Table of Contents
Silverstone has been around since 2003 and have a sizable stake in the PC chassis, power supply, CPU cooler, fans, and accessory markets. Personally, I was first introduced to them as a top tier PC case manufacturer, and I still have and use some of their older cases such as the PS07, TJ08-E, and the TJ07. Today, however, we have one of their all-in-one liquid CPU coolers up for testing, the PF360. The PF360 is a large 3×120 mm CPU cooler featuring addressable RGB on both the fans and pump/block housing.
Specifications & Features
|Silverstone PF360 Specifications|
|Socket Compatibility||Intel: LGA 775/115x/1366/2011/2066|
|Pump & Block|
|Material||Copper base with plastic body|
|Motor Speed||3400 ±10% RPM|
|Rated Voltage||12 V|
|Rated Current||0.39 A|
|Radiator & Tubing|
|Material||Aluminum radiator with rubber tubing|
|Radiator Dimensions||394 x 120 x 28 mm (L x W x H)|
|Tubing Length||400 mm|
|Fan Dimensions||120 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Fan Speed||600-2200 RPM|
|Rated Voltage||12 V|
|Rated Current||0.32 A|
|Max Air Flow||94 CFM|
|Static Pressure||3.53 mmH2O|
|Noise Level||7.4~35.6 dBA|
Packaging & Accessories
Silverstone’s packaging has a nice shot of the PF360 on the front of the box along with their branding, cooler model, and supported ARGB motherboard brands towards the top right corner. On the back of the box, we have a detailed specifications table along with a schematic showing dimensions for the radiator and pump/block combo. Lastly, there are also a few features mentioned on the back and one side of the box to fill out the presentation with some more information.
Opening the box shows us how the cooler is packaged and protected. There is a molded cardboard inlay so that all parts of the PF360 remain secure while being transported. Every component is wrapped in plastic bags, and the radiator is also wrapped in cardboard for additional protection.
The accessories include all of the mounting hardware for the supported sockets, thermal paste, fan splitter cable, ARGB control box, and ARGB cables.
The PF360 is a great looking cooler with an almost entirely matte black finish, except for the ARGB lighting, translucent fan blades, and a few Silverstone snowflake logos. The tubing has a woven braid sleeving and is heat shrunk on the ends giving the cooler a more finished appearance. The ARGB lighting looks good and I especially like the recessed pump lighting illuminating the Silverstone logo on top of the pump.
A Closer Look
The radiator is made out of aluminum and 28 mm thick with a fin density of around 22 fins per inch. Being a 3×120 mm AIO unit, the radiator is large and will most likely need a large case to support it. The tubing is 400 mm long, which should be plenty of length for mounting the radiator at the top of a case. The rubber tubing has a woven sleeving covering its entire length which gives it a nice aesthetic to complement any build theme.
The top of the pump/block housing has a mirror-like hexagon where Silverstone’s logo will appear when using the ARGB on the pump/block. The base of the block has a smooth, matte finish where some reflection can be seen, but it’s definitely not a mirror finish.
Three APA1225H12 120 x 25 mm fans are included with the PF360. These PWM controlled fans have nine blades with speeds varying between 600 and 2200 RPM. They also make use of addressable RGB connectors for LEDs located on the hub beneath the translucent fan blades. It’s great to see that the fans have foam corners to help suppress any noise that could be caused by vibrations.
Here are a few more shots of the RGB being used on the pump/block combo and the fans.
The mounting process was pretty intuitive. The first step was taking the backplate and feeding bolts through the correct holes for the socket.
Once the bolts were in place, press-fitting plastic washers were pushed down the shafts to hold them in place while feeding the backplate through the mounting holes on the back of a motherboard.
The next step was to press-fit tall spacers onto the bolt shafts to secure the backplate to the motherboard. Then, applying thermal paste to the CPU and placing the pump/block combo onto the socket.
Spring-loaded thumbscrews are used to secure the pump/block to the socket and provide even pressure over the surface of the CPU.
ARGB Control Box
Below are a couple of excerpts from the manual about connecting the RGB lighting cables and controlling the lighting via the control box. If you’re connecting directly to the motherboard, then you’ll need to check your motherboard’s manual for details on controlling RGB lighting.
Adjusting the RGB Lighting with the Control Box
Excerpt from the manual:
- There are three buttons on this controller, “+ / – / M”
- M button: Press M button to switch to lighting effect mode, speed of lighting mode, brightness mode, and demo mode. Press “+” or “–“ to adjust desired levels.
- Press M button for 3 seconds to turn off, press M button again to turn on and resume to the last lighting effect before turning off.
- When powered on for the first time, default lighting effect is “Rainbow”
- After turning off or sudden power loss, the controller will resume to the last set lighting effect and level after power on.
