Zalman CNPS9700 LED
The blue LED fan is 'embedded' into the heatsink, with the fins acting as the side walls. This unique design not only protects allows all the airflow generated by the fan to cool down the fins, increasing its cooling efficiency.
The fan used in this cooler is almost the same size as a generic 120mm fan. It is rated at a maximum speed of 2800 RPM, with a noise level of 35.0 dB.
At the slowest spin rate of 1250 RPM, it is absolutely silent. You can only hear it when you put your ear close to it.
At its maximum speed though, it is quite noisy. But if you have a few case fans running at full speed, then the noise from this fan shouldn't bother you too much. For silent cooling enthusiasts though, the noise is definitely not acceptable.
In case you are wondering, the fan is removable for easy cleaning. When it collects too much dust, you can easily remove it for a thorough cleaning, so no worries.
Fan Mate 2
This is what the Zalman Fan Mate 2 fan controller looks like. If the fan is too noisy, you can always use this fan controller to reduce its speed.
The Thermal Grease
Unlike what they did in the past, Zalman included a small bottle of their gray STG1 thermal grease. It looks quite unlike the generic white thermal grease that comes with other coolers including the CNPS9500 coolers.
It even comes with a tiny brush attached to the cap, which allows you to easily spread the thermal grease on the CPU. So, no more wasting thermal grease.
It has a watery consistency, so make sure you put enough! This is because the CPU's heatspreader or the heatsink's base might not be 100% flat.
Please note to ensure the results of all the coolers are comparison, this thermal grease was not used in our tests.
Issues With The Zalman CNPS9500 LED
The Fan Controller
Since this is the same fan controller used for the CNPS9500 LED, the fan won't run at full speed even with the knob turned to the max.
I don't have the exact numbers, but the maximum output from the fan controller is approximately 10-11V. This explains why the fan won't run at its full speed. If you want the fan to run at its full speed, you will have to plug its power connector directly to a motherboard 3-pin power connector.
Possible Interference With The PSU
This actually depends on the location of your motherboard's CPU socket and the space available between the PSU and the motherboard.
If the CPU socket is located close to the side of the motherboard, it's possible that the power supply may get into the way of the CNPS9700 LED and prevent its installation, or make it difficult to mount the cooler.
For example, our testbed's motherboard has its CPU socket located near the side. The CNPS9700 LED actually extended beyond the edge of the motherboard after installation.
Groove In The Base
As mentioned earlier, there is a small groove in the middle of the heatsink base. It could have been a manufacturing mistake, or damage that occurred during packaging or delivery.
However, this should be a rare problem and should not occur to other CNPS9700 samples though.
The CNPS9700 LED weighs 765 g, which far exceeds the maximum specifications for Intel and AMD socket specifications (450g).
It is highly recommended that you remove this cooler during transportation of the system. Otherwise, you might end up with a damaged motherboard.
<<< Zalman CNPS9700 LED - The Mounting Mechanism : Previous Page | Next Page : Thermalright XP-120 - The Packaging, Contents >>>