Performance: 38 out of 40
This side of customizable/modular 420mm AIOs, and of course custom water loops, the Artic Freezer II 420 is almost about as good as it gets when it comes to cooling. Honestly, at this level of performance one has to split hairs to start sorting the various options out there and the Freezer II will provide years of excellent performance no matter if it is first or fourth on your personal list. So yes. It really is an excellent design. It just has a few nits worth picking and that is what keeps it from being perfect. For example, other manufactures use larger Inner Diameter tubing for lower static pressure and more fluid volume, some others use copper cored radiators. Mainly though we cannot classify this as perfection / ‘best of the best’ because it is a sealed unit. Is that fair to Arctic? No, but that one ‘missing’ quick connector is a major handicap in this corner of the market and will keep any and all that lack this feature from being even arguably “the best of the best”. Thus, the caveats used when judging its performance.
Ease of Use: 14 out of 20
Quite honestly, no 420mm class AIO is going to be all that easy to work with. Their form-factor just makes such thoughts a non-starter. However, even by 420 standards the Freezer II is a bit more difficult than some. This all boils down to the thickness of the fans and the radiator. Yes, by making both components thicker than typical 420 AIOs, performance is indeed improved… but that does come at the expense of compatibility. There are many cases where the ‘extra’ 12mm will make the difference between this cooler working, and where it will just simply not fit. Since sealed All In One solutions are all about ease of use, this no compromise approach to performance is refreshingly different… but does come at the expense of user-friendliness.
Build Quality: 18 out of 20
Everything from the six year warranty; to those high performance, and yet low noise, fans; to the oh so sweet braiding used on the tubing; to even the dual AMD mounting configuration options screams quality to us. 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, and mediocre ID tubing. Once again let us be clear. We are nitpicking here and none of these are a deal breaker. We would buy this 420mm AIO over 99 percent of the other 420mm AIOs out there in a heartbeat. There simply is still room for improvement.
Value: 14 out 20
Much like beauty, the overall value of this beast is going to be in the eye of the beholder. Some are going to absolutely love it. Some are going to lust after it but never be able to get over its inherent form-factor issues. Others will just find it too difficult to justify spending all the extra time and effort required installing a sealed 420mm AIO… especially when modular and or custom loops will work in the same mega-sized case they have. We averaged all three (20/12/9) but fully understand almost no one will actually consider this average to be right for them. It will be higher or lower.
Final Score: 84 out 100
With its combination of its excellent cooling performance, rather reasonably asking price, and generally innovative features the Artic Freezer II 420 really is an impressive sealed All In One cooling solution. It is just unfortunate that many will not have a case it will work with, be able to overlook the lack of modularity or its lack of novice user-friendliness. Some of these issues are self-inflicted and some are just par for the 420 course. No matter what your final answer is you should not just discount it and move on to other options before taking a serious look at what it does have to offer. You may just like what you find and the at the very least have a better understanding of the pros vs. cons of 420 AIOs.