Arctic Freezer i30 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on July 13, 2012


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

Today we are testing the Freezer i30 CPU cooler from Arctic, which is targeted to Intel CPUs. It has a tower heatsink, one 120 mm fan, and four direct-touch 8 mm heatpipes. Check it out!

Arctic offers two coolers that are actually almost the same product: the Freezer i30 (that we are reviewing here) and the Freezer A30, which is the same cooler, but aimed at AMD CPUs.

The Freezer i30 comes in a compact white cardboard box, as shown in Figure 1.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, a syringe of thermal compound, manual, and installation hardware.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Freezer i30.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 3: The Arctic Freezer i30

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Arctic Freezer i30

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the cooler, which is covered by the 120 mm fan. The fan is mounted on a plastic frame that can be easily removed and reinstalled.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler. The fins are folded, creating a closed surface.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 5: Side view

Figure 6 shows the rear of the cooler.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 6: Rear view

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler, where the tips of the heatpipes are visible.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 7: Top view

The Arctic Freezer i30 (Cont’d)

Figure 8 illustrates the base of the cooler. The heatpipes touch the CPU directly, and there is no gap between them. The surface has no mirrored finishing.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 8: Base

Figure 9 reveals the Freezer i30 without the fan. The fins create a flat surface.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 9: Without the fan

Figure 10 shows the 120 mm PWM fan that comes with the Freezer i30, as well as the plastic frame that holds it in place.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 10: Fan

Installation

Figure 11 shows the backplate for installing the Freezer i30 on socket LGA1155/1156 CPUs. Socket LGA2011 systems don’t require a backplate.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 11: Backplate

In order to install the Freezer i30, you need to put the backplate on the solder side of the motherboard, and then install the holders shown in Figure 12, using four plastic spacers.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 12: Holders installed

After that, install the heatsink, securing it with two screws.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 13: Holders

The last step is to install the fan, as you can see in Figure 14.

Arctic Freezer i30
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Figure 14: Installation finished

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX318 °C50 dBA2850 rpm69 °C51 °C
Corsair A7023 °C51 dBA2000 rpm66 °C43 °C
Corsair H10026 °C62 dBA2000 rpm64 °C38 °C
EVGA Superclock26 °C57 dBA2550 rpm67 °C41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14020 °C46 dBA 1250 rpm65 °C45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 12026 °C42 dBA1500 rpm82 °C56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X26 °C43 dBA1200 rpm71 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max20 °C51 dBA1700 rpm62 °C42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition22 °C50 dBA2400 rpm65 °C43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA518 °C44 dBA1500 rpm70 °C52 °C
Noctua NH-L1220 °C44 dBA1450 rpm70 °C50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme21 °C53 dBA2550 rpm71 °C50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin15 °C48 dBA1450 rpm58 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 40015 °C44 dBA1500 rpm60 °C45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 81223 °C51 dBA2350 rpm66 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 30018 °C43 dBA1650 rpm74 °C56 °C
Intel stock cooler18 °C41 dBA2000 rpm97 °C79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton19 °C52 dBA2900 rpm83 °C64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE218 °C42 dBA1300 rpm69 °C51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin24 °C46 dBA1650 rpm78 °C54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced13 °C56 dBA2000 rpm62 °C49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition9 °C48 dBA2100 rpm53 °C44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme21 °C53 dBA1750 rpm59 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE212 °C44 dBA1700 rpm64 °C52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro15 °C54 dBA2000 rpm52 °C37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark18 °C45 dBA1500 rpm74 °C56 °C
Arctic Freezer i3013 °C42 dBA1350 rpm63 °C50 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

 Arctic Freezer i30

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

Arctic Freezer i30

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Arctic Freezer i30 CPU cooler include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Arctic Freezer i30 is a good CPU cooler with reasonable cooling performance and an almost inaudible fan. It will probably perform better if you change the stock fan for a more powerful one, which makes it a very versatile cooler. However, the new fan might not be as quiet as the fan that comes with the product.

This versatility, the good performance, low noise level, reasonable price tag, and great overall quality make the Arctic Freezer i30 a great choice, so we are giving it the Hardware Secrets Silver Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Arctic-Freezer-i30-CPU-Cooler-Review/1592


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