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Zalman CNPS9700 LED: The Reference Cooler

CPU Cooler Charts 2008: Part 4
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Although the Zalman CNPS9700 LED has been on the market for more than a year and a half, it has established itself as a reference against which all of the other candidates are measured.

cpu heatsink cooler

This cooler consists of three heatpipes in a figure-eight that are covered with copper cooling fins. Both ends of the heatpipes are located next to the heatsink’s base, ensuring efficient heat transfer to the cooling fins.

cpu heatsink cooler

The Zalman CNPS9700 need not fear the newer coolers in this review. Thanks to its good cooling efficiency, even our quad-core processor never exceeded a temperature of 65.5 °C. On the down side, the CNPS9700 LED needed to run at 2,500 rpm to keep the CPU this cool, making it pretty loud. This is where the included Fanmate 2 fan control comes in handy. Once we reduced the fan speed to 1,150 rpm, the fan stayed pleasantly quiet, effectively cooling our CPU to a constant temperature of 76.5 °C, which we still consider acceptable.

cpu heatsink cooler

The cooler is easy to install. If you’re using an LGA775-based platform, you have to remove the motherboard in order to install the retention module. This has been the case with all Zalman coolers ever since the 7000 series with the exception of the 8700 series. On the plus side, this retention module can also be used for water cooling solutions. The cooler is mounted on the retention module with two screws.

cpu heatsink cooler

cpu heatsink cooler

Technical Details
CPU 100% Load Idle
Temperature 65.5 °C 35 °C
Noise 39.7 dB(A) 36.5 dB(A)
Fan Speed 2,500 RPM 1,050 RPM
Weight 760g
Intel Compat. LGA775
AMD Compat. AM2/AM2+ 939/940

cpu heatsink cooler

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  • 0 Hide
    Proximon , July 11, 2008 6:59 AM
    Interesting review! Good to see so many factors presented so well. Someone needs to build a data base for what cooler fits in which case and MB though... I understand there are some problems with the Xigmatek blocking Dimm slot 0 when placed correctly for dual-core, on some boards... If so would likely apply to other 120MM coolers.
  • 0 Hide
    kelfen , July 11, 2008 7:10 AM
    Interesting, It is pretty cool how you kept track of the data :) 
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 11, 2008 7:33 AM
    Hehe, this review makes me feel great, I bought this cooler about three months ago, for about $30 after rebate on Newegg, and its good to see I made not only the right choice, but the BEST choice POSSIBLE, as far as my bang for my buck!
  • 1 Hide
    Ogdin , July 11, 2008 8:04 AM
    That xigmatek gets even better when you put a decent fan on it too.
  • 0 Hide
    leo2kp , July 11, 2008 11:09 AM
    I use the Thermaltake Big Typhoon and I never see it anymore on charts, but I understand it to be nearly as good as the Zalman 9700LED. My CPU idles at 30C and sits at 50C fully loaded (1st gen E6600 @ 3GHz), although I am using an upgraded fan. Anyway, I think the Big Typhoon should have been tested too =D
  • 8 Hide
    00mike000 , July 11, 2008 11:11 AM
    who agrees that toms hardware should make a CPU and or VGA coolers chart to go in the chart section would be a great way to compare the majority of coolers out there
  • 0 Hide
    JPForums , July 11, 2008 12:03 PM
    The temperatures are a bit higher than my experiences would suggest. However, they seem to be consistent so there is really no issue. It's probably just a difference in how the temperatures are measured and the calibration of my equipment. Still it would be interesting to see the variation in temperatures measured using several different methods.

    I agree with mike, CPU/VGA cooler charts would be useful.
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , July 11, 2008 12:13 PM
    JPForumsThe temperatures are a bit higher than my experiences would suggest. However, they seem to be consistent so there is really no issue. It's probably just a difference in how the temperatures are measured and the calibration of my equipment. Still it would be interesting to see the variation in temperatures measured using several different methods.I agree with mike, CPU/VGA cooler charts would be useful.

    Calibration of equipment? Several different methods? Dude, match the room temperature in the first place. LOL
  • 0 Hide
    schwally , July 11, 2008 12:35 PM
    I put a scythe fan in mine that runs at a higher rpm, and nearly inaudible decibels. Keeps it cooler and quieter. My one problem with the cooler is the push pins. I know they sell the backing seperate, but it would be nice if it was all one. Anywho...
  • 2 Hide
    truehighroller , July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    I think the Thermalright extreme would beat them all why is it not used here?
  • 2 Hide
    Farrwalker , July 11, 2008 1:06 PM
    I would like to see the popular thermalright Ultra120 Extreme CPU Cooler tested and included in the chart.
  • 2 Hide
    Fofo , July 11, 2008 1:07 PM
    truehighrollerI think the Thermalright extreme would beat them all why is it not used here?


