We all know of ASUS as producing mainly motherboards and graphic cards. So we were surprised to hear that ASUS was announcing CPU cooler products. There is of course a large market for such products, so why shouldn't a big company like ASUS enter this market? But there are many other companies, with a long history in this sector already, like Thermaltake and Arctic Cooling, and with very good products. So what can ASUS offer to compete with what is already on the market?
Asus provided us the opportunity to test their latest CPU cooler, the "Arctic Square". This cooler supports Socket 775 and AM2 sockets. But first, let's take a look at the major features of Asus' Arctic Square.
Powerful Performance for Overclocking
Copper base with 4 heat pipes provide excellent heat dissipation, efficiently transferring heat to the fins and maintaining low temperatures for high-performance computing.
Compact and Reliable
The Arctic Square incorporates "Ladder-Shaped" fins on both sides to enlarge the heat exchange surface area, for effective cooling while maintaining a compact design.
Balance between Performance and Acoustic
PWM function automatically adjusts fan speed according to CPU temperature and delivers a quiet cooling operation.
Universal retention module designed for Intel® LGA775 and AMD™ K8 939/940/AM2 platforms support.
Inner Fan Technology
The fan is positioned inside the frame for maximum airflow and VRM shield guides cool air to critical components around the CPU for stable operation.
Copper Base + 4 heat pipes - Better heat transfer
Double Side Ladder-Shaped Fins - Effective Heat Dissipation
Inner Fan Design - Guide Cool Air to VRM
Blue LED Fan - Stylish for Your PC
Intel® Core™2 Extreme / Intel® Core™2 Quad
Intel® Core™2 Duo / Pentium® processor family
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2/ FX
AMD Athlon™ 64/ Sempron™
108 x 106 x 135
Copper Base + Aluminum Fin + 4 Copper Heat Pipes
92 x 92 x 25
Vapo (Long Life Sleeve)
2300 rpm ± 10% with PWM control
Max. Air Pressure
CE, TUV, UL
2. The Package
ASUS provided us with the Arctic Square CPU cooler retail package. The retail box is quite big, which means this is a "big" cooler. The retail price for the Arctic Square is around €48, as found at several online stores.
Here are some pictures of the retail box:
Time to open the box, we can see the big cooler.
The ASUS logo:
The most interesting place to focus on is at the bottom. We can see the copper base and the four copper heat pipes.
What else is included in the retail box? All the hardware (screws and metallic base, thermal paste) to perform the installation:
Time to move on to the installation. The first step is to get cross-like plastic mount and remove the white protective tape. The tape covers a sticky material that helps keep the mount in place while you assemble the rest of the cooler. As we found in our tests, if you remove the mount, most of the glue stays on the motherboard, so there's not much left for second use.
The plastic mount goes on the back of your motherboard. Just push it in place, it stays there thanks to the glue.
On the top side of the motherboard, we can see the four holes where the cooler will be screwed in...
The next step is to mount at the metalic base, the four screws and the plastic caps so that you can screw and secure the base to the motherboard.
There are four "black" and four "silver" screws. At first, it wasn't very clear which screws should be used. I started off with the black, but after several attempts I realised that the silver were the right ones.
The next problem was which holes should be used for the screws. There are no numbers or markings on the holes, so after consulting the installation guide for some time, wading through the diagrams and checking against the mounting plate, I finally figured out which ones.
The screws tightened and the base is securely mounted.
Apply thermal paste to the copper base of the cooler and gently sit the big cooler gently on the CPU and mounting base. Nothing difficult here...
Then we have to clamp the cooler in place with the metalic plate, which helps hold and secure the cooler. Not the best or easiest task...
but after several attempts, we finally got it right.
And the last step, push down the lever to clamp the cooler securely!
When the cooler is operational, a blue electric light is produced.
The installation was rather tricky, but what really counts is how good is this CPU cooler? Since we already had in our hands another Socket 775 cooler, the AC Freezer 7 Pro, we put both on the same testbed:
- EVGA 680i LT SLI + Intel C2D E6600 @ 3.00GHz
- OCZ GameXStream GXS600 SLI-Ready
- 2x1GB OCZ DDR2-6400 SLI Ready
- WD 800JB 7200RPM
To "stress" test our system, we used Orthos software, and for measuring temperatures, CoreTemp 0.95.
We let the system run for 11minutes and...
Here are the test results
The results show that the Asus Arctic Square was on average 2° Celsius cooler than the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro, and in fact the difference throughout the duration of the test was consistently 2° to 3°. As for the noise, we had the feeling that the ASUS cooler was somewhat quieter than the Freezer 7 Pro.
ASUS' Arctic Square is the first Asus CPU cooler to arrive in our labs. Since Asus recently "entered" this market, we were very curious to see how this cooler would perform, when compared not with Intel's stock fan, but with another good performer, the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro.
The test results showed that the Asus Arctic Square kept the temperature of our overclocked processor 2° cooler than the AC Freezer7 Pro on average, while the difference ranged between 2° to 5° Celsius throughout the duration of our 11 minute test.
The performance was great, but how easy was the installation? Well...not very easy. I have to admit I had to read the installation guide several times to understand how all the components mount onto the motherboard. While the figures do indicate the proper steps, several important details are missing, and you have to figure them out for yourself.
Last but not least, the retail price of the Asus Arctic Square is around €48. That's almost double the price of the AC Freezer 7 Pro. There's no doubt that compared with Intel's stock fan, you get much better results and overclocking possibilities, but you also spend more money. If you can afford it, the Asus Arctic Square is a good choice, provided that you understand the installation procedure, an area where the AC Freezer 7 Pro "shines"...
|Value for money