German company Arctic has been a mainstay in the PC cooling space ever since its founding in 2001. Today the company is known for its Freezer Air & Liquid CPU Coolers, MX thermal pastes, fans, as well as custom Accelero GPU coolers.
It’s been a couple years since the company impressed us with its budget-priced Freezer 34 Esports Duo air cooler. Like the Duo, Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 240 AIO is competitively priced at $110. Can it handle the heat of Intel’s Core i9-12900K and earn a spot on our best AIO Coolers list? We’ll put it through testing and find out. But first, here are the cooler’s specifications, direct from Arctic.
Specifications for the Liquid Freezer II 240
|Cooler||Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 (240mm AIO)|
|Radiator Dimensions||277 x 38 x 120mm|
|VRM Fan||1000-3000 RPM|
|Gross Weight||3.69 pounds (1666g)|
|Socket Compatibility||Intel 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011-3 Square ILM, 2066|
|AMD AM5, AM4, AM3(+)|
|CPU Block||Copper, Micro-Skived-Fins|
Packing and Included Contents
The Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 is packaged in a medium box, with shaped cardboard inserts and plastic coverings to product the parts during shipping.
Included with the package are the following:
- CPU block with VRM fan
- Radiator with pre-installed fans
- Mounts for modern Intel & AMD platforms
- Small tube of thermal paste
Installing the Liquid Freezer II 240 was fairly simple. To begin, you attach the studs to the backplate and secure them using the O rings. After pressing the backplate to the motherboard, you need to screw in the standoffs. Apply the included thermal paste from the syringe and then mount the CPU block and secure it with the thumbscrews.
New Testing Configuration
|Cooler||Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240, 240mm AIO|
|Comparison Coolers Tested||BeQuiet Pure Loop 2 FX, 360mm AIO|
|Cooler Master Master Liquid PL360 Flux, 360mm AIO|
|Cooler Master Master Liquid PL240 Flux, 240mm AIO|
|Cougar Forza 85, Air Cooler|
|Cougar Poseidon GT 360, 360m AIO|
|Corsair iCUE H100i Elite, 240mm AIO|
|DeepCool AK500, Air Cooler|
|DeepCool LS520, 240mm AIO|
|DeepCool LS320, 120mm AIO|
|Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE, Air Cooler|
|Motherboard||MSI z690 A-Pro DDR4|
|Case||BeQuiet! Silent Base 802 Window|
Features of the Liquid Freezer II 240
- Unique VRM Fan
Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II incorporates a small fan atop the CPU block which helps dissipate heat and cool the VRMs surrounding the CPU.
- Thick Radiator
The radiator included with the Liquid Freezer II is extremely thick–1.5 inches or 38mm to be precise. This is good for cooling, but also means you’ll need a case with more clearance, about 2.5 inches when you add the fans.
- Dual Pre-Installed Arctic P12 Fans
There’s more to an AIO than just the radiator. The bundled fans also have a significant impact on cooling, noise levels, and performance. Included with the Liquid Freezer are two P12 120mm fans, which are pre-installed for convenience. These fans include bearings developed in Germany, which use an alloy and lubricant combination designed to reduce friction and noise.
|Dimensions||120 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Fan Speed||Up to 1800rpm|
|Air Flow||Up to 44.8 cfm|
|Air Pressure||Up to 1.85mm H2O|
I'll be testing Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 240 with Intel's i9-12900K. Due to the increased thermal density of the Intel 7 manufacturing process, as well as changes to core and component layouts, Alder Lake CPUs are more difficult to cool than previous generation CPUs in the most heat-intensive of workloads.
This means that coolers that kept previous generation products like the i9-10900K nice and cool sometimes struggle to keep Intel's i9-12900K under TJ max–the maximum temperature before the CPU starts to throttle. Many coolers that I’ve tested fail to keep the i9-12900K under TJ max when power limits are removed in workloads like Cinebench and OCCT when I’ve tested them, including many coolers I previously considered “top of the line.”
Please note there are many factors other than the CPU cooler that can influence your cooling performance. A system's motherboard can especially influence this, as there are boards on the market with CPU sockets that aren't up to Intel's spec, which can cause warping or poor contact with the CPU. The case you use will also influence cooling results.
With Alder Lake's cooling demands in mind, I'll be rating CPU Coolers in 3 different tiers.
Tier 1: These coolers are able to keep the i9-12900K below TJ max in most loads, with no power limits enforced. I expect only the best liquid coolers to meet this standard.
Tier 2: These coolers are able to keep the i9-12900K under the TJ max threshold with CPU power limits of 200W enforced. I expect most liquid coolers and the best air coolers to meet this standard.
Tier 3: These coolers are able to keep the i9-12900K under TJ max with CPU power limits of 140W enforced.
To test the limits of a cooler's thermal dissipation capabilities, I run two primary stress tests: Cinebench and OCCT each for 10 minutes. While this may be a short amount of time, it is sufficient to push most coolers–air and liquid–to their limits.
While stress testing in Cinebench, I run both with power limits removed and with an enforced 200W CPU power limit. In this test setup I’m using MSI’s z690 A Pro DDR4 Motherboard and Be Quiet’s Silent Base 802 Computer Case. Only the best coolers are able to pass Cinebench testing when power limits are removed.
I don’t test OCCT without power limits because attempting to do so results in CPU package power consumption jumping to over 270W and instantly throttling with even the best AIO coolers. Instead, I test at 200W to give coolers a chance at passing. I also include 140W to give data comparable to a CPU like Intel’s i5-12600K. 95w results are also included to give data closer to low-TDP CPUs such as AMD’s Ryzen 5600X or Intel’s i5-12400.