ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler FZ120 Review

gotdamojo06 - 2008-05-22 20:29:38 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: June 10, 2008
Price: $39.99


Are you building a new computer based on some of the newer processors that have been coming out from Intel lately? All of the Intel processors can produce a lot of heat, especially when it comes to overclocking them to the 1GHz mark or higher. This is when picking a cooler comes into play. When it comes to deciding which cooler is the right fit for you, you need to take a look at the size and price of the cooler in question. You may want to take a look at the ZEROtherm Zen CPU cooler FZ120. The Zen CPU cooler is built with a very simple tower design, which has proven to cool a processor very well in the past.

Closer Look:  

When you take a look at the front of the packaging for the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler, you are able to see right in the center of the package, that there is a cutout that shows the large 120mm fan that has been mounted on the cooler to allow for better cooling possibilities. There is also a little banner in the upper left hand corner of the packaging that mentions that the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler has been optimized for Intel Core 2 Quad/Duo processors, which are some of the most popular chips on the market right now. There are also six little pictures on the front of the package that depict the main features of the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler, such as Killer Performance, Optimized Design, Silence Innovations, Automatic Fan Control, Effective Heatpipes, and Maximum Airflow. When you take a look the back of the packaging, you will see a quick installation guide, which pictures the dimensions and compares the cooler to the size of a micro-ATX board. On one of the sides, there is a Compatibility List that shows you all of the different processors that this cooler has been rated to cool effectively, as well as which socket types it is able to be mounted on. The other side of the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler's package is where you will find the specifications of the unit.  









When you pull everything out of the package, you'll find the cooler, an installation booklet, a 120mm fan, a bag of goodies containing AMD Socket clips, as well as the clips needed to mount the 120mm fan on the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler. ZEROtherm also packaged a tube of their thermal paste in the bag, just incase whom ever bought the Zen CPU Cooler did not have any paste laying around.   


Now on to a closer look at the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler FZ120, and to see how it has been put together so we can see exactly how big it is.  


Closer Look:  

Taking a look at the ZEROtherm Zen CPU cooler out of the packaging, there is a very distinctive tower look to it, which has been proven effective in the past. The fins of the unit are all made of aluminum, which will draw the heat off of the copper heatpipes that are running up from the base throughout all of the fins. There are a total of fifty-five fins that are not all going in a straight direction. There is a wave pattern to the fins on the heatsink, which add to the surface area of the fins, adding more cooling possibilities. The four copper heatpipes run from the top of the heatsink through the fins, through the base, then continue up through the fins on the other side, and end at the top of the cooler.  













If you decide to add the 120mm fan that came with the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler, you are going to switch it from passive cooling active, which should, in all situations, decrease the temperatures. The 120mm fan fits naturally on the Zen CPU Cooler.  It covers all fifty-five of the fins, which will allow more heat to dissipate to them.The fan does not stick out off of the cooler very far, which makes the width of the cooler nice during a tight installation. 



When you take a look at the base of the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler, you are able to see that the base is made out of copper, which is where all four of the copper heatpipes come together, making the heat transfer from the processor to the base to the heatpipes quicker and more effective. The top of the Zen CPU Cooler is very simple, it has been polished and the name has been imprinted in the top fin. there also is a section in the center of the top that has been "pushed" down. This travels all the way to the bottom, adding more surface area to be cooled.



The mounting hardware for the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler is a two piece setup.  First you choose which socket you are going to be cooling.  In my case, I will be using the Socket 775 mounting hardware. This hardware consists of a bracket that mounts to the actual heatsink. You take four screws and screw the hardware down tight to the heatsink. Once you have this completed, there is a black mounting bracket that goes on the back of your motherboard to screw the screws into and keep the heatsink in place and tightly fitting to the processor. There is a sticky substance on the backplate that you can use to keep it in place, but does not need to be used.  





Socket Type

Intel: LGA775
AMD: 939, 940, AM2, AM2 +

Heatsink Material

Pure Copper Base & heatpipes; Aluminum Fins

Heatsink Dimensions

126 x 61 x 156mm

Heatsink Heatpipes


Fan Dimensions

120 x 25mm

Fan Speed

1100~1800 (10% variance)

Fan Bearing Type


Fan Noise Level

19.5~31.4 dBA

Fan connector

4 pin PWM

Fan Colr


Total Weight

670g (without Clip Components)



To properly test the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler FZ120, I will need to record temperatures during both idle time (little, to no CPU usage), as well as during full load (100% CPU usage). I will be using SpeedFan 4.33 to gather the temperatures of the CPU cores. I will be using OCCT:PK to simulate the full load testing, and run it for thirty minutes. I will let the computer sit and cool down for thirty minutes before gathering the idle temperatures. I will be testing the processor at both stock speeds with stock voltage settings, as well as overclocked speeds of 3.6GHz, with the voltage increased to 1.46 volts. All of the temperatures are measured in degrees Celsius.  

Testing Setup:


Comparison Heatsinks:





As you can see in the graphs above, the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler FZ120 did about average when compared to other coolers when it had its 120mm fan installed. When I decided to take the 120mm fan off of the Zen cooler, the temperatures shot up quite a bit.



The ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler has taken the towering heatsink design to the next level.  ZEROtherm has decided to add a different feature when designing the Zen CPU Cooler by adding a honeycomb design to the fins in the middle of the heatsink, which will add to the surface area and make the dissipation of the heat more effective. Not only does it have the honeycomb design in the center of it, the Zen CPU Cooler is very large, allowing it to house a 120mm fan on it's front or back side. When you have the 120mm fan installed, the temperatures are average with the other coolers in it's class, however when you decide to take the 120mm fan off, the temperatures shoot up. For all of the features that this cooler has, it does come at a very comparable price, which adds a certain value to the cooler. I have never been a huge fan of a multi-platform design that allows you to switch out the mounting clips, I just do not feel that it gets the contact that it needs. When you plug in the 4-pin plug for the 120mm fan, you get PWM Automatic Fan Control features, which allows the cooler to run quieter than some of the others that are always blowing at full blast. I have always been a fan of a cooler that takes advantages of both copper heatpipes, as well as a copper base. I would suggest the ZEROtherm Zen CPU Cooler to someone looking to upgrade their stock cooling solution, not only because of the features and performance, but for the price as well.