For so cheap a cooler, the cooling potential of the Argon AR01 is excellent. On our motherboard's PWM setting, it achieves a delta T result in this system of just 45°C. This is 5°C better than the similarly priced Arctic Cooling Freezer i30, and also better than or equal to mid-range offerings like Gelid's Black Edition and the Phanteks PH-TC12DX. Impressively, it's a quiet cooler in such a set-up too, and though not the absolute quietest cooler we've heard, it's unlikely to be a noise level you find annoying.
While its PWM performance is already very good, the Argon AR01 demonstrates that it has more to give, as at full speed it knocks 3°C off its delta T result. Its new delta T of 42°C positions it just behind premium air coolers and even some closed loop liquid models, which is a mighty achievement. The fan does kick up a fair racket at this level, though, so we'd be inclined to limit its fan speed to more ear friendly levels.
Click to enlarge - The Argon AR01 is small but powerful
We half expected the budget Argon AR01 to fall over under the increased thermal output of our LGA2011 system, but in fact it holds its own wonderfully well. Its delta T result here of 48°C again nestles it in amongst the likes of the Noctua NH-D14 and a little behind Thermalright's Archon SB-E X2. It also matches the performance of the Corsair H80i on its Balanced profile. It's easily the noisiest cooler of the bunch that it finds itself nearby with this result; quieter cooling on such a toasty system comes at a price. However, it does demonstrate the ability of its single fan to shift a lot of air if needed.
Click to enlarge - The Argon AR01 mounted to our LGA2011 test rig
The basic design of the Argon AR01 doesn't translate into basic performance, as thanks to excellent all round build quality (even down to the fan's cable), SilverStone has created a great little cooler that outshines similarly priced and even more expensive competition. At full speed it is a little noisy, but using a PWM profile to dial its speed down a little results in much quieter operation with few sacrifices in the cooling department.
The SilverStone Argon AR01 offers just about everything you could ask of a £25 cooler, as its ability to strike an effective balance between noise and temperatures isn't its only asset. The option to add a second fan with some innovative fan mounts is nice to see, and it's unlikely to have any conflicts with tall RAM modules. The installation process is mostly easy and fiddle free, and also provides a really high mount pressure, something that undoubtedly contributes to its cooling prowess. If you're particularly interested in low noise or the heaviest of overclocks, a better investment is likely needed, but otherwise it's difficult to see how you could go far wrong with the Argon AR01 given its outstanding value.