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Arctic Freezer 50 TR Review: Let ‘Em Threadrip

Keeping Threadripper cool on a budget

Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Arctic's new Threadripper tower cooler doesn't deliver the best performance in its class. But it's a solid solution for keeping your high-end CPU cool on a budget.

For

  • Good thermal performance
  • Competitive pricing
  • Handsome design with tasteful RGB accents

Against

  • Center fan module can be difficult to secure correctly once cooler is mounted
  • RGB control module only include in premium version

Featuring eight direct-contact nickel-plated heatpipes and armed with a pair of Arctic fans in 120mm and 140mm sizes, Arctic’s newly released Freezer 50TR is designed specifically to attack the substantial thermal loads produced by AMD’s Threadripper CPUs. Although the lower-priced $65 (£60) (now $68) model we tested means you need to bring your own RGB controller, an available $75.99 (£60) version even includes an aRGB control module to manage the integrated lighting accents along the top of the cooler shroud.

*Updated November 13, 2019 to reflect current pricing

Specifications

Height6.50" / 165mm
Width5.89" / 149.5mm
Depth5.82" / 147.8mm
Base Height1.25" / 31.8mm
Assy. Offset0.50" (12.7mm) front
Cooling Fans(1) 120 x 25mm, (1) 140 x 25mm
Connectors(2) 4-pin PWM, (1) 4-pin RGB
Weight43.8 oz / 1242g
Intel SocketsN/A
AMD SocketsTR4
Warranty2 years
Web Price$65 / £60

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Given that the Arctic Freezer 50TR is designed only for use with AMD's Threadripper platform, the included parts list is minimized to a pair of brushed-steel mounting brackets with integrated machine bolts and a small packet of Arctic’s own MX-4 thermal compound. A single card with a QR scan code is included to provide installation instructions for the cooler, while also reducing paper waste in the form of included manuals.

The Freezer 50TR is covered by a two-year warranty.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

From the contact base on the Freezer 50TR, eight, nickel-plated heatpipes provide thermal dissipation conduits which spread throughout the cooling fin stack to provide proper thermal dissipation. Using a 120mm fan in front and a140mm sandwiched between its cooling towers, the Freezer 50TR makes use of a push/pull-push configuration to effectively move air through the cooling stack and out the rear.

With all of this going on in the Freezer 50TR, we can see that Arctic designed the cooling fins and heatpipe cooling tower with optimal airflow in mind.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Arctic 120mm fan is integrated into the front shroud with the 140mm fan existing as the center module that also houses the aRGB lighting module and control board. This center fan module snaps into place between the cooling towers on the 50TR after the cooler is mounted to the motherboard brackets.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Arctic designed the Freezer 50TR as a direct-contact heatpipe solution, with all eight pipes collecting at the integrated mounting base to provide coverage over Threadripper’s large heat spreader. The pair of spring tension machine screws are retained with factory-installed e-clips to limit the number of loose parts needed for installation.

The 140mm cooling fan can be seen extending through the bottom of the cooling tower and nearly touching the top of mounting base. The sides of each cooling fin are folded and interlock with the next to provide ducted airflow through the cooling tower.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

With the mounting brackets secured and the 140mm center fan module removed, the Freezer 50TR aligns over its mounting brackets and is secured with tension bolts. Once this is completed, the fan module is slid down through the middle of the cooling towers, aligning with the tab holes on the front and rear shrouds, and snapped back into place.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The center fan module includes a 4-pin PWM splitter to allow a single fan header to manage both fans on the Freezer 50TR, while a single 4-pin RGB tail can be connected to the controller of your choice, including onboard RGB. While the 50TR model we tested did not come with its own standalone lighting control module, Arctic will be offering a version of this cooler which includes this feature for $11 more ($75.99).

Testing Results

As we are seeing more thermal solutions for AMD’s high-end desktop (HEDT) Threadripper processors, we are collecting data from each on our 32-core Threadripper 2990WX platform, clocked to 3.40 Ghz at 1.20v.

We’ll be taking a comparative look at the Arctic Freezer 50TR, the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro TR4, the Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 and Cooler Master's Wraith Ripper and filling out our informative with this data below.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

While the Arctic Freezer 50TR does not provide the best thermal performance overall, it does very respectable work under load. The ducted fin design impacts airflow over the motherboard voltage regulation heatsink, which results in slightly higher recorded temperatures.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Cooler Master’s Wraith Ripper is the only single-fan solution of the testing group; each of the others wields a pair of spinners, including the Arctic Freezer 50TR, which utilizes an unmatched 120mm and 140mm set.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Fan speed often provides an indication as to noise level of a cooler, and this aligns relatively well with the RPM seen from coolers from the testing group. Large air heatpipe air coolers often enjoy the benefit of slower RPM fans and lower decibel levels, which applies to all four coolers of our testing group. Each of them register lower than 30dB, even at full speed.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Thermal performance and noise level are evaluated to provide an indication as to how well a cooler performs and how much noise it produces in the process. High-caliber cooling and whisper-quiet performance gives the Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 a strong advantage in our acoustic efficiency chart, while the Arctic Freezer 50TR dips a little low due to small differences in degrees Celsius and decibels.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We now see the Arctic Freezer 50TR come into its own, once we account for unit pricing as we evaluate cooler cost compared with overall thermal performance and acoustics. The Freezer 50TR lists at $65 (£60) at launch, with Arctic mentioning a premium version of the model which includes an aRGB control module that will sell for $11 more. This positions the Freezer 50TR as a very strong performance value option for even the most demanding of Threadripper CPUs.

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(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Thermal imaging from our FLIR One Pro camera shows relatively similar patterns of heat soak and dissipation, although 50% fan speed does provide an indication of higher temperatures near the back of the Freezer 50TR, where airflow is being exhausted from the rear of the cooling tower.

As we saw in the thermal results, the motherboard power delivery heatsinks directly above the Freezer 50TR are somewhat deprived of airflow over adjacent components, due to the ducted design of the cooling fins. So keep this in mind where overall chassis airflow is concerned.

Conclusion

There are a couple shortcomings with the Arctic Freezer 50TR, although neither are glaring. The first is the awkwardness of re-attaching the center fan and aRGB module once the cooler is secured to the mounting base. With clips at the base of the cooler body and center fan module, it took us a few attempts to get the clips on both sides to line up correctly. Also, getting the fan module’s pegs to align with each slot on top of both shrouds while sliding the module down and into place was a bit tedious.

The second shortcoming is the lack of provided aRGB control with the cooler we tested, though Arctic will be offering the same cooler which does include a standalone lighting control module for a $10 (£10) price premium. We would have liked to have seen a simple control module included, even if lighting features were limited.

Arctic has given AMD Threadripper system builders a more budget-friendly large-heatpipe air cooling solution with the new Freezer 50TR. Thermal performance of the 50TR doesn’t reach the pinnacle of our thermal comparison charts, but does offer 95% of the cooling ability of the Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 for 80% of the price.

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