Sometimes the old adage of ‘Go Big Or Go Home’ is indeed true. One such example of this is the CPU cooling market. Specifically, models meant for the enthusiast and / or extreme overclocking crowd. In this corner of the market custom water loops and liquid nitrogen (for true boundary pushing insanity) rule the roost. Even the likes of Noctua and their D15 series is ‘not enough’. Since their inception Closed Sealed Loop Cooling solutions have made significant inroads… and these days a monster sized AIO is typically more than good enough for the average buyer in this highly competitive (if somewhat niche) market. In a serious bid for the hearts, minds, and dollars of this consumer Arctic (formerly Arctic Cooling) has released their second-generation, Liquid Freezer II 360 All In One cooling solution.
With a radiator designed to accommodate three (stock configuration) or even six 120mm fans and three P12 high static pressure, high performance 120mm fans included as ‘stock’ Arctic certainly believes that bigger is indeed better. Make no mistake the Liquid Freezer II 360 is not just another ‘johnny come lately’. As we will show in this review Arctic took a page from the Wizard of Woz era Apple and decided to… ‘Think Different’.
The first and most obvious divergence from the typical AIO is the asking price. With an online average of only $120 (USD) the Liquid Freezer II 360 is not priced like a typical ‘360mm’ AIO. In fact, its price is not only more in line with ‘240mm’ AIOs from more firmly established ‘manufactures’… but is actually less. For example, a latest gen Corsair Hydro 240mm AIO or a NZXT Kraken 240mm AIO will set you back about $130. An NZXT Kraken 280mm, about $160 or so, and their take on 360mm AIO X models?… about 2 bills.
The next is that this AIO actually concerns itself with cooling the motherboard VRMs and not just the CPU. Unlike most, the Liquid Freezer II 360 comes with a secondary (or to be accurate quaternary) cooling fan that actively cools your motherboard’s VRM heatsink(s). Yes, this is not the first to do so, but it is very rare. The vast, vast majority of AIOs do not.
Last but not least, Arctic has bucked the trend and made this a non-RGB enabled device. Finally, someone ‘gets’ the fact that not everyone wants or even desires their cooling solution to light up like a Christmas tree… and don’t even get us started on the latest craze of adding LCDs to them.
With such an intriguing asking price and host of innovative ideas the Liquid Freezer II 360 certainly does bring a few questions along with its features. Questions such as ‘with an asking price so good, what corners were cut?’ and ‘how were they able to undercut the competition?!’. Even ‘how does it perform?’. This is what we intend to find out. So, let’s dig in and take this big boy for a spin.