A decade back, as AMD finally started to crawl out of the shadow of Intel’s persistent domination of the desktop CPU space, KitGurus in long shorts with patches on their elbows started to experiment with this amazing concept called overclocking. Back in the day, a highly-sharpened HB was perfect for (a) multiple choice exams and (b) overclocking the nuts off your latest CPU. As our OC kung-fu blossomed, our eyes glimpsed the wondrous copper flower of Zalman. Whoooo. So, whatever happened to Zalman ?
From the revolutionary 7000 through to the evolutionary 9500, Zalman was a top pick for any enthusiast. Well, any AMD enthusiast. Each generation of cooler was bigger and more elaborate than the last and most of them were shown off in the UK for the first time at one of the Multiplay LAN gaming events.
Is it possible that Zalman’s success was so closely tied into the market’s move to Athlon and FX, that many forgot these coolers can be used with Intel systems as well?
We’ve been speaking with Zalman’s engineers and they seem to think they have a winner on their hands with the CNPS9900 MAX.
Part of their confidence comes from the ‘slightly larger than most’ 135mm fan, which they tell us will increase the CFM across the cooling fins. The fins themselves have a special Black-Pearl nickel plating which is also supposed to assist in the movement of thermal energy from your CPU to your chassis.
Assuming everything has been prepared correctly, more fins means a greater surface area for passing air molecules to bounce into the metal and pick up some heat.
Alongside air flow and fin area, another major factor is the smoothness of the base. If it is perfectly smooth, then a great amount will be in contact with the CPU – allowing greater heat transfer. The arse on the CNPS9900 MAX is so smooth that we gave up trying to the camera to focus on the base – and instead let it autofocus on the reflection of the tablecloth. Now that’s what we call smooth.
Our Zalman friends were also keen to point out the superior heat transfer capability of their STG2 thermalpaste. While it might not quite match the leading polysynthetic compounds like Arctic Silver 5, STG2 is still a ‘premier division’ competitor and a wise choice for Zalman loving KitGurus.
The big questions remain, how much will it be and what performance will it deliver?
Time to buy your Pay-Per-View tickets for Zardon Vs Zalman anytime soon.
KitGuru says: The market is now pretty well defined with the Noctua NH-D14, Corsair H50 and CoolIT Eco products taking the £60+ market and the Titan Fenrir at £29, then it’s going to need to hit a pretty small sweet spot. Better OC cooling than the Titan and cheaper than the Noctua. Good luck lads.
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