Arctic Cooling Launches New Mainstream Coolers and Fans

Overall Score

Arctic Cooling has long been known for their line of inexpensive, yet very effective mainstream coolers. Being an European company from Switzerland, Arctic Cooling embodies the soul and tradition of Swiss craftsmanship – small and detailed, yet elegantly designed. However, while most other cooling companies spent a fortune on developing the latest and greatest, Arctic Cooling has focused on spending most of its resources catering to a group that has always been overlooked, the mainstream users. Unlike other companies that only have excellent coolers in the high $50 (and up) range, Arctic Cooling actually has decent cooling solutions at every price point, starting at less than $10. For instance, the Freezer 7 Pro is one of the high end models Arctic Cooling offers, arguably one of the most famous coolers due to its high cooling capacity while at very affordable pricing of $32.

 

At Computex 2009-Taipei, Arctic Cooling aims to continue to supporting mainstream users by providing them with a new round of affordable cooling solutions, from simple, yet quiet case fans, up to high performance GPU coolers for the GTX280s and HD4870X2s. Let’s take a look.

 

Our reporter Kris with a pair of Arctic Cooling Babes.

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Aside from the widely known Accelero Xtreme series, AC has also launched a new GPU cooling solution for the mainstream video cards: the Accelero Twin Turbo Pro.

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The back side

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As evident from the picture, the biggest difference between the Twin Turbo Pro and its predecessor Twin Turbo is the use of better fan module. AC has incorporated the new fans on the Accelero Xtreme series, and they boast much better air flow, and static pressure. At the same time, due to increased fan count, the motor can reduce the speed to produce similar air flows, resulting in lower noise level. The fan blades were also redesigned to produce less noise as well.

 

AC also moved the heatpipe from the bottom to the top, claiming that it noticeably improves cooling performance. Like the Twin Turbo, the new cooling module is capable of cooling up to 120W of heat, including Nvidia’s 9800GTX+, as well as AMD’s HD4890.

Due to the fact that AC focuses primarily on cooling solutions, they have been slow in updating their PSU and case line ups, which only consist of one product in both categories. However, despite the fact that AC did not spend a large amount of research and development resources in developing these products, they are still well designed, and very competitive even in todays market.

 

Power Supply

The only power supply that AC carries is the Fusion 550RF, rated at 500W continuous, and 550W peak. It has also passed the 80 plus certification, with efficiency ranging from 82% to 86%. Launched at the CES in 2008, it was AC’s first attempt at foraying into the lucrative PSU market.

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Unfortunately, AC currently has no plan to introduce a higher wattage model, but a model with lower wattage may be in the works. In AC’s words, they simply don’t see the need to go beyond the 500W, since most of the mainstream setups do not draw more than 500W.

 

Cases

AC’s case actually has been on the market for quite a while. Unfortunately, due to the low penetration of the North American market, not a lot of people have heard of the case, the Silentium T2 ECO 80.

 

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The Silentium T2 case boasts a very radical design compared to the conventional cases. As opposed to air flowing in from the front, the case actually draws air from the rear. This design allows cooler air to be drawn directly to mission critical components, such as the CPU and the GPUs. The PSU is no longer mounted at the top rear of the case, but rather at the bottom front. The fans at the top rear also draw in air. Therefore the cold air will travel from the top, and the hot exhaust will be released at the bottom. AC argued that this design allows for cleaner air flow, and reduces trapped air.

 

While the case design is clearly unorthodox (especially when you compare this with Silverstone’s Raven, which uses the law of thermodynamics), the improved air flow does significantly reduce the heat inside the case. The passively cooled 9800GTs in SLI are both operating at 45C~50C, while running physics programs and graphic intensive programs. That is clearly a no small feat for a pair of passively cooled high performance GPUs.

 

Again, unfortunately AC does not have any plan to release a case any time soon. According to the representative, however, a new case aimed at mainstream users may be in the works.

 

Laptop Cooler

 

Being a cooling company, AC has also invested some effort into mobile cooling. However, unlike other mobile cooling solutions, which requires you to carry a plate made of plastic or aluminum around, Arctic NC is a simple, yet ingenuinely designed notebook cooler.

 

Arctic NC

 

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Artistically crafted, the USB powered Arctic NC features two 60mm fan pulling cold air downward, and exhaust them from the front. The notebook will be sitting on the edge of the cooler. As the representative demonstrated, the cold air will pass through the bottom of the notebook, which is where most of the heat is trapped. In essence, the cold air will form a virtual blanket to pull heat away from the bottom of the notebook.

 

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The user can freely adjust the fan speed depending on the workload and the temperature of the notebook via the back, and AC also offers 4 additional USB ports. In case USB devices draw more power than a single USB line from the notebook can afford, AC also offers an optional power adapter to power those USB devices. So for instance, you need to charge your phone, your MP3 player, while using a mouse, and a keyboard, you don’t need to worry about insufficient current flowing to your recharing mobile devices.

 

Unfortunately, one of the major drawbacks of this cooler is the requirement of flat surface for this cooler to work, since the notebook sits on the edges of the cooler. This means that the cooler may not be as easy to use on your lap, or other uneven surfaces. We also don’t have a performance figure as of now. Given that most companies have tried and failed miserably at developing a sucessful notebook cooler, it is unknown at the moment whether Arctic NC will be a good product worth investing in. The MSRP of the cooler is to be under $30, with the launch date sometime in July.

But of course, the main focus on AC at Computex 2009 is the launch of several mainstream CPU coolers for the masses. AC not only launched a refreshed version of the widely used Freezer 7 Pro, they’ve also launched a brand new line of CPU coolers aimed at entry level users.

