Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Last we saw a CPU cooler from ARCTIC, it was the Freezer 33 eSports Edition, and sadly, while it was capable of cooling our CPU without throttling, compared to the mass amount of coolers we have to compare it to, we ended up not giving it that good of a rating.
However, after ARCTIC saw the review, they swiftly urged us to look at the next evolution of that cooler, to see if our opinion could be swayed in their favor this time. Here at TweakTown, we are all for advancements in technology or any improvements that the customer can benefit from, and with the latest cooler from ARCTIC, we have found that improvements are afoot.
With this latest cooler, ARCTIC did not just put lipstick on a pig and call it new. They went back to the drawing board to think about what was right on the Freezer 33 series but also took into question how they can make it better, and have made adjustments. For instance, the Freezer 33 is shorter than the current offering, and mainly due to ARCTIC adding five more fins to the stack, however, the thickness of the fins has gotten thinner.
At the same time, the weight had been reduced, and ARCTIC has also opted for a different set of fans to cool the new tower, with a broader range of speed, and a slight increase to the noise that comes from it. Outside of those changes, we do see much of that the Freezer 33 series offered, including the options of red, yellow, green, and white colorations to help these new coolers blend in with a build.
The Freezer 34 eSports Duo is the cooler in question today, and we can report that things have gotten better, thermally, for ARCTIC. Anyone into coolers realizes that there are many components to making a cooler produce good results, and the increased fin stack and faster fans are all part of that.
However, there has to be some give and take with the noise levels to get said performance. The question left then is how much noise can you tolerate, and is the sound worth the change? We plan to dive into all of these things and see if ARCTIC has improved the design enough to warrant the masses to run out and buy it.
The Freezer 34 eSports Duo is compatible with all of the same platforms as its predecessor, where Intel is covered on LGA 115X LGA 2011 and v3, as well as LGA 2066. However, if you have an AMD processor to cool, it will have to be from Socket AM4 to use this tower. Dimensionally, the cooler stands 157mm tall now but remains 124mm wide and 103mm from edge of the front fan to the edge of the rear fan.
Total weight now is only 764 grams, down from the previous model, while using the same base plate with the exposed Direct Touch 6mm diameter heat pipes, of which there are still 4. Rather than a few less, yet thicker fins, this time around, ARCTIC opts for 54 aluminum fins in the stack, but each fin is 0.1mm thinner than in the Freezer 33. All of the changes to the design of the tower seems to have done little for the TDP, but it is still rated at 210W, which is plenty for any of the compatible processors.
The choice of fans has changed from the Freezer 33 to Freezer 34. Rather than opting to keep the 1800 RPM BioniX F120 fans, for the Freezer 34 eSports DUO, we see ARCTIC moved to a higher speed, BioniX P120 fans to flank this tower. Each fan is capable of speeds ranging from 200 to 2100 RPM this time, but all of the technical specs need to be found in the case fan category, by finding the BioniX P120 fans.
Once there, we see the fans are rated for 67.56CFM with 2.75mmH20 of pressure per fan, at maximum RPM. As for noise, the tower is rated at 0.5 Sone, which translates to roughly 25 or 26 dB(A). Looking at the fans specifications chart, ARTIC says there that they are rated at 28 dB(A). The last thing to mention, and an important note to many potential customers, is the mention of the ten-year warranty, which is one of the best in the game right now.
At the time we looked at the Freezer 33 eSports Edition, the cooler was demanding $47.99 to obtain it, which any cooler below the $50 mark is a slight win for the customers in our book, but ARCTIC felt they could do much better. Currently, as we dive into the interwebs for a price check, we are impressed with what we are seeing. At Amazon, they have the Freezer 34 eSports DUO listed at just $39.99 with ARCTIC registered as the seller.
Dropping by Newegg for a look-see, we found the Freezer 34 eSports DUO is even more affordable. Right now, Newegg has the best deal, where we see a price of just $34.99 with Newegg as the listed seller, and that offer comes with free shipping. So far, things are stacking up in favor of the Freezer 34 eSports DUO, but let's have a look at it and see how it performs before making any final judgments this early in the game.
