Arctic Cooling’s Freezer 32 CPU cooler promises silence at idle

We've enjoyed the recent explosion of semi-passive graphics card coolers that stop their fans while the GPU is idle. Arctic Cooling is extending that idea to the CPU cooler with its Freezer 32 series of heatsinks. The company is a little cagey about how its semi-passive system works, but it appears that a controller built into the Freezer 32's 120-mm fan can shut off the spinner entirely when the PWM signal from the motherboard falls below a certain duty cycle threshold. Arctic says most boards can't deliver PWM duty cycle signals below 40%, so we imagine that's the magic number. As a result, no external hardware or cabling is needed: the fan plugs right into the CPU fan header, just like it would with any other heatsink.

Beyond the clever fan, the Freezer 32 uses a 5.9" (150 mm) tower with four direct-contact heatpipes running through its fins. The Freezer i32 works with Intel's most recent sockets from LGA1156 on, while the Freezer a32 looks ready for any AMD CPU or APU using Socket AM2 or newer. Arctic Cooling also offers a "continuous operation" version of the Freezer 32 that's supposed to be used in servers or other systems that are on 24/7. This cooler's fan is built with a beefier bearing than its stablemates'. The Freezer i32 and a32 carry $50 suggested prices, while the continuous-operation version costs $10 more.

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    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    Isn’t it possible to do this with motherboard fan profiles these days?

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 4 years ago

    With the Asus [url=http://event.asus.com/2011/mb/TUF/TUF_Tech_ThermalRadar2.htm<]Thermal Radar 2[/url<] software that came with my Gryphon Z87 motherboard, you run the thermal tuning routine to determine the lowest operating threshold for each of your fans. This allows me to set a fan speed curve that turns mine down to 17% when the CPU is running cool.

    • UberGerbil
    • 4 years ago

    You know, I once had a fan like this — if the requested rpm got too low, it just stopped. I guess that bug was actually a feature? (It did start up again, usually).

      • Choz
      • 4 years ago

      That’s standard marketing practice, if you can’t fix a bug, call it a feature and charge more.

      • chµck
      • 4 years ago

      my old xigmatech hdt-1283 does this too
      it’ll spin up when powered on, then quickly stop and twitch like it wants to start spinning once in a while.
      when temps got warm enough it would start spinning like normal.

    • Mikael33
    • 4 years ago

    Interesting, my Phenom II 965BE@ 4ghz (1.48v) with an Hyper 212+ is silent at idle, my whole system is actually, but for some reason it’s less than silent at full tilt, especially during well threaded games so there’s a full CPU+GPU load (OCed R9 290) , PSU fan spins up like whoa.
    So how is this HSF better than any other HSF that is effectively silent at idle, where the fan spin slow enough to where you can’t hear it above the other component sin your system?

      • odizzido
      • 4 years ago

      You can get passive PSUs and video cards(or maybe you don’t use one), and if you’re running just SSDs and have no case fans then the CPU fan would be the last noise creating item in your PC.

        • Mikael33
        • 4 years ago

        I simply don’t understand the appeal, I like quiet pc’s just fine, but passive/semi passive is where you lose me 🙂

        • TopHatKiller
        • 4 years ago

        Sorry. There are no passive gpus at that level. Even adding something like a Polimatetch Mk26 would cause heat problems on a ‘290: i think. Further, there are very few passive psus that are fully reliable; a more sensible approach would be looking at very high quality psus that operate semi-passively [depending on load & heat] -there are a number to choose from. The problem of balancing casefan noise with internal coolerfan noise is atrociously complicated, though. You have to end up spending more money on either the case & cooling, or the component cooling.
        Edit: silentpcreview is a very good source.

          • odizzido
          • 4 years ago

          oh no I didn’t mean to say a 290. I just mean a passive video card of some kind or just using the IGP.

          I bet you could build a passive 290 though. Would just be expensive.

            • TopHatKiller
            • 4 years ago

            [Prolimatech mk26] and…. sufficiently high case airflow to compensate…. you end trading one noise for another…. back to square one you will go.

      • f0d
      • 4 years ago

      depends on how loud the other components are

      i dont have any videocards in my htpc and my powersupply is already semipassive – i can actually hear my hyper212 (at min rpm) around midnight when there isnt any traffic driving past my house and its pretty much dead silent and this would help silence that

      my main pc is the complete opposite with 6x ultra kaze 3000rpm fans just on 2 of my 3 radiators, i dont mind that being loud though because i play games with that and the game is louder than the pc

      this is for those people that want complete dead silence

        • Mikael33
        • 4 years ago

        Dead silence so you can then move on to sound proofing your entire house from the outside noises? 🙂
        That’s what I mean by diminishing returns, my pc is so quiet at idle and watching blurays that it would do nothing for me it to be quieter, in dead silence at midnight my AC drowns out what little noise it makes and what little noise it makes during playback is drown out by the audio.
        I have an aftermarket (xfx) 290, my old sapphire 7850 was actually somewhat noisy during 1080P playback, I use madvr to upscale to 1440P and the better scaling algorithms are actually a bit GPU intensive as you may know.
        Anyway, just saying dead silent cpu coolers aren’t something for me, maybe someone obsessed with making their PC totally inaudible would love it but I’m perhaps more practical.

    • Spyder22446688
    • 4 years ago

    I’d rather have a low-noise fan that was continually on as a static background noise, compared to a fan continually kicking on and off.

    • DPete27
    • 4 years ago

    1) Too expensive.
    2) The non-“special” fan version costs… MORE!?!?

    I don’t see the point here. Most decent 120mm fans are inaudible even from 6″ away at their slowest speeds anyway, while still maintaining SOME airflow.

      • maxxcool
      • 4 years ago

      This ^^ a Noctua or silent-x are good enough at 650rpm to be inaudible 1 foot away from my media box when the kids are maming …

        • TopHatKiller
        • 4 years ago

        Agreed. Given the dimensions this artic could only really be silent on very low loads.
        Buying a superior product, particularity, Noctua’s excellent range, would almost certainly be far more sensible. Sometimes, you do have to pay for quality. Sometimes.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      This is probably a cost-saving measure. If the fan is off half the time they can use a cheaper sleeve-bearing fan.

      Firmware tweak to PWM chip = free
      Proper high-tolerance bearings = $$

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