The Core Frozr L has strong performance across all three test systems. Its results nestle in the charts among lower tier all-in-one liquid-coolers and near to the performance of considerably bulkier air-coolers like Thermalright Macho Rev. B and Cryorig R1 Universal. Both of these come out better overall, but they're not as far ahead as you might expect, and the MSI actually scores a win over the Thermalright one on the LGA2011 platform, where it has arguably its most competitive result. Next to other single-fan, single-tower coolers, it's also strong, trumping the Gelid Antarctica and SilverStone Argon AR01. That said, it does use considerably more metal than both of these and is much weightier as a result, so it's not a total surprise.
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On the noise front, too, the MSI cooler was very good. Our system fans are admittedly a little loud and fixed at full speed, but only by switching these off did we get a proper idea of the MSI cooler's noise output. In a normal system, the Core Frozr L at full speed would be audible, but it wasn't unpleasant to sit next to. Under lower loads, of course, it would be all but silent thanks to its PWM fan.
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There are two things going for the Core Frozr L: its relatively low noise and its aesthetics. It's one of the quietest heatsinks we've tested (going by full speed settings) so is perfect for an inconspicuous system. The looks really do set it apart from generic looking models such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212X, too. It really does look great as heatsinks go and would be a great match for an MSI Gaming-branded GPU too.
The price is a little above average for this type of heatsink, but it is a strong performer and you're also paying for the looks and relatively low noise. For an extra £10 or so, you can get the Arctic Liquid Freezer 120, which is a more potent cooler. If £40 is your limit, though, or you don't fancy dipping your toes into liquid-cooling, the Core Frozr L is a great buy. It's a great start for MSI in this market as well, and if it can make its installation process a little easier next time around, we'd have very few complaints indeed.
Update 22/12/2016: Unfortunately, we recently discovered an error in our CPU cooler testing that originated with our NZXT Kraken X52 review. When testing that cooler, we updated our three test systems to Windows 10. After this, we accidentally installed and used a newer version of Prime95 (27.7) than we had originally been using (26.6). The newer version has AVX instructions that can dramatically increase the heat output of modern CPUs, thus rendering the original results we published here incomparable with the others in the charts. Upon discovering and verifying this error yesterday, we immediately took down that article and this one, which were the only two affected. We have since retested both coolers on all three test platforms to be sure, and these are the results you now see. For this cooler, both the LGA1150 and the AMD AM3+ results changed significantly (improvement of 7°C or 6°C over the old results, respectively), while the LGA2011 ones improved by 2°C. This page has been updated to take heed of the newer results and current pricing, although the overall verdict and award remain unchanged. We sincerely apologise for this lapse in conscientiousness, but wanted to be as transparent as possible with you and took action as soon as we discovered the error.