ZAWARD ZCJ013 Vapor 120 Review

RHKCommander959 - 2010-04-27 17:44:01 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: May 17, 2010
Price: TBD


Heat sinks always target certain categories of build types, such as silent performance, cooling capabilities, size, artistic quality, affordability, and so on. Often, several traits are combined together and can produce a real winner. Others only have a few of the qualities, and make an "ok" heat sink. Zaward has provided a heat sink and case fan for OCC to review. Their heat sink is the Vapor 120 and uses direct heat-pipe technology with three heat pipes at the base and a 120mm golf-dimple-blade black fan with four blue LEDs. They have also provided us with their fan, the Golf Fan GII ZG2-140A – a 140mm low dBA case fan. Both fans use the patented golf dimple blades on the impellers to create a spread of noise over differing frequencies – creating the lower dBA rating. The fans use a modified sleeve bearing called Duro bearing that claims a 60,000-hour MTTF at 40°C. Every other fin on the Vapor 120 has small dimples, each of which have holes in the center – aiding in cooling. 


Closer Look:

The box is colorful and clean – very professional looking. A window on the front gives a good look at the dimpled fan impeller. Compatibility covers all AMD chips from socket 754 all the way up to AM3 (754 and 939 have the same bolt pattern as does AM2/AM2+/AM3). The Vapor 120 heat sink also supports the three latest sockets from Intel – LGA 775, 1156, and 1366. The box has a model number – ZCJ013 – and states that it was designed in Japan. In the red foreground are dark dots that mirror the dimples on the blades of the fan. Rotating around to the side shows seven pictures of some features of the heat sink and fan that comes with it. The features include dimpled aluminum fins designed with a breathing effect, H.D.T direct contact  heat pipes to provide rapid heat transfer, patented golf ball dimpled fan blade for enhanced air flow, low noise PWM fan with blue LEDs, dual fan installation option, dual direction installation option for AMD sockets, and 60,000 hrs long life DURO bearing. The background on this side is a mesh screen image – continuing off of the dot theme.








The back of the Vapor 120 box lists the specifications of the fan and heat sink inside. The background has some dots and wavy effects, keeping it from being plain. The back labels the heat sink as the “Vapor 120 heat sink breathing effect” model ZCJ013, supporting LGA1366/LGA1156/LGA775 and AM3/AM2/K8, dimensions 120 (W) x 50 (D) x 160 (H) mm, Aluminum alloy fins with 3x .08mm copper heat-pipes, and an aluminum base with H.D.T. exposed heat pipes. The fan is 12V DC PWM that draws 0.45A maximum with rated input power 5.4W. The bearing is a sleeve bearing style called the Duro bearing that should last 60,000 hrs. The fan rotates up to 2000 +/- 10% rpm and provides up to 93.96 CFM with 10~34.3 dBA noise. Thermal resistance is rated at 0.15°C/W and the heat sink weighs 684+/-20g. The last side shows two graphs on noise and cooling performance, and how the fins and heat-pipes work to increase cooling. The holes in the dimples allow air to travel between the fins and create more turbulence – unfortunately the fins aren’t soldered in. Performance is compared between the Vapor 120 with stock blades and dimpled blades, and stock cooler for a 130-Watt Intel processor. The noise levels are compared between the breathable heat sink and normal heat sink.



The top of the box got caught during shipping and was slightly dinged up. Again, another window shows off the dimpled fins and heat-pipes. The top is red and has some wavy lines like the back of the box. Opening the box reveals a three-piece plastic form that protects the heat sink and fan separately.



Held safely in a large, sealable plastic bag, are the installation pieces needed to get this kit installed. Four fan clips make it so an input and exhaust fan can be used, a back plate, manual, and everything else needed to get the heat sink installed on an compatible system. Users may have to use tools to remove their motherboard if they do not have an access hole on their case tray panel. One side of the manual is for the Intel installation and the other is for the AMD systems – most of the grammar is good save for a few errors (powder rather than power). The manual is thorough enough and should be easy for people to follow along.



The case fan that Zaward has provided is too large for the heat sink – it is a 140mm case fan from the Golf GII line with model number ZG2-140A. The box art is colorful and resembles the Vapor 120 box. The box claims a 15% noise level reduction at same rpm/airflow from the patented Golf Dimple blade and 60,000 MTTF at 40°C from the Duro bearing. Noise is quoted at 10.1~20.3dBA with 300~1200rpm. The fan includes rubber silencing mounts and normal fan screws. Another photo explains the Duro bearing, and two graphs show Speed vs. Duty Cycle and Speed vs. Noise Users must beware that graphs can have altered ratios to give a different visual (the noise graph looks linear although at 10dBA the fan isn’t hardly spinning while at 20dBA its at 1200rpm, yet the graph looks linear). The bottom of the box has specifications in five languages – German, French, Spanish, Japanese, and English. The fan draws 12V at 0.1A which equates to 1.2W and claims to provide 74.14 CFM with only 10.1~20.3dBA.



One side repeats the features that were on both the front cover and backside and the other side didn’t have anything mentionable. With the fan out, I can get a good shot of the impeller covered in dimples. Each blade has the same dimple design pattern with small, medium, and large dimples. The fan color and texture resembles an eggshell.



