Date: October 20th, 2006
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by:
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
These are all the parts you'll need to install the CNPS9700 LED cooler on an AMD socket motherboard. Depending on your components and configuration, it may be possible to install the 9700 without removing the motherboard from the case.
For Intel applications, motherboard removal will be necessary, as you'll need access to the back of the board to install the black clip support and backplate.
In my earlier review of the CNPS9500 LED cooler from Zalman, I stated that, “…installation on the Socket 939 platform couldn't have been easier.” Well, with their newly redesigned clip, Zalman has made a liar out of me. This new clip's simple, clever design requires no tools and works like a charm. I like this design a lot. You'll notice that the cooling fins come close to the memory. It's not as close as it looks, and I was able to remove and install the memory stick with no problem. After connecting the fantail to the Fan Mate 2, we're ready to do some testing.
The following parameters were used throughout testing:
Arctic Silver 5 TIM used on all coolers.
Ambient temperature kept at a constant 21C.
Each cooler allowed to burn-in at maximum heat setting with Prime95 for two hours to partially set the thermal paste. The computer was then shut down for
Idle temperatures were recorded after one hour of zero load after booting to the desktop.
Load temperatures were recorded after two hours of maximum heat torture testing using Prime95.
Fan speed was set to maximum for all testing. In this case, the FanMate 2 was used to test the CNPS9700 at maximum and minimum fan speeds.
Idle and load temperatures were recorded at stock CPU speed (2.2 Ghz.) and at an overclock approaching 25% (2.7 Ghz.). Vcore was raised by 0.1V (from 1.4V to 1.5V) during the overclocking runs.
The testbed we'll be using consists of the following:
AMD Opteron 148 processor
DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-DR motherboard
OCZ 5002048ELGE-K (1024mb X 2) memory
Thermaltake Purepower 750W PSU
Western Digital WD800 SATA hard drive
Lite-On DVD-RW drive
I've tested all the coolers in the comparison in the bare frame pictured above. This eliminates any effects that a case might introduce. Keep in mind that temps inside your case will be higher; how much higher depends on the case and airflow.
When up and running, the fan gives off a pleasant blue glow that is very appealing, but it's not overly bright. At its minimum speed, the 110mm fan is, as Mr. Bones would say, “silent as the grave.” At maximum speed, the 9700 is fairly loud, definitely noticeable above everything else in this set-up. LED brightness changes very little with fan speed.
So, how does it perform? Well, after many hours of testing, I came up with the following results.
Zalman's CNPS9700 LED beat out the stock coolers by a good margin. It also bested its little brother, the 9500, but not by as much as I was expecting. Still, the 9700 managed to keep the overclocked Opty 148 well under 50C while operating silently, which is not easily done.
NOTE : Both Zalman coolers were tested with the Fan Mate 2 unit that came with the 9700. According to the monitoring software, both fans operated at 2,500 RPM on the highest setting. With the Fan Mate at its minimum setting, the 9500's fan was running at 1,400 RPM while the 9700 operated at a leisurely 1,250. When carefully adjusted to 1,400 RPM, the 9700 dropped idle temperatures by 1C but had little to no effect during load testing.