11/7/2022 Update: Arctic has retroactively increased the warranty of this cooler from two years to six, as well as added support for newer Intel and AMD sockets. We have updated the specs section of the review to reflect these changes.
Arctic recently a new lineup of Liquid Freezer II coolers, including the handsome 280mm Liquid Freezer II 280 that we’re looking at here. For the line, the company has developed its own pump design, choosing not to rely on an OEM (such as Asetek or CoolIt) as a product base to rebrand their solution, as many other companies have done. And the results are impressive, making the Arctic Liquid Freezer II one of the best CPU coolers you can buy.
|Thickness||1.50" / 38.1mm (2.75" / 69.9mm w/fans)|
|Width||5.50" / 139.7mm|
|Depth||12.5" / 317.5mm|
|Pump Height||1.50" / 38.1mm|
|Cooling Fans||(2) 140 x 25mm|
|Connectors||(2) 4-pin PWM|
|Weight||55.5 oz / 1572g|
|Intel Sockets||1700, 1200, 115X, 2011-3*, 2066* *Square ILM|
|AMD Sockets||AM4, AM5|
Arctic takes a minimalist approach to in-box accessories with the Liquid Freezer II 280 – even the installation manual is a web-based page launched via QR code presented on a small card. Still, the cooler supports the majority of current Intel desktop CPUs as well as AMD’s AM4 (Threadripper) socket. Artic has taken the approach of appealing to the masses and including the mounting hardware used by most system builders and gaming enthusiasts. A small packet of MX4 thermal compound is also provided to get the installation process moving without delays.
The futuristic design of the Liquid Freezer II 280 pump unit includes an integrated cooling fan to help circulate air in the vicinity of the CPU block, including motherboard PWM heatsinks and memory modules. This fan is powered on when the pump is operational while also sending power up through the inside of one of the graphite and white braided coolant sleeves to manage the PWM 140mm radiator fans via a splitter cable.
The base of the Liquid Freezer II 280 cooling block is made of milled, stain copper. The offset pump impeller is easily evident while auxiliary power cabling to the cooling fan is split and routed beneath the cooling unit to the small, 3-pin fan header. Mounting brackets for the block are secured alongside each side of the copper cold plate with screws via threaded mounts embedded within the housing.
Arctic utilizes a 38mm-thick aluminum radiator for the Liquid Freezer II 280, which provide additional cooling area by increasing the density and total number of fins when compared to most 30mm thick AIO radiators on the market. The pair of fluid dynamic-sleeved P14 fans are rated up to 1700 RPM and 72.8 CFM of airflow at maximum speed, to promote thermal exchange away from the radiator cooling fins.
The Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 mounts easily in a chassis designed to support 280mm liquid cooling radiators which -- to clarify -- is a different requirement than support for a 240mm AIO liquid cooler. Make sure to double-check your case manual before buying. The auxiliary cooling fan on the CPU pump unit can be oriented in whichever direction you choose, as it’s designed to provide a spread-focus blast of air over the components you wish to benefit.
We chose to orient the fan towards our graphics card backplate in order to supplement cooling of the GPU rather of pointing it towards the motherboard power delivery heatsink. We felt this would be an ideal alternative setup chosen by many power users and gaming system builders.
While the Liquid Freezer II 280’s 140mm fans are factory installed and managed with the same PWM power that controls the pump and auxiliary fan, we opted to disconnect the fans and run them independently for our tests, allowing for independent PWM cooling fan management while the pump remained powered at 100%.
This one in the review looks really nice as well. I wish more manufacturers would stop making their products look like action figure toys.
Should be available in Europe -- I'm pretty sure Arctic is a European company -- based in Germany maybe?
sneaky marketing suggesting that this is good but is performing less then a h100 pro
Er ... this thing costs less than half the price of a h100 pro ... and cools within 0.1 degree (by the data that you yourself linked) ... not to mention PWMs @ over 50% cooler with this AIO.
Snarky commenting suggesting that somehow that doesn't make this a superior cooler.
Hydro Series H100i v2, and couldn't be happier! This cooler is everything the Corsair was not...... FAReasier to install, MUCH quieter, and keeps my Ryzen 2700X 7-10 degrees cooler across the board then the Corsair.
My advice is to buy one before Arctic realizes how good the product is, and jacks up the price!
I am just waiting for the 360mm one to be available and then I will buy!!!! Looks very good in terms of performance...