- Press “–“ button for 3 seconds under any modes will reset to default effect (Rainbow)
- Lighting effect mode
- Rainbow (default)
- Layering (8 colors: white, indigo, violet, yellow, blue, red, green, orange)
- 256 colors auto switching (8 colors: white, indigo, violet, yellow, blue, red, green, orange) Press “+” for 3 seconds to lock the chosen color; press “–“ for 3 seconds to unlock color.
- Color layering, red
- Color layering, green
- Color layering, blue
- Press M button to switch mode. Press “+” or “–“ when controller’s red indicator lights up to adjust speed of lighting (fast / slow)
- Press M button to switch mode. Press “+” or “–“ when controller’s blue indicator lights up to adjust brightness
- Press M button to switch mode. Under demo mode, controller’s yellow indicator lights up and will display and recycle all 10 lighting effects continuously.
Test Setup & Methodology
|CPU||Intel i7 8700K @ 4.7 GHz, 1.125+ V|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming|
|RAM||2 x 8 GB G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 15-15-15-35|
|GPU||EVGA RTX 2060 XC ULTRA|
|Storage||Intel SSD 660p Series 1 TB M.2 NVMe|
|PSU||Seasonic X-750 Gold|
|Heatsinks||Alphacool Eisbaer Extreme 280 (Stock)|
Enermax Aquafusion 240 (Stock)
Scythe Fuma Rev. B (Stock)
Scythe Mugen 5 Rev. B (Stock)
Scythe Big Shuriken 3 (Stock)
EVGA CLC 240 (Stock)
Noctua NH-D14 (Stock)
be quiet! Dark Rock 3 (Stock)
Thermalright Venomous X (1x Gentle Typhoon AP-15 w/ 25 mm shroud)
|Fluke 52 II Dual Input Thermometer|
|Tenma Sound Level Meter|
All testing was performed on an open test bench, which minimizes ambient temperature and gives a “worst case” scenario for sound level.
Cooling performance was tested as follows:
- Disabled all BIOS settings that cause the CPU clock speed and/or Vcore to fluctuate (although there was still some Vcore fluctuation under load).
- Ambient temperature was measured with a Fluke 52 II at ~1 inch from the intake fan(s). Then, subtracted from the recorded temperatures to get ΔT.
- Varied Vcore (in BIOS) from 1.125 V to 1.375 V in 0.050 V increments to increase heat. Stopped increasing Vcore once a core reached ~100 °C.
- 20-pass 2048 MB RAM LinX runs at each Vcore interval were used to load the CPU.
- CoreTemp was used to record minimum and maximum core temperatures.
The sound level in dBA was measured 10 cm from the intake fan with the fan speed set to 100%. Then, the sound level was estimated for other distances using the following formula:
L2 = L1 – 20 * log10(r2/r1)
- L2 = dBA @ desired distance
- L1 = dBA @ reference distance
- r1 = reference distance
- r2 = desired distance
Why estimate sound level instead of measuring at further distances? It’s because the meter I’m using is most accurate between 40-130 dBA, so I needed to measure really close to the source to make sure my readings were within that range to get the most accurate measurements.
The PF360 performs well but doesn’t really stand out among the other liquid coolers that I’ve tested. What I’m getting from my results when comparing the smaller AIO units to the larger units is that the performance isn’t that much different. I believe this is due to diminishing returns and shows that a large water-cooling loop isn’t needed to keep just a CPU cool. The smaller ones can do almost as well as the larger ones with only ~3 °C difference on average between the 2×120 units and the 2×140/3×120 units.
Along with the Enermax Aquafusion, the PF360 is easily one of the loudest coolers when running at 100% fan speed. As always, I like to remind readers that these numbers are worst-case scenarios with the cooler on an open test bench with fans maxed to be as loud as possible, so not at all typical usage. The PF360 is definitely not a cooler you would want to run at full blast. Fortunately, with the PF360 being so large and with diminishing returns cropping up in the performance results, this means there should be room to reduce the fan speed without sacrificing much in performance.
Silverstone’s PF360 is a visually pleasing AIO whether using RGB lighting or not. The matte black finish along with braided tubing looks great and complements any theme, while the ARGB adds a pop of color if desired.
As for performance, the PF360 does a good job cooling the i7 8700K. Although, I believe in most cases a cooler of this size is overkill for a CPU alone since the results show minor temperature differences between larger AIO units and the smaller ones. Noise could be an issue when running the fans at max speed with the PC close by, but maximum fan speed shouldn’t be needed with the PF360’s large radiator.
The price for the PF360 comes in at $129.99 on Amazon and NewEgg which isn’t much more than 2×120 mm AIO units out there. So, if you’re using a notoriously hot CPU and have the space for a large radiator, then the PF360 could fit the bill without much more added cost.
Overall, I’d say the PF360 performs well while looking great doing it, just make sure you have space and keep the fans turned down some. However, I think most people could get away with using a smaller unit such as Silverstone’s PF240 or other 2x 120 mm AIO.
– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)