Closer Look: AR01 CPU Cooler
It is pretty apparent to me what area of the market SilverStone is targeting here with the AR01. Tower design? Check. Direct Contact heatpipes? Check. 120mm PWM fan, able to be configured for push/pull? Check. While there are many 120mm tower-style CPU coolers available, few have reached the recognition that Cooler Master’s popular 212 line of coolers has. While the 212 series has long been known for their cooling performance per dollar, it looks like SilverStone is ready to throw down the gauntlet (or at least provide another option – duels for honor are pretty old-fashioned after all).
Still, when you look at the price and then the AR01 at first glance, it’s hard not to draw any parallels. Let’s look a little closer though, because SilverStone has done a few things differently. First off, there are three 8mm direct-touch heatpipes here, all formed in a “U”, arranged in a line. The 212 series uses four thinner heatpipes – will it make a difference?
The mounting system is different, as is the fan. The 120mm PWM fan SilverStone uses is new, and designed with some extra ridges along the trailing edge presumably to cut down on turbulence (and therefore noise – any aeronautical engineers care to confirm?). It’s a 4-pin model that maxes out around 2200 RPM as reported by my motherboard. There is a vertical stripe on the side of the heatsink where the fins are bent to help direct airflow (along with two smaller stripes front and back), which has the effect of giving the installer a flat surface to grip as well.
The fan mounts are different as well – in fact, these quickly won me over. I’ve changed fans on many CPU coolers over the years, and this is one of the best solutions for fan mounting that I have ever seen. It appears SilverStone’s tendency to think outside the box doesn’t stop with their enclosures… Maybe one of you will prove me wrong here, but I don’t think this exact method has been used before (seeing as it is patented by SilverStone, I may be on the right track). While it uses a familiar silicone/rubber “push pin” (that actually gets pulled through the screw holes in the fan frame), it also doubles as a vibration dampener AND fan mount (so…triples?).
Simply insert the pin through the fan mounting hole, and bend the tab around into the heatsink fins. The tab makes it easy to insert and remove, and this is one of the first tower type coolers I’ve used that make it very easy to mount the fan while the heatsink is already mounted on the CPU (and the motherboard in the case). It has the benefit of securing the fan with a motion that doesn’t exert pressure on the heatsink itself, and stays secure and silent.
The changes aren’t done though, these pictures also display the serrated leading and trailing edges of the heatsink, as well as the stamped pattern on each of the fins. The uneven edge should help cut down on noise (remember, the fans are also “serrated” on the trailing edge) and the stamped pattern is intended to make the most of the flat surface for heat dissipation.