Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 CPU Cooler Review

Test Method, Results And Analysis

We retain the hardware configuration from previous big cooler reviews to maintain result consistency.

Some of Arctic’s toughest closed-loop competition comes from Chinese brands with an American presence, both on the pricing and performance scale. ID-Cooling’s Frostflow 240L for example has proven itself formidable even against units priced up to 50% higher, and the Gamer Storm Captain 240 is no slouch either. Rather than create a false value narrative by comparing under-performing expensive models, we’re throwing the Liquid Freezer 240 right up against those two best-value models.

Liquid CPU Cooler Specifications

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Arctic’s two-year warranty resembles those of ID-Cooling and Deepcool (Gamer Storm), but only at first blush. According to Arctic’s website: "ARCTIC does not offer a manufacturer warranty." Warranty returns are at the discretion of the seller, and Arctic is responsible to the seller (its direct customer) when a product is found defective. Buyers can expect no assistance when the seller refuses to act as an intermediary (or goes out of business).

[Update: Arctic contacted us to let us know that it has changed its warranty policy. Its new RMA instructions can be found at https://www.arctic.ac/de_en/rma/.]

Test Results

Thanks to its thick radiator and airflow-boosting fan-sandwich configuration, the Liquid Freezer 240 beats even the unbelievably cool Frostflow 240L in our thermal test. It even wins in its worst-performing configuration.

You may have also noticed that the Liquid Freezer 240 performs better when set as exhaust. Once again we’re going to ignore the miniscule impact of rising heat and instead credit the lower pressure difference, since our front fans are always tested as intakes.

While it appears that the fan speed actually goes down when the Liquid Freezer 240 is mounted as exhaust, the measurements on the charts are only coming from the fastest layer of fans. Our test notes show that while the fastest fan slowed from 1560 to 1420 RPM, the slowest fan sped up from 1340 to 1420 RPM.

The Liquid Freezer 240 is always quieter than either the Frostflow 240L or the Captain 240. Higher noise in its top-intake configuration is likely due to windage, as fan blades that are close to a case’s vent holes create a whistling noise as they pass each hole. When mounted as exhaust, fan frames act as spacers to prevent that noise.

Acoustic Efficiency, or the comparison of temperature to noise, is the true measure of a cooler’s overall performance. Arctic’s Liquid Freezer 240 destroys its rivals.

While we didn't include the Liquid Freezer 240's oversized rivals in the charts of this review, it outperforms them all, even making its higher price (by about $10) worth it. And, remembering that the coolers we compared directly in this review are some of the cheapest high-performance parts available, the Liquid Freezer 240 is still cheaper than most of its other rivals.

Astounding performance superiority easily opens the Liquid Freezer 240 to our elite “Editor’s Choice” award, but would this editor actually choose it? Unfortunately, its 3.6” thickness doesn’t fit any of my cases! I even had to offset it within the case of our own test machine, using vent holes rather than mounting holes to secure the radiator and fan sandwich. We have, however, tested cases with fairly severe default radiator offset, and those cases allow the cooler to hang well past the top of the motherboard and even below the tops of some memory modules.

Normally a fitment issue like that might exclude a product from making our “Recommended” list, yet the relatively broad availability of cases with significant radiator offset makes the case against this award less clear. Two things are clear in that buyers get superior cooling for under $100, and that warranty replacement is at the discretion of the seller. Thus, I’m recommending that new system builders keep this cooler in mind when choosing a case, and restricting its recommendation to cases that support it when purchased from trustworthy sellers.

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22 comments
    Your comment
  • IceMyth
    "Warranty available only through seller" is enough reason not to buy this cooler if you want to stick with the exact same amount 73.2$!
  • daglesj
    I have this unit. It is excellent. No regrets. Very quiet when setup too.
  • Crashman
    2142646 said:
    "Warranty available only through seller" is enough reason not to buy this cooler if you want to stick with the exact same amount 73.2$!
    AC has a web store if you don't mind paying the extra $10 to order direct. And Newegg will probably be around in two years as well, but their direct sale is also $10 extra. So I guess that means "pay $10 extra for warranty assurance".

    If you're really concerned about lower-priced sellers, the cooler is probably nice enough to pay for that.
  • n0ns3ns3
    the thickness is easily solved by using only 2 fans.
    other two are bonus and con be used anywhere else.
  • g-unit1111
    2142646 said:
    "Warranty available only through seller" is enough reason not to buy this cooler if you want to stick with the exact same amount 73.2$!


