The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
We have a CPU cooler that we have been sitting on for a while, as we received it well before the release, but were told to put it on hold for a while by ARCTIC. After the release date, we fell ill and are just now getting around to reviewing a product that many may already be aware of. Coming from ARCTIC, we have a feeling, judging by the coolers we have seen recently, that this large tower cooler may have what it takes to be very impressive if you have the room to house it.
With a bit of shock as to what the Freezer 33 and 34 were able to do with very little fan and tower behind it, and what we saw with the Liquid Freezer II, we can only assume at this point that another cooler coming from the same minds will have to be close to, or as impressive as the others!
Rather than building a compact tower cooler, ARCTIC flipped the script and is now trying to go big with a cooler much like the D14, D15, A500, and the like, in the dual-tower department. Along with that comes a pair of fans to cool the towers, but this is also a cooler that comes with a completely encompassing shroud that leaves very little of the actual cooler exposed to the world. It may be heavy, and it may be bulky, but from what we see from ARCTIC of this new cooler, it is better than the D15, better than the FUMA 2, even better than the Dark Rock Pro 4!
Beyond that, ARCTIC uses no magic sauce to do such things, as the only features shown of this cooler is that it uses pressure optimized fans and a big splash of ARGB to compete with many other CPU air cooling offerings released over the last year or so!
The cooler in question is the ARCTIC Freezer 50, which is the sister cooler to the Freezer 50 TR, both of which are similar. The specifications show the TR version to have more heat pipes; it is one millimeter shorter, comes with different hardware, and weighs 82 grams more. As to the universal version, the Freezer 50, ARCTIC is attempting to take over the top spot in dual-tower designs with performance and low noise while adapting a style more tuned to high-end PCs rather than the vanilla options we have seen in the past. With all of that said, we should get right into the mix and see just how well the ARCTIC Freezer stacks up against some of the other monsters in air cooling!
In the specifications chart we borrowed from ARCTIC, things start with the compatibility of the Freezer 50. In that section, we see that the tower can be mounted to LGA115X/1200, 2011(V3), and 2066 Intel motherboards, while AMD support is restricted to AM4 only. RAM clearance is mentioned, as this design includes a shroud, which happens to put the fan over the memory. Being what it is, the distance left under the plastic is 37.5mm, not leaving a ton of room for a lot of the RAM out there today! While this chart does say there is a six-year warranty, we have to go with what we see on the box, and the box shows a two-year warranty!
The next section covers the heat sink. We find that this tower comes with six 6mm heat pipes that run through each of the two fin stacks. The fins are made of aluminum, and even the fin stack count is presented, with fifty-two fins for each tower. We are even shown the fin thickness of 0.4mm! The last thing we see is that MX-4 is shipped with the cooler, but no mention of the pipes being copper, nor is there a mention of the base being a direct contact design!
Two fans ship with the Freezer 50, with a 120mm fan on the front and a 140mm fan in the middle. Fan speed differs slightly between the two, where the 120mm fan can run at 1800 RPM, where the 140mm fan stop at 1700 RPM. Both fans are supported with a hydro dynamic bearing, and both fans have just five sickle-shaped fan blades. The maximum noise level is said to be 0.4 sones, but that means little to those on this side of the pond. In ordinary language, 0.4 sone works out to roughly 20 dB, depending on the chart used. We also get the power numbers of the amount of draw for each fan at 12V, and while the connector section is left empty, both fans are 4-pin PWM powered, although the 140mm fan comes with a pigtail so that one motherboard fan header can run both fans.
Illumination gets its section, where we are told that there are thirteen ARGB LEDs in the top of the cooler, in two distinct areas, both controlled differently! There is a single 3-pin connector to power them, which draws just 0.5A over the 5V line to run them at their brightest.
Typically cooler manufacturers place dimensions and weight near the top of the chart, but for many, this section can make or break the purchase of this cooler. While the cooler's width is 149.5mm, and the depth of 148mm is not that big of a deal, the 166mm height may very well not fit in many a mid-tower chassis! Full-towers will most likely have plenty of room, but it is something to keep in mind. As to the overall weight, we see that it is listed as 1160 grams, much lighter than the Corsair and Noctua dual-tower designs!
