Comparison Coolers, Testing Results & Conclusion
For our comparison testing, we utilize data from standardized testing methods collected during prior CPU cooling reviews on our six-core Core i7-5930K running at 4.2GHz and 1.20V. Testing data collected throughout our benchmarking of the Arctic Freezer 33 TR was compared with that of three other competing coolers for our comparison: the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410P, the LEPA NEOIllusion, and the FSP Windale 4.
Right away, we can see some red flags with the thermal loads of the Freezer 33 TR. Load temperatures greater than 100°C on our test system tend to cause a lot of concern here in the lab, and rightly so. At the temperature loads over ambient that our six-core Core i7-5930K was being exposed to, it began to thermally throttle. So, we unmounted, re-seated, and re-tested the cooler three more times just to make sure there was not an issue with the mount, the thermal-paste application, or any other user error. Because the Freezer 33 TR was specifically engineered to support CPUs ranging from four to 16 cores, that raised some eyebrows with our testing sample.
The Freezer 33 TR turned in the highest fan RPM of the testing group, albeit just barely. While Arctic rates its BioniX F120 fan for between 200-1800 RPM, we saw the fan spin up just over 2000 RPM, sustained, when giving it power. While we are seeing that neither the full-speed nor the half-speed thermal load temperatures seemed to benefit from having the highest blade-rotation speeds, it did help our motherboard voltage regulators and surrounding hardware due to the airflow.
Having the fastest fan speed typically means having higher noise levels, but in this scenario, it wasn’t the case. The Freezer 33 TR slipped quietly below the other coolers in the test comparison with a whispery set of full-speed and half-speed values.
Accounting for relative thermal load performance and noise levels, the Freezer 33 TR still posted a negative value under full-speed fan loads, but it did manage to hit around the middle of the testing group at half-speed and average values. The incredibly quiet fan really helps the cooler gather itself again and present some impressive numbers.
Things took a turn for the unexpected, though, on our Performance Value chart above, as we introduced this unit pricing to the overall comparison. The Freezer 33 TR fell a few dollars below our group cost average with a current MSRP of $39. The surge at 50% fan speed makes a strong, last-minute showing, due to the incredibly low decibel readings and the low unit cost.
We often say that our charts speak volumes but never tell the entire story. This is again true with the Arctic Freezer 33 TR. The initial thermal-load values were some of the highest we’ve seen for quite some time, which led us to wonder if there is truly an issue with Arctic’s design of the Freezer 33 TR, or if we simply got a sample that had a subpar heatpipe system. The build quality of the cooler is visibly top-notch. Once installed, the Freezer 33 TR is a handsome, mid-size tower that has a custom, aftermarket look for any PC case.
That said, it is difficult to pinpoint where the Arctic Freezer 33 TR belongs, and where it should be placed. It is designed specifically for enthusiast systems boasting CPUs that scoff at having "only" four cores, yet it struggled to cool our six-core Core i7 5930K. Its elongated heatpipe contact area is meant primarily for covering the football-pitch length of the newer AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs, but it does allow the cooler to sit squarely over the primary CPU dies of our Intel test system. So while it might be market-focused on AMD’s TR4 socket, it does fully support the Intel 2066 and 2011-v3 by providing adequate heatpipe coverage and contact, but not for all other common Intel or AMD sockets.
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