Zalman CNPS5700D-Cu Quiet CPU Cooler Review
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: November 23, 2002
Price: $45 USD
As our computer components become more powerful, they will generate more heat. To combat this, we have resorted to several cooling techniques, from having the biggest fans to water cooling. Or, if you are one of the "beyond hardcore" enthusiasts: liquid nitrogen. However, not everyone knows how to setup, or is willing to setup, a water cooling solution or a liquid nitrogen solution, so for them they are stuck to using the tried-and-true method of cooling: fans.
Using fans for cooling has never been a problem as yet, and in terms of getting the job done, it does that very well. However, everything has a price, and for fans, the price is noise pollution. This fan noise can be caused by the fan motor itself, or by the amount of air that the fan pulls through. The more air you put through a tight space, the more noise it is going to make. For some users, this noise is very annoying, and if you have a computer in your room, sometimes this noise is loud enough that you have trouble sleeping without turning the computer off. So how can you maintain a quiet system and yet provide sufficient airflow into your components? This is where Zalman steps in.
Zalman has developed a concept called Computer Noise Prevention System (CNPS). Without going to numbers, it simply means that their products have been designed so that in their respective "silent modes" the noise that they emit is much quieter than any other equivalent product. I have here the CNPS5700D-Cu Quiet CPU Cooler, and today we shall see if what Zalman says is true for this CPU heatsink and fan.
Taken from Zalman's website:
1 ) FHS
|Dimensions (with Air Duct)||125(L) x 125(W) x 150(H) mm|
|Dimensions (without Air Duct)||125(L) x 125(W) x 67(H) mm||Dissipation Area||1270 cm2||Base Material||Pure Copper||Weight (with Air Duct)||500 g*|
|Weight (without Air Duct)||430 g||Thermal Resistance||Silent Mode||0.37 Deg.C/W||Normal Mode||0.27 Deg.C/W|
|Fan(PS92252H)||Silent Mode||Normal Mode||Dimensions||80L) X 80(H) X 25(W) mm||Weight||76 g||Rot. Speed||1700 RPM +- 10%||3100 RPM +- 10%||Noise Level||20.0 dB||34.0 dB||Bearing Type||2-Ball|
3) FAN RPM Controller
|FAN MATE 1||Specifications||Dimensions||200(L) X 21(H) X 23(W) mm||Weight||20 g||Output Voltage||5 ~ 10.7 V +-2%||Allowable Wattage||6W or lower|
A 150mm (~5.9inch) unit height!? This thing's gonna have trouble fitting in just about all but the widest of server cases! Fortunately, if you cannot use the unit with the fan duct installed, you have the option of removing it, turning it into an "inverted" cooling unit. By inverted, I mean that the air is blown outward, towards the side panel, than on to the CPU, as most HSFs do.
The package includes an odd looking heatsink and fan unit, a manual, and a speed adjustment device which can be plugged into any other fan that uses the 3-pin motherboard connector.
As you can see, this unit has a fan duct installed that helps direct the flow of the air towards the exhaust fans. This immediately suggests that the air is not blown on to the CPU from above, but rather, from the sides of the heatsink. This already presents two possible problems: 1) Large capacitors surrounding the heatsink bracket can disrupt the air from going through the sides of the heatsink, and, 2) your exhaust fan must be powerful enough to exhaust the air coming out of the fan duct, otherwise the warm air will only get recycled internally.
If you have 2 exhaust fans and they do not seem to remove the air out of the fan duct fast enough, you can consider removing one of the fans and dedicating that exhaust space strictly for the fan duct to push the air through the exhaust grilles. This may end up being more effective than to force a fan to push the air out instead.
On the nice side, though, the direction of the fan duct can be adjusted so that it points directly toward an exhaust fan, not above or below. This helps to get the very large airflow out of the system as fast as possible.
While the unit uses aluminum to attach the heatsink to the unit, the heatsink itself is composed of copper. The dense area is small, but its got fins surrounding the entire perimeter of itself, allowing the air to flow through the fins, cooling it as they do so.
Zalman has also included a fan controller, which they dubbed "Fan Mate 1". Unlike fan controllers from other manufactuers that have fixed "high", "medium", and "low" settings, Zalman opted for a rheobus method, where you can turn a small dial to fully control the speed of the fan, and ultimately the noise that you want coming from it. If you have no need for such a device, you can always use it on another fan that plugs into your motherboard, but make sure that the other fan can operate with only 5 volts at the lowest setting.
This unit uses a different method of installation, as compared to other Socket 478 coolers that I've encountered. One side has fixed wedges, and the other side has wedges that are on a hinge. After cleaning your CPU of the old thermal compound and applying a fresh layer, fit the fixed side into the heatsink bracket, and press down on the other side, enough so that you can press the hinged clips into place, locking it. After getting it in place you can then adjust the direction of the fan duct if necessary.
I got something like this after the installation. Thanks to the air duct, I had alot of trouble getting a good photo, and after many shots, this angle turned out to be the best, with no glare.
*UPDATE: Nov/22/2002, 00:40
Using SiSoftware Sandra, I used the Burn-In Wizard and ran the CPU Arithmetic and Multi-Media benchmarks for 15 minutes for each setting. For the idle temperatures I let the computer sit at the login screen for at least 30 minutes. I recorded the temperatures using Motherboard Monitor.
Interestingly, at the lowest setting, the unit is not as effective as my stock Intel cooler, and at the highest setting I only get a 4°C difference between the 5700D and the Intel HSF. While part of that reason could be because of the way that the air is brought through the CPU, the other reason could be due to powerful airflow already present in my system. Anyone who uses a Chenming case (Aspire, Antec, Enermax, etc.) knows of its very well structured airflow properties when all the fan slots are used.
But behind the numbers there is a little something that needs to be recognized. The 5700D is extremely quiet! At the lowest setting, my other fans basically drowned it out (and I use very quiet fans). At the highest setting, it is a little louder than the Intel HSF, but it cools it more effectively. At 37°C, there is alot of room for overclocking potential in terms of heat dissipation. Don't forget that a recommended upper limit for the Northwood CPU is around 55°C.
While the cooler does not perform that much better than the stock Intel HSF, it makes up for it for its quietness. However, at this price, it's difficult to justify purchasing one just to make your system more quiet. If you don't mind a little more noise, but can't stand the noise of a Thermaltake V7+ or V9, then you can consider purchasing this cooler. For a little more noise you can get yourself a bit more overclocking potential than with the stock Intel cooler. Don't forget that my case already has 2 intakes and 2 exhaust fans working in harmony. Those who don't have this type of airflow may find the 5700D more effective than the Intel HSF in this case, because you can now dedicate more air running through your CPU.