Roundup: Six Sub-$40 Performance CPU Coolers Compared

Zalman CNPS10X Performa

Zalman is better-known for quality than value, yet the firm surprised us by providing its high-end Performa cooler with a moderate $35 Web price.

Zalman’s finely-finished copper base connects five heat pipes to a uniquely-designed sink. Screws at the edge of the base clamp mounting brackets in place.

The CNPS10X Performa includes two sets of AMD hardware, in addition to a universal socket support plate and LGA 1156/1366/775 brackets. Four clips support up to two fans, and an optional resistor wire for the included fan reduces its speed and noise.

After attaching the proper brackets to the heat sink and nuts to the support plate, the CNPS10X simply bolts in place. The same procedure is used for bolt-through brackets on both Intel and AMD motherboards.

Bolt-through installation allows the proper cross flow orientation on AMD motherboards. Users with oddball bracket orientation or those who really want an updraft configuration can achieve the desired result using an included retaining clip, rather than bolt-on brackets.