|Zalman CNPS9900 MAX 135mm CPU Cooler|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Tuesday, 16 November 2010|
Page 6 of 8
Testing and Results
I used the following heat sinks in this comparison: Prolimatech Megashadow, Noctua NH-D14, Cogage Arrow (basically, it's the same as the Thermalright Silver Arrow) and of course, the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX. Many high-end heatsinks don't include a fan these days, so you need to pick up your favorite fans depending on your desired configuration. Since Zalman is using a 1500-1700 rpm fan, which at 1500rpm is quiet enough to be "silent", and 1700rpm is enough to be considered as high-output fan, I decided to use a pair of Noctua NF-P12 (rated at 54CFM) fans for comparison with the rest of the heatsinks. It's really difficult to compare 135mm fans, as many heatsinks don't even support that size, and while there are some heatsinks supporting 140mm fans, 120mm is still the standard. For these tests, I over-volted the Intel Core i7-860 processor to 1.350 volts, and overclocked it to 3.8GHz. RAM was running at 2400MHz all the time with a BCLK of 200MHz and 1.2 QPI voltage. The charts below report the thermal difference (processor temperature vs. ambient temperature) as well as the difference in degrees Celsius from the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX, in order of performance, with the best results listed first (lower is better).
Heatsink Performance Tests (Noctua NF-P12)
The CNPS9900 MAX did perform much better than I expected. I had to re-test 3 times in order to see if there wasn't a bug or a bad installation involved, but the results are OK. Against Noctua NF-P12 fans (silent setup), the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX performs very similar to the Prolimatech Megashadow with a dual fan configuration. It also surpasses the Cogage Arrow and any single heatsink setup, but it can't reach the Noctua NH-D14 with a dual fan configuration. Remember the CNPS9900 MAX is a semi-quiet heatsink working with a single 135mm fan, and for the price tag and Zalman's promises, you're receiving a very decent product.
Before all you start yelling at me, let me get this straight: The Zalman CNPS9900 MAX is a very decent cooler, and it performs very similar to other high-end heatsinks when used with quiet fans. That means if you're looking for a silent and smaller solution, and supposing you're not too extreme to change/add high-output noisy fans, then you should consider the CNPS9900 MAX as an option. This CPU cooler is NOT better than the rest of the coolers I tested for overclocking at "extreme" conditions, and the reasons are:
Just to satisfy any person who will ask the conditions where the CNPS9900 MAX could be obliterated against the rest of the heatsinks tested today, I can say those conditions are pretty much anytime unless using stock fans or silent fans with moderated CPU load. Even if Zalman says this cooler supports up to 300w TDP, I'm sure the rest of the heatsinks will out-perform it thanks to their bigger mass. Also, you have the chance to add high-output fans and even install a second or a third (NH-D14 and Cogage Arrow) fan, improving performance in high-load tests. In conclusion, if you want a silent cooler for your moderated overclock setup, and you don't have a lot of space to install super-giant coolers with multiple fans, then choose the CNPS900 MAX. Otherwise, you should really try other options.