Zalman CNPS8700LED - The Real Catastrophe
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.
|Noise||45.0 dB(A)||38.5 dB(A)|
|Fan Speed||2380 RPM||1100 RPM|