Testing Results & Conclusion
For our comparison testing, we use standardized testing methods and results from prior CPU cooler reviews. We will be comparing data from the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition against that of the Scythe Grand Kama Cross 3, Noctua NH-U14S, and the Noctua NH-D15. This quartet of hardware is designed to provide maximum cooling in the moderate to large footprint CPU cooler arena.
Thermal load testing involves running Prime95 for two hours, twice: once at full fan speed, once at 50% fan speed. We see that the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition trails just slightly behind the Scythe Grand Kama Cross 3, also a quad heat pipe cooler, at full loads and equals CPU temperatures in the half speed tests. However, it trails a bit behind both Noctua coolers, both of which utilize six heat pipes to the Arctic Freezer 33’s design of four.
As we look to evaluate cooler acoustic levels, we would have certainly expected the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition with its two, fast-moving 120mm fans to produce higher levels of registered sound than those of the larger, slower-moving fans used by the Scythe and both Noctua coolers. However, this wasn’t the case. The Freezer 33 eSports Edition puts up a near photo-finish second place in noise levels, falling to the Noctua NH-U14S and edging out the NH-D15.
Although that Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition was bested in the primary thermal load comparison, we do see that the measured noise levels at both full and half speed bring this cooler into decent efficiency ranges against its rivals, including a very formidable showing while operating at 50% fan speed.
Once we bring unit price into the mix, the data really begins to paint a different picture for the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition. Full fan speeds still leave it slightly behind the overall curve, but half fan speed performance coupled with the overall cheaper unit cost provide a late rally for this cooler in value. At just under half the price of the performance leading Noctua NH-D15, the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition comes through as an overall runner-up, or better, depending on how favorably you view performance per dollar.
Although it produces slightly warmer thermal statistics than others in the comparison grouping, the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition does so at a discounted cost. And while the Scythe Grand Kama Cross does cool better by just the slightest of advantages, the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition uses a large acoustic difference and almost identical price point to its benefit down the stretch to pull ahead.
We also should note that the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition is physically the smallest cooler in the test group, which provides several other advantages that are most tangible when it comes to overall footprint for the intended target PC build. It would be an excellent cooler in a small form factor gaming build or a very quiet workstation or HTPC, especially with a well-tuned PWM fan curve.
Arctic provides the PC cooling world a handsome, well-priced, and solid performing cooler with the Freezer 33 eSports Edition. At the time of this writing, the cooler is priced right around $48 and is available in four colors: green, white, yellow and red. We’re disappointed that blue did not make the current cut, because it is a very popular PC accent color. Regardless of what color you choose, the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition is a solid performer with an attractive price.
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