Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
In terms of overall design, the SilverStone Permafrost PF240-ARGB falls into the regular category. Three major parts can make it work properly in your computer; namely, the water block, radiator, and fans. As far as those three major parts are concerned, this product is not significantly different from other water-cooled CPU coolers. For example, if you put the Permafrost PF240-ARGB side-by-side with the most recent water cooler reviewed by Aaron Lai, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage, you probably will not be able to tell if there is any big difference between them at the first glance. But if you look carefully, you will find the PF240 has a unique hexagon shape water block. If you are familiar with the SilverStone logo, you can easily recognize the hexagon water block is actually designed based on the shape of the company logo. If you have the PF240 properly installed in your computer, the full SilverStone company logo will be shown on the water block through the addressable RGB LED, which is pretty neat.
The magic of cooling a CPU using water cooler is realized by the movement of liquid. Inside the water block, there is a water pump. The speed of the water pump motor can go as high as 3400 RPM. Thanks to the sealed plastic cover, users should not hear too much of the pump motor noise. The liquid is heated by the CPU at the water block and pumped to the radiator though one of the rubber pipes. Once the water is cooled down by the radiator, the cold liquid goes back to the water block through the other rubber pipe. Note the water goes along the fins of the radiator, which have a large surface area with the atmosphere for heat evaporation. The fans attached to the radiator induce air flow to speed up the heat dissipation. Normally, for air coolers, the heat exchange happens in the middle of the computer case, while the water cooler allows heat exchange to take place by the side of a computer case. In other words, water coolers can transfer the heat using the piping system instead of relying on the airflow inside the case. For the PF240, the pipes are 400mm long, and they are braided. I would say this product can fit most of the mainstream mid-towers in the market, and thanks to the braided finish, the chances of the tube being damaged is reduced.
Now let us focus on the automotive grade radiator comes with the PF240. According to SilverStone, the radiator has anti-corrosive properties so it can easily survive elements such as vapor, liquid, grease, and even solvent. For your daily use computer at your bedroom, this may not sound very necessary, but if you plan to use the computer at industrial environment, then it may be a deal sealer. The radiator is made out of aluminum, which strikes a great balance between cooling performance and weight. In terms of the size, the radiator of SilverStone Permafrost PF240-ARGB measures 272mm in length, 120mm in width, and 28mm in thickness. The measurements are standard for a 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler. The build quality of this radiator is excellent. There is no sign of any damage on the fins and the paint looks to be in good condition as well.
Let us move on to take a look at the water block of the SilverStone Permafrost PF240-ARGB. SilverStone made the contacting area between the block and the CPU copper. The contacting surface looks just like a copper mirror after the protection film is removed. Personally, I really like seeing the pure cooper color on the base. What we cannot see from the outside is the 0.2mm micro liquid channels at the back of the cooper base. According to SilverStone, those micro channels can evenly distribute the liquid to improve heat dissipation. With the help of the provided thermal paste, heat can be smoothly transferred from the CPU to the cooler. To attach the water block to the motherboard, a metal bracket with four holes is used. The bracket is actually a part of the water block; hence users do not need to install it. The top of the water block will have RGB effects once it has power. In terms of the size, the water block is 61mm in length, 61mm in width, and 50mm in height. The water block of this product is a little bit smaller than the one from Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage.
The two fans of the SilverStone Permafrost PF240-ARGB are the SilverStone Air Blazer 120R fans. Thanks to the addressable RGB lighting, these fans can display any color combination by use of an addressable RGB controller or capable motherboard according to SilverStone. All of the lights in the PF240-ARGB water cooler are connected to with standard ARGB 4-1 Pins and ARGB SYNC cable, which means all the RGB LEDs in this product are synchronized. The included Air Blazer 120R fans are equipped with hydro bearings to prolong the lifespan and reduce the operation noise. To reduce vibrational noise, rubber pads are used around the mounting holes. For the fan blades, a ribbed edge can be found to cut down the turbulence noise. In terms of cooling performance, the included fans of PF240-ARGB can produce up to 3.53mm H2O air pressure, and 94CFM air flow. These figures are much better than the fans included with the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage.
Installation of the SilverStone Permafrost PF240-ARGB was definitely a pleasant journey for me. Before I put everything in my computer, I took a while to look into the online installation manual. The backplate was needed to install the water block on both Intel and AMD platforms. The mounting bracket on the water block can be attached using screws. It is worth noting all the essential parts for the water block installation are made out of metal. Therefore, they are strong enough to withstand some over-tightening of screws, though I would not try to damage it either. On the other hand, there are plastic spacers at the contact surfaces of the motherboard and mounting system. Thus, users do not need to worry about the damage that could be caused by pressing the metal backplate on the motherboard. The backplate of the PF240-ARGB is painted in black. From the above picture, we can see the backplate blends well into the motherboard and motherboard tray. Of course, this only happens if you have a black motherboard and computer case.
After the backplate is in position, the CPU water block can be screwed on. Similar to the installation of the backplate, there are also three positions to screw the mounting plates. If you are confused by those positions, just take a look at the installation manual. In my case, I just used the holes in the middle, which is for Intel LGA 115X. According to my installation experience, the CPU block fits precisely. After the installation of the CPU block, the next step was to mount the radiator. For this particular computer case, there was no mounting holes for the radiator on the top. Therefore, I had to mount the radiator in the front of the case. After all the hardware were installed, the last step for me was to connect both the power cables to spin the motors and the control cables for the addressable RGB. With two ARGB fans, one ARGB water block, and one ARGB control box, the wiring was a little bit complex in my case. With the provided Y-connector, the two ARGB fans only need one fan port on motherboard. All the connectors of PF240-ARGB are easy to use, but the users definitely need to do some figuring to hide as many of the cables as possible.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results