The 9500AT came.. but did it conquer? I have to say, I am quite impressed with how it handled this brutally warm 820 D chip. While I would not use the cooler when overclocking your chip a large amount, it proved great up to around 3.5GHz. Obviously, the N500 water cooling beat the 9500AT, but it also costs three times as much. Of course though, the N500 can be expanded to cool more than just the CPU.
The 9500AT is one of the best looking CPU coolers on the market. It’s one that you can show anyone who is not even into computers, and they will say, “Wow”. The primary downside of the cooler is making sure you have enough room to fit it in your tower, or on top of your motherboard. If you are unsure of whether or not the cooler will fit on your board, you can check out Zalman’s compatibility list here.
Now the bigger question is whether or not this cooler is worth the average $60US asking price. Yes and no. For the same price, you can get the LED version, which is essentially the same, but with a cool blue LED. If you are not into anything flashy though, then the 9500AT should be right up your alley.
What hurts this cooler the absolute most is the installation problems, and the fact that you must remove the bracket in order to remove your CPU. These are a couple problems that could have easily been avoided. I would have loved to see better thermal paste included also. Preferably some that I could actually use.
Overall, the 9500AT has awesome cooling ability, but has problems that hold it back from getting a better score. Originally, I was going to award the 9500AT a 7 out of 10, but getting past the install problems, which may prove minor to some, I am awarding it an 8. Just make sure you have your own thermal paste when picking one up.
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