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Zalman CNPS9900 MAX CPU Cooler Review
If it wasn't just because of the CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler, I'd say Zalman definitively bets to produce coolers based on their unique design. I can really argue on how full tower coolers can be better for extreme overclockers or people who just want to push their hardware to the limits in non-extreme conditions. So let me start this review going 2 weeks back in time when I received the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX. Of course I was thinking this could be a good cooler, but I really couldn't think on how it could compete in the major leagues. Some days after that, we received a "reviewer's guide", with detailed features and comparisons about this new product. I started reading it when I got surprised; there was a chart comparing the CNPS9900 MAX against the Thermalright Venomous X full-tower cooler and the CNPS10X too, and the CNPS9900 MAX was showing the best performance among the competition. Of course, being this from the manufacturer, I needed to take it with a grain of salt, but I was just ready to try and obtain similar results, or simply explain how sad reality is in this article. Additionally, the Venomous X was tested with an ADDA AD1212HF-A7BGL fan spinning at 2,200rpm and moving 85CFM.
OK, so that's how I got really interested on testing the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX, as Zalman had some very convincing features including 3 heat-pipes being equivalent to 6 (U-shaped) heat-pipes, a 135mm fan, and a very appealing black-pearl nickel plating including a mirror-finished base. Also, Zalman is launching a new heat-pipe design which is supposed to be 50% more effective in heat transfer compared to ordinary heat-pipes. Through my review, I'll test the CNPS9900 MAX against the very popular Prolimatech Megashadow, and a pair of dual-tower heatsinks: the Cogage Arrow (pretty much the same as the new TR Silver Arrow) and the Noctua NH-D14. Before starting, let me get things straight. Don't expect tons of charts with different fans as the CNPS9900 doesn't have the ability to change its fan. However, keep in mind this CPU heatsink utilizes a 135mm fan (while other normally support 120mm fans) and it's said to work at 1500 and 1700 rpm as shown in the specifications below. You can't install a second fan either, but I'll test with 2 different CFM configurations; one quiet and another one not very quiet, but enough to move similar CFM as the fan shipped with the CNPS9900 MAX. For more detailed information about our testing methodology please read the next pages.
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX Features
- Powerful Cooling Performance Qmax: 300W
- Ultra Quiet 135mm Blue/Red LED Fan
- PWM Fan Speed Control
- Black-Pearl Nickel Plating
- Super Thermal Grease ZM-STG2
- Versatile Compatibility
CNPS9900 MAX Specifications
- Dimensions: 94(L) x 131(W) x 152(H) mm
- Weight: 755g
- Material: Base & Heatsink: Pure Copper
- Dissipation Area: 5,402 cm2
- Heat-pipes: 3 Ω (Omega) Shaped Heat-pipes - Equivalent to Performance of 6 Heat-pipes
- Fan: PWM 135mm Blue/RED LED Fan
- Fan Speed Quiet Mode: 900 ~ 1,500 rpm ± 10%
- Fan Speed Normal Mode: 900 ~ 1,700 rpm ± 10%
- Fan Noise Quiet Mode: 18 ~ 27 dBA ± 10%
- Fan Noise Normal Mode: 18 ~ 30 dBA ± 10%
- Input Voltage: 5V (Quiet Mode), 12V (Normal Mode)
- Bearing Type: Long Life Bearing 50,000hrs or greater
- Supported Sockets: Intel Socket LGA1366/1156/775 & AMD Socket AMD/AM2/AM2+
- Thermal Grease: ZM-STG2
- Thermal Grease Color: Gray
- Thermal Grease Capacity: 3.5g
- Thermal Grease Temperature Stability: -40°C ~ +150°C (-40? ~ +302?)
Manufacturer: Zalman Tech Co., Ltd.
Product Name: Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
Model Number: CNPS900-MAX
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Zalman.