Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 1: PC Components

Zalman CNPS9700LED: Excellence Of Efficiency

Zalman is one of the best-known manufacturers of PC cooling products. Its CPNS9500 was the clear winner in our last CPU cooler roundup earlier this year, and is now being replaced by the bigger CNPS9700. The latest product offers more cooling copper surface and a larger fan, but is technically similar to its smaller brother. The mounting mechanism supports both AMD Socket 939/AM2 and Intel Socket 775 platforms, and all available processor models. Both Zalman coolers use a heatpipe design to dissipate heat from the processor surface to the very fine copper fins. Thanks to this sophisticated design, the fan rotation speed usually is moderate to slow (unless you really torture your high-end processor).

If you find your motherboard on Zalman's compatibility list - boards need enough free space around the processor socket and they have to withstand the 764 g weight - and if you're ready to spend approximately $70, you can be sure to receive one of the very best air coolers available.