Introduction

SilverStone Technology was founded in 2003 on the principle of recognition that merely having innovative expertise within the industry is not enough. Their objective is to ensure that their expertise is delivered to all products with consistency, in response to user’s needs, and with maximum user satisfaction. SilverStone Technology thrives on challenges of rapid technological advancements and creating aesthetic standards for the industry. Their products are of high quality. Their product lines include PC Chassis, PSU, Cooling Solution, Storage devices, accessories, etc.

SilverStone has released a new CPU air cooler named Hydrogon D120 ARGB. This is a dual tower, offset design that comes with two high-performance 120mm ARGB fans. Salient features of the cooler are:

  • Dual tower CPU cooler with 6 heat pipes and dual 120mm ARGB fans.
  • Dual tower CPU cooler with dual fans and 6 copper heat-pipes ensuring the best thermal conducting efficiency.
  • Fin offset design eliminates interference between memory modules and CPU cooler on LGA1200 motherboards.
  • 9 bladed high-performance 120mm PWM-controlled fans, with fan speed range of 0~1850 RPM.
  • Each fan includes 8 ARGB LEDs which can be controlled by ARGB controllers or capable motherboards.
  • Anti-vibrational rubber pads included for additional noise dampening.
  • Spring screws mounting design with long screwdriver included for a firm and straightforward installation for both Intel and AMD platforms.

Item:                   Hydrogon D120 ARGB

Manufacturer:   SilverStone

Price:                 MSRP USD 49.99

 

Specifications

Dimension

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler and fan are shipped inside the cardboard packing box in SilverStone blue and white theme.

The front of the main packing box has an emphasis on RGB lighting. Speaking of the RGB lighting, this cooler is compatible with:

  • ASRock PolyChrome Sync
  • ASUS AURA SYNC
  • MSI MYSTIC LIGHT SYNC
  • GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0
  • BIOSTAR RGB SYNC

Salient features have been highlighted. The cooler has an offset design to ensure maximum RAM clearance. It is a dual tower design with 2x 120mm A-RGB fans. The copper base is nickel plated. The cooler has 6x 6mm heat pipes.

The key features and the specifications of the cooler are printed here. There are block diagrams showing the dimension of the unit.

A high-Performance CPU cooler is printed in multiple languages. EAN, UPC, and JAN labels are printed as well.

There is a black color Styrofoam pad covering the cooler. The accessories are provided in the white color box.

Content

The following are provided with the cooler:

There is a white color simple box containing the mounting hardware.

1x user manual is provided to help out the installation.

We have:

  • 1x Plastic made black color Backplate
  • 2x Intel brackets
  • 2x AMD brackets

SilverStone has provided 4x standoffs and 4x creamy white spacers for AM4 mounting.

We have:

  • 4x Black Spacers
  • 4x Thumb Nuts
  • 4x Intel other sockets Pillars
  • 4x Intel LGA-20XX standoffs

We have:

  • 4x Plastic made lockers for the backplate
  • 1x Thermal Paste
  • 1x Screwdriver

Closer Look

Let’s start with the design of the heat sink.

The SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB is a dual-tower design with 120mm size fans. The cooler has dual slim towers and following an offset design. The dimension of the cooler is 125x153x112mm (WxHxD). The weight of the cooler is 885g with the fan. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA2066, LGA20XX, LGA115X, LGA1200, LGA1366, LGA775, and AMD AM4, AM3, AM2, FM2, FM1 sockets.

The top covers on both towers have the same silver shiny finish with SilverStone branding in the center. The cooler has 6x heat pipes with their tips terminating on the top of the cooler. The inner layout of both towers is not identical. This is due to the offset design. There are two deep cutouts or insets on the right tower. This is done to provide a path for the screwdriver to access the spring-loaded screws pre-installed on the mounting plate. It seems like we don’t have a soldered assembly on this cooler.

The left and right sides of the heatsink are identical. The above picture also highlights the offset design. The right tower has more fins as compared to the left tower. This is done to ensure the same height of both towers. There are angled cutouts here where the metal clips are inserted when attaching the fans.

The front and rear sides are identical on the outside though both towers have different heights. The front tower has 44 aluminum fins whereas the rear tower has 39 aluminum fins. The heat pipes have symmetrical displacement inside the heatsink. The heatsink has sharp edges so take care while handling the cooler.

The above picture shows the displacement of the heat pipes inside the fin stack.

The SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB packs 6x copper heat pipes which are nickel-plated. The thickness of a heat pipe is 6mm. Due to the offset design, the heat pipes have an asymmetrical layout on the base.

