Date: December 4th, 2006
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: ZalmanUSA
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
The FC-ZV9 is basically a nickel-plated version of Zalman's popular VF900-Cu with a higher speed red LED fan. The nickel plating gives the cooler a very nice look, but I don't see how it can improve performance. The fan has translucent blades and red LEDs to give the Fatal1ty even more visual interest, but any performance gains will be the result of the fan's higher speed, 3,600 RPM vs. the VF900's 2,400 RPM.
The nickel-plated copper base has a flawless finish and is dead flat. There are eight of these red-anodized aluminum ramsinks included, and the thermal tapes come pre-applied. The radial fins are soldered to the dual heatpipes for maximum heat dissipation and their spacing assures plenty of airflow around the ramsinks and surrounding components. The mounting system is elegant in its simplicity, providing wide compatibility that allows the cooler to be moved between supported cards with minimum effort.
The mounting hardware is fairly straightforward and covered completely in the manual. PVC washers and rubber o-rings protect the board while the knurled nipples and nuts allow a tool-free installation.
The Fan Mate 2 controller installs between a 3-pin motherboard fan header and the cooler's power cable, giving the user some control over fan speed (and noise.) This unit is compact and the cabling is long enough to mount it outside the case, with the included double-sided foam tape, should the user wish to do so.
PRODUCT INSTALLATION & TESTING
We'll be installing the FC-ZV9 on an eVGA 7800GT KO, which came from the factory with a mild overclock and enhanced cooling. The cooling is actually pretty good for an OEM solution.
The first step is to remove the OEM cooling solution and clean the GPU and RAM chips with alcohol. The Zalman cooler is actually a good bit lighter than the stocker (212G vs. 256G.)
The ramsinks are a simple peel-and-stick operation. Consulting the manual, the nipples can be screwed into the proper mounting holes, the o-rings installed and some thermal paste applied to the GPU.