so it’s been about a month since we looked at an air cooler you guys might recall the last one that we did was the cooler master ma620m great looking cooler loved the stealth design of it the performance was all right it wasn’t the greatest but it was designed for a very specific type of audience in fact if you’re interested in checking out our full review link will be right over here now with zen 3 launching right around the corner i’m sure a lot of you guys are planning out your build and you might be looking for components that can go along with that and there haven’t been a lot of air coolers launching lately but a lot of the companies are focusing on their all-in-one liquid cooling solutions so we’ll be doing a roundup video perhaps into 2021 so definitely stay tuned for that but for now or today i want to talk about this this is the arctic freezer 50.
And it makes some pretty big claims like supposedly being quieter than noctua’s nhd15 scythefuma 2 and the be quite dark rock pro 4 while also offering better cooling performance well those are pretty big boys out there that’s for sure but i guess the bigger story here is the fact that the freezer 50 has a starting price of 75 and arctic claims that it’s the best air cooler in the market right now so let’s put those claims to the test after message from our sponsor 400 400 the rival 3 wireless nice you get up to 400 hours of play time with two aaa batteries at 1 000 hertz that’s plenty of time to own in games with a good shape user defined weight and the mouse that is also bluetooth ready the steel series rival 3 wireless check it out below alright so i’m going to start off by saying that our take has a special place in hearts of everyone here at hardwood canucks because they were the first company to send us a sample back in the days when we were doing written reviews on the website almost 15 years ago back then it was their original accelero x1 gpu heatsink and ever since then rtx been known for providing an awesome combination of performance and value and at 75 us the freezer 50 competes price wise with the nhu 14s though it’s more expensive than our value champion the 60 dollar scythe fuma 2.
On the other hand arctic’s wider distribution may give them a leg up on the fuma 2 since that thing’s almost impossible to find in some regions there’s also an 85 model of the freezer 50 with an included argb controller in case your motherboard doesn’t have the necessary header for all that lighting goodness at first glance the freezer 50 gives off corsair a500 vibes that’s because most of the heatsink is encased in gobs of plastic to the point where it feels well sort of cheap but you also need to know that a lot of those plastic bits have functional purposes too according to our tick the side shrouds direct airflow between the two cooling towers while the front and back pieces also contribute to better air movement and lower noise levels the top cover houses the addressable rgb components which illuminate two thin strips and a huge arctic text right in the middle i’m okay with the smaller lines of rgb but i think that logo is way too big and it can’t be controlled separately from the other lighting systems the nice thing
about scythe be quiet and noctua coolers is that they don’t need branding all over the place to make an impression the main problem i have with this design is it doesn’t allow you to change any of the fans the 120 millimeter intake fan is literally built into a shroud which is then attached to the heatsink with a bunch of plastic clips there’s also a centrally mounted 140 millimeter fan that’s permanently attached to the top cover according to our take the freezer 50 was designed specifically for these two fans airflow characteristics now that does make sense but if one of them ever has a problem the whole cooler or entire center section would need to be replaced artix warranty does cover you for six years but that does seem wasteful for a company that’s making a big deal about being environmentally friendly another consequence of all this plastic is that it causes some compatibility issues the two side shrouds can’t be moved upwards which means memory modules that are taller than 37.5 millimeters won’t fit under the fan shroud that leads to most rgb enabled modules like our g-skill trident z’s which obviously had to be swapped out with corsair’s lpx kit the plastic bits also increased the overall size way past what this cooler would normally be it’s 166 millimeters tall 149.5 millimeters wide and 148 millimeters long that actually makes it a bit larger than be quiet’s dark rock pro 4 but it’s only half a millimeter taller than noctua’s u14s so compatibility with most cases shouldn’t be a problem now once the center fan is removed you can see that arctic has gone with a dual tower design but unlike corsair they did it properly with that central 140mm fan working to both pull and push air through the second fin array those towers are
hooked up to six large six millimeter heat pipes that end in a hdt base i want to pause here for a second and talk about this base though since it’s something that’s typically used on lower end air coolers one of its main problems is it’s really hard to manufacture this type of contact plate so it aligns properly with the cpu’s ihs we saw this with corsair’s a500 but it looks like arctic avoided those problems since this one’s really well finished as for installation well it’s pretty straightforward what i really like is they found a way to use common hardware for most of the different sockets for example the main mounting crossbars and thumb nuts are used for both amd and intel systems with the only real difference being each socket type has its own standoffs also on amd you’ll be reusing your motherboard’s backplate while there is one provided for intel’s 1150 series and 1200 boards my only real issue here is arctic only gives you enough thermal compound for a single application and the squeeze packet is a pain in the butt to use in order to save on paper rta didn’t include an instruction manual but there’s a qr code included so you can scan which brings this into a really well done installation tutorial that’s on our website since the installation process is pretty much the same for every system let’s focus on amd’s aim for platform all you have to do is attach the standoffs to the back plate put the crossbars in place and then tighten down the nuts at this point the back plate is going to feel a little loose but don’t worry since the screws
