Custom PC

REVIEW: ARCTIC Freezer A13X/i13X

By Antony Leather. Posted

If you have less than £20 to spend, ARCTIC’s Freezer 7 X has been our go-to cooler for years now. It offers affordable cooling that beats the pants off stock coolers and produces low noise levels too. If something isn’t broken, then it’s generally better not to try to fix it (that’s the pithy version of the old saying – Ed.), but ARCTIC has taken the bold move of tweaking the design a little and creating a more potent cooler. The result is the 13X, which still costs a very wallet-friendly £22 but has a slightly beefed-up specification.

To start with, though, there are two versions of the cooler – one for Intel and the other for AMD systems, designated i13X and A13X respectively. We’ve reviewed both here, but they cost the same and are identical, so just be sure to pick the right one. The key difference between it and the Freezer 7 X is more heat-killing power courtesy of an extra heatpipe, with the cheaper cooler making do with two while the new model gets three 6mm heatpipes.

There’s an extra 10mm of depth and 5mm added to the height as well, but while it’s taller, it still sits at just 137mm, making it likely to fit into plenty of cases with severe cooler height limitations such as those of the mini-ITX variety.

The same fan is used too, which is just 92mm rather than the 120mm fans used with most other coolers we see. It sports a fluid dynamic bearing and can spin at up to 2,000rpm.

Despite this, it produced just 42dBA, so in terms of being pleasant to sit next to and affordable, so far so good.

The mounting mechanism has changed too, and uses a pair of plates that secure to an included Intel backplate or the stock AMD plate, with fixed sprung screws on the cooler attaching to these. It’s a little fiddlier than the cheaper model, but still simple to deal with, where the only tricky part is removing the fan housing to get at one of the mounting screws. This proved to be a bit tough to unclip, but it’s something that you’ll rarely need to do.

This cooler’s CPU delta T of 67°C when dealing with our Core i9-10900K was better than several larger coolers and while toasty, it did tame Intel’s 10-core flagship. However, both the Deepcool Gammaxx GTE V2 and be quiet! Pure Rock 2 offer significantly lower temperatures for slightly lower noise levels. Our AMD system saw the A13X variant just about deal with our overclocked Ryzen 9 5900X, but again, the be quiet! and Deepcool coolers offer noticeably lower temperatures.

Conclusion

For just £22, what you get with the ARCTIC A13X and i13X are coolers that can cope with some of the most potent mainstream desktop CPUs, even with a modicum of overclocking involved. That’s seriously impressive for such a small, quiet and affordable cooler, so if it’s as far as your budget or case allows, they’re a great choice. However, the Deepcool Gammaxx GTE V2 and be quiet! Pure Rock 2 are both cooler, quieter and only cost a little more.

VERDICT

A good choice for a super-compact and affordable cooler, but larger, slightly more expensive models are better still.

PRICE £22 inc VAT

SCORES

Intel LGA1200

COOLING 30/40 / FEATURES 13/20 / DESIGN 16/20 / VALUE 19/20 / OVERALL 78%

AMD AM4

COOLING 29/40 / FEATURES 13/20 / DESIGN 16/20 / VALUE 19/20 / OVERALL 77%

ARCTIC CIRCLE

+Reasonable cooling

+Super-compact

+Cheap

ARCTIC ROLL

-Better suited to 6-core and 8-core CPUs

-Not much cheaper than larger more capable coolers

-No RGB lighting

SPEC

Compatibility AMD: (A13X): AM4, AM3/+, AM2/+,  FM2/+, FM1; Intel: (i13X): LGA1200, LGA115x

Heatsink size with fans (mm) 108 x 85 x 137 (W x D x H)

Fans 1 x 92mm

Stated noise  0.3 sones

From Custom PC store

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