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John Weland | November 10, 2019

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The Arctic Liquid Freezer II is giving me chills

You’re probably familiar with Arctic as the maker of great thermal compounds used the world over a decade. You might not know, however, that they make an array of coolers for CPUs and GPUs. I admit, I wasn’t aware of this until I was asked to take a look at the Arctic Liquid Freezer II. I’ve used a handful of AIOs over the years but found I generally fall back to a good air cooler.

Setting up to test the Arctic Liquid Freezer II

MBASUS Crosshair VI Hero
CPUAMD Ryzen 1800x
Ram 32GB Balistix Elite (3200MHz)
SSD512GB ADATA SX7000
GPUGigabyte Radeon Vega 56
CaseFractal Design Meshify C
FansBeQuiet Silent Wing 3, 3x 140mm intake, 1x 120mm exhaust

I tested a Ryzen7 1800x. This is an 8 core 16 thread CPU with a 95w TDP based on AMD’s first generation Zen architecture on stock clocks. The testing environment was well controlled, with an ambient temperature of 23.33° Celsius (or 74° in Freedom Units) and humidity kept between 35% and 38%.

A Fractal Design Meshify C case (1.434 ft³ volume) housed all the parts. Two 140mm fans were mounted as intake, and one 120mm fan was mounted as exhaust. All fans are BeQuiet Silent Wing 3s. We can’t simply combine their total CFM though. In an ideal world, they would move 2.825 ft³ of air a second. But because we have more intake than output, we will only measure the exhaust. For purposes of this test, we will ignore any excess air that may seep from joints and crevices. So for a very unscientific number, the air in the case is replaced just shy of once per second.

It’s important to remember that any thermal mass, be it metal like a tower cooler or metal as a liquid (such as an AIO) will “heat soak” because heat “stacks,” meaning that heat will add to heat. “Heat soaked” means that eventually the thermal mass will gain more heat in a given time frame than it can release in that same time frame. Using an appropriately sized cooler, you will eventually hit equilibrium, thereby maintaining a specific temperature.

the Arctic Liquid Freezer II installed
The Arctic Liquid Freezer II installed in a Fractal Design Meshify C

Methodology

So the methodology was to allow OCCT to run until the temperature stopped climbing, meaning I hit that equilibrium. I found that took 20 – 25 minutes consistently, so I’ve opted to run for 30-minute intervals with a system reboot after each test, and thermal paste cleaning and reapplications after every 3 tests and between cooler swaps, for a total of nine runs each.

Arctic Liquid Freezer II Specs

Pump/Cold Plate

VRM Fan40 mm, 1000–3000 RPM (Controlled by PWM)
Pump800–2000 RPM (Controlled by PWM)
Power Consumption1.0 W–2.7 W (Pump and VRM Fan)
Cold PlateCopper, Micro Skived Fin
Tube Length450 mm
Tube DiameterOuter: 12.4 mm, Inner: 6.0 mm
Dimensions (w/o tubes)98 mm x 78 mm x 53 mm

Fan x 2

Fan Speed200–1800 RPM (Controlled via PWM)
Airflow2.2 mm H2O
Static Pressure0.08 A / 12 V DC
BearingFluid Dynamic Bearing
Noise Level0.3 Sone
Connector4-pin connector
Dimensions120 mm x 120 mm x 25 mm

General

Socket CompatibilityIntel® 115X, 2011-3*, 2066 * (*Square ILM)
AMD® AM4
Thermal CompoundMX-4 (0.8 g)
Total Weight1191 g (2 Fans, Radiator, Pump, Tubes)

Radiator

MaterialAluminium
Dimensions277 mm x 120 mm x 38 mm

Arctic has a couple of flavors in this line-up featuring 120, 240, 280 and 360 variants. I had the opportunity to checkout the 240 version, which supports two 120mm included fans. These are set to exhaust by default; you can reorient them to be the source of intake.

