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GPU Cooler - Zalman or KuFormula?

Last response: in Overclocking
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April 20, 2006 5:44:15 PM

This is long, but I wanna cover all bases...

I have an eVGA 6800GT with a stock cooler (which are notorious for being cruddy), and it runs rather hot. I'm using AS5 compound on both my GPU and CPU, and my CPU temp is extremely cool (it varies from 21C to 29C idle, depending on room temperature - I don't usually check CPU temp under gaming load cause, well, I'm gaming. so I don't have load temps) using the Zalman CNPS7700-Cu, which I have been *extremely* satisfied with. While the CPU temp rocks, the GPU sits at 62C idle, and up to 95C (caught it at 102C once, ouch) under load, depending on the game. More than a few times, I've had my computer hardlock because the GPU got too hot, even playing games that don't stress the GPU *too* much, like City of Villains.

Been looking into GPU coolers for a while now, and I have a few extra bucks to spend so I think I'll pick one up. I just read the review on the KuFormula VF1 Plus cooler and I'm very impressed with its results and price. But since I'm so satisfied with my Zalman CPU cooler, the Zalman VF700-CU is very, very attractive, and the reviews on it are also extremely favourable.

What would you guys recommend? Noise really isn't an issue, as my setup is already pretty quiet, so adding a bit more noise wouldn't hurt. I just want the best cooling I can get without getting into liquid cooling. I'd also like to get max overclock on both my graphics card memory and GPU. I can't push it very high at all with the stock cooler, and with games like Oblivion, FEAR, and Condemned being out, I'd like to boost my graphics performance as much as possible. I don't have the money to get a new graphics card (oh how I long for a 7900, but I'd have to upgrade my Mobo, Processor, and get the XFX 7900GT - not a cheap venture - my Mobo is AGP, thus the Mobo/Processor upgrade).

My only gripe with the Zalman cooler is the memory heatsinks. I've had a Zalman heatpipe cooler for an old 9800XT, and all they did was a) fall off all the time and b) not provide *any* noticable cooling. The KuFormula's memory sinks look to be way more quality.

I'm not gonna be upgrading my GPU any time soon. I have more important things to spend my money on at the moment, so I want to get as much as I possibly can out of my little 6800GT. It's a great card as-is, but it could be a superb card with optimal cooling.

Just a couple more tiny questions - any word on if the KuForm is compatible with the 7900 series cards? That's what I'll be upgrading to when I do upgrade, assuming a better (reasonably priced - unlike the laughably priced GTX cards) nvidia GPU isn't by then.

And what is the difference between the regular Zalman GPU cooler and the Fatality one other than a HUGE price bump? Is the Fatality just pricier cause it's nerd bling? ;) 

I'd like to hear from people who have actually used one or the other, or even better, both. Basing opinions off reviews is fine and dandy, but nothing beats experience.

Thanks for reading my looong post, and thanks for any input. Excited about getting one of these coolers. :D 
April 20, 2006 7:37:55 PM

I'm in the same situation, my eVGA card's fan is definately dying too. I'm starting to see artifacts in FEAR. I totally forgot about the KuFormula, I just bought the NVSilencer 3. But I think I may return it for the KuFormula. I'll be watching to see what everyone else thinks too.
April 20, 2006 7:50:32 PM

Quote:
I'm in the same situation, my eVGA card's fan is definately dying too. I'm starting to see artifacts in FEAR. I totally forgot about the KuFormula, I just bought the NVSilencer 3. But I think I may return it for the KuFormula. I'll be watching to see what everyone else thinks too.


If you end up cracking open the nvsilencer and trying it out, let me know your results. They're a bit spendy, but if they work really well it may be worth consideration. I had an arctic cooler (same company) for a 9800 I had and it was worthless, but I've heard pretty ok things about the silencers.
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April 20, 2006 9:07:10 PM

get the zalman, better performing and not as awkward and big as teh kuforumula thing
April 20, 2006 9:14:07 PM

Quote:
"]get the zalman, better performing and not as awkward and big as teh kuforumula thing


kinda what i was thinking. but one thing. how in the hell do you get the ramsinks to stick and stay? like i said, i've dealt with the exact same ones before, and they would not stick no matter what i did.

other than wrapping the damn things in electrical tape, i'm lost on that one.

also, does the one with the LED light produce any significant amount of heat? may be a dumb question, but i honestly don't know.
April 21, 2006 6:24:54 AM

the LED does produce heat as most lights do... but its so insignificant, that having 10 LEDs wouldn't make a temperature difference

and no question is a dumb question =P
April 21, 2006 10:42:59 AM

Any tips on the shoddy (in my experience) ramsinks? I coudln't for the life of me make them stick on my old 9800XT, no matter what I did. Perhaps the thermal tape has improved since then, perhaps not.

I'm more or less sold on the Zalman, but keeping the memory cool, overclocking or not, is essential, and if you have your sinks constantly shifting/falling off, they're useless.

Perhaps a good, long burnin with 3dmark or somesuch other program would help them adhere faster and make them stick? I hear they take about 24 hours of load to get to the point where they'll stay. Shouldn't be much of a problem considering a) that's true and b) my gaming habits. :) 

Any tips or tricks MUCH appreciated. Thanks for being as helpful as you guys have so far.
April 21, 2006 9:39:43 PM

I believe Arctic Silver makes a compound that serves as both a permanent adhesive and a thermal paste.
April 21, 2006 10:18:00 PM

Quote:
I believe Arctic Silver makes a compound that serves as both a permanent adhesive and a thermal paste.


Hmmm.. scrape the thermal tape off and use that. Sounds like a good idear. ;) 

edit: ordered the vf700-cu (without led, sigh... i'll have to find a guide to add leds to it - any pointers?) and a 2.5oz tube of AS ceramic, which should do the trick.
April 22, 2006 2:14:46 AM

Let me know how the Zalman works out for you.
April 22, 2006 10:36:27 AM

Quote:
Let me know how the Zalman works out for you.


Definitely. Before I install it, I'll get idle and load temps and see how much I can OC it without artifacts. Then I'll install the cooler, wait for the AS to cure, and post the same info. I'm optimistic, considering my Zalman CPU cooler brings my temps down 20C, even when mucked up with dust.
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