Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro rev 2 for LGA 775

Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 rev 2 on a Pentium 4

This is the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro rev 2, which is an entirely excellent and very cheap CPU fan and heatsink assembly for, among many others, Intel processors with LGA 775 sockets. I bought one for my 3 ghz Pentium 4 HT when my original Intel fan started howling like a Stuka. I'll mostly concentrate on the Pentium 4 specifics here.

(I'll call it "the Freezer" from now on; the full name is long and very silly.)

Skip to: Compatibility - (Non) Warranty - Performance - Operating speeds and temperatures

Specs

As specified by Arctic:

Packaging

Flimsy plastic, which isn't labelled as recyclable (I might sound like I'm nitpicking, but I'm big on recyclable packaging). Little cardboard insert, which is recyclable.

Construction

The heatsink assembly is a lovely machined chunk of aluminium, and the pipework is copper. The whole thing, with its fan, weighs in at a chunky lovely-to-hold-in-your-hand 520 g (according to quietpc.com, and Arctic), or 590 g (according to Arctic on a different place on their site).

Pretty much everything else is plastic, including the clips that push into the motherboard on LGA 775 processors, which look only slightly less breakable than the stupid clips that stock Intel fans use. If this assembly was slightly more expensive I'd complain about it, but hey, it's less than 20 quid, and replacement clips are $1.99 US.

Compatibility

Pentium 4s

The Freezer works with all LGA 775 Pentium 4 processors. This is not all Pentium 4 processors; many use the completely different and incompatible Socket 478 and Socket 473 types. You can check your part number against those over at Wikipedia. Alternatively, you can remove your processor: if the CPU socket has deep holes and the CPU itself has long pins to slot into them, it is not an LGA 775 processor. If it looks like this, it's an LGA 775.

General

The Freezer is big; you'll need a full-sized desktop case. You'll also want to watch the clearance on your RAM sticks if they're particularly tall, and anything else in your case. Unfortunately, there's not really a way of knowing in advance; you'll just have to take the measurements and cross your fingers.

Aside from LGA 775 Pentium 4s, Arctic say it'll work with the following:

You can see Arctic's own compatibility chart over here; this is just a quick summary.

Warranty

I keep reading that the Freezer has a six-year warranty, but ignore it. First, Arctic explicitly say that they don't offer a manufacturer's warranty; any returns will be dealt with through your dealer, who do have a warranty arrangement with Arctic. Good luck; hope you kept your receipt, and your dealer doesn't go bust some time in the next six years.

Secondly, they call it a "limited" warranty. A limited warranty means whatever the hell they want it to mean. More than likely it means that once your statutory rights in your jurisdiction expire, they'll replace any parts that break, if they have them, and if they don't you'll have to go out and buy a new one.

I hate gimmicks like this, and I'd demand better than this if I was buying a more expensive cooler, but the Freezer's cheap enough that I don't care all that much. Interestingly, my stock Intel cooler lasted precisely six years before it turned into a jet turbine (2005-2011).

Performance

The Freezer works great, much better than any fan this cheap deserves to work. It's easy to install, it runs cool, and it's almost completely silent.

Installation

The instructions blow; they give tiny little pictograms that you're expected to understand. Once you get your head around them, though, you'll be fine; even a hardware retard like me figured it out. The hardware headbangers out there will have no problem.

These comments only apply for the LGA 775 and other Intel versions; with at least some AMD motherboards you might need to remove the motherboard to fit it. Sorry AMD users; see your instructions.

The Freezer comes with thermal compound on the heatsink. I was an idiot; I wiped this off and splashed out on some Antec thermal compound with the assumption that spending extra money would get better cooling results, but it turned out to be exactly the same stuff that Arctic sell as Arctic Silver 5, and presumably use on their coolers, too. Whoops! I wonder if all manufacturers use exactly the same stuff. Chad Sebring has done the right thing and tested five different pastes head-to-head. His conclusion is the opposite of mine, though: There's less than a degree (presumably Celsius) between them, which tells me that they're all just about the same and that claims of using "nano diamonds" should be spread on a field where they will do some good.

(In a perfect example of "but they would say that", the manual says that you should only use Arctic thermal compound. Ha!)

Noise

The Freezer is, for all intents and purposes, completely silent.

The only way I was able to discern any noise it was making was by taking the side panel off my case, putting my ear a foot away from the fan then jamming my fingers into the blades to force the fan to stop (don't try this at home, kids!). This is the only way I noticed that yes, the fan does make a very very quiet hum, if you listen really really hard.

If you're not making stupid tests that put you at risk of either slicing your finger or breaking your fan, you will not hear the Freezer. It'll certainly be drowned out by your power supply, GPU fan, and even your hard drive if it's on the way out. This might drive you nuts, because you'll realise just how noisy all your other components are in comparison.

Operating speeds and temperatures

An important note before I go on: Do not compare these numbers with anything else than my particular Pentium 4 running under my circumstances. In particular, the "Prescott" family of Pentium 4s (of which mine is one) are well-known for running very hot, which makes the Freezer look bad compared to a stock fan running on anything else. You also should not compare these figures with anyone else's figures for other coolers, because all kinds of factors (including the ambient temperature in the room, the quality of the other fans in and airflow of their case, etc) could skew figures either way. You can only get a fair comparison of this and anything else by using different coolers on the same processor in the same case in a temperature-controlled room. With that said...

These were all measured on my 3ghz Pentium 4 HT, running Ubuntu 10.04, as measured by the lm-sensors software, usually several readings averaged, with anomalously high and low one-off readings ignored. The readings were made on evenings with the outdoor temperature in all but one of the tests being about 20 ° C (64° F), and humidity at about 70-80%.

For all of these tests, I had my primary case fan disconnected, which will result in somewhat higher temperatures than you'd get by being sensible and leaving it connected.

Note that during all these tests, the Freezer was always perceptibly silent, even with the sound off. Other sounds, like ambient noise and noise from your other components, will drown out the very, very minimal amount of noise that the Freezer makes, even if the sound from your DVD or video game does not.

Summary

Want a cheap replacement fan for your LGA 775 processor? This is it! For just a few quid more than a standard cooler, you get one that is almost silent and works brilliantly.

I haven't tested this on other Intel processors, or on AMD, but I'd expect it to work just as well there, too. For normal people doing normal things, the Freezer is about the best value for money you can get. For hardcore gamers and overclockers, of course you'll want to find something bigger and beefier, or maybe some silly watercooling system, but that's not me, or most people.

Buying one

You can get one from quietpc.com here, from Amazon UK here, or from Amazon.com (US) here. I don't make any money from these links, and I actually bought mine at a small bricks-and-mortar computer shop, the staff at which I trust to give me honest advice (and they don't pay me for saying this, either).