 

Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2

 

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The Rev. 2 of the Freezer 7 Pro boasts universal support to both Intel and AMD platform. While the main cooling unit is still the original efficient cooler, AC has redesigned the bottom to fit all the sockets from Intel and AMD, ranging from AM2 to LGA1366 (Core i7). The redesign allows AC to consolidate their mainstream product line to just one product, the Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2. Currently AMD users still have to purchase Freezer 64 Pro to cool their AMD CPUs.

 

Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 is capable of supporting socket 939, AM2, AM2+, and AM3 on the AMD side, as well as socket 775, Core i5, and Core i7 on the Intel’s side. The cooler is capable of cooling up to 130W.

 

Next up, the new Alpine 11 series

 

Alpine 11 Series

 

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The Alpine 11 series is introduced at entry-level price point, and mainly targeted at users who wanted to find a replacement for their Intel stock coolers without breaking the bank. The series consists of three coolers: the Alpine 11 GT, Alpine 11 Pro, and Alpine 11.

 

Alpine 11 GT

 

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Don’t be fooled by its small size and cute fan. Despite of its petiteness, it has about 13% better cooling performance than the Intel LGA775 stock coolers. The 80mm fan is capable of pushing about 28CFM of air, while barely audible at 25dB thanks to fluid dynamic bearings. This is exceptionally good compared to the annoying loud Intel coolers at 40~45dB. But the best part of all this is that the cooler only has a MSRP of $8.00. This cooler is capable of cooling up to 70W CPUs, and is ideal for those looking to a replacement for the poor performing Intel stock cooler.

 

Alpine 11 Pro

 

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The Pro version of the Alpine 11 offers a larger 92mm fan with slightly larger heatsink, resulting in an impressive airflow of 36CFM. The MSRP of the cooler is just $10.25, a mere two bucks more than the GT.

 

Alpine 11

 

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The Alpine 11 is obviously the cream of the crop in the whole series. Armed with a thicker and larger heatsink than the Pro, while using the same quiet, and efficient 92mm fan. It is also exceptionally quiet, at 30dB, mainly due to its larger fan and the fluid dynamic bearings. The Alpine 11 is capable of cooling 90W, and the price is at $14.35.

 

While Alpine 11 is only designed for Intel users, AMD users also have similar product, Alpine 64, with the same line up. Due to the similar nature of the products, we will not go further into the Alpine 64 lineups.

 

On the other hand, AC has also launched the replacement for the Freezer 7 LP, the Freezer 11 LP.

 

Freezer 11 LP

 

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Maintaining the low profile commonly seen in an HTPC system, the Freezer 11 LP boasts a larger fan, 92mm fluid dynamic bearing fan. The fan blades are also redesigned to feature higher static pressure and CFM. The new heatsink is also smaller and thinner at 35mm rather than the 42mm on the Freezer 7 LP. The combination of larger fan and thinner heatsink results in similar cooling performance with lighter weight, as well as lower noise level.

 

Aside from those new coolers, AC has also allowed us a sneak peek into their next high end heatsink, the Freezer Xtreme Pro.

 

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Unfortunately, according to AC’s representative, the cooler is still in its prototype phase, and can still be modified. No launch date or MSRP is available at this moment.

 

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Aside from the cooling solutions, AC has also launched new series of case fans. At Computex Taipei 2009, AC has showcased three brand new lines of case fans. All of these new fans feature AC’s vibration dampening technology, which dramatically reduces operating noise to a mere 25dB.

 

Arctic F Pro

 

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They’re also called the vanilla Arctic F Pro case fan, featuring only the usual 3-pin PWM connector.

 

Arctic F Pro PWM Series

 

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The most distinctive feature of this line of case fans is the PWM Sharing Technology (PST). Most, if not all case fans featuring a PWM connector (3-pin connector) can only attach the fan to a controller, on the motherboard or the fan controller. It is simply not possible to connect two or more PWM fans together for a much better control of the fans. Most people resort to using molex connectors, which loses the functionality of monitoring fan speed. The PST pioneered by AC is going to change that.

 

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On every Arctic F Pro PWM fan, there are two PWM connectors. Users can connect fans serially to a single PWM controller on the motherboard or the fan controller for easier monitoring and controlling. The series comes in three different flavors, the 80mm, the 92mm, and the 120mm fan size.

 

Arctic F Pro TC Series

 

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The TC series fans feature a temperature probe on the fan. Users can simply place the probe at the desired location, and the fan will automatically adjust its speed depending on the temperature. It is extremely useful for case fans responsible for cooling specific components, such as hard drives, CPU, GPU, or even chipsets. The series also comes in three different flavors, the 80mm, the 92mm, and the 120mm fan size.

 

According to the AC representative, most traditional case fans equipped with temperature probe usually steadily and consistently increase fan speed according to the temperature. While this may be easier in keeping the temperature steady, it also creates unnecessary noise. On the Arctic F Pro TC series, the engineers have implemented three phases into fan controller. Normally, the fan stay at a consistent, low fan speed throughout a temperature range, and will only dramatically increase the fan speed as temperature exceeds 32C. The fan will reach its maximum RPM over 38C. This implementation allows for quieter operation during normal use, and allows for quick heat dissipation at heavy system load.

 

 

 

Despite the economic downturn, and the trend of most cooling companies to focus on the high end market, AC has demonstrated a lot of products to keep their mainstream users happy. We applaud AC’s effort in continuing their vow in servicing the mainstream section. While the margin in the mainstream sector is not as sweet as the high end sector, the mainstream market is also much larger than the high end market. With the right product, AC has a lot of potential to establish itself as the king of the mainstream cooling products.

 

Stay tuned as we obtain some of the products showcased here for review. We would also like to thank Marketing Executive Kin-Sum Kong for the personalized tour.

 

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