    Agreed, major deal breaker there.
  • RomeoReject
    Even only using two fans still leaves the unit about a half inch thicker than its rivals, which can be a pain. I have the x61 Kraken, and its juuuust thin enough not to interfere with my things. That half an inch would totally screw me.
  • n0ns3ns3
  • Eggz
    Shouldn't it be illegal to call these CPU cooler things like "freezer," "chili," "frozen," "cold," etc. unless they actually produce cold like a refrigerator does? All of these coolers are actually warm at about 100F when operating, even if they do a very good job of cooling the CPU like this unit does.
  • LookItsRain
    1406980 said:
    Shouldn't it be illegal to call these CPU cooler things like "freezer," "chili," "frozen," "cold," etc. unless they actually produce cold like a refrigerator does? All of these coolers are actually warm at about 100F when operating, even if they do a very good job of cooling the CPU like this unit does.


    Its part of their naming scheme, if your stupid enough to take the name 100% literally, well, should it be illegal to be that stupid in the first place?.
  • 10tacle
    As a long time high end air cooler builder, I found the results of the exhaust vs. intake temp setup interesting even though they were only a degree apart. It reminded me of the minor but noticeable temp performance difference when I tested my 4690K build with my Antec Nine Hundred case side door off vs. side door on (runs cooler with the side door on and sealed).

    I believe it has something to do with that dude named Bernoulli. ;)
  • htelectrical
    I have this unit and LOVE IT. I am overclocked on my 6600 to 4.4 and my temps are 66 F as I am typing!!!
  • Luyuan20
    Is something like this worth the extra cost over the CM Hyper 212 EVO? And in the same price range, how does this compare to the Noctua D15? The Noctua D15 is $109 and Arctic 240mm is $110 in Canada. CM 212 EVO is $45, this is the cooler I currently have.
  • Crashman
    2244993 said:
    Is something like this worth the extra cost over the CM Hyper 212 EVO? And in the same price range, how does this compare to the Noctua D15? The Noctua D15 is $109 and Arctic 240mm is $110 in Canada. CM 212 EVO is $45, this is the cooler I currently have.
    7-8C cooler than the D15, I don't think the 212 EVO would even achieve useful readings in this particular test system
  • gdmaclew
    Your link below for "Also For Water-cooling" for Corsair Hydro Series H60 takes me to
    a Rosewill PSU at Newegg instead.
  • Memhorder
    This is just some hard evidence that Exhaust config makes more sense than intake. Yet they recommend it, even though results are minuscule..still
  • delta5
    Exhaust doesn't always make more sense. The manufacturer provides a configuration that will cover a wide range of setups. I'd like to see it tested as an exhaust vs intake with two AMD video cards or the older Nvidia cards; with stress test going on for the cpu and video cards.
  • Crashman
    1027942 said:
    Exhaust doesn't always make more sense. The manufacturer provides a configuration that will cover a wide range of setups. I'd like to see it tested as an exhaust vs intake with two AMD video cards or the older Nvidia cards; with stress test going on for the cpu and video cards.
    I'm pretty sure that there's a clue in the article that mounting it on the front panel as an intake makes the most sense, though putting it there could require builders to add a fan over the voltage regulator.
  • anbello262
    I have a big question about this.
    I have this cooler (it is great), but the schematics ask for the pump to be installed with the Arctic logo upside down (unlike this review).
    Is there any reason for this? Any problem if I don't install it that way?
  • Crashman
    1426528 said:
    I have a big question about this. I have this cooler (it is great), but the schematics ask for the pump to be installed with the Arctic logo upside down (unlike this review). Is there any reason for this? Any problem if I don't install it that way?
    No worries, you'll be fine.
  • tazmo8448
    If the tubes/hoses can be detached then put back in place my case could mount it on the outside top having a CM HAF 912 there are fitments allowing entry from the rear for those tubes/hoses if not the 120mm version may be the ticket and it would be nice to see a review of that option.

    0
  • Hupiscratch
    Would this fit on a Cooler Master Masterbox 3 Lite? Pretty sure the HDD cage would need to be removed, but I don't know if there is enough clearance to the motherboard.
  • Crashman
    196315 said:
    Would this fit on a Cooler Master Masterbox 3 Lite? Pretty sure the HDD cage would need to be removed, but I don't know if there is enough clearance to the motherboard.
    It doesn't look like it will fit, but if you have the case you can measure for clearance.