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Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 PRO CPU Cooler Review

The Freezer 13 gets a bit of a facelift along with the denotation of 300 watts of cooling capacitance!

@chad_sebring
Published Thu, Feb 24 2011 11:08 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Rating: 82%Manufacturer: Arctic Cooling

Introduction


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As with many things from days gone by, a few designs get overlooked and would have been a great product if minute changes would have been made on the original. Due to time constraints, or even the later development of an improvement idea, every once in a while a company will go back and rework the original into a much better revision for the second showing. It seems this is just one of those cases, so let's see what Arctic Cooling has up their sleeve.

I was not sent a sample of the original inception, which by Google's dating system on the reviews, it looks like the Freezer 13 came out at the end of last year. This version of the cooler is a bit different in both the shape of the fin body, and the design that gets stamped into each fin of the Freezer 13 versus the newer PRO release. The original design called for four 6mm diameter heat pipes that got surrounded by forty-five aluminum fins, and the lower set of 10 fins were smaller than the rest. On top of that, the Freezer 13 was only shipped with a 92mm fan to do all the work. All things considered, a 200W rating on that cooler is impressive to say the least.

Going back to square one, Arctic Cooling keeps the base, but this time adds bigger heat pipes. Also to aid in heat dissipation, the PRO version also has much more surface area in the larger fin array. The largest addition of the Freezer 13 PRO is a 120mm fan this time around to get more air flowing over the larger surface area. That isn't all, though, not only is this version bigger in looks and feel, but Arctic Cooling is trying out something I have yet to see on any cooler I have tested. If I have intrigued you with what you have heard thus far, I urge you to continue on and see what this new concept has in store for very high heat producing CPUs. In this case, up to 300 Watts of power!

Specifications, Availability and Pricing




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The Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 PRO takes the whole original idea up a full notch. The use of four heat pipes stays the same, as does the use of a copper base. The diameters of the pipes that emanate from the base are increased to 8mm diameter over the 6mm of the previous version. The fins surrounding the pipes are also increased in number to forty-seven aluminum fins that are 0.5mm thick, each. Unlike the original version, the PRO has all of the fins with the same amount of surface area per fin. The Freezer 13 PRO stands almost 160mm tall, but is only 96mm thick, so it should play nice and not cause too many memory clearance issues. All of this combined with a pair of fans made Arctic Cooling list this cooler as capable of handing 300 Watts of CPU power!

Cooling the AC Freezer 13 PRO is a 120mm fan with nine white blades. This fan is attached to a black plastic shroud that clips into a groove on the side of the aluminum fins. This fan is capable of speeds from 300 to 1350 RPM depending on the PWM signal from the motherboard. As far as speeds and noise levels, Arctic Cooling rated these at just less than 50 CFM and 0.4 sone, or roughly 23 dBA. In addition to the 120mm fan pushing through the fins, the Freezer 13 PRO incorporates an additional 50mm fan placed on top of the base. I can tell you that this "Innovative Cross Blow" fan is capable of speeds from 700 to 2700 RPM, again dependant on the PWM signal. I cannot however give you any specs as far as airflow. This is due to the fact that the air flow goes out in all directions. This will not only pre-cool the pipes and base a fair bit, but will also add airflow to the surrounding components on the motherboard.

As I type this I am still uncertain of an actual release to retailer date, but the Freezer 13 PRO has been officially launched so the wait shouldn't be too long. This 300W capable cooler donning two fans in a new configuration, along with a compatibility of all the latest processors, I think the MSRP of $54.90 (39.90EUR) is well within reason for a performance tower cooler. With the word Enthusiast printed right on the front of the packaging, I am expecting good things from this cooler. So let's get to all the action and see how these features are implemented and get on to the testing.

Packaging


The Packaging

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When you locate the Freezer 13 PRO on the shelf it will be very easy to spot. The clear blister pack leaves no doubt of the cooler included in the packaging. As for information, the front only shows that this is the Freezer 13 PRO, a CPU cooler for enthusiasts.

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Even on the sides you get a pretty good look at the cooler inside and what it offers before you make it to the point of purchase. At the bottom along with the manufacturer is information as to where to go for questions or the fact that there is a six year warranty on this cooler.

