Does anybody know whether a Zalman CNPS9500 LED is actually better at cooling than the stock HSF of the Opteron 170? Is the noise any different?
I'm aware of the fact that the Zalman fan isn't the best cooling solution you can get for that CPU, but I like the looks. I don't intend to go too far with overclocking (I simply don't have the time for that), but I'm not going to install a new hitsink/fan combination just for the looks, if the stock solution is equally good. Does anyone have any experience with this combination?
Ok... the Zalman CNPS9500 is very quiet and does an awesome job at cooling. Its not the best out there, but nonetheless, it does its job well enough. It will beat the stock HSF any day, though just make sure you get some decent thermal compound for the Zalman like AS5 or Arctic Cooling MX-1, because you don't want to hinder its cooling performance with poor interface material.
The stock HSF that is now comming with the Opterons is very good for a stock cooler. I had a 20% OC on my 165 with it. I have since installed a Zalman CNPS9500 LED (the same cooler you are asking about) and my load temp is down 15 degrees C. I did use AS5 thermal compund.
I have an opteron 165 running a 20% OC at 36 Deg C and I can't hear the zalman over the hard drives never mind my one "silent" 120mm case fan and the power supply. It may not be the quietest on the market but it does its job very well even on its low noise settings (which I am using). Unless you are taking great pains to build a silent PC you wont notice it, and it is WAY softer than the stock HSF.
EDIT: P.S. I also have an ALCN 7000 LED and this is qiuter than that is, mostly becuase I can't keep the 7000 at its quitest setting.