The SilverStone Permafrost PF120, PF240, and PF360 ARGB AIO Coolers Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on June 17, 2020 10:00 AM EST
SilverStone is a well-known name amongst advanced users and enthusiasts. The company earned its reputation from its first PSUs and original case designs, and soon diversified towards cooling related products. Their products usually are designed to be cost-effective, with a focus on practicality and quality instead of extravagant aesthetics. That tactic served SilverStone very well in the past, some of their CPU tower coolers have become very good values for the price.
Given SilverStone's success with air coolers, today we are switching tracks to liquid coolers and taking a look at SilverStone’s latest all-in-one (AIO) “Permafrost” cooler series. With multiple models covering the most popular cooler sizes, SilverStone is looking to tap into what has continued to be a popular market for alternative high-performance coolers. And with the inclusion of Addressable RGB (ARGB) lighting, SilverStone is perhaps bowing to a bit to market pressures as well by including RGB lighting in their new AIO coolers.
Altogether, SilverStone has released three Permafrost ARGB AIO coolers: the PF120, PF240, and PF360. As their names suggest, they are designed with radiators that use one, two, or three 120 mm cooling fans respectively. And for today's review, we're going to be looking at all three models.
|SilverStone Permafrost Coolers|
|Size||360mm x 120mm||240mm x 120mm||120mm x 120mm|
|Fan Noise (Rated)||7.4 - 35.6 dBA|
As mentioned previously, all three coolers also incorporate RGB lighting. With RGB being the latest industry trend and considering the significant market slice that it currently holds, it seems that SilverStone could not afford to not have RGB-related products available. Thankfully, however, unlike so many vendors, SilverStone isn't treating the inclusion of RGB lighting at a justification for charging high prices. So while these new coolers aren't budget products by any means, their retail price is not forbidding, making them an enticing option for enthusiasts that wish to combine aesthetics and performance while on a budget.
Packaging & Bundle
SilverStone supplies their new Permafrost series coolers in sturdy cardboard boxes that, along with the internal custom inserts, provide excellent shipping protection. The artwork on the packaging is simplistic, focused on pictures of the coolers themselves – still, that is more than enough for catching the eyes of shop shelf browsers.
All three coolers share the exact same bundle, with the sole exception being the number of fans and their wiring. Inside the box, we found the necessary mounting hardware, a small syringe with thermal paste, the necessary power and LED wiring, and an ARGB lighting controller.
Meanwhile the ARGB LEDs of all three coolers are compatible with most motherboards featuring controllable RGB lighting. On compatible systems, the LED wiring of the AIO cooler can be attached directly to the motherboard, which directly controls the RGB lighting of the cooler via the software each motherboard manufacturer provides.
And while SilverStone does include a stand-alone ARGB controller as well, it's really meant to be used as a fallback option – to manually setup lighting effects with systems that do not have a compatible motherboard. It features several pre-programmed RGB lighting effects, as well as speed and brightness options, but it certainly is not convenient to open up the case each time one wants to change any lighting setting. These coolers are definitely meant to be used with compatible motherboards, where the control is performed via software.
Depending on the version of the SilverStone PF ARGB cooler, you will receive one, two, or three 120 mm fans for their radiator. SilverStone supplies their APA1225H12 fans, which are identical to the Air Blazer 120 fan that the company markets as a stand-alone item. These fans feature a Hydro bearing engine for low noise and anti-vibration mounting pads. The nine narrow fins suggest that the fan is designed for high flow and low pressure, which should be fine considering the relatively thin radiators.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
PeachNCream - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkI can't see advantages in adding software and hardware complexity purely for lighting, but addressable RGB seems to be doing just that. More lines of code in which to make errors, more hardware that can fail, and a bigger software footprint for possible compromise and exploitation (nevermind the possible requirement of internet connectivity and awareness of said control software like Razer seems to require which is a by-design potential security problem).
eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkAgree! I wish reviewers could add (estimate) just how much the LEDs and associated hardware add to the BOM. I'd rather have an AIO cooler for $ 5 less with no lightshow.
The only time any LED lighting of the cooling fans could be useful if they would activate or change colors with the CPU temperature (e.g. green, yellow, red); that would, at least, be of interest and tell me if the cooler is doing its job.
QB the Slayer - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkWell... as much as I agree. I do have a bunch of RGB stuff that I really only have since it came with the gear I purchased. But since I have it, I might as well use it! So I have ALL my RGB linked and it actually is linked to the CPU temp... Nice and cool blue when 45°C or less and burning hot red at 85°C or above. MB has 5, GPU has 20, AIO has 16, and mouse has 2... again nothing I went out of my way to get, but they are there. JackNet RGB Sync is a handy little app for this. All this does have a cost though... 3 apps must be running and they are not light in any way (iCUE, G HUB, and JackNet). Thankfully iCUE has an ASUS plugin so that doesn't have to run and the GPU and board can be linked with a cable so no app for the GPU either... Ugh, I am rambling now, sorry guys.
PeterCollier - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkRepeat after me: AIO cools no better than air and will leak.
PeachNCream - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkWould be nice to see a couple of air coolers in the benchmark charts just for the sake of completeness. I wonder if that would paint these liquid coolers in a poor light though.
BenSkywalker - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkhttps://www.anandtech.com/show/14621/the-noctua-nh...
AIO wins easily which shouldn't surprise anyone. The best air coolers can best the worst AIOs by a little providing you are ok with a cluttered sloppy build and rarely need to open your case for anything and you like having more noise.
khanikun - Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - linkImagine if they tested in a hot room. I have 3 desktops. 1 on custom loop and two on AIO (one Cooler Master and one Corsair). I use to live in Germany, where they don't seem to believe in A/C. So my computer room easily climbed into 85-90F. I couldn't keep any of my machines cool on air.
I seem to be doing alright with my AIOs or my custom loop. My Cooler Master AIO was just $55. My Corsair AIO was $115. I have no idea how much my custom loop was, like $500. Owned each of them between 2-3 years now.
Lord of the Bored - Thursday, June 18, 2020 - linkI can't imagine your computers running 85-90F in a room with no AC. Because that is sub-ambient right now where I am.
Air conditioning is God's gift to Texas.
Lord of the Bored - Thursday, June 18, 2020 - linkI misread that. Computer room != computer.
khanikun - Friday, June 19, 2020 - linkYa, computer room. My CPU sits around 30-35C for my custom loop (dual 360 rads/push pull fans), depending on whether it's winter or summer. My AIOs are in the 40s (240 rads/push pull fans).