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On each side there are the tabs that work with the one at the bottom to keep the clam shell packaging together. The liner inside the blister pack holds information on the in house testing on an Intel i7 920 versus the stock cooler as a point of reference when you are looking to buy this in the store. Under the temperatures you will find not only a specifications chart, but the first glimpse at the "Innovative Cross Blow" fan and its placement on the cooler. Up 'till now, the cardboard insert was holding that as a surprise.

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Just like with the other side, you are also given a look at this side of the Freezer 13 PRO. On the bottom of this side there is another notation of the Cross Blow fan next to an icon that denotes 300 Watts of cooling capability! On top of that it is shown to fit all of the current sockets for both AMD as well as Intel.

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The top of the cooler displays a full list of features with the Freezer 13 PRO. 300 Watts of cooling power, the 120mm fan, the Cross Blow fan, all the way down to the MX-4 that comes pre-applied to the base.

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Even though the outside packaging doesn't seem that protective, as it was shipped to me in another box, the product arrived in great shape. Once the clam shell and cardboard is removed, you are left with the instruction manual on the back of the fins, the hardware slid in between the pipes, and a protective plastic cover for the base of the cooler (as it has TIM applied) that also houses part of the mounting system securely in place.

The Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 PRO CPU Cooler




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Looking into the mouth of this 300 Watts capable cooler you see a 120mm fan that consists of nine white blades and hub that get attached to the cooler body with the use of the black outer shroud. Under the 120mm fan you can start to get a glimpse of the Cross Blow fan, but the wiring has been folded and is tucked here for transit, which is blocking our view.

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Trying to gain every advantage, the Freezer 13 PRO uses a closed side by bending the majority of the edge of the fins down. This keeps all the air flowing all the way through the cooler versus losing it; let's say 30%, right out the sides.

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The back of the cooler has a "V" shaped wedge cut from the middle of the forty-seven fins. I can see a two-fold gain to this design. It may cause a void in the airflow, almost making the air stay centralized, and it obviously removes material, which can make the cooler lighter. We also get our first good view of the white Cross Blow fan on the base. This eleven blade 50mm fan is used to cool the heat pipes, as well as adding circulation under the body of the cooler. This should lead to cooler components surrounding the CPU as well.

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The wiring for both of the fans is handles with one connection to the motherboard. Both fans are 4-pin, or PWM controlled. Even here there was a bit of thought for maintenance or even swapping the fan if needed. The fan on the front of the cooler simply unclips from the plug and allows you to remove the 120mm fan and leave the cooler in place.

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I waited until this point to discuss the four 8mm diameter heat pipes that are used in the Freezer 13 PRO. Not only did I not have a clear angle for them, but I couldn't show the solder that is used to set these between the aluminum top half and the copper base. In this case, the base has MX-4 pre-applied to the surface, and I also found a few pieces of something in the material.

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Since it had some debris in the compound, and due to the fact that we use AS-5 on every cooler to come through our doors, I scraped it off and took a picture. Mainly I wanted to show the amount of material applied to the base, in case you ever wondered how much is too much, this is the amount done on most coolers sent with thermal material pre applied, as a reference.

The Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 PRO CPU Cooler - Cont.


The Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 PRO CPU Cooler - Continued

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Once the base was cleaned well, I found very fine marks in the base. This cooler has been taken beyond the milling process of most coolers. The surface had to have been surfaced again after that process. What does that mean for you? Better contact due to a very flat base, and the need to use much less compound, as there aren't large voids to fill.

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As I mentioned, when you want to remove the 120mm fan, make sure you unclip it from the wiring. Then just lift on one edge of the shroud and the fan should release and come right off. Removing the fan exposes a blunt edge to all the fins. The offset to allow for better fan performance is set by the depth of the fan shroud.

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With the cooler standing up it's tougher to show the shape of the fins of the Freezer 13 Pro. With the fan removed and the cooler laying down its shape and design imprinted in the fins is much clearer.

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In case things weren't so clear before, the Cross Blow fan is mounted to the steel hardware mounting. It is removable, but once the hardware and 120mm fan are out of the way, you should need to remove this fan for cleaning. One thing to note about this fan, there is no real directionality, so the fan is going to blow in the path of least resistance.

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Backing the camera out a bit more as to get a clearer image of the steel hardware mount shows that it has two holes. The inner hole is for Intel mounting while the outer hole is for AMD mounting.

Accessories and Documentation




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Inside of the plastic cover that was protecting the pre-applied compound; you will find the Intel mounting piece. This simply sits on top of the motherboard, and with the use of the clips in the next image, gets locked in place. The outer holes are to mount the pins to the board, while the pair of holes on opposite sides is used to lock the cooler to this bracket.