The mix of flat black with the red accents is a nice touch, and it also goes along with the cooler pictured at near life-size. At the top-left is the ARCTIC logo, while near the bottom, we see mentions of the warranty, a QR-code for the product page, and the wordy name of the cooler and compatibility across the bottom.
In seven languages, ARCTIC displays a comprehensive list of features. Each is titled that this is a tower cooler with a pair of BioniX P120 fans in push/pull and carries on with nine key points. Compatibility, thermal coating and heat dissipation, a broad range of fan speed, focused airstream, silent mode, PWM Sharing Technology, new fan motor, the inclusion of a backplate, and the included packets of MX-4. The bottom right corner addresses that the manual is online-only, and also available in as many languages.
The next panel takes some of the features and helps to explain them with visual images. The topics here are pressurized fans, the thermal coating and offset heat pipes, the use of a fluid dynamic bearing, and that the tower uses a push/pull fan setup to cool it. Under the four images, we see a thermal chart for the Freezer 34 eSports DUO on top of a Ryzen 7 2600, beating the older ARCTIC solution, as well as performing more than twenty degrees better than the AMD stock cooling solution.
The last5 of the external panels offers up an exploded diagram of the cooler along with the hardware so that you can get a general idea of how it all comes together. Next in line is the specifications chart, similar to the one we made for the specifications section, with all of the same information presented. Lastly, we see the box contents at the bottom, so we can ensure we have all the bits we are supposed to when it comes to downloading the manual and installing it.
There is nothing in the form of protection inside of the box, other than a layer of cardboard dropped into the bottom of the box for the cooler to rest on. Even so, our cooler is in better than fair shape with little indications of the cardboard rubbing against the thermal coated fins, but was easily removed with a damp rag. The hardware is found in the box on top of the cooler, and there is some literature included.
ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO CPU Cooler
At first glance, from the front of the Freezer 34 eSports DUO, it looks just like the Freezer 33 series. The only signs of a change are in the density of the fins behind the fan and a slightly different curvature to the heat pipes at the bottom. However, we were a fan of the matte black and bright red when we first saw it, and we still think it looks just as good today.
The right side of the cooler shows a stack of 54 fins with their edges bent to capture all of the air flowing through the tower, with the Bionix P120 fans flanking either side of it, held in place with wire fan clips. Under the stack, we see a significant difference. While the Freezer 33 has all four pipes in parallel, the Freezer 34 has the center two venturing towards the outside edges of the fins almost immediately after leaving the base.
The back of the tower is nearly identical to the front, other than the view of the back of the fan blocking a clear view of the fins. Rather than having the information molded into the frame like the F120 fans, the BioniX P120 fans have a sticker on them to deliver the model number and power draw.
The left side of the Freezer 34 eSports DUO is the same as we saw on the right, identical in almost every detail. Along with having to wipe off the immense amount of rubbed off cardboard particles from the cooler, we do see just a slight bit of damage to the lowest fin, nearest the fan on the left. This is an easy fix like wiping down the cooler, but we would imagine, that any internal packaging would keep these sort of things from occurring at all.
The top view of the cooler has changed dramatically. The louvers have been removed in favor of the company name a logo pressed into the fins. On top of that change, rather than each pipe having its direct airflow hitting them in the Freezer 33, in the Freezer 34, each pipe has another than follows right behind it this time.
With the fans removed from the tower, we can see the saw-toothed pattern of each fin edge. The sides are flat for just a few millimeters to help with the support of the fan frames, but the pattern cut allows many places for the airflow to build a bit of pressure before entering the cooler.
There the four heat pipes originate, is from a solid block of aluminum, into which they are sandwiched. The aluminum is less for cooling and more for the ability to mount more hardware to it. The ends have grooves to help lock in the brackets, and a screw is used to secure the bracket into the aluminum base.
