Which Zalman cooler ?
It isn't entirely necessary for the cooler to cover the entire heat shield but there are always mitigating factors. I prefer solid copper bases myself. What about your current cooler?
It would also help if you listed the CPUs and wattage, your TIM, and what OC plans you might have.
Thanks for reply! The chip is a Phenom X4 9750 (2.4GHz) and I have no immediate plans to O/C it - at least not without an investment in a better cooler? This is basically an on-the-cheap upgrade to get better performance out of my LMDE box - currently running an older X2 cpu. The cooler I have is fairly low-end and I'm not sure it would be up to the task.
The Zalman doesn't seem to have a part# on it anywhere but it's one of the circular models with the fan sitting in a nest of aluminum fins. Entire thing appears to be aluminum and about 4.5" wide and 2.1" high? Trying to locate it online atm...
What's odd is that the actual contact surface is roughly rectangular at approx. 38mm long by 28mm wide? It's clearly too narrow to cover the entire spreader surface on this AMD, or even a smaller proc for that matter.