Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 AIO Cooler Review
Peter Donnell / 4 years ago
Arctic are well-known for their air cooling products, but today we’ll be taking a look at one of their first entries to the high-end AIO water cooling market; the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240. Designed for high-performance cooling for gaming systems, overclocking, workstations and more, you’ll find a fairly thick 240mm radiator, backed up by four high-quality 120mm fans, there’s little doubt that it’ll be able to shift some serious heat from your system. With a max TDP of 300 Watts, as well as support for all major Intel and AMD sockets, the Freezer 240 can easily handle some of today’s fastest CPUs.
Water cooling is becoming increasingly popular, especially with many consumers now running overclockable processors. Being able to push your systems limits to get the most value for money out of your hardware is no bad thing. When you’re gaming, editing video, rendering and more, the CPU get’s pretty toasty, which in turn causes fans to spin faster and can result in more noise. Having a more powerful cooler should help ensure that not only do your temps stay nice and low, but you’ll also be keeping the acoustics in check too; let’s hope the new cooler from Arctic can tick both of those boxes.
The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a good image of the cooler on the front and a bit of branding.
Around the back, things get a lot more technical, with some relative performance figures and specifications. Of course, we’ll be doing our own independent testing, so I won’t focus on their figures too much.
The packaging is pretty crammed, with components and hoses next to each other and minimal padding around anything in here. I would hope then when shipped, the item comes in another box with bubble wrap around this one, as it doesn’t seem sufficient.
In the box, you’ll find all the usual nuts and bolts, a universal backplate, AMD and Intel brackets, as well as a small sachet of Arctic MX-4 thermal paste.
There are four high-quality fans included with this cooler. Each measure 120mm and are Arctic’s own design, promising high airflow and low noise. Each fan comes with a built-in fan header splitter, making it super easy to daisy chain them on a single fan header. Each fan has extra long cables, with black sleeving and a PWM header.
A Closer Look
Being an AIO cooler, the pump is pre-installed on the radiator. You’ll find two thick and durable hoses, which have a good length to them to easily facilitate installing it in a larger chassis. They have a good amount of flex to them too, so the installation should be a fairly straightforward.
The radiator has a good depth to it and a matte black finish that will easily blend into any system build with ease.
The pump is nicely designed, with top flow fittings on the pipes and a glossy top cover that has the Arctic logo. It’s not the fanciest design we’ve ever seen, but it looks neat and tidy and should be a nice complement to your system build.
On the base of the pump, a large copper contact plate that will provide great coverage for even the larger support CPU types.
The overall build quality looks and feels great and as I said before, it’s a
Installing the fans takes a few minutes, as there are 16 screws that need fitting and it’s also best to ensure at this point that you have all the fan cables pointing in the right direction, as this will help with cable management once it’s installed in your chassis.
Four fans mean we can run at a low RPM, but still get a lot of airflow through that thicker radiator for maximum cooling performance. One thing is for certain, all these fans should easily shift heat from your system.
The universal backplate drops onto the back of the motherboard, pretty self-explanatory.
Four screws then hold the bracket to the motherboard and provide screw tops for the thumb screws.
Simply apply your thermal paste, then screw the pump using the appropriate Intel or AMD bracket to the motherboard using the included thumb screws. You’ll need a screwdriver for the fans, but otherwise, the review of the job can be completed tool-free and only takes a few minutes.
Test System and Methodology
We always use the same test system and tests with CPU coolers that we compare against each other. The full specifications of our test system are as follows:
- ASUS P8Z77-V, LGA 1155 socket, Z77 chipset
- Intel Core i5 3570K with Gelid GC-Extreme under the IHS
- 16GB Kingston 1866Mhz DDR3
- 128GB Kingston HyperX SSD
- Antec High Current Gamer 620W
- Cooler Master Test Bench v1.0
- We always use Gelid GC-Extreme thermal paste to make sure testing reveals the efficiency of the tested coolers not the efficiency of the bundled thermal paste.
- Prime 95 is run for 10 minutes and then the average maximum temperatures as recorded by CPUID HWMonitor are noted
- The average temperature across the four cores is taken on our quad-core processor
- Fans are mostly left to operate at default PWM profile speeds and with maximum fan speed for reference.If PWM functions are not supported then fixed fan speeds are used and sometimes a low noise adapter if appropriate/provided. If fixed fan speeds or low noise adapters are used it will be clearly pointed out either on the graphs or in the write-up.
