Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Review

airman - 2010-10-12 08:28:34 in Cooling
Category: Cooling
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: November 10, 2010
Price: $35

Introduction:

Keeping your components cool in your computer is the most important practice for maintaining their lifespan. Manufacturers have continued to improve their designs and offer new products to adapt to the constant changes in technology and their heat output. A constant challenge of consumers is finding a product that fits their needs while staying within their budget. This constant battle drives readers to research what a particular heatsink is capable of and whether or not it is right for them. The goal of this article is to provide the desired facts about the Arctic Cooling Freezer 13. The Freezer 13 is a relatively low-cost heatsink that is capable of up to 200 watts of cooling power. In this review, I will provide a complete evaluation of the heatsink's unboxing, features, installation, and most importantly, its performance. This will be my first Arctic Cooling product that I have tested, so I am excited to see how well it performs!

 

Closer Look:

The Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 is packaged in a clear plastic container so that all sides of it can be seen. On the front, the black and white fan stands out through the packaging and the Arctic Cooling logo as well as the Freezer 13 text appears at the bottom. Underneath the Freezer 13 text is a remark stating that this heatsink supports both AMD and Intel sockets, which is common nowadays. The left side of the package adds some more information, such as it being capable of 200 watts of cooling power, and lists more specific socket compatibilities. A large amount of information can be found on the rear of the package - noise levels, dimensions, weight, and other features that I will discuss further in the review. The right side only features the UPC code and some information about Arctic Cooling. Arctic Cooling is based out of Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the packaging of the Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 is fairly minimal and small in size. Included in the base of the package, underneath the heatsink, is the mounting hardware and an installation/owner's manual. Out of all the heatsinks I have ever reviewed, this one gets the award for having the simplest mounting hardware I have come across! Many heatsinks have an overwhelming amount of hardware with pieces that can easily get lost and can be confusing to install. I don't believe I will have this problem with the Freezer 13, as there are only a total of five pieces (four of which are the same), plus two screws to get it ready for action.

 

 

With the Freezer 13 out of the box, it is now time to take a closer look at the heatsink and share my thoughts on the next page.

Closer Look:

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.

Specifications:

Dimensions
123(L) x 96(W) x 130(H) mm
Fan Size
92 mm
Fan Speed
600 - 2,000 RPM (controlled by PWM)
Fan Air Flow
35.4 CFM
Max. Cooling Capacity
200 Watts
Bearing
Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Weight
695g
Compatibility
Intel Socket: 1366, 1156, 775
AMD Socket: AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939, 754

 

Features:

 

All information provided by Arctic Cooling @ http://www.arctic-cooling.com

Testing and Setup:

Testing of the heatsink will involve applying a load simulated by Prime95, using small FFTs in stock and overclocked scenarios. Both idle and load temperatures will be recorded. Load temperatures will be the maximum value displayed in RealTemp after running eight threads in Prime95 for one hour, and idle temperatures will be the minimum recorded value by RealTemp with no computer usage after one hour. The temperature values for each of the four cores will be averaged and displayed in the graphs below. The ambient temperature is held at a constant 22.5 °C throughout testing of the Freezer 13, as well as the comparison heatsinks. All the data shown in the graphs is in degrees Celsius. The included thermal paste from Arctic Cooling will be used during testing, and thermal pastes as packaged from the other coolers were used with each heatsink, respectively. The fan on the Freezer 13 will be run at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsinks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Freezer 13 held up fairly well, though it seems to fall apart under the overclocked load scenario. As the results show, the Freezer 13 is less effective under heavy load situations, but it does exceptionally well for its price on top of a stock clocked i7 920 processor.

Conclusion:

At about $36, the Freezer 13 is a very good choice for system builders and other individuals who do not plan to overclock their processors excessively. However, do note that these load scenarios are synthetic and a computer will rarely see 100% across each core for hours at a time, unless the user is running a distributed computing application like Folding@Home, SETI, etc. That being said, the processor should not exceed the load temperatures recorded in the results, which are satisfactory by themselves. The installation is a breeze and does not require any complex procedures, components, or even rear access to the motherboard. Arctic Cooling did a great job with this cooler even though it is not a top performer when compared to high end heatsinks. One of the categories that we do not have a direct result for is price versus performance, which the Freezer 13 would certainly be a winner.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: