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Zalman ZM-NB32J Northbridge Chipset Cooler Review

Former staff writer    -   October 28, 2002
Category: Cooling
SharkaCorp
Price: $8.45 USD


Introduction

Today I am looking at a completely silent chipset cooling solution made by Zalman. This cooler is completely silent, because there is no fan! Most all chipset coolers have a fan on them but the ZM-NB32J does not, and that's what makes it unique. This coolers stands 32mm tall which makes it a taller chipset cooler, than most. Even though this cooler is tall and made of solid aluminum, is it possible that it could out perform a cooler that has a fan? Lets find out!



Specifications

Specifications

Model

ZM-NB32J

Material

Aluminum 6063T5

Dimensions

37x37x32

Weight

36g

Thermal Material

Grease





Closer look & Installation





This is the box that the cooler came in. Nothing special here :/


Inside of the box, you will find the following:

  • Aluminum chipset cooler
  • Thermal adhesive
  • Bag of screws and hardware
  • Tube of thermal paste
  • Instructions



    I found the bottom of the cooler, to be very flat and smooth. The bottom of the cooler was a tad small but I think it should cover the chipset on my motherboard fairly well, or atleast I hope so.



    There is a total of 99 pins on the top side of the cooler. This type of design seemed to work very well with the MCX462 heatsink that I reviewed awhile back. Maybe Zalman thinks it will help a lot with their chipset cooler? We'll see about that, later on in the review.



    There is actually two ways you can install this chipset cooler on your motherboard. The first way is the easiest but can actually take a little longer. The second way is a bit harder but may take less time. Also, the second way is the preferred way to install the cooler.

    First way
    You'll receive two syringes with your Zalman ZM-NB32J chipset cooler. One of the syringes has red goop in it, and the other has green goop in it. With these two chemicals mixed (with a ratio of 1:1) it will create a tight hold between two surfaces. You simply spread some "Type A" (green) adhesive evenly on the chipset of your motherboard. Then spread the "Type B" (red) adhesive evenly on the surface of the ZM-NB32J cooler. Lastly, you place the cooler firmly on the chipset of your motherboard and allow it to set for 15 minutes so it can cure. Make sure you leave your motherboard flat, while it's curing.



    You should choose this installation way, if your motherboard doesn't have two holes around your chipset. If your motherboard does have the holes then you should do the second installation way.


    Second way
    This is the preferred way to install this cooler. If you choose to install this cooler the other way, you won't be able to remove the cooler once the adhesive has cured. If you know you aren't ever going to be replacing the cooler, then you may want to go that route since it's easier.



    Here is our victim, the Abit chipset cooler found on my KR7A-133R motherboard. This cooler has a nice little fan, but it has a puny heatsink.



    The first thing I did, was take off the cooler to remove all of the thermal paste that was under it. Then I re-applied a fresh coat of arctic silver 3 to the chipset. The reason why I did this, is to make sure both chipset coolers are tested under the same exact conditions, the same thermal paste, and to make sure I used the same amount of paste each time I tested. This will help get the most accurate temperature readings, and will play a major part in the tests I run.



    To install the new Zalman chipset cooler you simply put one of the screws threw the hole on the end of one of the metal links. Next, put the tiny bolt on the screw (don't screw it on all the way, just barely). Do this to both of the metal links. Then just slide one of the links on to the bottom of the cooler. Do this to both sides of the heatsink, and your ready to install the cooler on your motherboard!



    The next thing to do, is apply a very thin layer of thermal grease on the chipset of your motherboard. Once you have done that, place the cooler on your chipset and align the slot (hole) on the link, up with the hole on your motherboard. Then place the spring and the black plastic push pins thru the hole of the link and in to the hole on the motherboard. The spring is between the bottom of the link, and the top of the plastic push pin.



    Here it is, installed. I think it looks awesome :)


    Testing
    Testing system:

  • Abit KR7A-133R motherboard
  • Geforce 2 MX video
  • 512MB PC2100 RAM
  • Windows XP

    Testing procedure:

    I allowed the system to idle in windows for 15 mins after a cold boot, to get the idle temperature. I then ran CPUBurn for a total of 35mins to get the load results. I also shutdown the system and allowed it to cool for 10mins before running the tests on the next cooler. The ambient temperature was right at 23.5°c.








    Conclusion
    This new Zalman chipset cooler is the best I have seen. Not only is it completely silent, but it also provides excellent cooling. I really believe that this heatsink will provide me better overclocking performance because of the extra cooling it provides. The temperature differences between this cooler and the stock cooler was about 3°c on all of the tests. This is a big difference, and means a lot to an overclocker.

    While i did not hear much difference between having the chipset fan and not having it, I would still recommend this heatsink to a person looking for a quiet cooling solution. One reason, why I may not of heard a big sound difference, is because of my loud CPU fan drowning out the noise of my stock cooler (Fan). I'd really like to get my hands on a TT crystal orb chipset cooler and compare it, to this cooler. Maybe I'll get one this next week and update the review with my results.

    I'd like to thank Sharkacorp.com for providing us this chipset cooler to review!






    Pros:
    • Excellent cooling!
    • No noise whatsoever
    • Two easy ways, to install

    Cons:
    • None


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