Zalman ZM80A-HP - VGA Heatpipe Cooler & Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9700 PRO Ultimate Edition

Installation, Continued

The card with the cooler installe - front...

...and back

A look at the card

Due to the great length of the cooler, it may be a tight fit on some motherboards . The first PCI slot underneath the AGP will be blocked in any case.

Since the mounting holes on the GeForce 4 boards are set rather wide apart, the heatsink makes a slightly, lets say delicate impression when installed, suggesting careful handling of the card. This "stability" is much better on a Radeon 9700 series card, which uses the smaller cooling plates. The cards' memory is not cooled by the heatsink. One problem we encountered with the Radeon 9700, however, was the little spacer surrounding the chip, since it prevents the cooler from coming into direct contact with the die. Zalman's suggested solution is to fill up the gap with more thermal paste, which runs contrary to the conventional wisdom that the layer of thermal compound should be as thin as possible.

Whatever the case may be, we encountered no problems. We tested a Radeon 9700 Pro equipped with a ZM80HP-A in a closed case for several weeks. Even after several hours of gaming we were confronted with neither instabilities nor crashes.