using Heat-pipe Direct Contact technology (HDC). A new and compact 120mm PWM fan with excellent balance of airflow and noise is included to provide forced-air heat dissipation with the ability to cool components around the CPU. For users requiring higher performance in cooling, the SilverStone Argon AR03 is the best choice.

Specifications

Model No.

SST-AR03

Material

Copper heat pipes with aluminum fins

Application

Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011
AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2

Heat Pipe Type

Ø6mm heat-pipe x 6

Cooling System

120mm x 120mm x 25mm fan

Noise

16.4-33.5 dBA

Bearing

Sleeve Bearing

Net Weight

560g (without fan)

Voltage Rating (V)

12V

Start Voltage (V)

≤7V

Air Flow (CFM)

37.2~81.4CFM

Speed (R.P.M.)

1000~2200RPM

Life Expectance (hrs)

40,000 hours

Dimension

140mm (W) x 50mm (D) x 159mm (H) (without Fan)

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Features

 Advanced silence and performance
 Six Ø6mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins ensuring the best thermal conducting efficiency
 Heat-pipe Direct Contact (HDC) technology
 Innovative anti-vibration fan mountings for easy installation and silence operation
 Includes compact 120mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
 Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011 and AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 compatible

Closer Look

If you were to browse SilverStone’s site, you will see three new coolers from the Argon series family. Each member having different size, different heat pipe profile, fan may or may not be different and of course pricing also differ. But each is advertised to perform well against other coolers in its class. We will be talking a look at the largest of the family which is the SilverStone Argon AR03 coolers.

The SilverStone Argon AR03, being the largest model in the Argon series of coolers, is aimed for users wanting a robust cooler for processors with a small to moderate overclock like our Intel 3930K. The AR03 is not a large and heavy cooler when compared to many other coolers on the market. It just weighs 560 grams without the fan attached and it only stands 6.2-inches tall which left some space atop of our low ceiling CM HAF XB test bench.

The aluminum fins of the AR03 cooler are not dense at all as we can easily see the heat pipes traveling through the middle of them. One small detail that we notice about many coolers and the AR03 included is that the short sides of the fins are bent down to hinder air from leaking out the sides and blow continuously across the blades.

The SilverStone Argon AR03 uses a total of six 6mm heat pipes to transport the heat made by the CPU to the fins where it is properly dissipated.

The heat pipes do come in contact with the CPU’s surface or the IHS like a few other coolers we have tested. But we like how SilverStone kept the spacing between the heat pipe and the aluminum to a minimum for better contact.

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The SilverStone Argon AR03 comes equipped with a powerful fan. The blue and white fan can spin between 1000 and 2200 RPM if you allow it to using the PWM function. Impressively, the noise generated isn’t like many fans that spin this fast as it is advertised at 16-35 dBA and pushing a maximum of 81.4 CFM.

There are several items that come along with the cooler which include the fittings for those wanting to use the cooler on any current sockets as well as those dating back to AM2 and 775 days.

Mounting Images

Installing the SilverStone Argon AR03 was a breeze. The actual pieces needed to be attached to the motherboard were easily self explanatory. But we still recommend reading the instructions first especially if you don’t have enough experience in PC building. We loved how the fans are attached to the cooler. A set of rubber pieces are first installed on the fans and the opposite end simply wraps around a fin on the cooler. No tools or flimsy wire holders to deal with. SilverStone also includes a second set of these if you want to integrate another fan.

Testing Methodology

For our testing we will be using the following procedures and parameters to acquire the necessary data:

  1. Thermal compound used is Arctic Silver 5
  2. Idle temperatures are recorded after the system has been allowed to idle for thirty minutes from the point Windows has finished loading.
  3. Load temperatures are recorded by running OCCT for twenty minutes on all available threads.
  4. Real Temp is used for the recording of all temperature sensor reading.
  5. PWM function is disabled via BIOS to allow the fans to run at full speed.
  6. CPU model and overclock speed used for testing are outlined below in “Test Hardware”.
  7. Each cooler is first tested with one fan supplied from the manufacturer.
  8. Each cooler is then tested again with a second fan attached if provided by the manufacturer.
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Test Hardware:

1. ASUS X79 Deluxe Motherboard
2. Intel Core i7 3930K Processor
3. Kingston HyperX 1866 DDR3 16GB
4. Kingston V+ 200 120GB Solid State Drive
5. ASUS BC12B1LT BD-Rom Drive
6. Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler
7. MicrocoolBanchetto 101 Open Air Test Bench
8. SilverStone Strider Gold Evolution 850W Power Supply
9. ASUS Nvidia GTX 560Ti 448 Graphic Card

Results

 

Conclusion

Here at Pro-Clockers, we were really surprised at the level of performance the new SilverStone AR03 cooler presented to us. The surprise came when we tested the cooler with an overclocked processor and using 1500 RPM fan speeds. The efficiency was comparable to that of the bigger SilverStone Heligon HE01 cooler we recently tested. Also during the same testing, we found the best performance-to-noise ratio. The fan did make some noise but it blended well with the dual fan of our ASUS GTX 560 Ti we were also using. So, it didn’t bother us at all.

One feature that cannot be overlooked is the mounting of the fans to the cooler. The little rubber mounts made the procedure so effortless. We wish that they were compatible with other coolers to help us test various fans. Oh well.
The size of the SilverStone Argon AR03 should be another reason to consider it. It’s small enough to lessen the chances of interfering with your memory slots. On our X79 board, we were able to use all the slots without issues.

At full blast, the fan did made the noise from the cooler quite noticeable but not unbearable.

At an average going price of $55, the SilverStone AR03 is not price too badly.

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ProClockers was founded way back in 2004, with a goal to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews. Whilst the first products we reviewed are long gone, we're continuing to review the latest and greatest every month.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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