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ZALMAN CNPS12X vs Noctua NH-D14 and Thermal Compound

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April 25, 2012 10:39:59 PM

I'm working on a new build. I'll be purchasing the 3770k when it becomes available and I'm looking to OC it.
By and large I've got an unlimited budget, but the numbers I've seen for liquid cooling just don't seem to justify the added expense. I've narrowed my choice of cooler down to either the

Noctua NH-D14: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or the
ZALMAN CNPS12X: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

I'm leaning towards the Zalman unless someone has a compelling reason against it.

The main question is, how do the thermal compounds these heatsinks ship with stack up? Is it worth using or should I be looking into getting something else?

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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 11:39:34 PM
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Thermal compound matters very little, maybe 1-2C. The NT-H1 that comes with the Noctua is a very good thermal compound though. I would get the D14, the Zalman looks cool and all, but the Noctua has been tested and is one of the best air coolers around, it's pretty quiet as well.

But, the Zalman looks hella sick and is triple fan, so it is probably very good as well. Pick the one that appeals to you more, both will do the job well.
April 25, 2012 11:57:55 PM

gary1 said:
Thermal compound matters very little, maybe 1-2C. The NT-H1 that comes with the Noctua is a very good thermal compound though. I would get the D14, the Zalman looks cool and all, but the Noctua has been tested and is one of the best air coolers around, it's pretty quiet as well.

But, the Zalman looks hella sick and is triple fan, so it is probably very good as well. Pick the one that appeals to you more, both will do the job well.


If it were a matter of looks I'd jump on the Zalman in a second. It looks so much nicer than the beige fans on the DH1. Unfortunately my case has a pretty opaque window (it's a heavy black mesh grill) So I won't be able to see too much. Top that off with the fact that it's likely to be kept on the floor and well, sadly looks just fall off the chart.

I'm much more concerned with performance, stability and longevity. I've heard that both of these coolers can place some significant strain on the mobo. Is that something to *really* be concerned with, or is that something that only bites you with really budget motherboards in really budget cases?
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a b K Overclocking
April 26, 2012 12:02:59 AM

Yeah, it is quite big and heavy. But I've never heard of it warping a motherboard, the mounting system is quite good. The D14 that is, don't know much about the Zalman.
April 26, 2012 12:34:01 AM

I hear it getting stacked up against the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.
Is twice the price really worth an extra 5C?
a b K Overclocking
April 26, 2012 1:40:41 AM

Your choice. Theres also the Scythe Mugen 3 that is right in the middle.
April 26, 2012 2:27:50 AM

Best answer selected by Viiag.
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