Enthusiasts of a certain age will recall Zalman as a mainstay of the cooling business, going back more than two decades. And although the company suffered a series of financial and legal issues several years ago, it’s looking to regain the notoriety and forum credibility of yesteryear. It’s tough to make a judgement based on just one product. but if the CNPS10x Performa Black is any indication, Zalman is back on the road to quiet thermal dominance.
The Zalman CNPS10x Performa Black is a mid-size, quad-heatpipe cooler that features a jet-black motif and a single, ultra-silent 135mm fan that rips through CPU thermal loads for your multi-core desktop enthusiast processor. As we’ll see in testing, it delivers great performance at low noise levels, while landing at a wallet-pleasing $45.
|Height||6.125" / 155.6mm|
|Width||5.38" / 136.7mm|
|Depth||2.27" / 69.9mm (3.75" / 95.3mm w/ fan)|
|Base||1.30" / 33mm|
|Assy. Offset||1.0" / 25.4mm rear (0.0 centered w/fan)|
|Cooling Fans||(1) 135 x 25mm|
|Connectors||(1) 4-pin PWM|
|Weight||29.7pz / 842g|
|Intel Sockets||115x, 1200, 2011, 2066|
The Zalman CNPS10x Performa Black ships with mounting hardware to support most Intel desktop CPU sockets and AMD AM4, by making use of universal backplate. Hardware is plated with a sparkly, nickel-plated finish, and rubber tension gaskets are provided for both AMD and Intel bracket mount orientations. A small packet of Zalman ZM-STC8 thermal paste is also provided to get the CNPS10x Performa Black up and running on your rig.
Zalman covers the CNPS10x Performa Black with a 2-year warranty.
A set of four copper heatpipes allows the CNPS10x Performa Black to wick heat away from the CPU integrated heat spreader (IHS) and up into the cooling tower with a slightly staggered offset. With overall dimensions of 6.13 x 5.38 x 2.27 inches (155.6 x 136.7 x 69.9 mm) without the cooling fan, the heatsink is somewhat thick compared to most mid-size towers, giving the CNPS10x a rather substantial surface area.
The set of four heatpipes are direct-contact, milled and set into the mounting base of the CNPS10x Performa Black. One thing to note is that the spring-set screws are not permanently fixed into the mounting bracket. That might not seem that much of an issue, but during installation and initial tensioning this does make for some awkward steps until the screw threads are started.
The base of the CNPS10x is milled completely flat; there is no evidence of any ambient light sneaking between our steel ruler and the heatsink base.
With the CNPS10x Performa Black mounted, our Arctic MX-4 compound spreads very nicely, produces a very uniform contact patch and sits nicely across all four of the direct-contact heatpipes.
Zalman includes a PWM-managed 135mm PWM fan rated up to 1500mm. The fan is held in place with a pair of wire snap clips and is adjustable so it can clear taller memory DIMMs, if needed.
The installation of the Zalman CNPS10x Performa Black is straightforward and shows the slight offset of the cooler over the CPU prior to fan installation. Also of note: One tension spring is visible on the right side of the photo next to our Corsair Vengeance LPX memory. Because these springs are not fixed to the mounting bracket, it can be tricky during installation to align the cooler and provide adequate tension to begin evenly threading the screws.
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