The need for more cooling capacity for the graphics card will never end. Even die shrinks have been overshadowed by the rapid increase in transistors in every new generation of GPUs. The power consumption just keeps increasing. Thus, the ever present need for even better cooling continues.
The NVIDIA GeForce FX 5800 Ultra has already shown us how the heat generated can be unbearable, both thermally as well as acoustically. Is quiet cooling still possible? Well, Zalman has been a pioneer of silent cooling solutions, so they might just have the answer for that!
Zalman started making graphics card coolers using their trademark flower heatsink design. However, due to the lack of space, the area available for heat dissipation with such a design was very small. That's why they switched to the heatpipe design instead, with their ZM50-HP, ZM80A-HP, and recently ZM80D-HP coolers. While the performance of these heatpipe coolers were not bad at all, they were plagued with various issues, especially the ZM80 series.
First of all, they were heavy, extremely troublesome to install, and required A LOT of thermal paste. If you are planning to use a small tube of Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste, be prepared to get an extra tube! Hence, Zalman appeared to have discarded the heatpipe design to return to the flower heatsink design.
Zalman VF700 Series
This is an ingeniously modifed version of the proven Zalman CPU coolers. This radial cooler design is not particularly new though. We have seen it in the 'Polarlogic' coolers, which were very popular during the Socket 370 era, albeit needing heavy modifications to fit on many motherboards. Of course, these Zalman GPU coolers are nothing like the Polarlogic coolers, with a far more efficient design and larger surface area.
From the pictures, it looks big and heavy. But when I got hold of the unit, it was actually quite small and surprisingly light! The full copper version weighs only 270g while the aluminium and copper version only weighs 180g! Compare that to the Zalman heatpipe coolers which can weigh up to 400g.
The huge decrease in weight is a great improvement over the heatpipe coolers. This is important because graphics cards are not designed to support heavy coolers. That's why they tend to bend over time.
These coolers are also the first active graphics card cooler from Zalman to come with an integrated fan. That's because previous Zalman coolers only offer fans as an option.
Today, we will take a look at the new Zalman VF700-AlCu, the lower-end model of the VF700 series. Let's take a look at the specifications of both VF700 models.