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Big Air: 14 LGA 2011-Compatible Coolers For Core i7-3000, Reviewed

Installing Zalman's CNPS12X

Zalman’s CNPS12X installation kit supports AMD’s Sockets AM2 through AM3+, in addition to Intel’s desktop LGA 775 through LGA 2011. LGA 2011-specific standoffs let you get rid of the irksome support plate in favor of the interface's integrated mounts.

Standoffs are threaded in first (foreground), followed by cross brackets and thumb screws (background).

At the edge of a factory-installed pressure bracket, factory-installed spring screws engage holes on the cross brackets to provide even pressure against the CPU.

Ah, but wait…isn’t that backwards? Zalman designed the CNPS12X with ¼” offset to clear the top of your case, your power supply, or whatever else is above your motherboard. Unfortunately, that causes the cooler to overlap our motherboard’s main graphics card slot.

We were left to either put our graphics card in the wrong slot and partially discredit the results (as we will with one other cooler) or mount it in such a way that some of the air pushed through it would already be warmed by our graphics card and power supply. Choosing the latter means that the test results represent a performance floor, by which we know it performs "at least this well."

A final installation issue that affected our build was that the CNPS12X overlapped our second DIMM slot and was just low enough to the motherboard that the fan tips barely touched our 1.55” DIMMs. Though we were able to make things work with a little adjustment, the solution wasn't long-term enough that we'd recommend this cooler to anyone with modules even a hair taller than 1.50”.

  • phamhlam
    I saw the Corsair A70 with rebate for $25. I am glad these coolers are proven to be the best value. I don't need to spend more than $50 for a cooler when a $30 cooler can give me almost the same performance.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    I was disappointed by the Evo's noise level in my own system, and found some very silent (rated at 8dB) Enermax fans, and threw 2 of them on and that did the trick very well. Even though they don't move a lot of air, the push-pull effect still gets me a lower overall temp on my CPU. So remember that with a lot of these coolers you are not stuck with the fans that they come with as they are very easy (stoopid easy) to replace.
    Reply
  • giovanni86
    Troublesome with the height especially concerning with the 8 DIMM slots so close by. I don't like the appearance of the NH-D14 but it does do the job and give you the clearance. Hopefully cooler manufactures will approach these new found boundaries and release ones that will clear all DIMM slots otherwise CPU water cooling looks to be in my near future.
    On a side note i wish the "ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-R" was reviewed as well considering on newegg it is compatible with LGA 2011, and I've been eye balling that one since it came out for my next build.
    Reply
  • bison88
    BigMack70Meh... I still see no reason to even consider the Noctua over the $35 Hyper 212 Evo.If I were to consider a cooler in the ~$90 range, I'd be going water cooling anyways.

    I've heard nothing but great things from CM's Hyper 212+ and Evo variants. Might I add the other powerhouse in affordable cooling, Thermalright's TRUE Spirit 120 for just about the same price. It seems the Hyper 212+ and TRUE Spirit have fallen off in Heatsink/Fan comparison charts despite kicking some serious ass against there competition price rise, and can even hang very well against high-end coolers costing 2-3 times as much.

    I realize you have to compare modern products to modern products for the sake of it, but just a FYI for those not familiar with the cooling scene. Don't ever count out a product that first debut 2-3 years ago, they can still hang, the good ones at least.
    Reply
  • molo9000
    BigMack70Meh... I still see no reason to even consider the Noctua over the $35 Hyper 212 Evo.If I were to consider a cooler in the ~$90 range, I'd be going water cooling anyways.
    Water cooling is a lot more expensive and a lot more complicated. Water cooling systems are not maintenance free and always add the risk of a leaking pipe.

    $80-$90 is a small price to pay for getting a quieter PC without resorting to water cooling.
    Reply
  • theuniquegamer
    Yeah my evo still rocks even on LGA 2011 platform
    Reply
  • I been using a Prolimatech Megahalems since its introduction back in 2009. I remembered that in a few months later Noctua took the crown as top performing air cooled heatsink. It is nice that new cpu heatsinks are becoming better in performance, but i don't like the fact that they are becoming bigger and heavier than previous cpu heatsink kings by only earning a degree or two above the rest. Could you guys do a heatsink Weight/cooling efficiency chart? This is to make readers see which manufacture did its engineering mission to make a much more effective unit than its competition. Not just slab more metal to defeat the other guy. To heatsink manufactures: Do something innovating if a wall seems to be in the way! Just look at PSU manufactures, they are reaching 92% Platinum rating, from 82% rating four years ago.

    Example:
    Noctua NH-D14 weighs 900g without fans and it did 45c at full load.
    900g/45c= 20.00 efficiency ratio.

    Panteck PH-TC14PE weighs 970g without fans, performing at 46c.
    970g/46c= 21.09 efficiency ratio.

    CM Hyper 212 EVO Weighs 580g with fan, performing at 51c.
    580g/51c= 11.37 efficiency ratio.

    Ideally, the lower the ratio, the more efficient a cpu cooler is. Other charts count as well when making a final decision.
    Reply
  • razor512
    anyone know where I can buy the Xigmatek Venus SD1266 in the US?

    I checked newegg and amazon

    seems like a good replacement for my sunbeam core contact heatsing
    Reply
  • builder4
    bunnywannyI been using a Prolimatech Megahalems since its introduction back in 2009. I remembered that in a few months later Noctua took the crown as top performing air cooled heatsink. It is nice that new cpu heatsinks are becoming better in performance, but i don't like the fact that they are becoming bigger and heavier than previous cpu heatsink kings by only earning a degree or two above the rest. Could you guys do a heatsink Weight/cooling efficiency chart? This is to make readers see which manufacture did its engineering mission to make a much more effective unit than its competition. Not just slab more metal to defeat the other guy. To heatsink manufactures: Do something innovating if a wall seems to be in the way! Just look at PSU manufactures, they are reaching 92% Platinum rating, from 82% rating four years ago.Example: Noctua NH-D14 weighs 900g without fans and it did 45c at full load. 900g/45c= 20.00 efficiency ratio. Panteck PH-TC14PE weighs 970g without fans, performing at 46c.970g/46c= 21.09 efficiency ratio.CM Hyper 212 EVO Weighs 580g with fan, performing at 51c.580g/51c= 11.37 efficiency ratio.Ideally, the lower the ratio, the more efficient a cpu cooler is. Other charts count as well when making a final decision.
    By that logic, having no cooler at all is the most efficient... 0g/200c= 0 efficiency ratio. And a dead CPU.

    Also, the higher the temperature (Bad), the lower the ratio, which doesn't make sense.

    You would also need to use the ambient temperature delta rather than the absolute temperature in any sort of ratio for the results to be meaningful.

    I think that the majority of people don't care how heavy their cooler is, only about the price.
    Reply
  • lostmyclanwhy =) you need mass for your decision ? i think its about surface and not mass...
    I am not saying that i need mass to make my decision. And i agree that surface is important. All i am saying is that i want to see cpu heatsinks to be more efficient or equal at cooling with less metal.
    Reply