Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu heatsink review

Admin - 2007-02-25 23:51:05 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: July 25, 2002

First a brief minute about Zalman. Zalman, based out of Korea, is a company that specializes in keeping your system quiet. The "CPNS" in CPNS 5100-Cu is an acronym for, "Computer Noise Prevention System". Zalman, thrives at creating exceptional heatsinks and using super quiet fans and providing a fan controller, to allow the user to adjust the fan noise down. They were the world first in reducing computer's noise down to lower than 20dB while still keeping the CPU of the system cool, now that is impressive.

Yesterday, I did a review on the CPNS6000-CU heatsink, another Zalman product. Today, I will be reviewing a newer product that Zalman offers, the CNPS 5100-Cu heatsink. The CNPS 5100-Cu doesn't look as unique as the CPNS6000-CU heatsink, however it does have its own unique design. Zalman, has chosen to engineer the CNPS 5100-Cu like the conventional heatsinks we are use to seeing, but with their own little twist.


This is the box the heatsink came in, nothing special just a plain retail box with some specs on the side.

What you get

  • The heatsink
  • Bag of screws
  • Springs
  • Extra parts
  • Fan Mate 1
  • Thermal grease
  • Fan

    Now this is a first, a bag of extra parts! Zalman must be known for this, because the review I did a yesterday, on the CPNS6000-CU heatsink, had extra parts with it as well.


    Heatsink Specifications

    FHS Specifications
    Part No. ZM4360EE-Cu
    Dimensions (mm) 90(L) x 66(W) x 70(H)
    Dissipating Area (cm2) 1500
    Dissipating Material Pure Copper
    Weight (g) *344
    Thermal Resistance (Deg.C/W) Silent Mode 0.39
    Normal Mode 0.23
    *Note 1) CNPS5100-Cu exceeds AMD�s heatsink mass specification of 300g, so special care should be taken when moving the computer. Zalman Tech. Co., Ltd. is not responsible for any damage to systems or CPUs caused by moving the computer after installing the CNPS5100-Cu.

    FAN Specifications

    GM1206PTVX-AF Silent Mode Normal Mode
    Dimensions (mm) 60(L) X 60(H) X 25(W)
    Weight (g) 55
    RPM 3000 RPM +-10% 5200 RPM +-10%
    Noise Level 20.0dB +-10% 36.0dB +-10%
    Bearing Type Vapo

    FAN RPM Controller Specifications

    FAN MATE 1 Specifications
    Dimensions (mm) 200(L) X 23(W) X 21(H)
    Weight (g) 20g
    Output Voltage 5V ~ 11V +-2%
    Allowable Wattage 6W or lower
  • Closer look

    The fins on this heatsink is somewhat similar to the fins on the CPNS6000-CU heatsink I reviewed yesterday, but with a twist. If you look at the top of the heatsink, you will see the Zalman 5200rpm fan. The fan is suppose to be very quiet, and if it's anything like the fan on the CPNS6000-CU, then I'm sure it is. Zalman has invested a lot of time in creating this heatsink & fan. It's really too bad they didn't include a chrome fan grill. I'm seeing more and more heatsink manufactures stop including a fan grill with their heatsinks. I guess I was the only person in the world that liked them :)

    Ah, the core, of the heatsink :) In the middle of the heatsink where your CPU core will be at, it is very smooth. However, if you look around the outer edge you will see many imperfections. Now, I know that the outer edge won't make contact with the CPU core, but still it does look a bit sloppy. I counted 96 copper fins on the heatsink. There are a lot more fins on this heatsink, almost twice as many, than the CPNS6000-CU. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, we will see in the tests later on in the review though.

    The fan mate 1, is what Zalman calls their fan controller device. This device will allow you to manually adjust the speed of the fan from 3000RPM's to 5000RPM's. With the fan mate, you could set the fan sound to your likings. Personally, I leave mine on 5000 RPM all the time, I turn my fans up as fast as they can go, then some :)

    The fan mate 1 is a fairly plain fan controller that allows you to adjust the RPM's of the fan, and it also has support for fan monitoring. The little black knob on it, is a tad too small and the device is no where near advance as the Smart Fan 2 found on the Volcano 9. It does what it's suppose to do, I guess that's all that really matters. I can see Zalman adding such features the Smart Fan 2 has, to the "Fan Mate 2" in the near future.

    Zalman included a tube of thermal paste with the heatsink. I'm not sure if they make this thermal grease or if someone else did; but they should of included some name brand thermal paste such as Arctic Silver or NanoTherm. Seeing that they, specialize in cooling your CPU you would think they would give you the best thermal compound. That would however, drive the cost of the heatsink up since Arctic Silver nor NanoTherm can be bought in small quantities, for just one or two times.


