Date: October 18th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zalman
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)
Viewed from the side, we see that the fin arrays are not identical, with the “intake” array being a bit thinner with a single heatpipe running through it, while the other array features wider fins and two heatpipes. The radial design and beveled fins gives the cooler a relatively small footprint, compared to its overall size. This should allow the MAX to fit on the vast majority of motherboards, even those with rather crowded socket areas, while bathing this area in cooling airflow.
The MAX features three (or six, depending on how you look at it,) 6mm copper heatpipes that interface with a highly polished pure copper base, and the whole unit is finished in “black pearl” nickel plating. This gives the MAX a very distinctive and appealing look. Our review sample incorporates a blue LED fan for added visual interest, but the MAX is also available with a red LED fan.
The mounting solution features a common backplate for both Intel and AMD platforms. If you've installed Zalman coolers in the past, you'll likely recognize the round boss on the top of the base, used to locate a crossbar mechanism to secure the cooler to the mobo. While the boss remains, it is no longer integral to the mounting hardware. Instead, Zalman uses interchangeable clips that must be attached to the cooler with screws, much like their 10X series coolers. The mounting screws are thoughtfully color coded according to intended use; gold for Intel socket 1366 and silver for Intel 1156/775 and all supported AMD sockets. This mounting scheme looks a bit more involved than the previous crossbar solution, but it also looks much more solid and robust. Also included are some spacers, thermal compound and Zalman even provides a long allen wrench to streamline installation, while the included resistor cable (RC7P) provides the option of reducing the input voltage for an overall reduction of fan speed and noise. The manual is clear, concise, well illustrated and available for download HERE . Even a casual glimpse of the cooler would let the informed viewer identify it as a Zalman product, but a case badge sticker is provided to let the less hip among us know the score.
That about does it for the walkaround, and I'm excited to get the MAX installed and see how it performs, so let's get to it.
PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
Our testbed for the Zalman CNPS 9900 Max will consist of the following hardware:
Intel Q6600 Kentsfield Core2Quad CPU
Western Digital WD800 hard drive
Western Digital WD6400 hard drive
Samsung SH-S203N DVD writer
Buffalo Firestix DDR2 RAM (2 X 1GB)
EVGA 8800 GTS 640MB graphics card
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W PSU
We'll test it in the open case pictured above. Keep in mind that temps inside your case will be different, depending on the chassis and airflow.
The above illustration gives you some idea of the room needed to get the MAX into your case, but it's a bit deceiving. Given the radial design and beveled fins, the entire area enclosed by the “box” doesn't have to be clear. If you case has a CPU air-guide or snorkel, it will need to be removed before the panel is replaced.