Review: Chillin' like a villain
Arctic Cooling is a household name when we talk about cooling. They are famous for cheap but reliable quality products and the Freezer 7 Pro is exactly that. You’ve probably had a chance to read about it, but if you haven’t – here’s your chance. We haven’t had the chance to test it until now, so we had to take a couple of photos as soon as we removed it from the box.
Seeing that the fan is fixed by rubber pins that help in minimizing vibrations, and knowing the quality of Arctic Cooling fans, we were sure it would be silent while in use. It is easy to take off which comes in handy when cleaning it; all it takes is a moderately strong pull on the latches that sit on the sides of the cooler.
We’re talking about Arctic Cooling's 92mm fan spinning at 900 – 2,500 RPM. The fan speed adjusts according to the processor thanks to the PWM chip in the motor, which enables accurate speed control trough the motherboard's BIOS. There is no manual fan controller, at least not a hardware one. However, you can affect the fan speed by using any temperature-control tools. We simply did it from nTune, and you can install it on any motherboard using an Nvidia chipset. Dynamic fan speed controlled by the PWM chip is the ideal solution for those who want to install the Freezer 7 Pro and stop thinking about processor temperature and fan speed settings.
The cooler design is classic, we see U-shaped three heat pipes that transfer the heat from the processor to 42 aluminum fins. A couple of the fins are bent downwards in order to route the airflow from the fan towards the power circuitry on the motherboard. That should help with over-clocking when the components are heating up.
We didn’t find any thermal paste in the box, but it’s not needed seeing that an adequate layer is spread onto the base of the cooler. The paste in question is Arctic Cooling MX-1 High-Performance Thermal Compound, the paste we had a chance to use, and it does a really good job of heat transfer from the processor to the cooler base.
Setting it up is quite simple, it uses latches just like the original Intel cooler. The stability once set up of the Freezer 7 Pro is satisfactory. Although in practice we often found badly manufactured latches and pins, these are well made and latches on properly.
This cooler is Intel Socket 775 compatible, and if you want to cool AMD processors, Arctic Cooling offers the Freezer 64 Pro, which is almost identical to this one.
For testing we picked our standard test platform that consists of:
Akasa EVO AK 922 Blue Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's (Supplied by Akasa)
Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (Supplied by Artic Cooling)
OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 1066MHz 5-5-5-15 (Ustupio OCZ)
CL5-5-5-15-CR2T at 2.3V
Grafička kartica: Gainward Geforce 8600GTS 512MB (Supplied by Gainward)
The Intel Core 2 Duo 6800 Extreme Edition is our test bed processor, and boy did we test a lot of stuff with it. In demanding tests its temperature easily rises above 70°C, so a good cooler is necessary for good performance, especially with an overclocked processor. We didn’t try to break any records today, we clocked the processor to 3,333MHz at 1.4V, with the FSB at 1,333MHz. We didn’t meddle with the memory and it stayed at 1,066MHz. The room temperature was high, 25.6°C.
The pictures are here to show you both coolers. For testing we used a Gainward Geforce 8600GTS 512MB card. Although from the picture it appears that the Freezer 7 Pro reaches all the way to the memory modules, there is a 1cm gap. That’s not so bad considering that the fan is sucking hot air off the modules and using it to cool them. If you’re using additional memory cooling, you can rotate the Freezer 7 Pro by 180 degrees.
For starters, we measured the temperature using the Akasa EVO Blue cooler that we’re been using for a long time and we can definitely recommend it to anyone. It’s Socket 754/939/775/AM2 compatible and therefore available to everyone. It’s got a manual fan speed controller, and is completely silent at low speeds. We can say the same for the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro.
We tested it in two separate scenarios. The first one uses the default speeds of the Core 2 Duo 6800 Extreme at 2.93GHz, and the other one was done after we overclocked the CPU to 3.33GHz. We measured the temperatures at both idle and under a load.
The Freezer 7 Pro confirms its good reputation. When we increased the fan speed to its max, the Freezer 7 Pro cooled the processor to 59°C which is 3°C cooler than the Evo Blue. In idle mode, when the fan is almost silent the temperature reached 50°C, and at full speed it reached 44°C. The fan isn’t that loud even at full speed. Our EVGA 680i chipset fan was louder.
When the fan is running at 60 per cent speed, we see that the processor running at 3.33GHz under full load is operating at 72°C; exactly the same as for the Evo Blue cooler. At full speed we see an 8°C difference. This time the Freezer 7 Pro simply blows away the competition.
The Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro has been available for quite a while and it’s got a massive reputation, especially for Intel Socket 775 processors. We tried to find any reason to dispute its title, but we couldn’t find one. Low price coupled with excellent performance speak for themselves. In Germany we found it priced at €13.34 + shipping.
We recommend this to anyone who wants a good cooler; it can be used by both beginners and the overclockers.