    I couldn't begin tell you how bad I dreaded the installation of this heatsink.. Why? Well, since this heatsink weighs so much, 454grams, it would be very dangerous to install this heatsink with a normal clip. If you used a clip, and you moved your computer around too hard your socket on your motherboard (where the clip would be attached too) would snap. So in order to install this heatsink, you actually have to bolt it to the motherboard with four bolts. Crazy huh? This is the same type design found on the Swiftech MCX462 heatsink I reviewed last year. In that review, I dreaded the installation too. However, if your remember the temperature results I had, it was well worth it. I just hope this heatsink is worth the time consuming installation as the Swiftech MCX462 was.

    Zalman has included a bunch of different sized paper washers in order to accommodate all motherboards.

    Once you have your motherboard out of your computer, you will need to place four washers on the four short screws that are provided. Then place the four screws in the four holes located around the socket of your motherboard. After that, you will need to place four more washers on the other side of the motherboard where the screws are sticking out.

    You'll need to get your CPU ready now. Make sure you apply some thermal paste, that Zalman has provided, on to the core of you CPU. After you have done that, fasten the CPU in the socket on your motherboard.

    Now, either take the four brass couplings and screw them on the four screws you just installed, or do what I did (which is a little harder) and just place the couplings on the screws that are in the heatsink, and place the heatsink on top of your CPU, as shown in the picture. Lastly you will use a screw driver, too bad they didn't provide one :), to fasten down the four screws on the heatsink. When you are screwing the screws in, make sure you use another screw driver to hold the screws on the other side of the motherboard.

    Done with the hard part. Now just install the motherboard back in your case and hook all your devices back up.

    Lastly, the optional installation step. I chose not to install the fan mate 1 because as I said before, I run my fans as fast as they can go :) If you want this feature, then it's a quick and easy installation. All you do is plug one end of the fan mate to the power cord of the fan, and the other end up to your motherboard fan header. That's it! You can then manually adjust the fan speed by turning the "little" knob, located on the fan mate.
    Test Rig

  • Abit KR7A-133Raid
  • Athlon XP 2100+ (not overclocked)
  • Samsung PC2700 DDR Memory
  • Geforce 4 ti 4600
  • SB Audigy X-Gamer
  • Windows XP

    Our testing method:

    To get the idle results, I turned off the computer and allowed the system to cool for a few mins. Then I booted up in to windows and allowed the system to idle for 10mins before writing down the results.
    In order to get the load temperature, I ran two [email protected] programs while running a SiSoft Burn in test.
    I used a comp-u-nurse temp probe to get the temperature readings.

    This test compares the idle and load temps between the Volcano 9 the Zalman CPNS6000-CU and the Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu. This test was also done with my case panel ON.

  • This test compares the idle and load temps between the Volcano 9 the Zalman CPNS6000-CU and the Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu. This test was done with my case panel OFF, to simulate what the temperatures would be like if I had some case fans installed and running.

    The Zalman 5100-Cu did a fairly well job keeping up with the Volcano 9 in these tests. However, the Zalman 5100-Cu blew the Zalman CPNS 6000-Cu away! I just knew that this heatsink could cool my CPU better if it only had a really fast and high rated CFM fan blowing on it. So, I put my theory to the test and grabbed a 7200RPM Black Label delta fan off of my Global Win FOP32, and stuck it on the CNPS 5100-Cu.

    Here are the results:

    This test compares the idle and load temps between the Volcano 9 the Zalman CPNS6000-CU and the Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu (with the 7200rpm fan) case panel was ON during this test.

    Case panel off during this test

    Some very impressive temps from the Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu! The Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu beat the Volcano 9 in a full load test, and came very close in the others. While, both the Volcano 9 and CPNS 5100-Cu blew the CPNS 6000-Cu away!

    The Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu isn't a perfect heatsink, but it's fairly close. If it wasn't for the rough copper base, and the lengthy installation I might of given this product our OCC recommended award. However, I'm happy to say I don't regret taking the time to install this heatsink. I think the time consuming installation was worth every bit of the time. This would be a fine heatsink for an overclocker (if you use another fan), because you can remove the heatsink fairly easy, just zip out the four long bolts on top of the heatsink. Which is VERY good for users that have a tight computer case and can't get a screw driver in to undo heatsink clips. Just make sure you have the brass couplings fastened tightly against the motherboard or the four short screws on the other side, will go loose under your motherboard :)

    I'd like to thank for providing us this heatsink to review!