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Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 ARGB Review

Introduction

Arctics Liquid Freezer II is one of the most known and best AIO series out there. The 240mm form factor is also the most used and requested. Therefore, the LFII 240 might be the most important version out of Arctics LFII lineup. Lets take a closer look and see if its just as good as the other ones.

 

 

Positive

  • Best-in-Class 240mm Performance
  • Great RGB
  • 1+1 Cable for PWM & RGB

Neutral

  • VRM Fan

Negative

  • 38mm thickness might be hard to fit in
  • VRM Fan makes high-pitch noise (Quality control)

 

What's in the Box?

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-box

 

Just like every other Liquid Freezer II, the 280 version in ARGB and non-RGB 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/cadon'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.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-unboxed

 

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

 

Name Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 ARGB
Dimensions (Radiator)

277x120x38mm

Fan Airflow 48.8 CFM
Fan Noise 0.3 Sonne (should be >25db)
Fan Air Pressure 1.85mm H2O
Fan Speed 1800RPM
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 

Similarly to every other Arctic Liquid Freezer II in existence, the LFII 240 ARGB comes with the same iconic Waterblock/Pump combo with an additional VRM fan.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-vrm

 

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-240-argb-coldplate

 

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.

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

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-rad

 

Although the LFII 240 comes with "just" a 240 mm-sized radiator, the thickness is still an Arctic-unique thing. At 38mm, or 63mm if the fan is taken into account, Arctic AIOs are significantly thicker than most models out there.

For every other LFII, it seems like it's this thickness that gave Arctic the performance benefit allowing them to lead every Benchmark chart.

 

Although the Fan area of the radiator keeps its 2x120 space, the bottom and top portion of the rad got some additional borders to them. One side for the tubes and the other one probably to re-route the water in the other direction.

Tubes

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-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-240-argb-fans

 

The pre-installed fans on top of an LFII 240 are Arctic's own in-house made 120mm P12 PWM ARGB. Pushing around 48.8 CFM @ 1.85 mm/h20 while spinning at 1800RPM. 

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 post noticeable aspect of a Liquid Freezer AIO would be the Waterblock/Pump combo. Using the same Millenium Falcon-inspired design as any other LFII, it looks "special" to say the least. In addition to that, the little fan which is blowing additional Air onto the VRM heatsink is also nothing commonly seen for this type of cooler.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-design2

 

If this is something that suites your theme, you will have to decide for yourself. However, considering the thickness of the tubes and radiator, we can in the very least guarantee that the cooler as a whole looks impressive.

 

Benchmark

We benchmarked the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 ARGB using our regular 3900x testbench.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-benchmark1

 

Whilst letting the cooler's fan and Pump run at max speed, the LFII 240 ARGB managed to keep the CPU at 46.1°C above ambient. This positions it .4°C in front of its non-RGB counterpart.

However, the most impressive aspect is compared to other 240mm coolers.

Thanks to its incredibly thick radiator, the LFII 240 managed to outperform not only every other 240mm rad, but simultaneously some of our 360mm contestants. Truly impressive.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-benchmark2

 

On the Noise-to-Performance side, we ran into a problem.

Although the LFII 240 ARGB has arguably the best noise-to-performance curve compared to any other 240mm AIO, as soon as the fan's spin slower than 40% of their max speed, we can see an unnatural halt in it's noise level.

As it turned out, the VRM fan of our LFII 240 unit creates a slightly high-pitched noise, significantly louder than any of our other LFII AIOs. 

This high-pitched noise is unfortunately what lead to the LFII 240 not being able to lower its noise level to the same degree as every other Liquid Freezer. Therefore, once this level is reached, other Coolers, Air or Water, are starting to catch up and then overtake Arctic's 240mm AIO.

Conclusion

Although we are huge fans of Arctic's Liquid Freezer II Lineup, it is the very first time we ran into Quality Control issues firsthand.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-design2

 

As explained within the benchmark section of this review, the VRM fan of our LFII 240 unit makes significantly louder noise compared to any other LFII Series AIO. This unfortunately leads to a massive fall in its Noise-to-Performance ratio making it an average cooler below 50% fan speed.

 

Although the max-performance of the 240mm version is still impressive, to say the least, it is very unfortunate that a little fan was able to bend the curve to such a detrimental degree.

 

arctic-liquid-freezer-240-argb-design5

 

That being said, we would also like to remind you that using the little VRM fan is not a necessity. Not only does it's cooling effect on the VRMs have minimal effect at best, but you can also -not- use it. By removing the little cable found right next to the Waterblock's base, we can just disconnect the fan and use the AIO as if it did not have that fan. Doing this, in our specific case, would greatly improve its Noise-to-Performance ratio making it again one of the very best 240mm AIOs on the market.

 

Therefore, although we can say that the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240mm ARGB/non-RGB is one of the best 240mm AIOs out there and that we can clearly recommend it for Mid- to High-tier CPUs, we would recommend an additional check. If your specific model has that high-pitched noise, and it is something uncomfortable to you, make sure to disconnect it. The cooling effect is "noticeable" at best, and having a quiet build was probably the reason you wanted to go with a cooler of this thickness anyway.

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