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Introduction, Continued

Zalman ZM80A-HP - VGA Heatpipe Cooler & Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9700 PRO Ultimate Edition
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With more cooling came more noise, as certain models of the latest cards impressively prove. While extravagant cooling may be a decisive factor in a highly overclocked environment, noise is always a factor, even during normal operation. It's not by chance that so-called "Silent PCs" are becoming so popular right now. To achieve noiseless nirvana, more and more people are willing to spend huge chunks of money to mod their computer case, equipping it with silent fans or, even better, water cooling systems - only to realize that they can now hear their graphics card all the better...

The front heatsink - front side....

...and the back.

This is just the audience that Zalman is aiming for with its new passive VGA heatpipe cooler. The product promises to be a passive add-in cooling solution that offers the best of both worlds - the modded look without the noise.

The Kit

Zalman ships its cooler with all the necessary accessories, including a generous amount of thermal compound and even a screwdriver with a philips head. The cooler itself consists of two cooling plates (front and backplate), which are available in two sizes. This guarantees that the set can be used with almost any card, as long as it features the mounting and retention holes on the board. The only card Zalman explicitly lists as being incompatible is Matrox' Parhelia. Two very large heatsinks are then mounted on top of the cooling plates and connected to each other with the heatpipe.

The heatsink's varnish shows a few irregularities and imperfections.

We were surprised to note that the back cooling plate does not come into contact with the back side of the card - there's a gap of a couple of millimeters. That means that the heatsink on the back only dissipates the heat transferred to it via the heatpipe.

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