Swiss Engineering, Rolex, Army Knives, Arctic Cooling? All of these companies make a play on their Swiss heritage, but only one can be considered true value. Arctic Cooling has mesmerized with their products released in 2008, starting with their Freezer XTREME line of VGA coolers. Not only were the two samples sent over last year worthy of a rave review, but the price was in some cases half that of lesser performing VGA coolers.
Arctic Cooling is back at it with another XTREME product, this time for the CPU. The new Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME is closely linked to the VGA cooler line and design characteristics are shared between the two; mainly a large surface area to dissipate heat. The Xtra large Freezer XTREME uses four heatpipes to channel heat from the processor to a very large area of oversized cooling fins. If you have seen the VGA cooler line, this sounds and looks familiar.
This past month we have seen some really good coolers from Thermaltake and Xigmatek; let's see how the Freezer XTREME stacks up.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As you can see from the specifications sheet, the cooler is pretty big. At 131mm high the Freezer XTREME is one of the tallest coolers on the market. Not to be outdone by the height, the width is 100mm by 130mm so you will want to check your clearances on some of the motherboards with oversized Northbridge coolers.
The fan sits directly in the middle of the cooler and is able to push a little more than 35 CFM. Since air passes through the cooler on the way in and on the way out, cooling performance is nearly doubled by using this configuration; in theory.
The base of the cooler is made of copper and four large heatpipes make their way to each side of the aluminum fin areas that surround the fan.
The Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME has an MSRP of 44.95 in the U.S. but availability has been fairly limited. FrozenCPU.com shows the XTREME out of stock at 49.95. Sidewindercomputers.com lists the cooler for 39.95, but like FrozenCPU they are also out of stock. Hopefully Arctic Cooling will be able to re-supply these great resellers so enthusiasts have the opportunity to buy the cooler.
Arctic Cooling isn't worried about a big package with colourful graphics; they want the product to do all of the talking. As you can see here, the cooler is speaking volumes. Processor compatibility is listed on the bottom out of the way of the cooler, though.
The side is more of the same, lots of cooler bling and not much to distract you from the cooler.
A feature set is listed on the back of the package and some general performance comparisons are also shown.
The other side is nearly identical to the first.
The Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME
It is difficult to tell the front of the cooler from the back. The good thing is the fan is removable so if you do manage to mount the cooler backwards you can easily pull the fan and mount it the correct way. The fan uses the 4-pin PWM connector that you can see here.
Here you can see the full length of the cooler and the side of the cooler.
The fins lean a little on our sample cooler as you can see here. This leads us to question some of the build quality on our early sample. Arctic Cooling is a Swiss company that prides itself on quality. Early samples sometimes come in with little issues like this and are later ironed out when production goes into full swing.
Arctic Cooling couldn't resist getting a little company branding on the side of the cooler.
From the factory the Freezer XTREME comes with thermal paste pre-applied.
With the thermal paste removed we see the finish on the base. As you can see, the base isn't perfectly smooth but you can't feel the machine marks with your finger.
The top of the cooler is where the removable fan housing is located. To remove the fan just press on the outer edges where the tabs are located and lift the fan out of the cooler.
With the fan removed we see the seven blades and the top mounting attachment.
Accessories and Documentation
Arctic Cooling has come up with a great way to mount their Freezer XTREME to Intel Socket 775 motherboards. The best feature about the mount is you will not have to remove your motherboard to install the cooler, a feature that many will enjoy.
I was surprised to see the cooler not come bundled with a tube of AC's premium thermal paste.
The instructions are complete and will walk you through installing the cooler to your motherboard with a series of images and written words.
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
The Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME ran parallel with the most recent coolers to pass through the lab. The cooler is able to dissipate up to 160 watts of CPU cooling power, a number I saw a lot of this past week. I think a company is getting ready to launch a new flagship processor and this number will come up quite a bit over the next month. The AC Freezer XTREME is a large cooler that is able to keep the processor right at 15 degrees above ambient.
As you can see, the Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME is a quiet cooler. Since it pushes and pulls air through the fins, the fan does not have to run at high RPMs to do the job. Some of the other coolers that perform at the same level give off a higher SPL reading at full load. The idle speed of the fan is completely silent, more than a few people will be taking a look inside their case just to be sure the fan is even running, that is how quiet it is.
The Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME lives up to its name and can effectively cool a modern day flagship processor with ease. Overclockers looking to cool their processors when pushed to the limit will enjoy the cooler for its cooling power and casual clockers, the 10-15% guys will love the mix of performance and quietness.
The Freezer XTREME is currently available on store shelves but availability is limited in the U.S. due to its high demand. If you are on the prowl and find one in stock, act quickly because there are several others looking for this performance cooler. With an MSRP price of under 50 U.S. Dollars the Freezer XTREME isn't going to break the bank and the cooler is actually a bargain when compared to 80 Dollar coolers that perform at the same level.
When it comes to installation, the Freezer XTREME has most other coolers on the market beat, hands down. Intel and AMD based motherboards do not have to be removed, making installation a snap. The bracket supplied by Arctic Cooling is robust and allows for a tight fit between the processor and cooler.
If the Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME had a fault, it would be in the pre-applied thermal paste. I was surprised to see that the cooler didn't come with a tube of Arctic Cooling's premium paste. Many users purchase a cooler to use on more than one system, but in the end omitting the extra paste allows AC to keep the cooler cost lower.
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