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Tucked in next to the Cross Blow fan you will find these two bags of hardware marked for each brand of socket it works with. The bag on the left marked Intel holds a fair bit more than the AMD kit on the right. For the Intel installation, you will need the black plastic bracket I just showed you along with the push-pin type of locks. The beige "locks" go into the black bracket and that can be snapped onto the board. To lock the bracket to the board, the black pins then get inserted into the beige components and lock the mounting hardware to the board. Then you simply screw in the longer Phillip's head screws into the black bracket to complete the cooler mounting.

With the AMD kit things are much easier. Using the stock plastic bracket that comes with AMD motherboards, Arctic Cooling made simple brackets to lock into place using those. Line up the clips with the AMD bracket and screw the clips to the steel laying over the base of the Freezer 13 PRO using the short pair of screws in the front.

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If the explanations I just gave weren't all that easy to follow, don't worry! Arctic Cooling has you covered. The instruction set will walk you through every step of installing the cooler, a components list, and on this side, how to do it with Intel processors.

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The reverse holds instructions for AMD processors. As you can see, the installation for AMD is much simpler and takes only six quick steps once you open the box.

Test System & Testing Results


Test System & Test Results

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.

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With a cooler of this nature you have to take into consideration the CFM produced by the fan included in the kit. These results are with the fan running at 7.5V, so considerably less CFM than the almost 50 CFM this fan tops out at. The results aren't chart topping, but do show this cooler is on point with the Jing and Hati; both silent cooling solutions.

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The load testing results are confusing to me. The results show mediocre performance at best with the fan that comes included with the Freezer 13 PRO. Don't get me wrong, these are respectable results for what you get, but at what temperature does Arctic Cooling consider this cooler 300 Watts capable? - With their test results I'm seeing a processor under 200 Watts and in a very cool room. Without replacing the fan I wouldn't want to use this cooler on something that hot.

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Where this fan makes up for its mediocre temperatures, is the fact that at low RPM the fan is almost inaudible, as shown by the lowest result of any cooler tested to date.

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With the fans at full speed the results are very good as well. The ISGC-300 is the only cooler I have tested with less noise, and up to now I sort of thought it was a fluke. It's good to see this low of a noise level, but as you saw, it did affect the performance of the cooler.

Final Thoughts




The Freezer 13 PRO does a good job at maintaining average temperatures in our testing, and did so with a super quiet fan, whereas the Jing and Titan had the advantage of a pair of fans. The mounting is super simple and holds the cooler in place securely if installed properly, and if you have any issues a quick glance at the instructions should solve any issues you might be having. The addition of the 50mm Cross Blow fan will add a bit of airflow around the CPU to other components, and the black and white on an aluminum body makes an attractive solution to replace your stock cooler.

I have a few issues with this cooler that may help explain the score you are about to see. While this cooler is marketed to those who are looking for a quiet cooling solution, the word enthusiast on the packaging made me actually look for the definition. So defined, it is anyone who is highly interested in a specific subject. In that case, they win, but I see "enthusiast" as a step above those who are just interested, as in informed buyer and builder of their own PCs. In this case, the Freezer 13 PRO sort of fails. While it is silent, the unidirectional flow of the Cross Blow fan makes it very inefficient at cooling much of anything in reality, and if I am looking for a cooler to handle a 300 Watt processor, I wouldn't want to by a cooler made for silence, as it is just going to get saturated, and the temperatures will skyrocket. For people enthusiastic about silence with no respect for temperature increases, chips today can run at over ninety degrees and still not throttle, so the cooler can still keep you in the "safe zone".

With a marketed price point of $54.90, in my testing the results don't justify the pricing. Granted, the ISGC-300 is similarly priced, but I don't consider that an "enthusiast" cooler either. What I am concerned with is the fact that I can buy a cooler rated to take less heat, but is more efficient at removing said heat. The 300 Watt rating here is true, as the cooler can handle the work load, but at the expense of the longevity of your hardware, along with the uncomfortable increase in room temperatures in the pursuit of overclocking in silence. As it stands, I see this as a very good stock replacement fan that handles a bit of overclocking fairly well, and will offer you silence. For those looking to take the road less traveled and stretching your processor to new levels, I think you already know this cooler is not for you.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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