As we look to purchase the Freezer 50, we see it is sold at ARCTIC with a listed price of €59.99, which equates to nearly $75 with the current conversion rate. However, we could locate the Freezer 50 at Amazon, where it currently sells for $69.99. This is much more affordable than most of the dual-tower coolers available today, especially those already in our charts. What we have is a lighter, somewhat bulkier, dual tower design, and if it can keep up with its direct competition, it makes that price point all that much more appealing. While we have to go through many more images before we cover the results, the Freezer 50 results will likely interest you!
Compared to packaging we see with other ARCTIC coolers, they stepped up their game to make the Freezer 50 packaging as attractive as possible. While most of the front panel is done with a matte finish, the cooler is shiny, which also helps add some "pop" to the ARGB lighting. On the left are mentions of the lighting, the warranty, and a QR code to see the product page. Under the cooler's extremely long name, we also see that ARGB support can be had on ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSi, and ASRock motherboards.
Spinning the box to view the right-side panel starts with a condensed list of specifications but adds dimensional renderings and a view of the ARGB connector. Under the chart, we run into ARCTICs testing of the Freezer 50 against a few popular options, and with Prime 95 testing, we see that their 8700K with an overclock is coolest on the Freezer 50.
Spinning the box another time allows us to get a view of what is on the back. The top starts with a few words about the Freezer 50 and its P-series fans, making it an "extremely powerful cooling solution" for both camps while including ARGB for customizable illumination. We then run into six images that show the ARGB, its dual tower design; the pressure optimized fans, its push-pull configuration, use of fluid dynamic bearings, and the easy mounting solution.
In seven languages, ARCTIC delivers a list of features, all of which we have discussed already. We also find another QR code to obtain the manual for the Freezer 50, along with the support address, if a problem surfaces. Lastly, there is a list of contents at the bottom to verify all parts needed are there.
Compared to other ARCTIC coolers, the Freezer 50 is the most well-packed solution we have seen. Inside the box, we find that cardboard is used at both ends as caps that keep the inner box from making contact with either end of the external packaging. The cooler is also slightly narrower so that the cooler's sides do not get damaged from the side impacts either.
Not only does the Freezer 50 come in two boxes, inside of the box you see now, but the cooler also comes inside of a plastic bag to keep rubbing during transit from damaging the shroud. On the top, we can see literature is the first thing found when the box is opened, so you get a greeting from ARCTIC and the code for the manual before you ever see the cooler.
ARCTIC Freezer 50 CPU Cooler
The front view of the Freezer 50 is of a 120mm sickle bladed fan surrounded by angular sections of plastic. What you see now is one of a three-part shroud, which clips onto the front tower of the cooler. Below all of the black plastic, we can see the six heat pipes angled away from the base to spread heat through the tower, and they are nickel plated for looks and anti-corrosive properties.
With a standard installation, we are looking at the cooler's side that would face the top of the motherboard. We see bits of the fin stacks exposed between the shroud's bits, and we also noticed the sides of the fins are bent to capture all of the airflow. While it is a nice touch to add the ARCTIC name and logo, most users will not see this once installed in a chassis.
Since the second fan is in between the towers, the back of the Freezer 50 is wide open. As it is designed, a third fan is not an option! We do like that ARCTIC completed the shroud surrounding the back for a much better looking top view and made the plastic parts balanced on the towers.
The side of the Freezer 50 that will be facing your GPU is similar to the opposite side, but there are a couple of minor differences. The more obvious difference is the name of the product is painted on this side, rather than the company name and logo. The second change is the addition of lines above and below it.
ARCTIC went all out with the design of the top of the shroud. Many angles, many shapes, even louvers, were used on the Freezer 50. Not only does the large badge in the middle glow from the ARGB lighting under it, but so does the pair of strips that defines the central section from the front and back portions of the shroud.
After releasing the center portion of the shroud, which allows the front fan and the rear portion to be removed, we can see the tower under all of it. Using a saw-tooth pattern on the leading edges has been a proven method of creating space for the fan to build pressure, and the even distribution of heat pipes across the entire width is another way to take advantage of the airflow. Both towers are not identical, and the large holes at the top of the towers align the central section of the shroud.