The above picture better highlights the asymmetrical layout of the heat pipes on the base of the cooler.

The copper base has 38mmX44mm size. It is nickel coated and anti-oxidized. There is a protective sheet pasted on the base which needs to be removed before the installation.

The above picture shows the base of the cooler with the protective sheet removed.

The mounting plate is already installed on the base of the cooler using a screw in the middle. The plate can be removed by taking out the screw. The plate has two spring-loaded screws on both ends.

SilverStone has provided 2x HYD120-ARGB fans with this cooler. These fans have 9 frosted blades. These fans are rated for 0~1850 RPM. These fans feature the Stop function for which the supported motherboard is needed. I have tested this cooler on the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK and the fans were connected to the CPU Fan header of the motherboard. This motherboard supports the Zero Stop function on Auto PWM mode. The fans came to a complete halt when the PC was under no load.

There is a SilverStone branded sticker in the center of the fan. The center has a large diameter which is understandable as it is housing the ARGB LEDs. The frame of the fan is in black color and is sturdy. There are cut-to-size anti-vibration pads on the mounting corners.

There are directional arrows on the frame side. These are there to provide a visual aid to the user in identifying the direction of the airflow and the direction in which the blades would spin.

There is a 4-arm assembly on the backside of the fan. One of the arms is wider and carries the wire from the motor of the fan towards the frame. We don’t find the anti-vibration paddings on the backside of one fan.  One fan has pads on both sides and it is supposed to be used on the rear tower. The fans are made in China.

The fan has a 4-pin PWM connector and a socket. The idea is to daisy chain the fans and connect them to a single source of power.

Both fans have standard 3-pin ARGB connectors (Male and Female). One can interconnect or daisy chain these cables so that they can be connected to a single source of ARGB (5B) lighting.

The above picture shows the clips of the fans.

Installation

We have recently upgraded our Intel testbed and are now on the Intel LGA1200 socket. Installation is as follow:

Pass the Intel LGA1200 Pillars through the designated holes on the mounting arms of the backplate.

Secure them using the lockers. Place the backplate on the backside of the motherboard such that the threaded portion of the pillars passes through the mounting holes around the socket area.

Place the black color spacers on the pillars.

Place the brackets on the pillars.

Secure the brackets using thumb nuts.

Apply the thermal paste on the surface of the CPU and remove the protective sheet from the base of the cooler. Place the cooler on the CPU by aligning the spring-loaded screws of the mounting plate with the standoffs on the mounting brackets. Screw-in the spring-loaded screws to complete the installation of the heatsink on the motherboard. Attach the fans to the towers. Connect the daisy-chained 4-pin PWM connector to the 4-pin PWM header on the motherboard. Similarly, connect the 3-pin ARGB daisy-chained connector to the 5V header on the motherboard.

This would complete the installation.

Clearance

The dimension of the cooler is 153x125x112mm with the fan. Here the height of the cooler is 153mm. Make sure your chassis has clearance for this much height of the cooler.

There is no clearance issue concerning the motherboard’s top side and the IO side of the motherboard.

There is no clearance issue concerning the first PCIe X16 slot on MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK.

The fan does not overhang the DIMM slots and did not pose any issue to the T-Force NightHawk DDR4 RGB kit.

RGB Lighting

The HYD120-ARGB fans pack digital RGB LEDs which can be controlled using the supported motherboard’s software. There is no dedicated controller provided in the box so you are dependent upon the supported motherboard. Here are a few pictures of the A-RGB lighting on these fans.

Testing

We have upgraded our Intel testbed recently. A few coolers have been tested on this setup. More will be added after the testing in the coming time.

Following test benches have been used: –

  • Intel i7 10700k
  • MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
  • T-Force NightHawk RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • addlink S70 256GB NVMe SSD
  • bequiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
  • Open-air test bench

Here is the settings table for testing:

Clock (MHz)3800 All Cores
Voltage (V)1.025
Clock (MHz)4700 All Cores
Voltage (V)1.255
Clock (MHz)5100 All Cores
Voltage (V)1.345
Turbo BoostDisabled
C-StatesDisabled
Speed StepDisabled
Thermal PasteNoctua NT-H1
Thermal Paste ApplicationDot Method in the center.
Test Run Time30 minutes
Idling Time10 minutes
Fan Speed100% PWM Duty Cycle and Auto PWM
HeaderCPU_Fan header for the fans
SoftwareAIDA64 6.3 Extreme [FPU]

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for coolers testing. Using the same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

The coolers are also tested using the Auto PWM function. MSI is using Smart Fan mode in the UEFI/BIOS which is not pure Auto PWM but it is what is available to us. The above picture shows the MSI default fan curve for the Smart Fan mode. Since all the coolers will be tested using the same configuration and settings, the same margin of error applies to all.

