- Review Price: £34.00
CPU coolers have almost becomes fashion items these days and there is a vast selection to choose from. Most people probably don’t even know what make and model of CPU cooler they have, but there are two good reasons why you should have a look. The first reason is noise, as many of the cheap coolers make a terrible racket due to the poor fans that are fitted to them. The other reason is heat dissipation, where a badly made heatsink will not cool your CPU as well as a high-quality device will.
Zalman is a company with a well deserved reputation for making silent CPU coolers and the CNPS7000A-AlCu is another step in the right direction. This is a complete redesign of Zalman’s previous products and is much easier to fit, or at least it is on a Pentium 4 motherboard. The CNPS7000A-AlCu can also be used on Athlon 64s but it’s not quite as easy to fit on an Athlon 64 board as you have to screw it through two small holes in the board. On a Pentium 4 based system however, you attach two small aluminium bars through the holes where a standard heatsink clips on. Then the Zalman is popped in and you fasten it with two thumb screws.
The Zalman is a bit more complicated to fit than your average heatsink, but it’s well worth it once you get it up and running. It is a stunning cooler and it works a treat, but it’s also very quiet, even without the supplied fan controller fitted. It’s not whisper quiet at full speed, but it is far less noisy than your average Intel retail cooler.
The large 92mm fan fitted inside the cooler doesn’t have to run as fast as a smaller fan to push the same amount of air.
The heatsink is made from a small proportion of copper and a larger proportion of aluminium. The Zalman “flower” design is quite unique and the heatsink itself is round. Zalman has accomplished this by making the heatsink out of thin slices of metal shaped in a special way, so that when bolted together they form a funnel or flower like shape. The bottom of the heatsink has then been machined smooth and square to fit on top of the CPU and provide a good contact surface.
Sadly Zalman hasn’t understood the importance of good thermal interface material and only supplies a small pouch of silicon grease that is hardly the ideal choice with today’s high-end CPUs.
Apart from the silicon grease you’ll find the heatsink assembly parts, a user manual and a fan speed controller that Zalman calls Fan Mate 1.
The Fan Mate can be handy even if you choose not to use it with the cooler as it can be used to control the speed of any standard three-pin case fan.
The CNPS7000A-AlCu is quite heavy at 445grams, but this is nowhere near as heavy as some of the pure copper heatsinks that are available for Pentium 4 systems. What is worth noting though is that due to the size of this unit it might be a snug fit on some motherboards as it can sit very close to the heatsink on the motherboard chipset.
You might have noticed that I haven’t done any temperature comparisons here, but the reason for this is that the CNPS7000A-AlCu is not targeted at the overclocking market. It is well capable of cooling the current crop of CPUs but do be aware that you shouldn’t use it in silent mode on anything faster than a 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor. In my test rig which consists of a 2.53GHz Pentium 4 the CPU never reached more than 47C degrees which I find more than acceptable. Of course this system would be hotter running it in silent mode, but there is little reason to turn the Fan Mate down all the way.
The Zalman CNPS7000A-AlCu is a well designed cooler that should lower the noise level in most PCs and if you want something even better there’s a pure copper version available as well. At £34.08 it might not be as cheap as other CPU coolers, but in my opinion it is well worth the money, especially if you’re trying to build a quiet PC.
Zalman has created a CPU cooler that looks great and performs well. If you’re trying to build a quiet PC you should take a look at the CNPS7000A-ALCu, and if you’ve got a case with a clear side panel you’ll want it even more.