It offers an “all-new, in-house” developed PWM controlled pump with a VRM cooling fan. The pump and fans are all controlled via PWM. This means that the pump can slow down during idle, as opposed to the pump always being at full bore. While on, the fan speeds change depending on load. The cold plate is a copper micro-skived fin design. So if you’re not happy with the included MX-4 thermal paste, you could use a “liquid metal” TIM without the worry of corrosion. Honestly though, you’ll do just fine with the MX-4 paste. The Liquid Freezer II has a bit of heft to it, measuring out at 277 mm x 120 mm x 38 mm and weighing in at 1191 grams.

Aesthetics

Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II fits in well with the look of the Meshify C case. It is a little big and blocky. Square angles comprise their radiator. They didn’t go trying to round out the radiator frame/reservoir. The tubing appears to be black and silver nylon sheathing over rubber tubing, which adds some subtle texture to the overall look.

Where things get weird is in the pump/plate. Here, a lot more angles and flash are added to the design. It reminds me of a gaming mouse or one of those “gamer” routers. It does feature a small fan for moving air around the VRMS. This can often be a point of “dead air” that would otherwise just sit there. While I say that the block is “weird,” I won’t say that I don’t like it. It doesn’t quite resonate with the rest of the aesthetics, but it also isn’t a loud in-your-face design.

Performance

I wanted to run the Arctic Liquid Freezer II against the BeQuiet Dark Rock Pro 3. While the latter is a tower style air cooler; it boasts a 250w TDP. It is without a doubt the best air cooler I’ve been able to get my hands on, even beating out some AIOs such as the NZXT Kraken x62.

Over nine separate runs, the Dark Rock maintained an average of 60° Celsius and reached equilibrium after about 5 minutes in each test. The Arctic Liquid Freezer II maintained 54° Celsius but didn’t reach equilibrium until nearly 15 minutes later. That’s a 6° Celsius difference (or 42.8° Fahrenheit).

Running OCCT, of course, is synthetic in that it puts 100% load on your CPU for a given time frame. I would wager that most users won’t tax their systems that hard for that long very often.

Noise Levels

The Arctic Liquid Freezer II is a fair bit louder than my BeQuiet Dark Rock Pro 3, though I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortably loud. If you work with headphones on you wouldn’t notice, anyway. Sound is a hard thing to quantify without lots of specialized equipment, and what is “acceptable” is very subjective. I can say that the noise while under load was not much louder than my typing on a mechanical keyboard to write this review.

Final Thoughts on the Arctic Liquid Freezer II

If I were to do it over, I would get this all situated on an open air test bench. That would eliminate any airflow concerns, although I am confident in this round of testing. It would have also made it easier for the swapping of coolers and application of the TIM.

The Arctic Liquid Freezer II is a great buy with an MSRP of $75.99. It looks pretty good; it is not too loud and, most importantly, it cools great. I had been a long-time user of Arctics thermal compounds. Now, when looking for an AIO for a system, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of the Liquid Freezer II coolers.

7 responses to “The Arctic Liquid Freezer II is giving me chills”

  1. […] from being on an open air test bench, the testing methods are the same as when we tested the Arctic Liquid Freezer II – fire up OCBase’s OCCT and let it run until the temperature stops climbing (which usually […]

  2. Rob says:

    I have a Fractal design meshify C mini, I wanted to know if RAM size was a problem if I put the cooler on top? I think I might have a issue

    • John Weland says:

      Well we haven’t built in the Meshify C Mini so we can’t speak to that directly. The Arctic Liquid Freezer II is fairly compact. The hoses can be moved and flexed. RAM clearance shouldn’t be an issue as it is with tower coolers.

  3. Mr Bean says:

    ~ 10F difference BTW not 42.. cant just convert the value like that need to take in the zero value too (0C=32F) 🙂

  4. Christian says:

    Hey I was wondering if you had issues hitting the VRM heatsinks when mounting this on top. Looking to get this cooler but I’m not sure if it would fit with my B450 Tomahawk.

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