I'm generally a pretty heavy PC user, what with generally having enough time to spend online or playing some videogames every now and then. So along with that I tend to like having a fairly well-specced PC. Currently it's not exactly a behemoth by today's standards, but that's mostly due to not having had much of a re-fit for the past three years. Luckily it's still more than enough to accomplish anything I throw at it at the maximum resolution my current monitor can handle (1680x1050).
Of course, the sad times come when things go wrong. Sometimes an upgrade might be required just to keep the performance up to spec, other times it can be a bit more sudden. The purchase I made prior to this one was a replacement graphics card after the last one made a funny noise and died totally...
For a while I was concerned my processor might be going a similar way. Around this time last year I'd started noting some severe slowdown when under stress or running anything intensive. The on-board fan would start revving up like crazy and there'd be the occasional fatal exception error that shut the whole machine down and forced a reboot. I was thinking the issue might be a lack of RAM or possibly worse, that the processor was going down. Tp investigate further I tried out a couple of diagnostic programs, designed to tell you what the health of the system is, including Core Temp and GPU temp. Core temp showed some fairly terrifying results, that all four cores seemed to be idling at 90 degrees + and only going higher when being used heavily. Talking with friends, I decided to try out simply replacing the stock cooler, at a far lower cost than replacing the chip. After some searching, I decided on this one, towards the mid-range of the prices available at just under £30 from amazon.
Having never installed a cooler before, I was quite trepidacious and concerned about messing up, but luckily the Freezer Xtreme came with enough useful instructions to guide me through the process. Basically you lift the feet at the base of the old cooler, remove it, install the new base for this one (pre-pasted with thermal compound) and screw it down into place. The unit was slightly bigger than I'd expected, and it really does jut out quite far from the motherboard, but not to the extent that the side panel wont fit back onto the case easily (there's about 1cm of space remaining), so that was a relief... The look of the unit itself, aside from just the size, is nothing special in my opinion. There's an optional plastic thingy on top shaped like an X with the name of the company, which can be removed, but doing so doesn't reduce the size overall due to the copper pins also extending from the rear, so mine remains in place. The bottom is an imposing set of copper cooling tubes that serve to take the excess heat from the processor into the bulk of the unit where the fans lie. More giant Xs garnish the sides, that also serve no particular purpose, but then, well, if you buy something with the word 'Xtreme' in the name, you have to allow for a little ostentation. Overall though I don't think the looks matter too much anyway as the thing spends its entire time inside the opaque case of my PC, not out on display.
The important question was, would it be effective?
Well, turning the machine back on didn't cause any explosions or sounds of extreme discomfort. Though the system overall was a little louder than before, the difference was less than I'd worried when first I installed the far larger fan system. The proof was in the diagnostic pudding. To my delight, I saw the idle temperature was now down to a far safer 35 degrees and more to the point, games that before would drop below 220-15 fps during action would now consistently run at 60+, at a maximum core temp of 45 degrees. The performance was like I imagined a new processor would be, but at a fraction of the cost.
So overall, maybe it's just me and maybe another cooler would've had the same effect and maybe I should never have relied on the stock cooler in the first place but for me this fan worked wonders
Notice: I am reviewing the Rev.2 of this product.
I recently bought this cooler as a way of cooling my new Phenom II, which I overclocked alot as the Phenom II allowed it. It had a fairly expensive price tag so I was expecting it to be pretty amazing, but it wasn't pretty amazing. I can only describe it as "average". First of all, installation was very fiddly and annoying with brackets you have to screw in yourself, and an annoying way of mounting it onto the cooler bracket. I soldiered on hoping it would pay off.
With the stock cooler I got with the Phenom II, I noticed around 38°C - 40°C idle temperatures, and load temperatures of around 45°C - 50°C while on normal clocks (as most of you won't have overclocked your CPU). With this cooler installed the idle temperatures dropped to around 32°C - 38°C and load temperatures remained around 42°C - 47°C, so this pretty much proves that this cooler wasn't doing much for the temperatures of my CPU.
Also, another issue is the size of the cooler, especially the copper bits on the top, which when I have the cooler installed, hit my case fan, so I uninstalled this cooler and decided to go back to the stock one. So basically, this cooler should not be used if you have case fans on the side panel of your computer. (unless your case is very wide).
Go for another cooler such as the Zalman CNPS 9700 which will give you superior cooling for a similar price.