Weight: 774g Size (without fan): 120 x 92 x 160mm (W x D x H) Warranty: 1 Year Supported Sockets: Intel: LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366. AMD: Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3
CPU coolers need to be efficient, cheap and easy to install, and it’s the latter of this trilogy of virtues that seems to cause a lot of difficulty for many companies. Some coolers ship with an accessories box that you could barely tell apart from a Meccano set. While the classic toy is undeniably a great creation in its own right, it’s the last thing you want to fiddle with when the promise of bigger overclocks is on the horizon. It’s almost as if there’s a secret competition between manufacturers to determine which one can make the most ludicrously complicated and annoying mounting system.
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For this reason, Akasa deserves kudos for the mounting system of its new Freedom Tower cooler. Four spring-loaded screws are attached to the cooler and screw directly into a backplate through the motherboard. End of story. What’s more, the cooler uses the same system for Intel LGA775 and LGA1366 motherboards.
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For AMD Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3 boards, Akasa has adopted the equally numpty-proof retention arm used by the AMD reference cooler. If the cooling ability of the Freedom Tower proved to be up to the same standard as the installation system, we reckoned we were going to be on to a winner.
At first glance, the Freedom Tower’s construction resembles that of the highly effective Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme 1366 RT, which can only be a good omen for our testing. Four heatpipes run through the baseplate, and these have been smoothed down so that they make direct contact with the CPU heatspreader. The 120mm fan mount can be unclipped from the heatsink, and the fan unscrewed, should you want to replace the supplied 120mm fan with your favourite model. The plastic used for the fan mount and fan feels cheap and bendy, even if the gloss finish and four white LEDs are welcome.
A braided fan cable ends in a 4-pin PWM fan connector, allowing the fan to adjust its speed according to the temperature of the heatsink (and therefore your CPU). PWM is preferable to motherboard-based fan control, as it offers finer control of fan speed, and therefore keeps unwelcome noise to a minimum.