Arctic Freezer 13 CPU Cooler
Author: Jakob Barnard
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 12-02-2010
Provided by: Arctic Cooling

I will be testing with the following hardware:

AMD Phenom II X4 955BE 3.2 AM3
Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 770 R
G.Skill 4gb (2x2gb) DDR3 1600
Sentey Arvina GS-6400
XFX Radeon HD 5770 1gb
OCZ Solid 2 Solid State Drive 60gb
1.0T (x3) SATA 3.5" drive
Asus Wireless nic

Installation proved to be a mixed bag. Arctic claims that this is an easy user-friendly install, and it is mostly. I suspect that the Intel plate and pushpins are very user friendly. The AMD version, I am fairly convinced it was an afterthought. Now, it took a little more effort since I had to strip off the Noctua hardware and replace with the stock mounting bracket, but that is because I was going from aftermarket to aftermarket. I certainly don’t expect the instructions to cover that.

As you can see in the above diagram taken from the AMD mounting instructions, there are three little holes in the AMD bracket that fit over the stock mounting bracket. If you look above at the stock Gigabyte mounting bracket, there is a single hook, not three. Also, it proved impossible to place a finger holding the bracket and trying to screw it in at the same time. I ended up pre-attaching the brackets but did not fully thread the screws. I slipped the brackets over the hook and finished tightening the screws down.

Here is where I wasn’t satisfied with the mounting attachment. With only one hook on either side the cooler had a little play. Vertically it was quite secure so it wouldn’t lose contact with the surface of the CPU, but a little movement was possible side to side. This shouldn't have any impact on performance, but I really didn’t care for it.

Once installed, I clipped the fan on easily. It was that simple. Note the orientation on the Gigabyte board. The fan will be drawing air from the top of the case and venting straight at the GPU. This is a common problem with a lot of AMD coolers. Noctua actually has a 90 degree turn kit for many of their heatsinks, but I do not see one for the Freezer 13.

This is where my concern with the single direction of the fan comes into play. I possibly could have tried to turn the fan around, but with a single fan, I wasn’t confident that it would draw enough air from the inside of the case to cool very efficiently. The two 140mm fans at the top of the case are configured to vent air out of the top. So as I installed it, the fans would be fighting each other. The way I decided to test was to switch those fans off and allow the Freezer 13 to pull air inside through the top of the case.

I will get more into this during testing.

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