The base is assembled by laying the heat pipes next to each other, applying TIM to them, and wrapping them with the aluminum block. Once they are joined, the entire surface is machined, and we can still see the remnants of that process. Even though the base is not perfectly polished, the surface is level when an edge is held against it, with no convex shape to it.
Accessories and Documentation
As we opened the hardware box, there is one large bag containing everything. Of which we picked out the most significant bits to show first. In the center is a packet of MX-4, good enough for at least two applications, with the Intel backplate surrounding it. On either side are the universal brackets which mount to the base of the cooler.
Four nuts secure the brackets to the hardware below it, and next to them are a pair of screws to mount the universal brackets to the base of the cooler. At the bottom are three sets of threaded risers, which give the proper height for the cooler on LGA2011(v3)/2066, LGA115X, and AM4 respectively, from left to right.
To save paper, a thick paper card is included, which offers a QR-code to reach the online manual for download. Along with that is a thank you card from ARCTIC for choosing their products, and on the inside, if you are unhappy, they offer web addresses to gain support or help. If you are happy, they ask that you express your contentment on social media to help them advertise.
Even though we have seen both sides of the fans, and we already covered what is found on the sticker of the BioniX P120 fans, at this time, we would like to address the connection. The fans have a lead long enough to connect to any motherboard CPU FAN headers but after the 4-pin PWM connector is another tail. If your motherboard does not offer a second one specific to the CPU, you can daisy-chain one fan to another, and they will share the same PWM signal.
Installation and Finished Product
After looking over the digital instructions, we put the cooler in hand and went to it. The first thing we did was grab the top brackets, set them in the groove of the base plate, and slid it into place aligning the holes. Once that is done, you can secure the screws into the base, and the longer the screwdriver, the better, in this instance. That way you aren't grinding your knuckles against the saw-toothed fins.
The next step is to put the backplate into place, for LGA115X users only, as other Intel and AMD compatibility uses either the socket or the default backplate. To align the backplate, make sure the hole goes around the socket retention screw, which will have the ARCTIC name and logo at the top.
There is a bit of confusion for this step, as the manual says we should have washers to go under these nuts, but the box makes no mention of them. We went ahead and installed the threaded posts anyways with no detriment to the motherboard.
After applying a stripe of TIM to the bottom of the heat pipes, as shown in the manual, we set the cooler onto the CPU, and are now securing it to the rest of the hardware already on the motherboard. Be sure to tighten the cooler in an X-pattern, as the base can get uneven pretty quickly with just a few turns of one of the screws.
After completing the installation, we stepped back a bit to admire the job we did, while having a look at the cooler behind the memory. The cooler is skinny in this view, as the memory is longer than the Freezer 34 is wide, and with the bottom edge of the fan below the height of the memory, there has to be clearance there as well.
It turns out there is plenty of room behind the memory. No matter which kit you use, no matter how tall the spreaders are, the Freezer 34 eSports DUO is accommodating, enough that the fans can easily be removed for cleaning purposes without much hassle at all.
Even though this single-tower design has a pair of fans strapped to it, the thickness of the cooler is of little concern. The rear I/O is well away from it, we can easily access the 8-pin connection, and there is plenty of room under the tower to tuck away excess wire and connectivity options.
The ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO is an excellent addition to the standard system we use with all of our coolers. The black used to coat the fins thermally is dark, and stands out against the sea of other blacks in the build, and while the red is not as bright as the motherboard accents, the top of the RAM, or the color of the chassis, it is still a slick-looking option for those with similar themed systems.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII HERO (Intel Z170) - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Patriot Viper 4 3000MHz 4X4GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: INWIN D-Frame - Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS 1050W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: RealTemp 3.70, AIDA64 Engineer 5.75.3900, and CPU-z 1.77.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article (October 2016) for more information.
While a full degree better than its predecessor, the 58.75-degree result in this chart does not look all that appealing at first glance, however, it has jumped into the range of the H100i PRO and close to the H150i Pro in quiet mode. Even the best air cooler in the chart is only 3.75 degrees cooler, and is not as affordable.
