Published in Reviews
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme tested
by Slobodan Simic on17 December 2008
Review: As big as it gets
Arctic Cooling is a name that has become synonymous with PC cooling, and they are famous for cheap but highly reliable products. The famous Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro has found its way to a lot of computer cases, and after almost three years Arctic Cooling has decided to launch a new cooler, the Freezer Xtreme. Unlike its Freezer predecessor, the new Freezer Xtreme is quite bigger and aims at computer enthusiasts and overclockers. We decided to take a closer look at this new arrival from Arctic Cooling and compare it to the 2-year old Freezer 7 Pro.
Unlike Freezer 7 Pro which had a 92mm fan mounted on the heatsink, the new Freezer Xtreme comes with a 120mm fan sandwiched between two large heatsinks. The cooler can be easily pulled out for cleaning, and you actually have to take it out in order to mount the cooler.
The cooler has a 160 Watts of cooling capacity and comes with an unique twin tower 102-fin heatsink design with four double sided heatpipes. The new Freezer Xtreme measures 130 x 100 x 131mm (LxWxH) and weighs 608g, so you might want to measure the clearance on your motherboard before buying this behemoth. The cooler can also cool the memory, Northbridge and voltage regulators depending on the motherboard layout and the way you mount it on the motherboard. The copper core comes with pre-applied MX-2 thermal paste.
The 120mm fan spins from 800 to 1500 RPM and is controlled by a PWM chip. The fan speed adjusts according to the temperature, thanks to the PWM chip in the motor, which enables accurate speed control through the motherboard's BIOS. Dynamic fan speed controlled by the PWM chip is the ideal solution for those who want to install this cooler and stop thinking about processor temperature and fan speed settings.
The fan has a unique patented fan holder that eliminates the buzzing sound produced by fan vibration and we must note that it is pretty silent, as it usually spins at 800 RPM. It is definitely quieter than Intel's stock cooler and it should be quieter than the Freezer 7 Pro due to the larger fan and lower RPM.
As you can see from these pictures, the new Freezer Xtreme is distinctively larger than the Freezer 7 Pro and just for laughs we decided to visually compare it to Intel's stock fan.
The core is made out of copper and comes with pre-applied Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste.
The cooler can be mounted on Intel's socket 775 and AMD's AM3, AM2+, AM2 and 939 sockets. We tested it on Intel's Core 2 Duo E8400 and we must say that socket 775 mounting system is far from perfect. Arctic Cooling decided to somewhat change the mounting system, probably due to the cooler size and weight.
It doesn’t use the regular push-pin mounting system which is now reserved only to hold the plastic bracket (retention clip). It works by inserting a white retention pin and then secure it with small black pin. The next step is to mount the heatsink and this is when it gets complicated.
It sounds simple, as you have to secure the cooler to the black retention clip with two screws. After 10 minutes of trying we decided to check the manual to make sure that we are not doing something wrong. The installation instruction states only that you have to screw those two small screws in, but it doesn’t state that it is a lot like Sisyphus' job of pushing a boulder up a hill.
You need to remove the ventilator and screw two screws in these holes that are located at the bottom of the heatsink, and these holes need to be aligned with the holes on the retention clip. It would all be nice if those holes aren't located between two large 102-fin heatsinks, and bear in mind that you must have a long magnetic Philips screwdriver and nerves of steel for this job.
Once you manage to get it mounted, you will be so happy that you probably wouldn’t care about its performance; but after blowing some steam we decided to check its performance, as well. The Freezer Xtreme is a decent cooler, but we expected much more considering its size. It does perform much better than the Intel stock cooler and a bit better than the Freezer 7 Pro, but nothing spectacular.
As you can see from these results, it manages to outperform Intel's stock cooler by 6 degrees at idle and by 9 degrees Celsius when under 100% load. This is a great result, which could be even greater on some CPU with a higher TDP. It also shows that it is a great CPU cooler if you have decided to ditch that Intel stock cooler.
On the other hand, when compared to the 2-year old Freezer 7 Pro, which is cheaper, the situation is much more different. We didn’t measure the sound levels, but it should be quieter than the Freezer 7 Pro, as it has a larger fan which spins at lower RPMs.
The performance is a bit disappointing as the new Freezer Xtreme outperforms the Freezer 7 Pro by 3 degrees Celsius at idle and by 4 degrees under load. The result might be better on some other CPU but we doubt that it will justify the price difference.
The new Freezer Xtreme is a decent cooler if you have decided to replace Intel's stock cooler. It is very quiet due to its size and the size of the fan. We don’t doubt its performance, as dual heatsinks with 102-fins and four double-sided heatpipes that are cooled by a 120mm fan are a guarantee that this cooler will keep your CPU nice and cool, even at 100% load, which is very rare.
We are a bit disappointed by its performance against the three-year-old Freezer 7 Pro, which is smaller and cheaper. The new Freezer Xtreme is more expensive and a bit quieter than the old Freezer 7 Pro and it does bring certain performance gains, but again nothing spectacular.
The Freezer Xtreme is currently listed at €21.40, while the Freezer 7 Pro can be found at around €12. We can only recommend it if you are replacing your stock cooler, and even then we would sincerely recommend the Freezer 7 Pro unless you are planning to do some extreme overclocking where every performance gain counts.