on the freezer 50 are designed to tighten everything up after that it’s just a simple matter of screwing the cooler down and remounting the center fan assembly that assembly has a simple y-splitter too so both pans can be plugged into the same motherboard fan header the only real issues we ran into was getting the center piece attached to the cooler you have to push it down really hard to make sure it latches back into place once it’s on it actually makes contact with our gpu’s backplate pushing it downwards now luckily that’ll only be a problem on very specific motherboards that have the primary pci slots super close to the cpu socket now there are a few interesting things i want to mention too first of all arctic recommends the thermal compound is applied in four separate lines running perpendicular to the heat pipes we’re going to be using that method for our testing also i do need to mention their hdt base doesn’t make complete contact with the ihs on amd or intel’s 2066 cpus that might lead to some excess heat not getting dissipated but let’s see if that’s the case during testing and speaking of testing make sure to check the link in the description down
below if you want to go over our full testing methodology since it is evolving again in this review to include some decibel normalized cooling performance so let’s start off with our usual benchmarks and at a lower 120 watt thermal load and the motherboard’s default fan profile the freezer 50 jumps out to a super quick lead in the past i’ve talked about how hdt bases are super efficient at lower heat levels when they’re done right and it looks like that’s what’s happening here the only trade-off is that the motherboard seems to be pushing a bit more aggressive fan speed profile to get those lower temps so let’s move on to a real apples to apples comparison at a thousand rpms at this point the freezer 50 is still a good match for the d15 and the dark rock 4 pro with pretty similar temperatures this is really good news for a lot of users since most current cpus fall within the thermal range of this test now we’re seeing some impressive results since the d15 competing temperatures actually come with lower noise at least at this wattage cranking of the fans to 100 and this starts narrowly beating the d15 and even other coolers in the charts that does come at a sacrifice of noise though but what’s really interesting is the freezer 50s fans are operating at higher rpms than many of the other heatsinks but their noise profile is really respectable those plastic shrouds might look cheap but they could be reducing this cooler’s noise output moving to 165 watts and still gets great temperatures when using the asus standard fan profile but it’s also still one of the louder ones here but since the default profile is different for every
motherboard and situation use these tests as a rough estimate of behavior like i said before the rpm normalized results are a better judgment of raw performance and here the freezer 50 starts falling behind a bit though it still beats the u12a just remember though arctic’s doing this at a lower noise level than the other coolers now look it’s not like you want to run any of these at full speed but if you do expect to see d15 matching temperatures at 165 watts switching over to 265 watts and you can see that it’s super impressive to see the freezer 50 hanging on right below the d15 it even gets to that level with a similar noise level too and in this situation i can’t really say that the asus fan profile is too aggressive but moving down to lower rpms and you can see that this thing absolutely needs higher fan speeds or the heat sink quickly reaches its thermal limits and yeah boosting those rpms lead to super competitive temperatures but i doubt you’d be able to stand the noise alright so let’s move on to some of our new tests that we’re including in this review in fact it’s one of those tests that you guys have been requesting in our past cpu cooler reviews those are decibel or noise normalized thermal testing so essentially we’re going to be showing you a bunch of data points in a single graph but that needs a little bit more explanation first so basically noise normalized testing allows us to show how good a heatsink is able to cool at a given decibel level in our charts the x-axis shows decibel readings in 1 db increments from 35 all the way to
whatever the maximum level is for the loudest cooler we start at 35 decibels since our system’s noise floor is 34.2 decibels with its intake and exhaust fans running the y-axis shows the sustained cpu temperatures after a 30 minute test run if you’re wondering why we’re not starting at zero it’s because most of the results would get too clustered together to see since there’s only a few degrees separating the best from the worst results so let’s add some results to this for the scythe fuma 2 the noctua and hd15 and the u14s and drill into those a bit you can see that the u14s and the d15 get really similar temperature results but the blue d15 line extends further to the right and that’s because it puts out higher decibel levels than u14 but as noise increases its cooling gets a boost too the fuma 2 on the other hand maxes out at just 38 decibels while also running cooler than the other two across every noise level so if you want a quick visual indicator of the best heat sink it would be a bar that’s low and short i should also mention that the results start to even out at lower loads regardless of fan speeds since the cpu isn’t putting out enough heat to influence the cooling of higher end heat sinks so let’s add the freezer 50 to this it actually outperforms or matches the fuma 2 at lower noise levels and then manages to still beat d15 as fan speeds increase too but that’s only 120 watts let’s boost that up a little bit here the freezer 50 obviously does get beaten at super low noise levels but the second we
moved to 36 decibels it ended up pretty much matching the d15 and it beat the u14s at comparable noise at even higher heat levels the fuma 2 and u14s might be quiet but they get totally overwhelmed meanwhile the freezer 50 tends to run hotter than the d15 but it evens out at higher noise levels so what does this all mean well the arctic freezer 50 is a super impressive heat sink that can match or beat the best of the best air coolers at lower heat loads and that’s actually an awesome option for 90 of the market who are rocking ryzen or intel cpus at stock or with mild overclocks and the fact that you’re getting accurate performance at a lower price is just the icy in the kick now obviously the nhd15 is still the king if you’re rocking something like the core i9 10900k or the 1080xe especially if you’re looking for an overall quieter system so if you’re okay with a few small annoyances like limited memory compatibility the massive arctic logo and the inability to switch out the fans the freezer 50 gets a full recommendation from us great job artic so on that note thank you so much for watching let us know what you guys think about the freezer 50 from our take and if you’re building out a new system especially with zen around the corner would you consider something like this curious to know i’m eber with harder canucks thank you so much watching stay safe spend responsibly and i’ll talk to you guys in the next one