With more demand from the cooler in this round of testing, we see that the Freezer 34 eSports DUO is besting the previous design by a degree again. At 76.25 degrees, we are far from the throttle point, and less than ten degrees from the lead spot, and is still able to hang tight with AIO coolers that should be much better and cost nearly three times what the ARCTIC does.
Leaving less than two degrees in the tank for the user to opt for shows us that the PWM fan curve is on point. There isn't much need to crank up the fans to obtain the best from this cooler, and again, we are less than ten-degrees away from the best numbers in the chart.
Noise Level Results
We were never able to use the passive mode, as even at idle we were at 600 RPM, which is more than the 5% of fan speed needed for that to activate. However, under load, while obtaining the noise level, the fans topped out at 1175 RPM delivering 28 dB into the office. Inside of a chassis or with a headset on, it is nothing to worry about at all.
With more load applied to the PWM fan curve, it increased the speed of the fans in reply. At this point, the fans were seen turning at a maximum of 1530 RPM. The noise does move into the audible range of 32dB, but still not enough noise to be concerned within our opinion.
If that extra one and a half degree of performance gain is a must to keep your overclock happy, maybe you should lower the clocks just a touch if you plan to use this cooler. At 42 dB at this point as the fans spin at 2100 RPM, it is not worth the effort for the amount of noise coming from the cooler at this time. Unless the chassis is sound-absorbing or you always wear a headset, the sound can get annoying.
In the last few months, our attitude and outlook on the Freezer series of coolers have been much improved. Not a complete flop from sufficient but expensive to OMG you must have this cooler, more somewhere in the middle.
The biggest reason for this is that not only do we get improvements in performance, tolerable noise levels, and a cooler with options to fit in a lot of themed systems, but the drop in cost is a massive win for ARCTIC customers.
Aesthetically, we like the change from louvers to the ARCTIC name and logo on the top of the cooler, we like that more fins were added, we loved the BioniX P120 fans that push more air through the larger tower; there really isn't anything to pick apart about this design this time, outside of the packaging.
While many may balk at the single-degree performance gains over the predecessor, it is more about what coolers it is directly competing with. While the thermal results may look bad on the chart as they tend to fall to the bottom, but when you look deeper and see the Freezer 34 eSports DUO competing with AIOs at a third the cost, it changes one's perspective.
Something else to consider in this formula as well, and that is the noise coming from the fans when accomplishing thermal improvement. To gain a degree, usually sound levels have to climb, or a larger fan is used while maintaining similar values. However, Somehow, ARCTIC was able to do both at once, lower the temperature, and lower the noise levels.
The ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO may not be the "best" of any one category specifically, but at the same time, ARCTIC has found the right solution to the formula of appealing to the masses for any condition, and we feel they did just that and did it well.
For as little as $35, $40 at the most, we feel that ARCTIC has found its place in the market again. They can deliver adequate performance while reducing cost and noise; they hit the trifecta. We rarely see a cooler with this much going for it with so little invested in the design.
It may be a tad more than the Hyper 212, and competes in cost with Masterair 3 and 4 coolers, but looks much better doing so that either of them. While we may have been a touch harsh with the Freezer 33 series, ARCTIC listened to others before we said it, as the Freezer 34 eSports DUO was already available, so we weren't the only ones seeing something odd.
However, with the Freezer 34 eSports DUO cooler from ARCTIC, they have changed their mission, and as you can see, giving more with less to invest, all without ear-rattling noise to do it, will undoubtedly change the outlook of reviewers and readers alike. For those on a budget, or those looking for a reliable option to go along with the build theme, whether red, green, yellow, or white, ARCTIC has what you need in CPU air coolers.
The Bottom Line
The Freezer 34 eSports DUO is a cost effective solution that can handle anything we threw at it. With multiple color options, less noise, and the greatly reduced price, we can see many opting for this aesthetically pleasing air cooler.