PC Components

Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB review – Even better than its predecessor?

Arctic has long been a well-known manufacturer of CPU coolers, GPU coolers and case fans. Especially the CPU coolers of the Freezer series and GPU coolers of the Accelero series have made this brand famous worldwide. About four years ago, Arctic introduced the Liquid Freezer II, which was absolutely convincing from a price-performance point of view and is still a very popular compact water cooling system today. In spring 2024, Arctic has now introduced another successor with and without RGB lighting and in white and black. We have the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB in black for you to test today.

Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB: Technical details

General specifications
Weight 1870 g
Compatibility AMD AM5 / AM4
Intel compatibility LGA1700 / LGA1851
Cooling capacity
N/A
Warranty period 6 years
Price
€ 139.89 *
Radiator specifications
Radiator type Soldered radiator
Dimensions (L x W x H) 398 x 120 x 38 mm
Radiator material Aluminum alloy (painted black)
Fan specifications
Number of fans 3
Fan designation Arctic P12 PWM PST A-RGB
Bearing type hydrodynamic sleeve bearing (HDB)
Dimensions (L x W x H) 120 x 120 x 25 mm
Fan speed 200 ~ 2000 rpm ± 10 %
Max. Noise level N/A
Max. Volume flow 82.91 m³/h
Max. Air pressure 1.85 mm H2O
Number of LEDs 12x A-RGB LEDs
Rated voltage (fan) 12 V
Rated voltage (LEDs) 5 V
Rated current (fan) 0,11 A
Rated current (LEDs) 0,40 A
Rated power (fan) 1,32 W
Nominal power (LEDs) 2 W
Connection (fan) 4-pin PWM
Connection (LEDs) 3-pin A-RGB splitter
Cable length (fan) 40 mm
Cable length (LEDs) 40 mm 80 mm splitter cable
Pump specifications
Dimensions (WxDxH) approx. 90 x 110 x 71 mm
Cooling plate material Copper
Speed (pump) 800 ~ 2800 rpm ± 10 %
Speed (fan) 400 ~ 2500 rpm ± 10 %
Max. Noise level N/A
Rated voltage (pump) 12 V
Nominal voltage (LEDs) 5 V
Rated current (pump) 0,35 A
Rated current (LEDs) 0,4 A
Nominal power (pump) 2,45 W
Nominal power (LEDs) 2 W
Connection (pump) 4-pin PWM
Connection (VRM fan) 4-pin PWM
LED connection 3-pin A-RGB
Tube length
450 mm

Packaging & scope of delivery

Arctic packs the Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB in a simple cardboard box dominated by the main colors black and white. In addition to the manufacturer’s logo, we also find the product name and a schematic drawing of the compact water cooling system on the packaging. A table with all the technical data and a list of the package contents can also be seen on the back.

Inside, Arctic continues to use a lot of cardboard and three additional plastic bags to prevent scratches on the radiator, the pump block or the separately packaged pump cover. In addition to the compact water cooling system with pre-installed fans, the scope of delivery also includes a bag with all mounting materials for the AM4/AM5/LGA1700/LGA1851 sockets, a tube of MX-6 thermal paste, two connection cables, radiator and fan screws, a small wrench and a special mounting frame for the Intel sockets. The assembly instructions are only available digitally via a QR code.

Design & finish

Compared to the Liquid Freezer II, almost nothing has changed with the radiator. The radiator of the Liquid Freezer III is also made of aluminum, painted black and features the manufacturer’s logo on the side. The radiator depth is also identical at 38 millimetres, which is a good centimetre above the typical average and should therefore have a positive effect on cooling performance. However, this thickness can have a negative impact on general compatibility in more compact housings.

With the aim of achieving a sleeker overall look, Arctic has retired the black and gray water hoses and is now using the usual textile-coated hoses in black. The connection between the hose, pump block and radiator is made via two simple plastic sleeves. The manufacturer has also implemented an option to change the orientation of the hoses on the pump block. At 450 millimetres, the hoses are also longer than average, allowing flexible positioning in the housing. Arctic also hides the PWM and ARGB cable inside the casing. However, this can cause the tubing to look a little wavy in certain positions.

The pump block has also been given a completely new design. The cooler block itself consists of a copper base plate, the mounting bracket and the vertically oriented pump. The manufacturer has now placed a large, magnetic cap on top, which is somewhat reminiscent of a turbine due to its circular appearance and the transparent or angled cross struts. Arctic has integrated several RGB elements and a small VRM fan into this. However, with a diameter of 50 millimetres, this is now slightly larger and also deeper than its predecessor.

