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Arctic Freezer 50 TR Review: Can It Cool Threadripper and Ice the Competition?

Benchmark Results

First up is our stock results. The Arctic Freezer 50 TR puts up really strong numbers, staying well below thermal limits and doing so at reasonably low noise levels. At default fan profiles, the Freezer 50 TR stayed at max fans for half of our tests. Blender ran at 30 rpm below max fans, Civilization was at 100 rpm below max, and Idle sat at just 950 rpm. The other thing to note is that in the Civilization test, the GPU fans drowned out the CPU fans, which were in-line with Blender’s dBA rating until the GPU fans kicked in.

For our “OC” tests, we used the same manual settings we used during our Noctua round-up, which was designed to allow the meager NH-U9 to safely attempt to participate. With a static voltage, it prevented the CPU from opportunistically fluctuating the voltage to manage heat and efficiency, resulting in higher temps for Idle and Prime95, even though it was essentially a power-saving undervolt for our other tests. This also resulted in a very small drop in noise levels, even if it wasn’t audibly noticeable between the two setups.

Comparisons

Now we’re in the really interesting stuff: comparisons vs other coolers on the market. Even though we did test the single-fan Noctuas with an additional fan in our Noctua round-up, we’re only showing the stock configurations here to show out-of-the-box performance expectations with predictable pricing.

At stock settings, the Freezer 50 TR outperforms the NZXT Kraken X62 closed-loop cooler in every test except idling, as well as easily surpassing both the NH-U12S and NH-U9 as they both had fallen well short of the Kraken X62’s performance. The only real competitor in this line-up is the NH-U14S, trading blows within a couple Celsius of the Freezer 50 TR.

With our “OC” profile, the Freezer 50 TR once again handily beats the Kraken X62 CLC (except in idle temps) as well as the NH-U12S. We it once again trading blows with the NH-U14S, while being slightly more capable at handling the high temperature output of our Prime95 stress test.

Where does all that potential cooling land us in noise output? The numbers are pretty even across all our coolers, with only the dual-fan NH-U9 peaking a bit above the rest due to higher fan speeds. Civilization, as stated before, has disturbances from the GPU fans, but normally tracked just above our blender noise levels. The Kraken X62 came in as the quietest cooler of the group however, due to the default fan profile for it being ridiculously quiet. Just remember, we also couldn’t install their controller software as it would alter that default profile and run max fans under heavy load, causing horrendously loud noise levels above 50 dBA.

Conclusion

The ARCTIC Freezer 50 TR is a strong contender for cooling Threadripper, virtually tying with the NH-U14S and solidly defeating our only sTRX4 water cooler we’ve had the opportunity to test. At $74.99 vs the NH-U14S’s $79.90 price tag, it edges it out on price for performance and is leagues ahead of $141 price tag of the NZXT Kraken X62.

Although it has a larger area footprint for its dual fin towers than the NH-U14S, it’s a fair bit shorter, which will improve its case compatibility vs the U14S. However, the lack of an adjustable height shroud or just lacking the ability to remove it at all, limits RAM clearance to just 37.5mm, only leaving room for DIMMs with low-profile heatsinks.

The RGB features of the Freezer 50 TR are a big plus for fans of glowing interiors, able to sync up with the motherboard or set the mood all on its own. Unfortunately it overshadows two of the 4 DIMM slots on each side, so RGB-enabled RAM will be partially hidden, if you can find low-enough profile RGB RAM to begin with, as most come on the taller WarHawk- or Trident-styled heat spreaders.

For Big Air cooling on Threadripper, I’m left torn between two really good options, with some pros and cons between each. However, the RGB of the Freezer 50 TR and the dark shroud make it a more-flexible design choice, as opposed to silver and browns (or now optional black Chromax) of the competitor. If I didn’t have RAM picked out yet, the clearance would be almost a non-issue, as I could pick an appropriate-height kit. It would depend on your personal preferences. This gives the Freezer 50 TR a win for flexible new builds or just for fancying up a design and should easily find itself in a top position on most short lists where RAM height has already been accounted for.

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