Let’s take a look at the results.

3.8GHz All Cores

The SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB is doing 24.1°C.

4.7GHz All Cores

The SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB is offering a similar thermal performance as is on the Noctua NH-U12S.

4.7GHz All Cores [Auto PWM]

Again, we saw that the SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB offers similar thermal performance to the Noctua NH-U12S.

5.1GHz All Cores

Now coming to the ultimate test of stress load with all cores on 5.1GHz. The heat output under this load is not easy to handle by all the coolers. Roughly all the single towers in 120mm size were sitting in the upper 80s and 90s. I am not comfortable with the temps in the 90s and one must use the cooling solution accordingly. The SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB was doing 64.4°C delta temperature. The maximum temperature on any core was 94°C which is just 6°C shy of getting throttled.

Fans’ Speed on Auto PWM

The above graph shows the maximum speed attained by the fans on the Auto PWM. For comparison, we have included the fans’ rated speed to have a reference in determining the Auto PWM range. The speed of the front fan is reported through the 4-pin PWM connector. The speed of the fans was 1648 RPM.

Noise

The maximum recorded noise level on the SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB was 53 dBA in an ambient noise level of 33 dBA.

Conclusion

SilverStone has released a new CPU air cooler under the $50 price bracket. The aim is to provide an adequate cooling solution in style without breaking the bank. Lately, we are seeing some tough competition in this price range from various manufacturers. The new cooler is named Hydrogon D120 ARGB. The cooler has a dual-tower, offset. The dimension of the cooler is 125x153x112mm (DxHxW). The 153mm is the height of the cooler. The weight of the cooler is 885g with the fan. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA20XX, LGA115X, LGA1200, LGA1366, LGA775 and AMD AM4, AM3, AM2, FM2, FM1 sockets. This is another difference over the standard NH-U12S as the standard version has support for AM3 sockets as well.

The heatsink comprises 44 aluminum fins on one tower and 39 aluminum fins on the second tower. The heatsink has 6x nickel-plated copper heat pipes. Each pipe has a thickness of 6mm. It looks like the assembly is not soldered. The heat pipes are terminating at the top where their pointy heads are coming out of the top fin plate. The heatsink is following an offset design to ensure the maximum RAM clearance. The copper base has an anti-oxidized coating with nickel plating and has a dimension of 38x44mm. The mounting plate is already installed on the base module of the cooler. It has two spring-loaded screws which are used to secure the heatsink to the mounting hardware. SilverStone has provided a screwdriver for the installation.

The SilverStone has provided 2x HYD120-ARGB fans. Each fan has 9x frosted blades. The fans are rated for 0~1850 RPM speed. The fans feature a zero stop function which allows them to stop spinning under no load. The requirement for this feature is to have a supported motherboard. I have tested this function on the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard. The fans were connected to the CPU fan header and the header was set on Auto PWM. The fans came to a complete halt when the PC was idling. The maximum airflow rating of these fans is 56.23 CFM at 1.98 mmH₂O. The rated current is 0.21A at 12V. These fans are using Hydraulic Bearings and have a life expectancy of 35000 hrs.

The installation of this cooler is convenient though it would need 19 components for the installation. I did not face any issues when installing the cooler. The edges of the heatsink are sharp so take care when handling it. The good thing is you don’t need to take the fans off to install the cooler. The fans come pre-attached to the heatsink using metal clips. The fans are using standard 3-pin ARGB connectors making them compatible with most of the standard 3-pin, 5V headers on the motherboards. SilverStone has not provided any dedicated controller in the box. We have tested the lighting on the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK motherboard using the Mystic Light Sync app and the fans were very well responding to the mode changes.

The MSRP of the SilverStone Hydrogon D120 A-RGB is 49.99 USD. SilverStone is offering 1-2 years of warranty depending on the region. They are aiming at the budget users who would want to have decent cooling with some vivid A-RGB lighting in this price range. In our testing, this cooler has almost performed at the level of the Noctua NH-U12S. Standing at 153mm, this cooler has 5mm less height than the NH-U12S making it more compatible with the majority of the PC Cases out there. This cooler can handle the stock loads and mediocre overclock. The only downside is the lower warranty.

We are thankful to SilverStone for allowing us to review their Hydrogon D120 A-RGB CPU air cooler.

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