CPU air-coolers are relatively cheap compared to other computer system components. With the top air-coolers selling in the $45 to $75 price range it is easy to forget that many buyers are really looking for that killer $15 cooler, or at least a $15 cooler that does its job without bringing too much attention to itself with overheating or a loud fan.

In the Intel cooling arena finding a good cheap cooler is particularly difficult, because the stock Intel cooler - included at no cost in Intel Retail CPU packages - is today both a very good performer and very quiet. This makes competing in the value segment particularly difficult for companies aiming at the Socket 775 market.

One company that targets this value market segment is Arctic Cooling. Arctic Cooling is a privately owned company founded in 2001. Headquarters are located in Switzerland, with offices in Hong Kong and the USA, while production is in China. The company specializes in producing thermal cooling solutions for CPUs, GPUs (video chips), and PC cases.

In the few years since its inception, the Arctic Cooling family of coolers has earned a solid reputation for good value in the cooler market. Reputation is one thing and performance is often quite another, so it is time to give that reputation a test in the harsh reality of our cooler test bed. The questions we aim to answer are:

  1. Does the entry Alpine 7 outperform the stock Intel cooler? This is another way of asking whether anyone should bother with the Alpine 7; if the cooler does not outperform the stock Intel unit there is no real reason to buy it.
  2. Are noise levels well controlled at both stock and overclocked settings?
  3. Does the price increase of the Freezer 7 Pro buy equivalent performance improvements? I.e., is it worth the extra cost to buy the Freezer 7 Pro over the Alpine 7?
  4. How do performance and noise levels compare to the best coolers tested at AnandTech?

To provide answers, we dropped the Alpine Cooler pair into our new cooling test bed.

The Arctic Coolers
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  • vailr - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    The "photo gallery" from CES (Jan. 2008) included a photo of Arctic Cooling's "Freezer Xtreme". Any idea when that CPU cooler will be available?
    I have a screen capture of the photo, but can't locate it on Anandtech.com for posting the link.
    It's an "8-pipe cooler that only weighs 600 grams".
    Reply
  • vailr - Wednesday, January 30, 2008 - link

    Found the link:
    http://www.anandtech.com/GalleryImage.aspx?id=521">http://www.anandtech.com/GalleryImage.aspx?id=521
    Reply
  • Cardio - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    "In fact, they are so good at stock performance that it is easy to recommend one of these coolers as a way to extend your CPU life even if you have no intention of overclocking."

    Really, has anyone ever had to extend the like of a stock cpu?
    I have never even seen a stock cpu that failed due to age. They last lots longer than their useful life.
    Reply
  • teohhanhui - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    I've been using the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro for about half a year now. It's mostly quiet and cool, even with my Pentium D 830. Recently, the dust collecting in my Cooler Master Centurion 5 case has caused the CPU to overheat under 100% load(and that powered off the PC). Anyhow, I 'd definitely recommend it to anyone using a stock Intel HSF, especially for the extremely hot Pentium D's.

    I'm glad that AnandTech finally reviewed it. Why didn't you highlight the fact that the Freezer 7 Pro beats every other coolers tested so far at AnandTech at stock speed(at both idle and load, in both aspects of temp. and noise)?
    Reply
  • Tuvoc - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    At long last you tested the Freezer 7 Pro !!

    These are simply outstanding coolers for the price.

    My Q6600 at 3.0GHz stays under 60C on all cores at full load per Coretemp, in total silence with fan rpm barely breaking 1,000 rpm. There is simply no need for a cooler any better for this level of CPU performance.

    My QX6700 is a different story - there the Freezer 7 Pro kept the cores at a within-spec 70C but with the fan at 2,600 rpm and with associated noise. I replaced that with a Thermalright 120 Extreme, and that CPU now runs at 3.0Ghz with core temps under 60C. At least a 10 degree drop compared to the Freezer 7 Pro.

    So, Freezer 7 Pro does have it's limitations, but for all but extreme overclocking, or the B3 core quads, it is all 99% of people will ever need.


    Reply
  • Glenn - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    I have a Freezer Pro over top of a E6750 at 3.3ghz. Runs very cool and quiet. I also have the alero on the vid card and use Artic fans to cool the case. Overall a very quiet system. The only noise I get is from the Earthwatts 380 power supply which is comparativly quiet to other PS's.

    Interestingly, I used the Artic Freezer on my other system with a Q6600 Quad Core running at 3.4 prior to replacing it with a Tuniq Tower! I really spent the extra $ for the tuniq for nothing! Although the temps were down by about 3C across the board, it didn't allow for any higher overclock! Plus I pick up more noise to get those lower temps!

    My first experience with Artic came with the imported coolers for the original Slot A K7 CPUs and I have always been impressed with their engineering and quality. The keep a very high standard and I doubt I will venture far from them in the future as long as that continues!
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    You should mention in article this is also good for OC. This is the cooler most get to overclock the 1.86ghz c2d over 3ghz.

    Not sure why you said it was good for just stock cooling..its great for OC.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    We also tested and reported overclocking on page 8, and the coolers are fine for moderate overclocking. It is just that neither cooler comes close to the top overclockers we have tested. The Alpine 7 dissipates 90W, and the Freezer 7 Pro dissipates around 130W. The top Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme performance shows it is dissipating around 165W. Most of the top air coolers we have tested dissipate 150W or more. Reply
  • Polynikes - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    This is a pretty old product to be reviewing... I've had my Freezer 7 for well over a year, and I'm sure it had been around a bit before that.

    That said, it is by far the best bang for the buck HSF you can get. Those giant towers may cool better, but they're huge and are hard to get in even some fairly large cases, and are much more expensive.
    Reply
  • Manch - Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - link

    I have the Antec 900 case with the giganto fan up top can it be mounted to blow upwards? I wonder if the freezer pro 7 would even better? Either way Reply

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