Closer Look: Argon AR03 CPU Cooler
You’d be forgiven if you thought I had posted the same article twice, especially if you had just read the AR01 review. Be careful not to flip back and forth too quickly, you might miss some of the important differences between the two. While at first glance they look similar, the AR03 targets a different market and is designed for a different purpose.
It comes with the same 120mm fan, with enough mounts to add another in push/pull. However, the heatsink itself is wider at 140mm, and uses a staggered array of six 6mm direct-contact heatpipes instead of the three in-line 8mm heatpipes of the AR01. The depth (“back” to “front”) of the heat-sink itself stays the same at 50mm, and the height at 159mm as well – so if you don’t have any RAM or side-panel clearance issues with the AR01, you shouldn’t with the AR03 either.
The greater number of heatpipes and staggered arrangement should allow for greater heat dissipation and conduction, resulting in the best performance out of the Argon series. The AR03 uses the same fan mounting system as the other Argon coolers, which is by far the best system I have ever seen on this type of cooler. Working with the Argon coolers, I was not afraid to mount the fan after installing the heat-sink, which was a tricky process with many other coolers (and therefore made installation trickier than necessary with other coolers). I appreciated this system, and feel it is one of the strongest advantages the Argon series has over the competition. The AR01 review has some better views of how these silicone/rubber pins work.
The mounting system and back-plate is exactly the same as the AR01 though (and presumably the AR02). This isn’t a bad thing – the mounting components are a commonly used design, and work well for the application. As with the other Argon coolers, the mounting system accommodates motherboards that have a built-in back-plate as well (Socket 1366/2011). About the only limitation here is the inability to change the orientation of the heat-sink on AMD sockets – you are limited to the orientation of the socket mounting holes in the motherboard. Since the mounting brackets are pretty standard, you should be able to find an aftermarket kit that allows this feature if you really want it.