ARCTIC Freezer A35 A-RGB Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware, Installation

The ARCTIC Freezer A35 A-RGB is very clean in appearance, sporting a sleek black color scheme. Newer all-black finishes are better looking when compared to the natural silver color of aluminum, which is definitely applicable with this cooler. I enjoy the way the Freezer A35 A-RGB looks. The ARCTIC logo is seen at the top, although this is only with the fan attached. There is no ARCTIC logo and text engraved on the heatsink tower. Like many CPU coolers, it is designed with a stack of fins with multiple heatpipes going through the heatsink tower. The fins are mostly rectangular in shape. Most of the heatsink unit is made out of aluminum, with the exception of some copper on the base. A single ARCTIC fan is included out of the box and is pre-installed on the cooler.

Manufacturers will typically use a thicker top fin for creating a sturdier build, although this is not the case for this cooler. All sides of the fins are completely exposed aside from the front and top, which are then covered by the fan and its plastic cover. There are a total of 54 fins on the heatsink tower. Like the ARCTIC Freezer A13 X, another ARCTIC cooler we have reviewed, the sides of the fins are bent downward, closing off the view between the fins on the side. These bent-down sides are about 2mm in thickness. This adds up when you look at the spacing between the fins, which is about 2mm with all fins being evenly spaced out from the other, and each fin being 0.4mm thick. With some quick measurements and calculations, the total surface area of the heatsink comes out to around 0.856m². The ARCTIC Freezer A35 A-RGB is reasonable for cooler weight, coming in at 734g. It should be noted the weight of any cooler is very dependent on the material it is made out of.

When it comes to dimensions, the ARCTIC Freezer A35 A-RGB has a height of 158.5mm, width of 133mm, and 91mm depth, which is about the size of your average air cooler. These dimensions are with the fan attached. The height should allow the Freezer A35 A-RGB to fit in small form factor cases. Without the fan, the tower on its own has measurements of approximately 140mm in height, 122mm in width, and 65mm in depth. Four continuous U-shaped heatpipes can be seen from the base leading up for heat dissipation. The purpose of the heatpipes is to efficiently lead the heat away from its source due to the low heat of vaporization, or phase change energy, of alcohol. The heatpipes are aligned in a flat manner to spread out the heat in the two arrays. With a total surface area of 0.856m², the Freezer A35 A-RGB should be able to deliver good heat dissipation theoretically, which I will test on the next page.

This CPU cooler is aligned such that no parts of the cooler will be hanging over the PCI Express slot underneath or your RAM slots next to it, even with the fan attached. This cooler has full compatibility with AMD AM4 and AM5 sockets without any interference with your memory.

Looking at the tower without the fan attached, we can get a better look at the design of the leading edges of the heatsink fins. The design is fairly standard with the fins taking on a mostly rectangular shape. The edges of the front-facing fins are more jagged in design. A gap exists between the front of the tower and the adjacent screw such that users will be able to use a screwdriver to access this screw with ease. At the back of the tower, there is a V-shaped divot screwdrivers can fit in to reach the other screw. The top fin is the same width as the rest of the fins. We can see the heatpipes are also exposed on top of the heatsink when the fan is detached.

The ARCTIC fan in question appears to be a modified version of the P12 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB, which was reviewed in detail last year by my colleague Jadon Lee. According to the manufacturer, the included fan is a hydraulic bearing 4-pin PWM fan. The fan runs at a maximum speed of 1700 RPM and rated to run at 12V 0.12A. The rated noise is 0.35 sone, which is equivalent to about 12.86 dB. This is almost an unrealistically low noise output at maximum output, so we will see how this claim holds up in our tests.

This fan uses a black color scheme with white fan blades to disperse the RGB LED lighting. There are twelve RGB LEDs located around the central hub. All the blades are attached to the circular translucent plastic inside the rim of the fan. This fan should be able to work well for this cooler, so I personally feel there is no need to swap it out. As a more important note, you would not be able to swap the fan out with any regular fan anyways due to the unique nature of clipping this modified P12 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB onto the fins by the notches on the side of the tower. An interesting design note is the fan has a cover, which will cover the top of the tower when attached to the cooler. It additionally also partially covers the remaining three sides, which will help the airflow of the fan be more targeted and possibly help with the cooling performance.

The modified ARCTIC P12 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB can be mounted using plastic clips directly attached to the fan. While this fan comes mounted on the Freezer A35 A-RGB, you will have to remove it for installation, since the front side of the fan covers one of the mounting screws. Instead of using mounting clips to attach the fan, the modified ARCTIC P12 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB has clips attached to the side that will clip onto small notches located on the side of the heatsink.

The photo above shows the bottom of the ARCTIC Freezer A35 A-RGB. Here, we can see the configuration of the heatpipes with respect to the base due to its direct contact heatpipe design. The base is reasonably flat for what it is worth, but there are ridges for the simple fact this heatsink has direct contact heatpipes. That aside, other than some marks left by the sticker that came attached to the base, the surface is clean. No thermal paste was pre-installed on the Freezer A35 A-RGB, although ARCTIC did provide their own excellent MX-5 thermal paste for application.

The heatsink is made out of copper and aluminum. Copper is always a solid choice for heat transfer with thermal conductivity of 401 W/mK. Meanwhile, the heatpipes and heatsink fins utilize aluminum for their build, which is lighter than copper. This is nice as the aluminum fins will reduce the weight and thus, reduce stress on the motherboard. Aluminum does have its trade-offs with thermal conductivity of 237 W/mK, which is significantly less than copper.

All joints are soldered at the base, while the heatpipes are fed through the fins, protruding through at the top. Overall, the ARCTIC Freezer A35 A-RGB is solidly built. Being light for a tower cooler is important for keeping stress off the motherboard, which the Freezer A35 A-RGB reasonably achieves. The fins are uniformly spread out, and there is a decent amount of heatpipes. Pair that with ARCTIC's respectable MX-5 thermal paste, and I have high hopes for performance. With that said, we will see how this cooler holds up in the upcoming tests, but first, let me install it in my PC.

The installation process was very simple. Since this is an AMD-specific cooler, only AMD installation tools and instructions were provided. ARCTIC recommends using your stock motherboard backplate, which saves some time and effort, even if just a little. The standoffs were easy to install with four screws and some large plastic washers to help hold them in place.

Like with most coolers, two mounting bars are included for installing the cooler onto the motherboard. Plastic spacers can be installed once the backplate is mounted for the mounting bar to rest on. According to the online guide, the AMD mounting bars should mounted such that the curves face outwards. The screws are tightened into the backplate with plastic spacers in between. Once this is finished, you can jump into installing the heatsink after applying some thermal paste to your CPU.

ARCTIC provided thermal paste users can apply before placing the cooler on top of the CPU. After applying the included MX-5 thermal paste, it is time to install the cooler itself. It is advised to place a small dot in the middle followed by a four-dot square pattern as shown in my photo above. As mentioned earlier, the fan does need to be removed when installing the cooler. From here, the screws can be tightened in an alternating fashion. Any screwdriver that meets the length requirement will work. After reattaching the fan, which is easy to do thanks to the easy built-in clip-on mechanism, the only thing left to do afterward is to attach the 4-pin PWM header to the CPU fan header on your motherboard and fit the addressable RGB header into the 3-pin ARGB controller header.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware, Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion