ARCTIC Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 CPU Cooler Review

👤by Sahil Mannick Comments 📅07-04-12

The ARCTIC Freezer Extreme Rev. 2ís mix of features makes it a very unique product making it very hard to pick a direct competitor. So letís look at it from various perspectives. Starting with its price point, the ARCTIC cooler is readily available for around £25 where its main competition comes from the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. If budget is your only consideration and size is of no issue, the latter is undeniably the better option and is only a touch louder than the ARCTIC. Take size into account for HTPCs or M-ATX cases, then the Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 faces competition from other coolers 130mm or less in height such as the Noctua NH-C12P, Noctua NH-C14, other top down coolers or low profile ones. Even the Cooler Master Hyper TX3 ends up taller. In this scenario, the ARCTIC cooler is a much better proposition whereby only the Noctua NH-C14 can outperform it but for a significant premium. So if price and size are key factors to your choice of cooler, then the Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 is the perfect option, if not your only option.

In terms of performance, the Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 is by no means ground-breaking and certainly on initial impressions, a dual tower cooler is suggestive of better cooling potential. But then when we realise that the Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 features a very compact design, it makes sense that the dual tower design was employed to improve efficiency. The result is a cooler that is shorter than the Cooler Master TX3, able to compete with the likes of the Enermax ETS-T40 and poses no issues regarding memory compatibility. And unlike other cooler that rely on higher RPM fans, the ARCTIC cooler still delivers acceptable results at low noise levels. We have to remember that in our review, the cooler was under load of an overclocked i7 920 which can output up to 230W of heat whereas the cooler is only rated to dissipate 160W of heat effectively, so its ability to handle such high loads is testament to its cooling potential. Additionally, the perfect pre-applied MX-2 thermal paste helps maintain decent performance.

There are a few negatives I would like to highlight before doing a final summary. The base of the cooler is small in comparison to the 920ís IHS which may explain why the cooler didnít fare better. Although the base may be adequate for smaller and consequently less power hungry CPUs, it is important that ARCTIC address this issue for higher end CPUs. Afterall, one of ARCTICís key selling points is widespread compatibility. It makes little sense to simply design the bracket for high end motherboards but not make the cooler itself apt for the CPUs that will go in them. Another annoying niggle I encountered was during installation. Trying to secure the heatsink to the mounting bracket using the small screws proved to be difficult but a simple way to overcome this is to place the screws into the heatsink bracket first rather than placing the cooler on the motherboard and then trying to reach down with the screws.

Overall, the ARCTIC Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 is a decent cooler. It is perfect for small systems where large tower coolers will not fit and for users who canít tolerate noise. Looking past some of it negatives, it is also an excellent choice for the new Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs.


+Handles high CPU loads
+Good performance for size
+Pre-applied thermal paste
+Bundled PWM fan
+Support for all Intel and AMD sockets excluding LGA2011
+Memory compatibility
+Compact size
+Low noise
+Convenient mounting mechanism


-Low efficiency at stock CPU speed
-Installation method
-No support for third party 120mm fans
-Small base plate not large enough to cover LGA1366 based CPUs
-Similar priced alternatives are better if size is not a concern
-Unintuitive fan design

The ARCTIC Freezer Extreme Rev. 2 earns itself our Vortez Bronze award and the Amazing Value Award.

Click here for an explanation of our awards at

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