The fans, on the other hand, remain unchanged. The A-RGB version once again uses the popular Arctic P12 PWM PST A-RGB fans, which have a wide speed range between 200 and 2000 revolutions and are said to be very quiet. The fan frame is black, while the 5-blade rotor blades are milky transparent. In addition, all fan blades are connected to each other via an outer ring and the frame has gray rubber surfaces on both sides for decoupling. The connection is made via a single 4-pin PWM cable for power and 3-pin 5V splitters for the ARGB lighting. This is located in the form of 12 ARGB LEDs in the fan hub.

Out of the box, the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB is already fully assembled and wired and weighs a decent 1.9 kilograms. As already mentioned, with a thickness of 38 millimeters, the radiator is significantly thicker than many other compact water cooling systems. Before buying, you should therefore check inside the case to see whether there could be compatibility problems with the graphics card (front mounting) or with the VRM heat sinks or RAM modules (mounting in the lid).

Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB Test: Assembly

A test system mounted on a benchtable is used for the review. This allows us to rule out factors such as heat build-up in the case. The test system consists of the following components.

Arctic has also made some adjustments in the area of assembly. Compatibility has been reduced to socket AM4/ AM5 and socket LGA1700 or LGA1851. So if you are using an older Intel socket, you will unfortunately have to look for another water cooling system. However, the new mounting system offers some special features for these four sockets.

For Intel systems with socket LGA1700 or LGA1851, Arctic includes a contact frame with the Liquid Freezer III, which is intended to replace the classic retention module with clamps and brackets on Intel mainboards. The aim of this contact frame is to straighten the heatspreader of the CPU in order to enable even contact pressure and contact. However, this also means that when using the Arctic Liquid Freezer III, you have to modify your mainboard, which, at least in theory, voids the warranty. This could therefore be disconcerting, especially for newcomers, as this step is otherwise not necessary.

The AMD AM4 and AM5 sockets use a classic assembly with spacers and a bracket construction at the front. The brackets and spacers are screwed into the existing backplate of the retention module on AMD boards. The brackets then serve as a holding point for the pump block. The installation of the cooling block on our AM4 system was completed quickly and proved to be unproblematic.

A closer look at the mounted pump also reveals that it is slightly offset downwards on an AMD socket. The reason for this is that the temperature hotspot on AMD CPUs is located slightly below the center of the heatspreader due to their chip arrangement. This offset should therefore enable better cooling, as the pump block can be placed centrally above the hotspot. It is only important that the brackets are not mounted the wrong way round, as otherwise only the upper part of the CPU will be covered. In addition, depending on the mainboard and the m.2 cooling structures used, there may be compatibility problems. However, Arctic provides a corresponding list.

The overall design is simple and all components are clearly labeled. The digital instructions via QR code also ensure that they are always up to date. However, this also requires internet access during assembly. The contact frame mounting system chosen for Intel could also be a deterrent for newcomers due to the unusual conversion measures, and older sockets are unfortunately no longer supported.

Cooling performance and noise level

As already shown in the previous chapter, we use an AM4 system based on the Ryzen 5 1400 and the ASUS TUF Gaming B550M-Plus as test hardware. The Ryzen runs at 3.8 GHz at 1.175 V. To heat up the processor, it was loaded with Prime95 for 30 minutes. The temperature of the CPU was then read out with the CPUID hardware monitor. The room temperature was always around 20 °C during the measurements.

wdt_ID CPU-Kühler Temperatur 50% PWM (in °C) Temperatur 100% PWM (in °C) Minimale Lüftergeschwindigkeit (in U/min) Lüftergeschwindigkeit bei 50% PWM (in U/min) Lüftergeschwindigkeit bei 100% PWM (in U/min) Minimale Pumpengeschwindigkeit (in U/min) Pumpengeschwindigkeit bei 50% PWM (in U/min) Pumpengeschwindigkeit bei 100% PWM (in U/min)
123 Thermaltake TH280 V2 ARGB 46,60 45,90 550 1.200 1.800 680 2.100 3.200
124 Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos ARGB 50,40 46,50 560 1.340 2.270 1.965 6.620 10.230
125 be quiet! Pure Loop 2 240mm 50,70 46,70 800 1.070 2.080 4.150 4.700 5.530
126 Alpenföhn Panorama 2 76,00 66,80 450 1.450 2.720
127 Alpenföhn Brocken 4 53,60 49,60 410 870 1.610
128 AMD Wraith Stealth 95,00 76,00 800 1.430 2.630
129 Corsair A115 49,40 46,90 190 920 1.560
130 Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE 49,50 47,50 350 1.050 1.680
131 Thermalright Assassin X 120 SE 53,60 50,60 340 1.070 1.690
132 DeepCool Assassin IV (Silent) 51,40 48,70 500 860 1.330
CPU-Kühler Temperatur 50% PWM (in °C) Temperatur 100% PWM (in °C) Minimale Lüftergeschwindigkeit (in U/min) Lüftergeschwindigkeit bei 50% PWM (in U/min) Lüftergeschwindigkeit bei 100% PWM (in U/min) Minimale Pumpengeschwindigkeit (in U/min) Pumpengeschwindigkeit bei 50% PWM (in U/min) Pumpengeschwindigkeit bei 100% PWM (in U/min)

