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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [03.10.06]
Manufactured by: CoolIT Systems

Lowest Price as of publication: $399.95


Ready to Roll

Once installed, the Freezone unit looks pretty unassuming with most of the guts hidden behind a basic back plate.

Though I'm sure many will disagree, personally I would like to see something a little flashier here. Nothing too crazy, just maybe a basic blue LED behind the logo on the back plate to add that little extra flair.

Note the clearance between the unit and the side 120mm fan on our NZXT Lexa. If you have a case where with a fan located in the middle of the side panel it will likely have to be removed in order to make room for the Freezone.  Also, the side panel door mechanism was right on top of the units back plate and made closing the side panel slightly tricky.

Finally, if you have an case with a flimsy back plate you might want to watch for warping. The entire Freezone unit weighs in at over 1,500g and might be too much for some cheaply manufactured cases to withstand. That said, the NZXT Lexa used in testing is made from a very thin aluminum material, but had little issue handling the weight of the Freezone unit.

The Testing

We have matched the Freezone up against our reigning all-in-one liquid cooling champion, the Coolermaster Aquagatte Mini R120, along with the stock Intel Cooler for reference.

All coolers were installed using the respective manufacturer's thermal compound that came with each cooler sample. CPU temperature readings were taken using the processor's built in thermal diodes and read using Speedfan. Ambient temperatures throughout testing were a constant 17-degree Celsius.

Testing was completed using the smoking hot Intel P4 3.6 Prescott CPU on an Intel D945GTP motherboard. Both the Freezone and the Aquagatte Mini R120 were tested at both slow and fast fan speeds. Load temperatures were reached by running both Prime95 and SuperPI simultaneously.

The Results

Holy smokes, can you say 27C! Watching the radiator fan RPM levels, it was obvious that the Freezone was throttling at this temperature (10C above ambient temperatures) in order to keep the coolant from getting any colder and entering into the condensation danger temperatures. If the Freezone can maintain this sort of temperature at heavy load then we'll have a new must have cooling system on the block!

Uh oh. First off let me say that 44C at full load on a Prescott 3.6 is not at all a bad result. Heck, it's a full 8C below the Aquagatte unit. However the increase in temperature of 17C from Idle is disconcerting, especially when you consider the Aquagatte only had a temperature increase of 9C.

So what went wrong? Well basically it's pretty simple. Part of the Freezone's overall small footprint is achieved by it's lack of a large liquid reservoir. Though convenient, this small footprint would seem to be the Freezone's "Achilles Heal". Though the Freezone was able to cool the idling CPU to 10C above ambient with juice left to spare, it couldn't keep up with the amount of heat generated by the fiery hot Prescott and was left running at full tilt (and full volume) in order to maintain a respectable load temperature. It would seem that the small reservoir cooling area didn't allow the liquid adequate time to be cooled by the TEC units.

We also note that a 120mm fan would exhaust more air than the installed 92mm, and that the substitution of a higher CFM fan would do a better job of cooling the radiator which would keep the hot side of the TEC units cooler thus allowing the cool side to be colder which in turn would better cool the liquid passing through the system. (How is that for a run on sentence!)

Again though I must stress that 44C at full load for a Prescott is outstanding, especially when you consider that the Freezone is much quieter than the Aquagatte Mini R120 at full speed. The cooling results in quiet mode however were dismal for the Freezone unit. Though it still gets the job done, there are cheaper and more effective silent cooling solutions on the market.

Next Page: (Conclusion)