Swapping to the back we see that the other side of the impeller has dimples too. The sticker is clean and shows the fan speed, model, brand, power requirements, and that it has the Duro bearing. Four metal fan screws and rubber, tool-free silent mounts are included with this case fan. In addition, a piece of paper is included that explains how to install it with either the screws or mounts.



Time to look at and assemble the heat sink!

Closer Look:

With the Vapor 120 heat sink out of the box, we can get a good look at it. The front view shows that every-other heat fin is dimpled. The three heat pipes are evenly spaced out in both directions. The fins start up high and should provide enough clearance for memory or onboard heat sinks. The fins are spaced apart by the bent ends on the sides and the lip created in making the holes for the heat pipes to go through. The heat pipes are not soldered to the fins, so some performance is probably lost, but this also means that the heat sink should be cheaper. Cheaper isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as the Vapor 120 can provide good performance. The heat sink is not very wide and  is much less cumbersome than other heat sinks, such as the Tuniq Tower 120 or other massive heat sinks of towering heights. The base width is the same as the fin width so without the included fan, installation can be fairly easy.














The top-most heat fin is dimpled but the holes are hard to see. The slots on the sides are for the fan mounting hardware, and do allow for a push-pull configuration. A sticker that must be removed prior to installation protects the base of the heat sink from corrosion and scratches. If the user forgets to remove it, their temperatures will be terrible.



The base isn’t smooth but it is flat, and flat is more important than smooth anyway. The gap between the aluminum base and heat pipes are very small and won’t require users to cram thermal paste in between them since the gaps are so small. Since the fins aren’t soldered in, they can be removed and examined – with the top heat fin removed, the 33 raised dimples with holes are easy to see.



The black fan that comes with the heat sink has four blue LEDs and the patented dimple design on the impeller. The fan has shrink tubing and mesh to cover the wiring. The front of the impeller has a reflective sticker that says Zaward eight times in white and once in black in the center. Rotating to the back, the fan has a sticker that says Globe fan, rather than Zaward. Duro bearing is still used, and the fan uses 12V at 0.45A. Globe fan is the same company as Zaward, with a very similar website. The fan attaches with two wire clips, two more are provided for a push-pull configuration, however a second fan isn’t provided.



With the motherboard tray modified to allow heat sinks to be changed without removing the motherboard, installation was easy! The hardest part was reaching the two nuts on the fan-less side because of tight clearance with the case fans. There is plenty of room for the memory and the tall chipset heat sink didn’t come close to touching the fan. The tightest space was with the side panel on, if there was a fan there it might have touched, but without a fan it closed just fine and had some room to spare on my Hiper case. The blue glow from the LEDs looked neat against the dimpled impeller.



Time to take a look at the specifications!



LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366
AM2, AM2+, AM3, 754, 939, 940
120 (W) x 50 (D) x 160 (H) mm
Aluminum alloy with 3 x O8mm copper heatpipes
Base Aluminum with H.D.T

120 x 120 x 25 mm
Voltage rate
DC 12V
Consumption current
0.45A max.
Input power
5.4W max.
Air pressure
3.47 mmAq
Bearing type
Long life Duro bearing
300±200 rpm ~ 2000±10%
Air flow
93.96 CFM max.
Noise level
10~34.3 dBA
4 pin with PWM function
4 blue
Life Expectancy
60,000 hours
Thermal resistance
0.15 °C/W
684 ± 20g




Information provided by Zaward@


Before I can test the Zaward Vapor 120, it has to be installed. Following the instructions, it was very easy to install with the motherboard still inside the case, just add paste and use the tool-free parts. (Although if your case doesn't have a hole on your motherboard tray so you can access the back of the CPU, you will have to remove your motherboard) After tightening, everything in the system was given a test run to make sure the heat sink was properly installed. After this, the testing begins with idle and load testing. First at stock 2.66GHz and a second time overclocked to 3.33GHz in order to see how the added heat affects the performance. The fan is forced to run at 100% throughout the testing. Each test is ran thirty minutes with idle being measured in Windows with minimal background programs and services running, while load is done with Prime95. The individual core temperature are averaged out and reported on the charts below

Testing System:


Comparison Heat sinks:




Performance at stock CPU speeds were top notch. When overclocked, the idle temperatures were excellent, while the loaded overclock test was still decent, but not the best. It still provided far better performance than the stock Intel HSF. The Fenrir, Transformer 4, Noctua NH-U12P, and BADA do better overclocked and under load.


The packaging was artful and clean cut, the heat sink performed admirably in testing, only beginning to slouch at overclocked testing. Some of the heat sinks were larger or had two fans where this one was more petite and only one fan and yet it still provided performance on par with most of the competition that was compared to. There were some typos or grammatical problems on the paperwork, but nothing terrible such as typos on the product itself. The base was far from smooth, but it was flat and the fins are not soldered on. Everything needed to install the heat sink is included, but users might need to have tools if they already have their motherboard installed.

Everything works on the heat sink, but there is always room for improvement. The base could be smoother and the heat fins could be soldered in, but everything seems good to go.

Performance was great and the dimpling may have worked to silence the fan some as operational noise was quieter than the Nvidia GTX260 blower fan running on automatic speed. It wasn’t quite top dog, but it was close and only lost some ground at the overclocked load testing.