Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zalman USA
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SMALL HEATPIPE TECHNOLOGY TUTORIAL
I am going to keep this as simple as possible to get the basic premise across to all of the Tweaknews readers. Please don't be insulted if this is too simple for your education level. I have to cater my writing to the least technical reader looking for information.
The basic idea behind heatpipe technology is really simple.
1.) With a tube containing a compressed fluid/gas, the fluid comes in contact with the heat source (the cpu core, in this case) which heats up the volatile fluid and turns it to a gas. The energy is absorbed in the gas production process and is ready for transportation.
2.) The heated gas now travels along the inner portion of the tube where it comes to the cooling portion of the heatsink in this example.
3.) The radiator, with or without a fan, will cool the liquid and transfer the energy (AKA heat) to the radiator to be dispersed to the surrounding air. With the heat removed, the vapor quickly condenses back to a fluid and runs along the inside surface of the pipe, back down to the bottom, where the process can be started all over again.
For another example, you can consider a boiling pot of water with a glass lid as a very very basic heatpipe. When the water boils, the water vapor comes in contact with the cooler glass pot lid which forces the vapor to condense back to water, where it dribbles back down the inside of the lid back into the pot.
It's basic, but it gets the point across.
PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
As you can see from the specifications, the 12X is immense and at over six inches in height, end users will need to make sure that this behemoth will fit inside their chosen chassis. It is also quite heavy. Weighing in at an impressive 2.2 pounds, the 12X had better have an equally impressive mounting solution. We'll see a bit later.
Fan specifications in the above chart are a bit confusing, but I found some clearer information in the FAQ section of the Zalman website and included it below.
CNPS12X has three fans, the RPM of FAN A(Front), FAN B(Center) and FAN C(Back) are as below. FAN A & B take in air, and FAN C exhaust the inhaled air through the fan in the rear.
- FAN A : 1,100rpm[With RC5], 1,200rpm[Without RC5]
- FAN B : 1,100rpm[With RC5], 1,200rpm[Without RC5]
- FAN C : 850rpm[With RC5], 950rpm[Without RC5]
Curiously, the rear fan operates at a lower speed than the front pair. This seems a bit counterintuitive, but I'll defer to Zalman's engineering team here, as they have had an excellent track record in the past. The fans also sport blue LEDs for a bit of additional visual interest. Zalman includes an RC5 resistor cable to drop fan RPM for quieter operation should the user wish to do so. The fans won't be easily replaced with more conventionally designed units, so I'm hoping that these perform adequately. We'll see. Zalman also includes a generous syringe of their new ZM-STG2 thermal compound with the 12X, and the 3.5 grams should provide enough compound for three applications.
The 12X also sports Zalman's composite heatpipe design. The last couple of Zalman coolers we've reviewed featuring these heatpipes exhibited outstanding performance, and I have high hopes for the 12X.
The 12X supports all the latest sockets from both AMD and Intel as well as some of the older platforms. All processor speeds are also supported and given its immense size and triple fan design, I have little doubt that the 12X will take overclocked applications in stride as well. To quote Zalman's FAQ, the CNPS 12X “can effectively cool 350 watts of heat.”