We all have the need for speed. From cars to computers, it’s all about going faster. With computers, one of the by-products of speed is heat and heat is a bad thing…very, very bad thing if it’s not taken care of. Getting rid of heat in your computer has become a new industry and Zalman is one of the leaders in eliminating that heat. The difference between Zalman and some of their competitors is that they build heat solutions that are quiet. It’s fairly easy to get rid of heat with a 7000 RPM fan that generates 50+ db but it’'s much more difficult to do something that doesn’t sound like a wind tunnel when you turn your computer on.
To eliminate this problem, Zalman created the CPNS system (Computer Noise Prevention System). The system is designed to provide excellent cooling without blowing your ears out. The CNPS system covers every kind of cooling from fans to power supplies to heat-sink fan combinations. John has already reviewed their excellent power supply here (link). This review will be covering the Zalman CNPS7000-Cu
. The CNPS7000-Cu
is Zalman’s new product for Intel 468 motherboards and AMD Athlon 64 motherboards.
The first thing you notice with the CNPS87000-CU is how big it is. If you’re considering getting one, you should check out the Zalman site
make sure that it will fit your motherboard. The second thing you’ll notice is how heavy it is. It weighs in at a whopping 773 g. That’s more than twice the weight recommended by Intel. Made from solid copper, it has a nice heft to it. This is another thing to consider before purchasing the cooler. If you take your PC on the road a lot, then you’ll want to be extra careful moving your it with this cooler. To be quite honest, I was a little nervous about installing this HSF. The size and weight are pretty intimidating but the cooler is very good looking and looks sharp inside the case.
Zalman also includes a Fan Mate box that you connect between the motherboard header and the fan on the CNPS7000-Cu
. The Fan Mate allows you to switch between Normal and Silent mode. Like the name says, Silent mode runs the fan at a lower speed so you can barely hear it. Normal mode runs at a higher fan speed at the cost of a little more noise. I ran the fan in Normal mode most of the time and the difference in sound between the two modes is noticeable but not significant. Even in Normal mode the fan was significantly quieter than the stock cooler. If you overclock your PC, then you will want to run in Normal mode all of the time since Silent mode does not provide the RPMS to properly cool your CPU. Another note on Silent mode, you will want to make sure that any low RPM CPU Fan alarms you have are turned off because Silent mode lowers the RPM’s of your CPU fan to levels that may set them off.
Installing the CNPS7000-Cu
is fairly easy. You can check out the installation process here
The first step is to put a nice thin layer of thermal paste onto your CPU. Once you’ve got that on, you slide the two retailing rails into the Pentium 4 retention bracket. When you’ve got the rails in, you simply screw the heat sink to the rails and hook it to the Fan mate. Then attach the Fan mate to the CPU fan header on your motherboard. Once you’ve got it all setup, just put the motherboard back in your case and re-connect everything. Installation takes about 20-45 minutes, depending on how careful you are putting things together. You do want to be careful screwing the heat sink to the rails. One turn too many and you may end up with a cracked motherboard or CPU. The other thing you have to be careful with is that you don’t bend the fins of the heat sink as you’re installing it.
I ran two tests on the cooler. The first was a semi-real life test of booting the system up. Letting the temperature stabilize and then playing 30 minutes of Battlefield 1942. The second test was to boot the system up. Let the temperature stabilize and then run the SiSoft burn-in tool 10 times in a row and taking the highest number reported from the log. One note, these tests were run on an Abit BH7 motherboard, which tends to report temperatures on the high side so your mileage may vary.
"Real World" Battlefield 1942 test
Benchmark Test - SiSandra Burn-In
|Stock Intel Cooler||47||66|
|Stock Intel Cooler||44||66|
As you can see, the Zalman CNPS7000 is cooler than the stock HSF in both normal and silent mode in both tests by a few degrees. The cooler is an improvement over the stock cooler but is a few degrees cooler worth the risk with the heavier heat sink and the cost? I’m not necessarily sure it is. I’m not a hardcore LAN gamer but I do move my PC around quite a bit and I was kind of nervous moving the system with the cooler in it.
If you don’t move your system much and don’t mind spending the extra money, the Zalman is a solid product. However, if you move your system around a lot, then you may want to consider another HSF (Zalman does make a similar product that’s mostly aluminum). At around $40, it’s also a little on the higher end price wise.