Performance: 39 out of 40
Massive radiator? Check. Good pump with good flow rate? Check. Not just another rebadged Asetek clone? Check! Added cooling for the motherboard’s VRM? Double check! From a performance standpoint the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 sets the bar awfully darn high for sealed, closed loop coolers. The only minor ding is from the additional noise the 40mm cooling fan brings to the table. It could be better. It however is better than nothing… like the vast, vast majority of AIOs ‘offer’. Color us impressed.
Ease of Use: 15 out of 20
Let us make things clear. Working with any 360mm based cooling solution is not going to be as easy as even 280mm models. They are big and awkward. However, when compared against Asetek options, Arctic did make a few minor missteps which will increase the hassle factor beyond ‘expected’ levels. Firstly, the lack of swivel connectors does make positioning the block and rad a touch more finicky with more stress on the tubing. Next, the 40mm fan position means your mounting options for the block are limited. These are not deal-breaking issues. One that may be a deal-breaker for novice users, is the installation for AMD based systems is a royal PITA. Arctic needs to revamp this procedure ASAP… and simply include dedicate mounting bolts like they do Intel. Ones that can ‘re-use’ the Intel (only) thumb nuts.
Build Quality: 17 out of 20
Everything from the high performance, and yet low noise, fans to the oh so sweet braiding used on the tubing screams quality. The only things that stand out are the lack of swivel connectors (or better still… quick disconnect couplers), the (over)use of plastic on the block’s fascia, the mediocre AMD installation, and the short two year warranty. A warranty period which does not exactly scream ‘quality is job one’ when compared against most AIOs. This really is the largest tradeoff – up front cost vs warranty period – you will be making when opting for the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 instead of say a NZXT Kraken X73.
Value: 19 out of 20
The uber high performance levels this model offers with such a reasonable asking price really is almost peerless. The only argument that can be made against it, is the warranty is short and less than great installation process. Both of which will reduce the perceived value of this high performance, highly innovative AIO for some buyers. As it stands the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 is the king of value when it comes to 360mm AIOs… but there is still room for improvement. Missing improvements that other companies could leverage to ‘dethrone’ this king.
Final Score: 90 out of 100
With only a few minor missteps to mar an otherwise perfect execution the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 is sure to satisfy not only the overclocking ‘performance is everything’ crowd but also the buyer looking for a great value. Quite honestly, with the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 there is very few good reasons to even look at 240 and 280mm AIOs. Why pay the same (or even more) for less cooling performance?! Now that is a game changer. One that was long overdue, but one whose day has finally come. Now if they had only shown as much love to AMD users as Intel and it would be as close to perfection as we have seen in a long while.