    I am also curious to why it is not being used here, I am currently using one and I idle at 33 degrees with my CPU OCED Q9550 from 2.8-3.2ghz.
  • 2 Hide
    Niva , July 11, 2008 1:21 PM
    Hmmm... I have one of these ximatec coolers but I think it has a 120mm fan on it. Never heard the thing ramp up, it's installed in a phenom x4 rig. Maybe I should go look at my receipt and see what it is exactly but the picture looks identical.
  • 2 Hide
    nvalhalla , July 11, 2008 1:27 PM
    I'll cast my "vote" for the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. I use it in the computers I build every day. Keeps q6600s @ 3.0 GHz down to 50-52c under load. Quiet as I need it to be as well. Ewiz sells them for $17, making it a no brainer as far as I'm concerned.
  • 0 Hide
    schwally , July 11, 2008 1:32 PM
    Probably because the cooler is a $60+ cooler. This is for less pricey coolers and the Thermalrights are out of the range.
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , July 11, 2008 2:23 PM
    It'd be nice to have the OCZ Vendetta and Vendetta2 in the comparison. I got my Vendetta a while back for about $30 and its similar to the S1283 but it has a 92mm fan instead of the 120. Just curious how it compares to these others.
  • 2 Hide
    gaiden , July 11, 2008 2:44 PM
    Overall very informative article. With that said I think the "INSTALLATION" category is not as important as say "CONTENTS". My reason being that INSTALLATION, to me and possibly others, is simply a matter of preferences and it's a ONE TIME PROCESS unlike noise and performance. Some dont mind Push-Pins setup while others such as myself NEEDED a bracket and Screws to ensure an Error-Free installation process. Yes i get that Push-Pin style are error free too but I preferred the 'overkill' process (take out the Mobo and install the brackets and screws-the whole 9 yd).

    Moreover, Coolink and Zalman 9700 also requires underneath brackets but its score is alot higher than Thermalright IFX. I own both Zalman and the IFX 14 and both takes the same amount of screws in brackets (both seems painless) installing the retention bracket on the IFX may require a longer screwdriver but I cut myself in the fingers on the 9700 due the direction of the fins while IFX was rather painless. Regardless to its size the IFX isn't any harder to install then any other bracket retention coolers out there. IFX actually offers, arguably, better quality of installation due to that it has rubber rings for your screws for noise reduction as well as optional heatsink that extents from beneath the board. so Quality of the installation is a WHOLE LOT better than what other coolers offered, we all want Quality right?

    I think there should be a CONTENT category instead because like what the article mentioned, some DONT come with all the brackets for the most used sockets. I think sometimes that is a deal-breaker to many due to the 'additional' purchases required as well as a not-very-nice surprise when you actually do get it then find out you have to spend more and wait for a number of days depends on stock and quality of the store you are buying from. (e.g. Thermalright XP-90, XP-120 doesnt come with the LGA 775 with some of these heatsink sellers dont even carry, i have to get mine bracket elsewhere because N@w@gg was out of stock)

    BOTTOMLINE: INSTALLATION category deserves points but not all 10pts. TH should revisit of all these coolers and give them 1-5pts instead while score 1-5pts on their CONTENTS would make a lot more sense.

    my 2cents

    i guess im ready for flames? :p 


    gl
  • 1 Hide
    psycho@home , July 11, 2008 3:03 PM
    Thermalright should have had more coolers tested.I have an Ultima-90 with
    an Intel 6300, stock 1.86Ghz, running at 3.4Ghz, and even running Crysis
    never breaks 58C. The scoring weighted poorly too. Cooling performance
    should count twice as much as installation or noise. Planning ahead, I
    bought my cooler and Gigabyte board together, installation was a breeze
    and the backing plate reduces strain on the board. Fantastic cooler, 6
    heatpipes, 460 grams and very quiet. It tested very close to the
    Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme and as well as the Ultra 120. I did have
    to lap the bottom, not even close to smooth,but my results have to top
    Anand's.
  • 1 Hide
    sublifer , July 11, 2008 3:35 PM
    @gaiden

    "INSTALLATION category deserves points but not all 10pts. TH should revisit of all these coolers and give them 1-5pts instead while score 1-5pts on their CONTENTS would make a lot more sense."

    I completely agree. Installation is one time only and contents matter (especially if you don't get everything you were expecting. It really sukz to delay your build on something like a piece of mounting hardware (or a fan) when those things are generally expected with a cooler) and who doesn't want to get to playing a new game asap when you probably were building it so you could play. :) 

    Wasn't my experience since I got a Vendetta, but I know the feeling.
  • 1 Hide
    zero2dash , July 11, 2008 4:49 PM
    Quote:
    Probably because the cooler is a $60+ cooler. This is for less pricey coolers and the Thermalrights are out of the range.


    The Zalman costs more than the TRUE at most websites. Why do they keep including it then if this is for budget coolers?

    They've also reviewed compact liquid kits and the IFX-14, both of which are over $60.

    The exclusion of the TRUE is getting pathetic, THG.
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