The cooler's mounting bar is made of aluminum and uses screws and springs to provide proper pressure to the CPU. Since the 140mm fan populates this area, you will need to have the cooler's center section off the tower to mount it. The rest of the plastic and the front fan can remain in place.
While the front stack of fins is rectangular, the back section draws to a point, adding more surface area in this location, and is why a third fan is not possible for this cooler. All of the pipes complete their bends before entering the fins and are pressed over the pipes for fitment.
ARCTIC decides to use a direct touch method of contact with the CPU on the Freezer 50. The pipes are lined up, and the aluminum base/mounting bar surround them. The machining down does leave fine lines in the contact area, but we have seen tighter gaps between the pipes than what ARCTIC offers.
Accessories and Documentation
As far as hardware is concerned, we start with the major components we found. The LGA115X/1200 backplate is in the middle, but on either side are a pair of universal top brackets. They drilled for AMD and Intel, and they also show which side faces up when it comes time to install them.
The remaining hardware boils down to what we have here. On the left are two sheets of plastic washers that can be stuck to things and are shown to isolate the Intel backplate from the motherboard. There is a packet of MX-4 next to the LGA115X/1200 standoffs at the top, while the bottom has the knurled nuts, AMD standoffs, and LGA2011/2066 standoffs.
The amount of literature is limited, as ARCTIC wants to conserve paper. On the left is an insert that thanks you for the purchase and asking if you are happy to post about it on social media. Should you not like what you have, they ask that you contact support via the provided avenues. To the right is an insert with a QR code on it, which will take you to the manual section of the product page, where you follow images to install the Freezer 50.
Behind the 120mm fan on the front of the tower is a frame without a sticker. Our next chance was to look at the 140mm fan's back to see if any information was there. While we do not see any part numbers, we are shown the power draw for the lighting and each of the fans. With the center section out, you can now see the studs at the top that set into the tower, and the clips at the bottom lock onto bits of the front and back shrouds.
Installation and Finished Product
After removing the plastic bits from the AMD mounting hardware that shipped with our motherboard, we first screwed in the proper standoffs using the factory backplate. Once done there, align the top brackets with the screw holes for the cooler towards the CPU. The last step is to then secure all of the parts together with the knurled nuts.
Typically we would have applied the thermal paste along each of the pipes, but ARCTICs instructions show that you will want your thermal paste applied perpendicular to the pipes. While this is a new method to us, we feel they must have a reason to insert this into the instructions, so we follow their advice when prepping the Freezer 50 before we mount it to the hardware.
After applying the paste properly, align the tower to the pair of mounting holes in the brackets on the motherboard, and while alternating between the two screws, send them home until they stop spinning. At this point, you can go ahead and replace the center section of the shroud and wire up all of the connections.
From the front, the look of the Freezer 50 has not changed since we first saw it, fresh out of the box. The difference here is that while we lack a view of the heat pipes, we can see where the use of shorter RAM is a way to ensure you won't run into fitment issues!
The ARCTIC Freezer 50 does not just encroach on the RAM area; it outright covers three of the four slots! Also, keep in mind that this is not a design where simply raising the intake fan is possible. There is no movement found here, and we highly doubt most of the kits we review would fit under here!
As we move back to see what sort of room the cooler takes up, we notice that due to the extended fins in the back, memory clearance does not get better at the back of the cooler. While not impossible to do, the depth of the Freezer 50 goes past the start of the 8-pin EPS connector on our motherboard!
As many will view the Freezer 50 while inside a chassis, we like the visual appeal, and all of the angles and shapes are not out of place with our motherboard and GPU choices. We can see there is plenty of clearance to the GPU, but this tower does eat up much of the visual real estate above the video card.
For those of you who are fans of the RGB craze, the Freezer 50 may quench that thirst! With both strips doing their own thing of a rainbow of colors presented circularly, the middle's logo badge is controlled differently. The badge portion, while controlled with AURA Sync, matches the motherboard, perfectly in sync.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
The 60.3-degree result is admirable, and the 62-degree max is also something we are pleased to see. However, we almost wish we hadn't seen the AS500 first! DeepCool can surpass the Freezer 50, is more affordable, and quieter. On the flip side, we are competing with the dual tower competition quite well for much less money than those cost!
