SilverStone released their latest Permafrost AIO Liquid CPU cooler series, featuring integrated addressable RGB lighting. The Permafrost series is available in 120mm, 240mm and 360mm radiator sizes. Today we are going to review the Silverstone PF240-ARGB AIO liquid CPU cooler with a 240mm-sized radiator. Personally, I don’t like an AIO with a 360mm radiator for a CPU cooler because I find it too big. I don’t prefer the 120mm as well, since it’s a little bit inadequate specially for mid to high end CPUs. The PF240 comes with an MSRP of $99 USD, it’s relatively affordable and not that expensive for a liquid cooler. But how does it perform? What kind of performance do we get from a sub $100 CPU cooler? Please continue reading our Silverstone PF240 review below and find out.
SilverStone Permafrost PF240 Liquid CPU Cooler Review
The Silverstone PF240 has a white box with blue accent. It’s a rectangular box, similar to other AIO liquid cooler packaging. The specifications are printed at the back of the box; along with its features like addressable RGB fans, addressable RGB controller and its pump mechanism.
The 120mm ARGB PWM fans have a white frosted fan blades to allow the RGB lighting to spread evenly. The fan blades have also a unique ribbed edge that, according to SilverStone, suppress air turbulent noise with geometry optimized for both air glow and pressure. There are also rubber pads around the screw holes to lower vibration and noise. (A)RGB fans usually have more than 1 cables, and in this case the cable for power and RGB are separate. This means, more wires to hide and tidy up.
First photo above is the copper base plate of the water block. Silverstone’s Permafrost series features a multi-chamber design that isolates hot and cold liquid channels. This prevents the hot water from mixing or bleeding to the cool water.
Silverstone doesn’t have their own proprietary software to control the RGB lighting on their Permafrost CPU coolers. But they are compatible with RGB Fusion 2.0, MSI Mystic Light Sync, Razer Chroma RGB, Asus Aura Sync and Biostar RGB Sync. There is also an addressable RBG controller included, with 10 lightning modes and the ability to adjust brightness and speed.
The Silverstone PF240, including the PF120 and PF360, is compatible with Intel LGA775, 115X, 1366, 2011, 2066 and AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2 sockets. There’s also thermal paste included in the box, but it’s just enough for around 2~3 applications.
However, I noticed that the packaging didn’t include a manual or instruction on how to assemble / install the CPU cooler. Neither a list of the components that should be included in the box. I thought it was unintentional, but later I found out that you will have to download the manual from Silverstone’s site. It’s a minor inconvenience, but I think they should have included the manual in the first place.
The Silverstone PF240’s pump motor features a three-phase size pole design. According to the company, this should result in a smoother, quieter and more efficient operation compared to a single-phase four pole design pump motor.
Although we don’t have a picture of the internals of the PF240’s water block; the copper plate features 0.2mm micro liquid channels on the inside. Silverstone is also using an automotive grade sine wave generator to “ensure electrical noise and vibration are kept to a minimum”.
It’s not only the pump that gets an “automotive grade” component, but the radiator is said to be “automotive grade” as well. With all these “automotive grade” description from the marketing materials, it seems they want to show us that their product is solid, just like the radiators (and pump) in a car.
I’m not so sure about that, it’s too early to tell. However, the Silverstone PF240 do feel that it is well-built. The tubing look and feels nice; the connection doesn’t look like or feels like it’s going to leak (anytime soon).
In terms of build-quality and aesthetics, it feels sturdy enough. The Silverstone PF240 doesn’t feel like it was made out of cheap materials. But how about its performance? That’s what we are going to find out next; after the specifications table below.
Silverstone Permafrost PF240 Specifications
|Water block||Dimension||61mm (L) x 61mm (W) x 50mm (H)|
2.4" (L) x 2.4" (W) x 1.97" (H)
|Material||Copper base with plastic body|
|Pump||Motor speed||3400±10% RPM|
|Fan||Dimension||120mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 25mm (D)|
4.72" (L) x 4.72" (W) x 0.98" (D)
|Noise level||7.4~35.6 dBA|
|Connector||4 Pin PWM & 4-1 Pin ARGB (5V LED)|
|Radiator||Dimension||272mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 28mm (H)|
10.71" (L) x 4.72" (W) x 1.1" (H)
|Application||Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011/2066|
|AMD Socket AM2/AM3/AM4/FM1/FM2|
For latest pricing and availability, the SilverStone PF240 is available on Amazon.com here and on Amazon UK here.
Silverstone PF240 Installation and RGB Lighting Showcase
Earlier I mentioned that the packaging didn’t include a manual right? And you’ll have to download the PDF manual from Silverstone’s site. Well, aside from downloading the manual from their site; Silverstone also uploaded a video on how to install their PF120, PF240 and PF360 AIO liquid coolers.
The whole installation process of the Silversstone PF240 isn’t that difficult. But make sure that you do it properly and you have applied an even and sufficient force on the CPU so that heat would transfer properly. The experience of installing the PF240 is quite similar to other AIO liquid coolers we have tried and tested before; like the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum.
