Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Reviewairman -
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The first thing I discovered about the Freezer 13 is that it has a pre-applied thermal paste on the base. I haven't seen this in a lot of heatsinks before, so this is a bit of a rare occurrence. In the package that I received from Arctic Cooling was a separate package of the company's MX-4 thermal paste, which I will be using in this review. In most cases, pre-applied thermal paste is known to not perform as well, so my results may differ from what is straight out of the box. I usually test things this way, but Arctic Cooling wanted me to use its optional thermal paste in this review. That aside, the cooler itself is lightweight, though it is of average size. After removing the fan, the shape of the Freezer 13 can be easily seen. One side of the fins is flat, which is the side that the fan is attached to, and the other side of the fins has a little more definition as well as a 'V' cut into the fins. I don't believe this affects performance in any way, though it does improve its looks.
The top of the cooler shows the four heatpipes protruding through the top fin. They are staggered to improve airflow around each heatpipe, as having them in a straight line would cause the heatpipes that are closer to the fan to block some of the airflow to the heatpipes further away, since the air will flow across them from front to back. The top fin of the Freezer 13 has triangle designs stamped into it, which also gives the cooler a little bit of character without any unnecessary plastic or LEDs. Looking at the bottom of the heatsink will show the pre-applied thermal paste. It is very dry and can almost be pushed off rather than having to wipe it off. The two screws near the base hold a mounting plate to the heatsink, which does not need to be changed regardless of its application. Obviously, the base and heatpipes are made of copper while the fins are made of aluminum.
The base of the Freezer 13 is typical of a heatsink of its cost - machine marks are evident and there is little or no reflection. It is known that even the smallest machining marks can trap heat and can harm overall performance of a heatsink since the overall surface area in contact with the CPU suffers. The heatpipes don't look like they are soldered inside the base, but rather held in place with some sort of thermal glue, as characterized by the dark gray material around the base-heatpipe interface. The fins themselves are pressed onto the heatpipes for a secure fit.
The thermal paste that I will be using in place of the pre-applied thermal paste is the separately packaged Arctic Cooling MX-4 thermal paste. It boasts an 8-year durability and is non-capacitive, non-conductive, and does not have a curing time similar to other high end thermal pastes. The pre-applied thermal paste is listed on the package to be the MX-4 thermal paste, though I did remove it and apply the extra thermal paste supplied by Arctic Cooling for the testing.
Installation of the Freezer 13 is very simple - no access to the rear of the motherboard is required, which can save computer owners frustration if their case lacks a backplate access hole. It operates very similarly to the stock Intel cooler, where a plastic mounting bracket is secured to the motherboard through the four holes by means of a plastic pin that expands at the end, locking it into place. Once the mounting bracket is secured, the cooler is placed on top of the bracket and is held down by fastening two screws through the plate on the heatsink into the mounting bracket. Installation took me less than five minutes!
With the Freezer 13 installed, it's almost time for the testing. Before that, however, the next page lists all the specifications and features of the Freezer 13.