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frostytech's socket LGA2011 Intel synthetic thermal test platform stresses socket LGA2011/1366 compatible heatsinks with a 200W heat load. The AMD Integrated Heat Spreader and Intel LGA2011 Integrated Heat Spreader both measure ~38x38mm, so these test results can be extrapolated to AMD processor scenario's as well.
With a 200W heat load applied by the Intel LGA2011/1366 version of FrostyTech's synthetic thermal test platform, Arctic's Liquid Freezer 120 maintains a temperature result of 17.3°C over ambient at stock fan speed. Reducing the speed of the Liquid Freezer 120's twin 120mm PWM fans to 500RPM saw temperatures climb to a less satisfactory 37.6°C over ambient.
In the past Frostytech has tended to lump all self-contained CPU water coolers into one pile opposite the air coolers. With a mix of sizes and styles to contend with, this binary choice gave the best means to consider the pro-H2O or pro-Air question. In this review we're also comparing the Freezer 120 within the 120mm-sized heat exchanger subset, so you can see how it stacks up against Corsair's or Thermaltake's best units.
The chart below narrows the LGA2011 heatsink reference chart to just the liquid cooling systems Frostytech has thus far tested which utilize a ~120x120mm sized heat exchanger. In this subset, the Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 heatsink offers the best thermal performance to date, at stock fan speed. With its twin 120mm fans slowed down however, it offers the poorest relative thermal performance of the subset.
On the whole, Arctic's Liquid Freezer 120 heatsink offers pretty good thermal performance with both fans spinning at full speed. There are other liquid coolers which manage cooler results in the 120mm heat exchanger category, but with slightly higher noise output as well. Of course, if your computer chassis has space for a 240mm sized heat exchanger, there are a great many liquid coolers in that class which blow the Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 out of the water.
There's still a place in the world for small 120mm heat exchangers and if you have a small computer rig it's pretty much your only option. Bottom line, the Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 performs fine at stock fan speed, but falls way short of ideal thermal performance when its fans are slowed to the quietest operational mode.
The Top 5 best heatsinks for low noise and low temperature are ranked here. For more reviews on the latest heatsinks and cooling solutions, rely on FrostyTech's inventory of 400+ heatsink reviews. Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy as well.
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