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Zalman CNPS Fans/Heatsinks 9/10. Date Posted 24/06/2002.

Before I start I'd like to thank QuietPC.com and Zalman for helping me with this review. The picture above shows the dual Athlon machine I was testing complete with two Flower coolers and large fans.

Zalman's CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) is a range of products, that give you are quiet and cool machine, when used together. Obviously there's not much point having a Zalman CPU cooler, when you have a dirty great PSU with a hurricane fan (like me, but I shall be reviewing a Q Technology PSU soon)! I had several products for review a CNPS6500B-AlCu cooler (for Pentium 4) and a CNPS6000-AlCu (for Athlon, PIII and similar). There are more varieties of these "Flower" coolers, each offering different levels of heat removal. Some, are quite heavy, nearly 1 Kg, but I did not review those. In any case using such heatsinks is only really necessary if you plan to do some seriously heavy overclocking. Both the Flower coolers I reviewed weighed less than the recommended limited for AMD and Intel processors.

Above, is close up of the two large fans, through which you can see the Flower coolers. They are cooled Flower coolers for obvious reasons, as you can see from the picture. I just about managed to fit two CNPS6000-AlCu on two Athlon MP 1.2 GHz processors on a Tyan Tiger S2460. However, I had to slightly push back some of the fins. That reduced the surface area slightly of the heatsink. However, on a single CPU motherboard, you should not need to do this. The CNPS6000-AlCu is secured in place by one metal clip. Provided in the case is a small metal rod, which is particularly useful in pushing the clip in place. Although the heatsink looks big in photos, it is actually similar in size to most other CPU heatsinks. The fan covers the heatsinks and is attached to your computer using a bracket. Since I was using two heatsinks I attached two fans to the bracket. The advantage of the large fans employed by all the Flower coolers, is that they don't need to rotate as fast to achieve the same amount of heat extraction. Since the fans are not attached to the chip, they make the chip vibrate as they turn. This is almost certainly good news, but in my experience CPUs tend to be very reliable (unless you fried by overclocking)! The Flower cooler fan sit further back from the CPU so consequently it also slightly cools the area around the CPU such as the graphics card.

Before you put the Flower cooler in place, you need to rub some thermal paste over the central core of the CPU. You can change the speed of the fan by using the FanMate controller (ie. to change from silent to full mode). I took a few readings for the CNPS6000-AlCu, using Tyan's System Monitor software, to see how effective it was at removing heat, both in silent mode and full mode.

Full Mode CPU Temp 45C Silent Mode CPU Temp 50C

In silent mode the temperature was the same as my previous heatsink/fan combo, but obviously the Flower Cooler was whisper quiet. Also bear in mind that the Athlon MP 1.2 GHz runs hotter than newer Athlon chips. For overclocking Zalman recommends using Full Mode. A lot factors influence the temperature of the CPU, including how long the computer has been on for, as such these figures tended to fluctuate somewhat. Also using round cables should improve the airflow and thus reduce the temperature, but I have not tried this. However, the temperature was never higher than 55C, and this only occured momentarily.

The CNPS6500B-AlCu (above left, middle - silent video card heatsink, right - Northbridge chipset heatsink) is very similar to the CNPS6000-AlCu, but its installation uses two plastic clips which bolt onto the Pentium 4's Socket bracket. The design of the base is also slightly different. Don't try forcing this into a bracket which doesn't fit. Obvious you might say.. but I tried just that, by cutting two metal slabs to jam it in place (I also cut my fingers too). The moral is spend £4 on a bracket!

It is also possible to buy fans separately made by Zalman, and use them as case fans. They come in several sizes 8 cm and 9.2 cm. Both are effective at removing heat, and also have the FanMate controller (like the CPU fan). The FanMate controller (above) is a great idea, because it gives you full control of the fan, so you can adjust it. As with other Zalman products, these fans have been designed to produce as little noise as possible.

Lastly, there are two heatsinks, a silent motherboard chipset heatsink (for Pentium 4 Northbridge chipsets) and a silent video card heatsink. These have no fans on them, and to install them you need to use two thermal compounds. The video card heatsink is made up of several small sheets of copper, and can use it to replace the video cards original fan. For some reason manufacturers of the latest video cards have some competition to make the noisiest fan! The video card heatsink is not a vital component, and but is necessary if you have a very high-end graphics card (and don't want the on-board fan to drive it mad). It does look cool though, like all the other Zalman products, pity though they're all tucked away inside the computer, and seen by no-one.