As can be seen from the table and the diagram, the CPU of our test system reaches a maximum of 47.7 °C (at 50% PWM fan and pump speed) and 45.9 °C (at 100% PWM fan and pump speed) under full load. Although these are basically good values, as you would expect from a 360 compact water cooling system, they do not catapult the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB to first place in our table. On the other hand, the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB is subjectively not as loud as the competition.

At full speed (approx. 1900 rpm), the Arctic P12 fans are audible, but much less noticeable than the fans of many other compact water coolers, which operate at up to 2500 rpm. At 50% PWM (approx. 1100 rpm), the fans then operate much more inconspicuously. Care should be taken with a PWM range in the last quarter, as certain noises can occur in a certain section during fan operation.

Some fine-tuning is also required for the pump and the VRM fan if you want it to be particularly quiet. At full speed, both components make a rather high-pitched whirring noise, which may be annoying for some ears. Unlike the Liquid Freezer II, however, the pump and VRM fan can now be controlled separately using the additional connection cable supplied.

Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB test: The lighting options

The Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB has various ARGB elements that can be controlled via the mainboard. These include the fans, whose fan hubs have corresponding LEDs, as well as the pump block, which has additional LEDs in the modular top cover. All components are controlled via a single 3-pin 5V ARGB connector. This eliminates the need to hide several cables and also saves connections on the mainboard. Finally, a few impressions of the activated lighting.

Conclusion of the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB review

Now we come to the conclusion of the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB test. In some areas, the manufacturer was able to further improve an already very good water cooling system. These include the cooling performance shown, although the Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB cannot always keep up with the competition, the somewhat more inconspicuous and appealing design and the overall package and price-performance ratio. The Liquid Freezer III is also one of the quieter compact water coolers, which is mainly due to the rock-solid Arctic P12 fans. In addition, at least in the case of our black version, the product is excellently finished, pre-assembled and pre-wired.

However, there are still negative points with the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB. First of all, the Independent Loading Mechanism (ILM), i.e. the holding mechanism for the CPU, has to be removed for socket LGA1700 or LGA1851 so that the mounting frame provided by Arctic can be attached. This procedure most likely results in better cooling performance for Intel processors, but could be a deterrent for newcomers, as this procedure, at least theoretically, voids the mainboard’s warranty. Arctic does not provide an alternative mounting method using the usual brackets.

Otherwise, it is a pity that the Liquid Freezer III is only compatible with AM4/AM5 and LGA1700/ LGA1851 sockets and that there may be compatibility problems with m.2 hetspreaders on the motherboard due to the downward offset mounting on AMD sockets. Finally, it should also be mentioned that the VRM fan can have a quite high, negative influence on the overall noise level at full speed. However, this VRM fan can now be controlled separately using a separate connection cable.

All in all, we can nevertheless say that Arctic has sensibly improved its predecessor with the Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB and this compact water cooling system therefore receives a purchase recommendation from us from a price/performance perspective. To mark Arctic’s 23rd anniversary, there is also a discount on all Liquid Freezer III models in the company’s own store and in Arctic’s Amazon store until May 20.

Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB

Design
Workmanship
Mounting
Performance
Value for money

91/100

With the Liquid Freezer III, Arctic has shown that it has listened to the feedback on the Liquid Freezer II. Some of the criticisms of its predecessor have been eliminated. The now much more suitable look for everyday use, together with a very good overall package, makes the Arctic Liquid Freezer III 360 A-RGB a new price-performance recommendation in the compact water cooling market.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Arctic has long been a well-known manufacturer of CPU coolers, GPU coolers and case fans. Especially the CPU coolers of the Freezer series and GPU coolers of the Accelero series have made this brand famous worldwide. About four years ago, Arctic introduced the Liquid Freezer II, which was absolutely convincing from a price-performance point of … (Weiterlesen...)

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