ARCTIC Freezer i30 review

A bargain-priced CPU cooler with high-price performance

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The ARCTIC Freezer i30 uses four 8mm copper heat pipes that are bent into a U shape and run under the aluminium base plate. They have been milled flat so they provide the only contact area with the CPU - hence the "direct contact" nomenclature. The pipes then run into the aluminium heatsink - with its 48 fins - where they are cooled by a single 120mm PWM fan.

The fan isn't fixed to the easily removed fan shroud, so if you wanted to replace the fan it shouldn't pose any problems. The design of the heatsink only enables this shroud to be fixed on one side, so if you felt the need to add a second fan to the Freezer i30 it means resorting to a bit of jiggery pokery, and a belt and braces approach to get it installed.

The cooler itself though is whisper quiet in operation, and the fan was only really noticeable when the CPU was being pushed during overclocking. As you can see from the benchmark figures, it's not quite in the realms of the Enermax ETS-T40-TA, which is somewhat of a surprise given that 320 Watt rating.

It would be very easy, and quite justifiable, to rip into it if it cost around the £70/$100 mark because of that, but just take another look at that price tag.

We liked

Installing the ARCTIC Freezer i30 is a doddle, with the exception of the small adhesive washers that go under the plastic spacers that the mounting frames screw into. The adhesive here is far, far too sticky and the washers not stamped through enough. In fact, we made a complete hash of one and had to leave it off, but it didn't seem to make any difference to the cooler.

We disliked

Whoever came up with the idea of the little sticky washers that fix under the spacers for the top mounting plate needs taking into a darkened room and shown the error of their ways.

Final verdict

The ARCTIC Freezer i30 isn't too far off the pace compared with the Enermax cooler. It's not often you'll see a pair of chip chillers as well built as these, at what many people would regard as an entry-level price.

This little ARCTIC Freezer i30 is a great deputy for the ETS-T40-TA, and if you can't pick one of those up, grab this i30 as an extremely quiet, very well put together cooler at a bargain price.