The CNPS12X is offset by around 0.25" towards the video card, providing added case clearance above the motherboard. Reversing flow direction will instead give users an extra 0.25" of graphics card clearance.
Zalman is one of several manufacturers to ditch the aluminum strips previously found between heat pipes in direct-contact base designs. But fairly large air gaps remain between each individual pipe where the CPU's surface mates to the heat sink's. We will make sure each of those gaps is filled with Zalman silver thermal paste during our upcoming performance evaluation.