MSI Core Frozr L Review

Manufacturer: MSI
UK price (as reviewed):
MSRP £39.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): MSRP $49.99 (ex Tax)

It's a crowded market out there, but there's always room for something snazzy or a good performer, especially when it comes to cooling. We've seen a number of new liquid coolers hit the market, but rather than join that fray, MSI, which is better known for its graphics cards, laptops, and motherboards, has joined the air-cooled party instead with the rather smart looking Core Frozr L.

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It's one of a few heatsinks we've reviewed that sports a plethora of aesthetic additions bolted to it, including an illuminated logo on top plus a replacement black shroud that can be fitted in place of the silver one if you're looking for a darker, meaner looking system. Combined with an angular heatsink, a distinctive fan and colour-coded anti-vibration fan mounts, the Core Frozr L is one of the best looking heatsinks we've seen for a while.

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At 155mm it's also relatively compact, although it does stray into the first DIMM slot on LGA115x boards - if you want to use four modules, then you'll need low profile memory, but the usual second and fourth slots are clear. There's no epic rubber push-in SilverStone-style fan clips here like we saw with the Argon AR01, but the metal clips included are easy to install, even with the cooler mounted inside a case. MSI also includes a second pair should you want to add a second fan, although there's no provision for powering it from the 4-pin PWM fan included in the box, which also powers the top LED.

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As well as a very smart looking heatsink, the box deserves some serious praise too. There's Noctua-like packaging here, with each individual screw sat in its own hole, as is the thermal paste, fan slips and black shroud - well done, MSI. The heatsink itself sports a relatively dense stack of aluminium fins, although there are no bent edges here to direct airflow. In what we think is a first for a heatsink, the Core Frozr L sports an asymmetric design to offset the heatsink slightly to one side. This allows for the four 8mm heat pipes to sit directly in the flow of air but could also shift the heatsink away from motherboard paraphernalia, not that its small size will see that being an issue.

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The fan has a couple of interesting bits of tech too, some of which are borrowed from MSI's excellent GPU coolers. The blades alternate between dispersion and traditional types - the former having a steeper angle to accelerate air, while the latter provides a steady airflow, and the fan also uses a hydro-dynamic bearing. Meanwhile, the base uses an indirect contact nickel-plated copper baseplate.

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Installation was a little fiddly thanks largely to small pins that are used to secure a large mounting plate to a backplate for AM3+ and LGA115x sockets. These had a habit of falling out and getting lost, but LGA2011 was fine. Finally, a small plate straddles the CPU baseplate with two screws securing the cooler.

Specifications

  • Compatibility Intel: LGA775, LGA1366, LGA115x, LGA2011(-v3); AMD: AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+), FM1
  • Size(mm) 140 x 88.6 x 155 (W x D x H)
  • Fan size (mm) 120 x 25 x 120 (W x D x H)
  • Fan(s) 1 x PWM, 500 ~ 1,800 RPM
  • Stated Noise 17-34 dB(A) per fan

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