With the overclock applied, the Freezer 50 trades places with the AS500, with the 67.1-degree average and a max of 76-degrees. Again, competing head to head with the coolers it mimics with less money involved and not a horrible amount of noise to accomplish it.
To see what was left in the tank of this massive dual tower cooler, we pushed the fans to full speed left us with another 2.2-degrees to take advantage of. We wish there was more room to play, considering the fans still had near 450 RPM to play with before attempting this run.
Noise Level Results
Audibly the Freezer 50 comes in with average results. At 27 dB, we cannot fault anything in that result, but again, after seeing the AS500 do it with less noise does make us ponder the pros and cons to having a cooler as large as this without any defined benefits outside of aesthetics! When we took this reading, the 120mm fan was spinning at 1116 RPM, while the 140mm fan was at 1156 RPM.
With the intake fan at 1362 RPM and the center fan spinning at 1357 RPM, the noise coming from the cooler registers at 33 dB. Again, it is not a big deal to many users, as, inside a chassis, it is still low in volume. However, 10 dB more to get the same temperature as a single tower AS500 taints the good results ARCTIC delivered.
If you feel like you can just run the fans at full speed to eat up that performance gap, be prepared! With the 120mm fan at 1807 RPM and the 140mm fan at 1836 RPM, the noise level drastically increases to 50 dB! While average compared to anything else in the chart, we have to say we had higher hopes for what the Freezer 50 would be capable of.
Deliberating what to express here with the Freezer 50 has been tough, and to take you on a trip through our head right now, this is what we are pondering. ARCTIC has made a marked improvement to cooling capabilities compared to a couple of their other air coolers we have seen recently. So, that is one for the plus side! We are even fans of the aesthetic and ARGB implementation, so that is another win for ARCTIC! The Freezer 50 is capable of performing similar to the other dual-tower coolers in our charts, and it costs $20 or $30 less than the competition. Strike up another check in the pros column.
Right now, our issue is the AS500 from DeepCool, the sheer amount of real estate it takes up, and the RAM clearance conundrum. In this day and age, and as the AS500 proved, we should get this level of performance without covering any of the memory! If we looked at the ARCTIC cooler first, we would be touting them for improved performance, not so much noise, and the fact that they had the grapes even to try to hang with the $100 dual-tower designs that take top honors in many users minds! On the one hand, this is a great move for ARCTIC, but on the other hand, it does come with some pretty big concessions! To say we are on the fence right now is an understatement, as we are still unsure as to the best way to go about this conclusion.
While performance is pretty darn good, noise is the second aspect of factoring in our judgment. ARCTIC can keep noise to a minimum with PWM control of the pair of fans, and to be honest, we like coolers with clip-on fans rather than wire fan clips. It is just easier to work within our opinion. Keeping noise levels well in the "quiet range," where if inside of a chassis, you will likely be hearing the GPU or PSU over the Freezer 50, so no qualms with the cooler there. Using pressure fans was the right way to go, and the metal fan badge is a nice added touch to dress up the front of the cooler.
We loved the lighting that the ARGB on top of the tower offers. It was picked up with AURA software out of the gate, and as we mentioned, once synced, the logo in the middle matches what the system is doing, and at the same time, we still get a rainbow of colors circling the cooler. If you do not like the ARGB, you can not plug it in, and you still have an attractive solution to cool your CPU! We do wish there was a controller option like in the TR version of this cooler, or even a tiny controller for those without ARGB as part of their motherboard, though.
With the price of the ARCTIC Freezer 50 being $69.99 currently, we can appreciate that price when looking at many of the other coolers in the chart, but that pesky AS500 pops up again here. To get similar performance and much less noise, you can spend $10 less and do just as well. All without the stumbling points that has us perplexed on what to do, still, this late in the review! While we recommend the Freezer 50, you need to know what you are getting into upfront. As long as the case is big enough, you ordered standard or low-profile height RAM and required a huge tower with a fancy ARGB display; this a perfect affordable solution.
We feel that there are other options available that may be a better fit! Now, if the Freezer 50 sold for around $50, it would change everything! However, the reality is what it is, and we will stand by the recommendation, as this is a solid option, but in the end, scores will reflect conflicts and cost.
By far the best performing CPU air cooler from ARCTIC to date! The Freezer 50 is a beast, but while affordable, you do give up some choices when it comes to other components in the build.