Arctic Freezer i30 Review
With the integrated lock down bracket (see previous page) I was hopeful that fitting of the i30 would be a simple if not enjoyable affair. Unfortunately it turned out to be anything but. The iinstructions are clear enough, and although not actually complicated the installation is more than a bit fiddly. This "fiddlyness" is best exemplified by the need to secure 4 plastic spacers over the 4 motherboard holes for the mounting screws to pass through and engage with the back plate (again secured with a sticky pad). You're provided with 4 sticky paper washer type things and are then faced with the "game" of getting these stuck perfectly over the holes. failure to get it spot on first time means unsticking, re sighting and having another go. It took me a good 20 mins to accomplish this simple task and win the game. Also, for what is a relatively small cooler by modern standards it does cause RAM encroachment issues with the Mushkin set used in the test. Those familiar with the Muskins will know that they don't exactly have massive heat sinks on them, but even so the first slot was obscured.
As this cooler isn't compatible with our standard 1366 test rig we've moved it onto the MSI Z77A-GD55 coupled with an i5 2500K. As a result we will not be able to make direct comparisons with the other coolers previously tested here at OC3D towers. As usual though we put the chip and the cooler through their paces with a good old stress test and as per previous testing selected a range of overclocks and voltages. All tests were done with an ambient room temp of 17 degrees C
At stock settings of 3.3GHz with 1.3volts the i30 was keep the 2500K at a max average of 26.25 giving a Delta T of 26.25
Pushing things up a bit we rested for a while at an overclock of 4.3GHz, this time with 1.4volts to help keep things stable. At this level the i30 was able to keep things happy at with a max average temp of 56.75 and a delta T of 39.25
Finally we took the 2500K up to 4.6GHz and 1.45 volts. At this level the i30 kept the chip at a max average of 57.75 and a Delta T of 41.75
The i30 is well made and put together, and although not actually oozing quality certainly won't fall apart in a hurry. The use of a plastic cowling to house the 120mm fan lifts the appearance of the i30 over those coolers that simply have the fans attached directly to the front of the fin stack. it could also be argued that the cowling also acts as a duct, channeling air in a more focused way over the fins.
In use the i30 is relatively quiet, with the single 120mm fan hardly audible over the general hum of the room. Arctics decision to use a moulded plastic cowling to house the fan, although attractive, does lead to some potential RAM encroachment issues, and not only with RAM sporting tall heat sinks.
So it's not bad to look at and not too loud in use then. Shame it's such a pig to fit really. I'm not going to rant but suffice to say that there is considerable room for improvement here with fitting being unnecessarily fiddly.
When we look at performance the first thing to remember here is that the 2500K is a much cooler chip than the toasty old i7 950 used as our standard test chip. As such all the temps seen bear little comparison to those seen on the usual graphs. Also, without comparison temps it's hard to say exactly how well the i30 stacks up against the opposition. That said it was clearly able to keep things cool even at 4.6GHz. It's very likely that the i30 is able to keep things cool a little above this, but unfortunately that's where my 2500K became unstable.
In summary then. Decent looks and build, a pig to fit but performs where it counts. It does seem a little strange this cooler does not support the 1366 socket at all though, it even surprised us and we would not normally have agreed to review it where our normal testing platform is obviously a 1366 i7 950!
As we have no real basis for comparison, but based on experience and with a price of just £22.99 I think it's fair to award a provisional silver to the i30.