CPU Cooler Charts 2008, Part 1

Zalman CNPS8700LED - The Real Catastrophe

Zalman CNPS8700LED

Zalman, a company that has built a name for itself over the past few years with its truly excellent cooler designs, thoroughly disappointed us with its new CNPS8700LED. The catastrophically designed retention mechanism is the reason why the final verdict can be nothing other than "Failed". Like all of Zalman's other models, installing this cooler requires removing the motherboard from the case to install the retention mechanism; then the cooler is fixed in place using a metal clip. However, due to the heatpipe and the very compact design, there is so little space around the cooler that the clip becomes jammed in the cramped area around it very easily. At several points during the installation procedure we were actually at a loss as to how to remove the retention clamp again. A fellow editor actually returned his model to the store out of sheer desperation.

Another problem is that the size of the cooler makes access to the retention clip very difficult, effectively making installation of this model impossible on many boards. Actually removing the cooler once mounted may not be possible on some boards since there is not enough free space around the cooler to pry the retention clip out of the mounting bracket.

The cooling performance of the CNPS8700LED is only average. At its lowest fan setting, the CPU temperature reached 80°C, while the processor is cooled to 71°C at full speed. However, the fan becomes so loud at this setting that working with the system is not a very enjoyable experience. Noise is only acceptable in the lower third of the speed spectrum, and the cooler will begin humming or droning at higher settings. The fan produces good airflow, though, so the fact that the CPU remains so hot seems to be a good indication that the heatpipes are unable to conduct the heat away from the processor effectively. It looks like Zalman's engineers need to re-evaluate their design.

Zalman sells other coolers that are far superior to this model in every respect: installation, cooling performance and noise. The cooler can be found starting at $50; considering the problems we encountered, this is much too high.


Mounting components

Retail box

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Technical Data
CPU100% loadidle
Temperature 12V71°C37°C
Temperature 5V80.5°C38°C
Noise45.0 dB(A)38.5 dB(A)
Fan Speed2380 RPM1100 RPM
Weight586 gramsRow 5 - Cell 2
Intel Socket775Row 6 - Cell 2
AMD SocketAM2AM2+
Row 8 - Cell 0 939754
Row 9 - Cell 0 940Row 9 - Cell 2


  • Thank you, been wondering what cooler to buy for an OCed Quad, and high temps are good when dying :D
  • sorrii
    ... must be stupid ...! The fan is istalled at wrong side of the cooler ...
  • Thermalright FTW!! Every time.
  • suspect
    I cant believe that photo...sorrii I am with you only a nutjob would use or test it in that configuration!!!
    Noctua clearly state orientation of their coolers and that is ass about.
    Every other review I have read rates the NH-U12F much more highly... always near best in class
  • wkornf
    your numbers of near 70C on every cooler is outrageous, if those numbers are true not a single one of these coolers would keep a computer stable in a closed case outside the northeast. and a couple minutes isnt a good measure of cpus final temp, if u look over a temp log after a long game session you know it creeps up. to many factors.
  • dragunover
    Bullshit article.I agree with wkornf.

    If my Artic silver 5 + Scythe Katana 2 cooler(for only a massive price of 25 USD! I can keep my outdated Pentium D under 100 degrees fahrenheit,infact around HALF of these tests,even under water cooling? Wow,according to this,I should actually worry about getting a quad core because of the heat.And no,I don't have any fans in my case,it's open,only fans are from my GPU,CPU,and my PSU.
    No extra 4 250mm performance fans.And an X38? That's just unbelievable.
  • eaglestrike7339
    Do you guys get the point? They maxed out everything, so the cooler could show off the best that it could do in the most extreme conditions.

    A good article, i especially like the tests for installation and sound, as those are what i would look into most when purchasing a cooler, and unlike CPUs, there are usually no charts to go along with.
  • suspect
    eaglestrike... do you see mounting the noctua fan in the wrong direction as good testing???
    They have it on the top side of the sink flowing in a downward direction!!!
    it goes against basic laws of physics and logic.
  • cliffro
    alot of the coolers listed of a particular design are installed all goofy like, Of course on their open setup it doesn't make much difference(i think)

    but when installed in a normal ATX case, would be detrimental to the coolers performance. Especially coolers designed similar to the Noctua and Scythe Ninja plus.

    I can't be certain about others but Arctic Cooling's Freezer 7 Pro is supposed to be installed like this(one would assume others of similar design would be the same)
  • suspect
    cliffro I think to some degree you are correct but it still does not follow good practice when supposedly collecting data to represent consumer products.
    As these have published manufacturer recomended installations why would you reverse it.
    I recently read a review of the latest Noctua cooler at Legitreviews
    where Noctua actually contacted them on this very issue... as a result they retested and found some improvement in cooling.