Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers

Zalman CNPS10X Quiet

Zalman usually impresses us with the quality of its products, but quality doesn’t always come cheap. A $60 Web price makes this one of the more expensive single-fan coolers in today’s test.

Great news for fans of motherboards not based on an LGA 1156 interface is that the CNPS10X Quiet also supports LGA 1366 and LGA 775 platforms, in addition to AMD’s Socket 939, AM2, AM2+, and AM3 standard brackets. However, we are a little concerned about how such a large cooler is installed in Core i5 and Core i7 motherboards without a support plate, using little more than four nuts from underneath to support its top-side mounting bracket.

Zalman’s Fan Mate 2 is yet another expense that could help balance the value in the CNPS10X Quiet. However, we prefer dynamic fan speed through BIOS and the included three-pin fan does not support the pulse-width modulation method that so many motherboards enable.

A gold-plated, polished base is one of Zalman’s quality traditions. Yet, like most polished coolers, this one isn’t completely flat. Thermal paste fills any small voids that result from installing a heat sink on a processor’s heat spreader. The gold is thick enough to prevent oxidization without being so thick as to hinder heat transfer to the copper plate beneath.

Installing the CNPS10X Quiet begins by adding its plastic bracket to the motherboard, a process as easy (or difficult) as putting screws through the top side and adding tiny plastic washers and nuts to the bottom. This must be done before the motherboard is installed in a case.

The cooler-retention bracket clamps the heat sink base firmly over the CPU via spring-loaded screws. The fan must be removed to gain access to the front screws, but wire clips make its removal and replacement a simple process.

Orientation of the AMD-compatible clip forces an updraft rather than cross-draft installation on most motherboards. This should make the CNPS10X Quiet an Intel-only cooler design in the minds of most enthusiasts.

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    Top Comments
  • arkadi
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :)
    19
  • Other Comments
  • kumaiti
    Not a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".
    -15
  • mrgrey
    Argh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet.

    Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?
    3
  • barmaley
    Test settings page reads: CPU Intel Core i7-860, but CPU-Z screen shot under it reads Intel Core i7-870. Which one is it that you tested Tom?
    3
  • Anonymous
    Is there an article testing thermal compounds?
    2
  • nzprogamer
    mrgreyArgh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet. Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?


    no worries there you will be fine
    0
  • nzprogamer
    i had the 212 and sunbermtech both were running really good and cool. but i would buy the sunbeamtech with the easy exchange fan kit.
    0
  • arkadi
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :)
    19
  • falchard
    What no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    -5
  • Crashman
    kumaitiNot a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".
    falchardWhat no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    You would have to ask the manufacturers, since they picked the coolers.
    8
  • micky_lund
    prolimatech megahalems
    -3
  • Anonymous
    If NH-D14 is in this, where's Prolimatech's Megahalems and Thermalright's Venomous X?
    -4
  • mayor_mccheese
    just bought a freezer pro too :(
    2
  • Crashman
    BobalinaIf NH-D14 is in this, where's Prolimatech's Megahalems and Thermalright's Venomous X?

    Thermalright sent the MUX-120.
    3
  • Spanky Deluxe
    Why no Megahalems? They're widely considered the best air coolers out there right now.
    1
  • pbrigido
    Even though the Zalman CNPS10X didn't win any of the tests, I still prefer its design because of the all copper contact between the CPU and the heatsink. Nice to see some of these tests again...can you also do one to compare the effectiveness of different thermal compounds?
    1
  • Crashman
    Spanky DeluxeWhy no Megahalems? They're widely considered the best air coolers out there right now.


    Some companies didn't respond to the invitation. Sorry, I didn't keep a list.
    4
  • fred2421
    Quick question..these temps you are showing they are all with an ambient temperature of 11C? So when you say 82C over ambient the temps are actually 82+11=93C?
    5
  • ubernoobie
    the best cpu cooler is now the thermalright vemonous I believe
    -1
  • JohnnyLucky
    Interesting article. I knew results would vary from other reviews. That's normal.

    I was surprised the new Thermalright Venoumous X was not included. It's an updated version of the Ultra 120 Extreme specifically designed for the new Intel Core i5/i7 cpu's.

    Didn't THG mention in an older article that those extra tall heatspreaders that sort of look like a comb did not provide any additional cooling over stock heatspreaders?
    0
  • Silmarunya
    It's clear the AC Freezer 7 is a poor choice for higher end overclocking, but how does it fare as a medium end OC cooler? Could it bring, say, an i5-750 to 3.5GHz without giving in?
    0