Need proof that sufficient CPU cooling doesn’t need to be expensive? The ~$45 Zalman CNPS7X LED is it. Taking after the design of the much more expensive CNPS11X, the CNPS7X uses fewer heatpipes and a smaller 92mm fan, resulting in a modest size and silence – even with a decent CPU overclock under its belt.
You cannot really compare the performance of the CNPS7X to that of the Corsair units and expect to get an accurate representation of where it stands. Luckily, there will be many more cooler reviews in the future and our temperature database will continue to grow. This will give a better idea of whether any of the coolers we review are truly worth the money.
This cooler makes my personal system sound like a jet engine, so I am extremely jealous of the fan that’s used. Even at only 92mm, which is no longer the norm, it does a great job of keeping our overclocked CPU well within the thermal limits and adds nothing to the level of overall noise generated.
Keep in mind that higher-end boards with heatsinks may run into clearance issues as ours did. This obviously isn’t the fault of the Zalman design team so I can’t count this as a strike.
I wouldn’t normally mention the method of removal, but in this case I did not see one and there was nothing mentioned in the instructions. After some Indiana Jones stealing the idol-type contemplation, I ended up gently wedging a small precision flat-head screw driver under the outside edge of one of the pegs and rocked it from side to side. The peg released, so I did it for all four without trouble. This could result in some damage over time seeing how the pegs are plastic.
A quick email to Zalman provided another method of pushing the pegs up from the backside of the motherboard using two plastic cards stacked on top of each other. Once the pegs are pushed up far enough, they can be removed from the front side and the platform can be removed. For those without a cutout in the motherboard tray of their case, or for those with one that doesn’t quite line up as ours does, the motherboard would need to be removed in order to use this method.
A paltry ~$45 will net you the CNPS7X and that is a bargain for anybody. The cooler looks great, is incredibly easy to install (I’d like to see this mounting system used more often), performs well even while handling a mild overclock and some extra voltage – but best of all it adds nothing to overall system noise.
Even with the odd removal method, this cooler is too good to pass up. If I didn’t run the system that I do the way that I do, I’d run out to the store and pick one up myself. It’s a great cooler aimed at those who need significantly better cooling than the stock cooler can provide and want to keep sound levels at a minimum.
Zalman CNPS7X LED CPU Cooler
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