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Date: January 9th, 2005
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zalman USA
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING



Now we can begin installing the mounting components and ramsinks. The nipples are assembled with a rubber o-ring on each side of the board and snugged up. Do Not Overtighten! Next, the brace plate should be attached to the other side of the card with the screws provided. Do this now, as this plate will minimize any board deflection when the cooler is installed. Now, apply a thin layer of the included thermal grease to the GPU and attach the ramsinks. (Mr. Bones insisted that I use Arctic Silver 5 in this installation, but the included TIM should be fine.)


The surface of the RAM chips must be very clean in order for the sinks to adhere properly. Zalman states in the manual that the bonding strength of the thermal adhesive on the sinks will reach 90% only after 24 hours curing time. Until that time, the sinks can easily be knocked off the chips. Consequently, care should be taken when handling the card after the sinks are attached.



The cooler can then be attached to the card by alternately tightening the mounting screws a few turns per side until the bracket and nipples are touching. Installation couldn't be easier and was completed in less than 10 minutes after the prep work was finished. As you can see, the fan blows air all over the board, cooling the RAM as well as the other components.



With the card installed, you can see brace plate orientation on top and the cooler and ramsinks on the bottom. While the FS-V7 is fairly low-profile, it does take up the better part of two slots and may be unsuitable for SLI configuration on some motherboards. After attaching the fantail to the Multi-Connector and the PCI-E power connector to the card, we can do some testing.



When powered up, the glow from the red LEDs is pleasantly subdued and doesn't seem to change in intensity when voltage to the fan is increased. Personally, I like the look a lot, but it may be too subdued for some tastes.


GPU temperature readings were taken via nVidia's nVMonitor software in my climate controlled testing facility (basement). Ambient temperature was a constant 20.5C with the following hardware:


- DFI Lanparty nF4 SLI-DR Motherboard
- AMD Opteron 148 CPU @ 2.7 GHz.
- 512 MB X 2 G. Skill PC4400 DDR Ram
- OCZ PowerStream 520W SLI
- eVGA GeForce 7800GT-CO (Zalman Fatal1ty FS-V7 cooler)
- WD Raptor
- Windows XP Pro SP2
- Antec P160W chassis


Idle temperature was recorded after reboot and the system at desktop for 30 minutes. Load temperatures were recorded after three iterations each of AquaMark3 and 3Dmark05. The FS-V7 was tested at both low (+5V) and high (+12V) settings. Results are as follows:



As you can see, the results are fairly dramatic. While the numbers speak for themselves, it should be noted that the 10C drop in load temperature is well within the range stated on the box. It should also be noted that the FS-V7 was almost inaudible at the lowest fan setting. At the highest fan speed, the cooler was louder, but still much more quiet than the stock cooler.


Unfortunately, this graphics board doesn't want to overclock much at all, no matter how cool I get it. I suspect that a BIOS flash may resolve this issue, but the card performs so well at its factory overclock, that I'm unwilling to go down this road just now. At any rate, Zalman's FS-V7 should give me the cooling I need when the time comes.

 

 


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