Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro HSF

Cooling
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DETAILS

The Freezer 7 Pro is built around three U-shaped heatpipes (for 6 heatpipe paths) and a stack of 42 aluminum fins, which is fairly typical of a tower-style heatsink. The heatpipes receive heat from the CPU at the bottom of the U and transfer it up to the ends where it is dissipated into the aluminum fins and then eventually into the surrounding air. The individual heatpipes are located quite close together. This is bit surprising; distributing them farther apart would seem better for heat dissipation.

The fins are large and tightly spaced, so the total surface area is high. With unlimited airflow, this would be a good thing, but the close spacing of the fins could hurt cooling efficiency in low airflow conditions.

The 92mm fan is rated for 0.16A at 12V, providing 45 CFM. The latter number seems very high for the low power rating, but the noise and the perceived airflow aross our fingertips suggest it's accurate. We tried to measure the airflow of the fan, both on the HS and also removed from the heatsink. The results from our anemometer testing were lower than the 45CFM claimed. but they were too inconsistent to be relied upon. This may be due to the absecne of a frame. Barring evidence to the contrary, we have no choice but to accept their claim for now.

The total mass of 520 grams is very modest for a high performance heatsink/fan, exceeding Intel and AMD recommendations by only 70 grams. Many high end heatsinks are far weightier, often approaching a whole kg, which does not bode well for a vertically mounted motherboard, especially with tall heatsinks that apply a lot of cantilever force on the mounting points and the board. Nothing like that to worry about here.


Just 520g despite the large size.

Tower heatsinks like the Freezer 7 Pro provide very little airflow across the motherboard itself. This is a problem, as motherboard makers expect the CPU heatsink fan to provide cooling for the voltage regulators (often called voltage regulator module or VRM) around the CPU socket. The illustration below (from the retail box) shows how Arctic Cooling intends to solve this problem.


The three bottom fins direct airflow downwards towards the motherboard.

The gist of the solution is to deflect a little bit of airflow down towards the motherboard by bending the bottom three fins and spacing them more widely. The frameless design of the fan should also help draw air across the motherboard. Because the bottom three fins are barely in the path of the fan, this solution is unlikely to provide a lot of airflow, but it should be enough to prevent pockets of dead air from forming under the heatsink.

The most unusual part of the Freezer 7 Pro is the semi-frameless 92 mm fan. One of our complaints about the original Freezer was how fragile its fan was with only two spindly supporting arms for a frame. In fact, one of our original Freezer samples was damaged in transit, which surely must have occurred much more than with typical HSF and perhaps spurred development of this new model. The fan here is still missing most of its frame, and this means it is not as strong as a regular "box" fan. The only thing preventing the fan from catching a stray wire are two thin plastic rings that surround the blades. This provides a minimum of safety while keeping the frame as open as possible. Unlike the fan on the original Freezer which used four tiny screws, this one can be easily taken off and put back on without any tools.


For some reason, the fan frame is ever-so-slightly oval shaped.
Two plastic tabs keep the fan clipped in grooves on two side of the fins.

Oddly, the minimal frame is not quite circular; it's a little wider than it is tall, giving it a slightly oval shape. Given how well the frame fits on the fins, this was probably done to meet the geometry of the heatsink itself.


The fan frame is slight oval.

A frameless fan usually generates a little less turbulence than a standard fan. However, we suspect it also generates less directional airflow, which may make it more difficult to force air through tightly spaced fins. The Zalman 7000, 7700 and 9500 series heatsinks also use frameless fans, but they are significantly different from Arctic Cooling's HS fans. In the Zalman models, the fan is nearly surrounded by the fins, it fits into a recess in the fins. This suggests that all the kinetic energy of the spinning blades is converted into some kind of airflow through the fins, which would improve cooling efficiency. The Arctic Cooling heatsinks, in contrast, position the frameless (or near-frameless) fan conventionally. It reduces turbulence, but the energy at the tips of the blades may not necessarily be converted into airflow towards the fins.



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