|Zalman VF900-Cu Ultra Quiet Heatpipe VGA Cooler|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Bruce Normann - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 18 June 2008|
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Zalman VF900-Cu Assembly
Everything fit fine, there were no interference issues and I could see there was going to be good airflow over the RAM heatsinks.
Now that I knew how it was all going to go together, I was finally ready to put the thermal compound on the GPU and install the cooler for real. The surface of the nVIDIA GPU chip is a mirror finish, as is the cooler base, there wasn't a need for lots of TIM to fill in any voids or surface roughness. Because there is no heat spreader on the GPU chip, I wanted to make sure I got full coverage of the chip face and I chose an X-shaped pattern to make sure I didn't leave any corners bare. I admit to doing this step a couple of times, using less TIM each time, until I was satisfied with the results.
The mounting scheme develops enough pressure to spread the TIM out even when it's cold, I'm sure it flowed a little more once it got up to temperature. I know that after two days of constant running the idle temps dropped a couple of degrees C.
Once the cooler is sitting on the GPU, follow the manufacturer's instructions; flip it over carefully and install the insulating washers and the spring-loaded, plastic-bodied nuts. Once again, these threaded on smoothly, which is doubly important when you're working against spring pressure. Once the threads were started, the nuts were tightened in an alternating cris-cross pattern until fully tight, per the manufacturer's instructions.
At this point I inspected the card for any bowing and didn't see any; everything seemed to be flat, level and aligned over the GPU chip. I rested a bit, admired my work and patted myself on the back for taking a measured, methodical approach.
The completed card fit back into the motherboard and case without a hitch, and it was time to plug in the fan. I decided to use one of the motherboard fan connectors, since I wanted to have RPM monitoring available through one of my favorite utilities, CPUID Hardware Monitor. I also took advantage of the FAN MATE2 controller packaged with the cooler, since I wanted to minimize any noise from the fan. I needn't have worried; even at the maximum RPM of 2400, it's inaudible with my Antec Sonata II case located on the floor at my feet. The fan controller is mounted in a convenient spot inside the case, with the high-bond double stick foam tape supplied. There was plenty of cable supplied with both the fan and controller to make logical and practical wire routing a non-event. If you want an extra touch of snob appeal, you may want add some polyester mesh sleeving to the cables. I'm not bothered by the sight of bare cables, as long as they are well routed and tied down. It makes a notable difference on my PSU cables; but for a couple of small fan cables, I'm OK.