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Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420 / ARGB Review

Introduction

Arctics Liquid Freezer II Lineup is known to be one of the best on the market. Each time we review one of them it pushes the limit we thought impossible to push further. Now it's time for the 420mm version. The biggest, fattest AIO you can get! Will it push the boundary again?

 

 

Positive

  • (New) Best-In-Class Performance
  • (New) Best-In-Class Noise-to-Performance
  • Great RGB
  • 1+1 Cable for PWM & RGB

Neutral

  • VRM Fan

Negative

  • Hard to fit into anything

 

What's in the Box?

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-box

 

Similarly to every other Liquid Freezer II, the 420mm version, ARGB or not, comes in an all-Arctic fashion. Inside the Triangular shaped  box, we will find the following items:

  • AMD Mounting Hardware
  • Intel Mounting Hardware
  • Thermal Paste
  • Pre-assembled AIO

A subtle change to the original Liquid Freezer is the switch to the newer Arctic MX-5 thermal paste. Even if we haven't/can't test the differences produced by this switch ourselves, many other reviews point to an up to .5°C difference. Therefore we would assume that this aspect should be considered an upgrade.

 

The side of the box contains the usual spec sheet, which we summarized down below:

 

Name Arctic Liquid Freezer ii 420 ARGB
Dimensions (Radiator)

458x138x38mm

Fan Airflow 68.9 CFM
Fan Noise 0.3 Sonne (should be >25db)
Fan Air Pressure 2.00mm H2O
Fan Speed 1900RPM
Fan Connection PWM
Pump Connection PWM (shared with Fan)
RGB 3-Pin Addressable

 

Compatibility

One thing that has not changed at all is the compatibility list and the Installation procedure. Down below be attached a full compatibility list:

 

Intel AMD
LGA 1700 AM5
LGA 1200 AM4
LGA 2066*  
LGA 2011-3*  
LGA 1155  
LGA 1151  

LGA 1150

 

Please note that the Sockets marked with an * need to be accompanied by a Square ILM (Independent Loading Mechanism). This means that the holes around the socket that are meant to keep the cooler in place need to be placed in a square formation.

 

Individual Components

Waterblock / Pump 

An iconic part of an Arctic Liquid Freezer II would be its pump. On every LFII, we will find the same iconic Waterblock/Pump combo with an additional VRM fan.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-pump

 

This VRM Fan is supposed to keep the VRMs around the CPU cooler by spinning at max. 3000RPM. The speed of this fan is controlled by the same 1- PWM cable which is also responsible for the fans on the radiator itself.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-mini-fan

 

As a reminder, we've tested this VRM fan in our Liquid Freezer ii 120 reviews.

Using our Ryzen 3700x at 4.5Ghz and 1.4vcore, we found that this little fan was able to keep the VRMs around the CPU 5°C colder.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-coldplatge

 

Even though this is definitely a change, we also have to note that no matter how hard we pushed the limit, with or without the fans, the temps were still far away from being dangerous.

Radiator

The radiator would be by far the most impressive component of this cooler. At 38mm thickness, it is not only one of the thickest radiators available for an AIO, but being 458mm big (top and bottom borders included), it is one of the biggest rads we have ever witnessed. 

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-radiator

 

However, do keep in mind that installing such an enormous radiator does require an appropriately sized case. And it being quite a lot longer than just 3x 140mm fans next to each other, you might want to measure your case to make sure that a rad of this size actually fits.

Tubes

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-tubes

 

The 450mm long tubes used in the Liquid Freezer II 420 ARGB are both impressive and slightly underwhelming at the same time.

Sure the tubes are among the thickest we have ever seen (12.4mm) though this seems to be an optical gimmick as the actual inner diameter (where the water flows) is just 6mm thick. Making the amount of water that can flow through these tubes no different than what we are used to.

Fans

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-fans

 

The pre-installed fans on top of an LFII 420 are Arctic's own in-house made 140mm P14 PWM ARGB. Pushing around 68.9 CFM @ 2.00 mm/h20 while spinning at 1900RPM. 

In addition to the light show, they are able to produce, they already proved to us in the other LF II reviews that they are very much capable of delivering great performance at low noise.

Appearance

The code word is - massive.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-design1

 

Although the design is pretty similar compared to an Arctic Liquid Freezer 360/240/280 ARGB, having a 420 mm-sized radiator lets us rethink what we believed to be big.

 

The size put aside, the 140mm P14s can deliver stunning RGB effects while suggesting excellent cooling capabilities.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-design2

Benchmark

We benchmarked the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420 ARGB monster using our regular 3900x testbench.

 

Whilst letting every fan spin at 100% of its max speed, the cooler managed to keep the CPU at 41.9°C above ambient.

Although the drop of .1°C compared to an LFII 280 does not seem like a lot, we have to admit that our testing bench does not push out enough heat to create a measurable difference at this cooling-performance level.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-benchmark1

 

In our case, we are measuring the CPU temperature whilst pushing 130w through the socket, something that already an LFII 360 can handle perfectly fine. For everything above that, however, the numbers start to get squished as there is not enough heat to fully utilize the AIO's capabilities.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-benchmark2

 

Although the Max-Performance charts might not fully showcase this AIOs performance, the Noise-to-performance chart does.

Being both quieter and cooler than any other cooler we have tested so far, the LFII 420 showed that sheer size alone can push you to the top of the benchmark list.

From start to finish, there is not a single cooler capable to keep up with the 420mm version.

Conclusion

It's a monster.

In both Max-Performance and Noise-to-Performance, there is absolutely nothing that can compete with an Arctic Liquid Freezer 420 or 420 ARGB. Its sheer size and perfectly optimized fans are able to push the cooler to the top of the benchmark list where it will reside for the time being until somebody finds a new way to cool down a CPU without making the cooler itself bigger.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-radiator

 

Overall we were very happy with the LFII 420. Performance-wise, there is nothing to nag at all and we are sure that the cooler will stay in the first spot for a very long time.

 

However, there are also quite a few things we would like to nag about. The first thing would be the slightly underwhelming tubes. Although the Length and thickness suggest that they are sufficient for the job, we would have appreciated if one, or both ends of the tubes would come with rotatable fittings. Considering that PC cases come in many shapes and forms, it would surely help some people out there to fit the AIO into their build.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-design2

 

Another aspect with isn't exclusively about the Liquid Freezer II lineup is Arctic's way of mounting their coolers on AMD CPUs. Although everything is sturdy once it fits in, installing it may be a bit challenging. While mounting Arctic's AMD retention brackets, we are forced to keep the backplate in position whilst putting on new spacers.  We believe it would be a great relief if said spacers would be a lot thinner and help to keep the backplate in place without the need to hold it down. Something that can get quite frustrating if you are required to install the cooler inside a case.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-LFii-420-design5

 

Keeping in mind that we are starting to get picky here, there is no "real" problem with this AIO. The overall performance is great, it looks like it can cool down anything you through at it, and the Noise-to-Performance ratio pushed the boundaries once again.

 

To make it short, it is the best AIO we have ever seen and we can absolutely recommend this cooler for heavy-duty workhorses.

strumace
Introduction
What's in the Box?
Compatibility
Individual Components
Appearance
Benchmark
Conclusion
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