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Zalman CNPS9500 CPU Cooler

Date: December 19, 2005
Author(s): Greg King

If you have been looking for a new CPU cooler that not only does it’s job well, but looks great in the process, then the 9500 may be exactly what you need. Made of pure copper, the 9500 utilizes 3 heatpipes which effectively does the work of 6! Let’s see how it compares to other heatsinks we have tested.



Introduction

Face it, processors aren’t getting any cooler. With higher clock speeds comes higher voltage and with voltage comes heat. The processors of today, whether they are AMD or Intel, are hot. Your sister hot.

/Enter Zalman.

Today I am going to take a look at the Zalman CNPS9500 LED. Zalman is known in the industry as a cooling giant. They have provided excellent cooling solutions for quite some time and I am setting out to see if the 9500 can continue the trend. Let’s get to work and see what this thing is made of.

The packaging of this cooler is top notch. The box is rather large but then again, this is a large cooler. As you can see in the pictures, the cooler comes in a blue box constructed out of sturdy cardboard. The center of the box is clear, allowing you to actually view the cooler and get a grip on its size. How about we take a look at the contents?

Once outside the box, the cooler is tucked safely away in a plastic case. I guess you can never be too careful. You can also see, in the picture on the left, a white box. What ever could be in the white box? Let’s see…

There are clearly a lot of goodies in the white box so let’s take a look and see just what we can find:

Whew, that was a lot of stuff to fit into a small white box and God I love the word nipples :-D

/Immature laughter ensues.

Well, now that we have it out of the box and my lack of maturity has subsided; let’s get back into the review.



Further features

The 9500 is large and we have all ready covered that. The base of the cooler is copper and for the most part, is smooth and reflective. Come to think of it, the whole damn thing is copper. From the base, there are 3 heat pipes that come out of one side, go upward and form a figure eight and come back down into the other side of the base. Along the upper loop of the heat pipes, there are 90 thin copper fins and in the center, there is a transparent fan that moves air across those thin copper fins. Yes, I took the time to count all of the fins and no I don’t have a better hobby.

Now you know about the cooler and its accessories, let’s get to the installation of this baby. As stated above, the 9500 comes with so many mounting selections; you could possibly mount it on your dog. In this case however, it’s going on my Sandy 3700+. Here are the specs of the test bed.

/Zalman meet Sandy. Sandy, Zalman.

The cooler fit nicely in my case and the option to mount the 9500 4 different ways is nice. In my case, I chose to mount the cooler with the fan sucking air from inside the case and expelling it out across the fins and right out of the my 120mm exhaust as seen in the picture.

There are, like I said earlier, 4 different ways to mount the cooler. Out of those four, you can see which setup I choose. You could possibly mount the fan so it blows downward onto the video card, upward toward the RAM or the exact opposite of how I have mine setup and have the exhaust fan pull air in and into the fan. Obviously some ways are better than others but who am I to judge. All I really want to do is to see exactly how well this gorgeous copper beauty cools my Sandy.

In order to test the cooler, I am going to take the temperatures of the CPU at idle and at full load. The idle temps are going to be easy and to push the Sandy to 100% load; I am going to run CPU burn in for 30 minutes each, with the case door closed. After the half hour expires, I will immediately check the temps with motherboard monitor and record the temperature.



Results & Conclusion

Let’s take a look at my results:

As I stated in my last cooler review, I keep my ambient temperatures low. My home is constantly around 70* F. This not only keeps me rather comfortable but keeps my PC somewhat cooler than most. Regardless, I retested all of my other coolers as to keep the trials even Steven.

As you can see, the Zalman preformed admirably. A full seven degrees cooler at idle and eight degrees under load. Now that is what I am talking about. The Zalman heat pipe cooler did its job and them some.

I can’t help but respect Zalman for what they do and the ingenuity that possess. The 9500 is a beautiful cooler and does exactly what it says that it will. The temps were by far, the best out of the 4 that I used for comparison. As much as I am impressed with this cooler, there are some negative comments that I do have. The thing is a beast, easily beating out the other coolers in sheer size.

There is nothing wrong with the size but people with SFF setups will not be able to use this cooler. Another gripe of mine is the sound. The 9500 is absolutely dead silent when used with the Fan Mate 2 at a low speed but when full on, it is on par with the stock fan that AMD bundles with their chips. While this does not bother me, I am sure that it will bother others. Another thing I noticed was how much better copper is at cooling than aluminum. Both of the Zalman coolers were copper, and the stock cooler and Spire were aluminum.

Overall, this is an impressive cooler and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an air cooling solution. The gripes that I had with the cooler were nothing to be worried about but I did want to inform you that while this is a damned good cooler, it is not perfect. If you either do not want to mess with water cooling or can’t afford it, I highly recommend this. I have no problems giving this cooler a hard 8 out of 10 on our Techgage meter o’ truth.

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