SilverStone has released a few generations of All-In-One liquid CPU cooler in the past, but they decided to hop on the train of addressable RGB lighting with the new Permafrost series AIOs. We are able to get our hands on a 240 mm version (PF240-ARGB) for review.
The PF240-ARGB is shipped in a large hard cardboard box, with a white and blue color scheme. Apart from some photos of the cooler, a list of all components’ specifications is printed at the back.
You can also find a short description in 11 different languages.
Everything inside the packaging, including fans and radiator, are stored inside plastic bags for protection.
The PF240-ARGB supports almost all modern CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 115x and AMD AM4. But AMD TR4 socket for the Threadripper HEDT processors is not compatible. For accessories, there are an ARGB controller and a number of related cables for the 3-pin fan connection and power. A small tube of thermal compound is also provided.
Interestingly, SilverStone does not put a physical user manual in the box, which will need to access online through the QR code on the side.
SilverStone PF240-ARGB AIO CPU Cooler
The CPU block/pump combo unit of the PF240-ARGB features a multi-chamber design, which separate the hot and cold liquid into isolated chambers. According to SilverStone, this will prevent heat bleeding and improve efficiency. A three-phase, six poles pump motor is used to provide a quieter operation, and can spin up to 3400 RPM. There are two 3-pin cables coming out from the block. One for pump power, the other one for ARGB lighting connection.
The top of the block is a hexagonal-shaped mirror-like plastic, that has the addressable RGB LEDs integrated. Once lit up, the “SilverStone” logo will be shown.
The PF240-ARGB uses a polished, non-plated copper CPU contact base. Behind the base are the 0.2 mm micro-channels, that dissipate the heat to the liquid.
The PF240-ARGB is equipped with a 240 mm thin radiator, painted in black. It is 272 mm in length, 120 mm in width and 28 mm in thickness. The fins are made from aluminium and have a relatively normal fin density at around 20 fins per inch (FPI) each row.
SilverStone has paired two Air Blazer AB120R-ARGB with the PF240-ARGB, that have the model number of APA1225H12. The fan are able to spin from 600 RPM to 2200 RPM, controlled via a 4-pin PWM connector. It can generate a maximum air flow of 93.97 CFM and static pressure of 3.53 mmH2O. It has a rated MTBF of 40,000 hours. Anti-vibration rubber pad can be found on each corner.
There are a total of eight addressable RGB LEDs located around the motor hub of the fan. The translucent blades help diffusing the light for a more subtle glowing effect.
SilverStone does not prepare a standalone software for the lighting. You can plug the connectors into a compatible motherboard for synchronization and control, such as ASUS Aura Sync and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, etc. Though, you can choose to use the included physical controller without any software, which contains 10 pre-loaded effects and is able adjust the speed and brightness.
Please be reminded both the CPU block and cooling fans are intended to be used for a 3-pin 5V addressable RGB LED header, and will not work with a standard 12V 4-pin header.
We have updated our CPU cooler tests to more reflect real-world cooling performance of coolers.
To find out how the cooler performs, a total of three benchmarks are included. AIDA64 is used to run a CPU stress test. CPU, FPU and system cache are all stressed to create as much heat output as possible. Also, Cinebench R15 and Cinebench R20 are used to simulate real-world CPU load (like video-editing or rendering). It will be run continuously for three times. The highest CPU package temperatures are recorded. Ambient temperature is around 26°C.
Results will be taken at a 50% fan speed and 100% speed, controlled via the motherboard CPU PWM fan header. Both single-fan and dual-fan configuration of the cooler will be tested.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600X @ 3.80 GHz @ 1.425 V (95W TDP)
- Motherboard: MSI B350M GAMING PRO (its review here)
- Thermal Compound: Noctua NT-H1
The two cooling fans ran at around 1250 RPM when set as 50% PWM speed, and the PF240-ARGB was able to keep the CPU package temperature at 63°C in the AIDA64 stress test. Ramping up the fan to full speed (~2100 RPM) resulted in a 2°C decrease in temp, which is about 3.17% better.
Cinebench R15 generates less heat than the stress test. The highest temperature we saw is at 61°C. Speeding up the fans yielded a 3°C improvement at 58°C.
We observed a slightly larger difference in temperature between the two fan speeds. The PF240-ARGB managed to decrease the temp by 4°C in Cinebench R20, at 61°C.
We currently do not have a lot of AIO CPU coolers’ data, but the PF240-ARGB performed on par with the other two Thermalright coolers we have tested. The PF240-ARGB did about 1.8°C better than the same-sized Turbo Right 240. It was able to achieve 0.6°C lower than the larger Turbo Right 360 C, but the difference is too small and is well within the margin of error (<1°C).
The SilverStone PF240-ARGB is one of the best CPU coolers (both in air or water) we have tested. With the cooling fans, running at full speed, it can keep the overclocked CPU temperature in the mid 60°C, and can compete with large dual-tower air coolers. The installation process is simple enough, which takes about 15 to 30 minutes for any experience users to figure everything out. The build quality of the AIO is decent, but the CPU block feels a little too plasticky.
The two included Air Blazer AB120R-ARGB fans have awesome-looking RGB lighting effects. They pushes a fair amount of air through the radiators, but some humming sound from the motors can be heard when spinning at higher RPMs.
The SilverStone Permafrost Series AIO coolers are on sale for $79.99 USD for the 120 mm version, $99.99 USD for the 240 mm and $129.99 USD (MSRP) for the 360 mm. All of them are provided with a 2-year warranty. They are pretty affordable for an addressable RGB-compatible AIO cooler, which some offerings in the market can cost about $20 USD to $40 USD more.
You can purchase the cooler from your local/online resellers or the links below from Amazon and Newegg.
Thanks SilverStone for providing us the cooler for review. (Review Sample)
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