WHAT WE LIKED:Great stock clock performance, small size, easy & unique fan mounting mechanism, super quiet operation, crazy affordable.
WHAT WE DISLIKED:Can't handle the heat with the clocks turned up, Still takes up the first Ram slot despite its small size. Only available in blue.
Overall SilverStone did a great job with the AR02. It’s compact size still delivers great performance at stock clocks, but, unfortunately it can’t hold the heat of a moderate OC on our 3770k. The cooler was practically inaudible at all but maximum fan speed – which for those of you who are old enough to remember building PC’s before 120mm blowers became mainstream is quite a feat.
We have one other complaint. Even though the cooler was microscopic compared to most I’ve seen it still interferes with the first RAM slot. Switching out the included 92mm fan for a thinner one would most likely take care of that issue though.
SilverStone’s rubber fan mounting system is one of the simplest and most effective setups I’ve seen to date. There’s no complicated or hard to install clips – just pop the mounts into the fan and snap them into the tower and you’re ready to rock.
The AR02 performed fairly well at stock clocks – especially once you factor in its size and the fact that it only has three 6mm heat pipes. I can’t help but wonder about its performance had SilverStone put three 8mm pipes into the AR02 like they did with the AR01…
SilverStone has a great little cooler with the AR02. Its small size and quiet performance make it perfect for HTPC or media center systems where these are key. The blue and white scheme may not fit all build themes, but that’s easy to change with just a different fan. The AR02 also has a great price – coming in at $27.99 with free shipping from NewEgg at the time of this writing. If you’re in need of a small form-factor cooler with good performance at stock clocks and a low price tag, the AR02 is exactly what you need. For this I’m happy to award the AR02 our PureOverclock Good Hardware Award.