- All default result entries on graphs are for PWM performance unless otherwise specified. A variety of fan speed results are done for a particular product review and then removed from the graphs in future reviews of other products to avoid clutter. If you would like to see more fan speed results for a particular product please check its individual review.
- For water cooling tests, all pumps have been operated at 12 volts directly from the power supply
- Delta temperatures are always used (Observed temperature minus ambient temperature) and we keep the ambient at 22 (+/- 1) degrees for all testing. Delta temperatures should correct for any marginal ambient differences between 21-23 degrees.
- Acoustic measurements are taken 10cm horizontally away from the CPU cooler with the VGA fan disabled, the hard drive in idle and power supply isolated. These are taken at desktop idle and Prime95 load.
- The cooling performance tests are run at stock 3.4GHz (with Intel Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and overclocked 4.5GHz (1.35v) settings. Voltages are fixed to prevent inaccuracy between comparisons.
- All other coolers in the graphs have been tested under identical settings so are fully comparable.
- Each test is repeated 3 times with 3 remounts for consistency of results
- There is approximately a 1-degree celsius margin of error in our temperature recording software CPUID HW Monitor
- There is approximately a 1.5dBA margin of error with our Benetech GM1351 decibel meter
In all these graphs we may have a few “reference” results of particular products that do not fit into that category for comparative purposes.
Stock performance on this cooler was far better than I expected, which is obviously a good thing. It’s clear that the push-pull configuration is pulling its weight here and the results are easily some of the best we’ve seen so far; the idle temp is a glitch in the chart, it’s actually 1c.
Even when overclocked, our idle temps are incredibly low here, but it’s the overclocking performance that we’re really happy with. Sure it’s not the best we’ve seen, but it’s on par with the T12, which is more expensive for starters.
Even with four fans, we found the cooler to be very agreeable in terms of acoustics. It’s on par with many high-end silence focused coolers and many dual fan designs.
When overclocked, the acoustics crept up a bit, but no more so than any other 240mm radiator design, despite the fact we’ve already got extra fans at work here. I’d be happy to push that fan speed a little higher if you wanted to cut a few extra degrees from the temperatures.
AIO water cooling has become exceptionally competitive in terms of price recently and the Arctic Freezer 240 is no exception. A 240mm radiator with four high-quality fans and it only costs £68 from CCL Computers. This is great value given the performance we’ve seen today and it’s certainly cheaper than many other 240mm radiators which it competes with quite nicely.
Arctic may be relatively new to the world of water cooling, but it’s clear their long history in high-performance air cooling products has given them a great head start. While not the most competitive in terms of cooling performance, it still managed to keep our CPU at perfectly agreeable temperatures while overclocked, and super low temperatures at stock clocks. What’s even more impressive, however, is that it does it at a very wallet friendly price tag, at least for a cooler of this size and specification.
With four fans pushing heat through that thicker radiator design, the cooling performance is pretty decent overall, but what impressed me the most is that it’s no louder than most two fan design 240mm radiators. This is a clear example of how a good quality fan can really cut down on the noise levels in your system without sacrificing any cooling performance. It may be their first entry into the water cooling market, but they’ve started very well. The cooler feels durable and has neat and tidy aesthetics that you would be proud to show off in your system build. It’s nice and straightforward to get it installed, and little touches such as the Y-splitters and sleeving on all fan cables shows that they’ve put thought into the overall design and installation process.
The cooling market is very competitive and there’s no shortage of great AIO coolers to choose from these days. However, Arctic have a great product here with competitive performance and a very competitive price. I’m looking forward to seeing Arctic further improve on their designs in the not too distant future.
- Great build quality
- Quiet fans
- Sleeved fan cables with built-in Y-splitters
- Easy to install
- Great compatibility
- Competitive performance
- Affordable price (for a 240mm cooler)
- Only a sachet of MX-4 included, not ideal for re-installations
- Packaging leaves a lot to be desired and offers minimal protection for components
“The Arctic Liquid Freezer 240mm is everything you could ask for in a mid-budget AIO cooler. It’s got excellent socket support, has plenty of headroom for overclocking and runs quietly. Another welcome addition to the competitive cooling market.”