Above are some shots of the RGB lighting on the PF240. They look nice but ultimately it would come down to personal preference. I do like the fact that you can orient the CPU water block on either direction since the “snowflake” logo is symmetrical.
Test Setup for the SilverStone PF240
The Silverstone PF240 was tested using the same system we used to test other CPU coolers. We also used the thermal paste included in the package. Below is the specs of the test system:
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
Motherboard: MSI MEG Z390 ACE
Processor: Intel Core i7-8700K
CPU Cooler: Silverstone PF240
Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4-3200MHz
Graphics card: Galax GeForce RTX 2080 Super WTF
Storage Drives: Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD, Crucial MX500 2TB
Power Supply: Seasonic 850W Prime Titanium
Chassis: Thermaltake Core P5
SilverStone PF240 Benchmark Results – Stock Temperatures
At idle state, we got an average of 38° Celsius and the fans were running at an average speed of 578 RPM. In comparison, the idle temperature we got with the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum is similar with the PF240. Idle temperature is just playing around 37° to 38° Celsius. Meanwhile, the idle temps that we got with the Noctua NH-U12A is around 41° Celsius; a bit higher than the PF240 but still impressive for an air cooler.
Firing up the CPU stress test for 10 mins+, the temperature jumped to an average of 56° Celsius. Meanwhile it’s fan speed also increased, from around 575 RPM to around 1100 RPM. At this state, the fans are still very silent and (almost) inaudible.
Comparing the PF240 to Corsair’s H100i RGB Platinum, the H100i was higher than the PF240 by 1° Celsius only. This could very well fall under the margin of error. But generally speaking, both AIO are on par in terms of performance.
Now, let’s heat things up a bit and overclock the CPU to 5GHz and let’s see how the PF240 performs.
SilverStone PF240 Benchmark Results – Overclocked Temperatures
We overclocked the CPU to 5GHz and increased the CPU voltage to 1.35 volts. Like in the stock settings, the fans were also set to auto and only the CPU clock and voltage were changed. Below are the results we got.
The overclocked idle temperature was a bit higher compared to stock settings. This is expected since we did bump up the voltage to 1.35v. It’s only a ~2° Celsius increase on idle temperature from stock to overclocked settings, and may not tell a whole lot about the PF240’s general performance and capabilities.
Again, running the CPU stress test for 10 minutes+, we see a significant increase on the temperature. After more than 10 minutes of stress test, the temperature stabilized at an average of 71° Celsius. Meanwhile, the fan speed also went up to around 1600+ RPM. It’s a bit audible at this point, but far from being loud and obnoxious.
Comparing the results that we got with the Silverstone PF240 and with the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum; the CPU was only 2° hotter with the PF240 than with the H100i. This means that we got an average of around 69° Celsius with the Corsair H100i on full load, 5GHz overclocked CPU with 1.35v. Not bad actually, considering that the PF240 isn’t as expensive as the H100i.
Interestingly, we also got the same result with the Noctua NH-U12A in this same test and settings. Meaning, when we overclock the Core i7-8700K to 5GHz and applied 1.35v, we got an average temperature of 71° Celsius with the PF240 and Noctua NH-U12A.
Pricing and Where to Buy
The SilverStone PF240 is now available in the US and the rest of the world. It comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $99 USD only and comes with a 2-year warranty. For updated pricing and availability, kindly check out the links below.
SilverStone PF240 AIO Liquid CPU cooler latest pricing and availability:
SilverStone PF240 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review Conclusion
I was not expecting that the SilverStone PF240 would perform this good considering that it’s only $99 USD. It was able to perform on par with a more expensive “high performance” all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum. Well, if that cooler is “high performance”, then I guess we can safely say that the PF240 is also a high performance AIO liquid CPU cooler.
In terms of aesthetics, RGB lighting is subjective, but I like that the logo on the PF240’s water block is symmetrical and you can install it on either position. Whether the tubes are on the right side, beside the DDR memory modules; or on the opposite side, it will still look good. In this case, I prefer the tubes located on the opposite side of the DDR memory; so that the RGB lighting on the memory modules aren’t obstructed by the PF240’s tubes.
Installing the PF240 is an easy task and it’s not difficult at all. However, there is no printed manual included; so, newbies or for users with no experience in installing an AIO liquid CPU cooler might find a hard time installing it without a manual. You can download the manual or watch the video on how to install it though. But that’s an additional step and will require internet connection.
As for noise level, we weren’t able to measure the noise with a sound level meter. But it was inaudible most of the time and slightly audible at 1600 RPMs on full load OC. We can say that the fan noise is generally acceptable, no need to actually crank up the fan speed to maximum.
By the way, this review is specifically for the PF240 or 240mm version only. If you have a more powerful CPU with a higher TDP, the 360mm variant may be the more suitable cooler. However, if you have a CPU with a lower TDP, the 120mm variant may be sufficient already.
Finally, we find the SilverStone PF240 all-in-one liquid CPU cooler to be an exceptional product. It’s reasonably priced and performs really well. The addressable RGB (or ARGB) lighting is a nice eye candy and the fan noise are relatively low. We think it’s a great value considering its set of features and its price.