Zalman is a name that instantly comes to mind with Computer Enthusiasts when cooling is mentioned. However, Zalman built its reputation with low-noise products and not with high performance. Silence and Zalman go hand-in-hand, but that is not normally the same as best performance. Zalman is a company that builds an exotic fanless power supply, a fanless GPU cooler, the Reserator 2 fanless water-cooled case, and huge copper fin CPU coolers with large, low-speed fans for cooling.

To be frank, Zalman most likely is the reason for the current fashion of large fans running at slow speeds, which has proven to provide superior cooling with much lower noise than smaller fans running at high speeds. A South Korea based company, Zalman has quickly grown in the past few years from a "good-idea" product to a huge product line based on the silent or low-noise cooling concept. With the growth have come additional offices, with US offices located in Garden Grove, California.


The CNPS9500 and CNPS9700 families are roughly based on the current thinking about heatpipe tower cooling - with a Zalman twist. From the very first Zalman coolers a few years ago, we have seen huge multi-finned circular coolers with a large, proprietary contained cooling fan. The CNPS7500 you see above is a good example of the typical Zalman CPU cooler.


Last year Zalman introduced an update to this concept in the Zalman CNPS9500. The 9500 turned the large orb on its side, supported by looped heatpipes that claimed the efficiency of a six heatpipe design. Zalman had their version of the increasingly popular and effective heatpipe tower.


A few weeks ago at CES, Zalman introduced a larger version of the 9500 which they call the CNPS9700. The larger all-copper 9700 increased the embedded fan size from 92mm to 110mm. This provided a larger and higher capacity "air tunnel" for cooling.

With so much attention from Zalman on cooling, the obvious question is whether the Zalman 9500 and 9700 continue the Zalman tradition of ultra quiet cooling. Does Zalman still lead the pack in quiet designs, or have competitors caught up? There is also the important question of whether the Zalman is also a good choice for performance cooling. Large fans move a lot of air at low noise, so are the Zalman 9500 and 9700 CPU coolers a good choice for the overclocker?

Zalman 9500
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  • Operandi - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Yes 10dBA (not 3) is generally perceived as twice as loud.

    3dBA is double the sound energy but because the scale is logarithmic doubling the energy is not heard to the human ear as twice as loud. For example two 9700s would be 3dBA louder then one but would not be considered twice as loud.
    Reply
  • jcarle - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    The person who wrote the article is an idiot... why? Because the CNPS9700 has been available for purchase for MONTHS. It is NOT a new product... Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    The 9500 has been available for quite a while. We first saw the 9700 announced in late October/early Novermber. It was shown by Zalman at CES in early January and we reported the 9700 in our CES coverage and provided pictures. Reply
  • wolf68k - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    ...from that review. They showed how effective the Zalman, and others, are at cooling for both idle and stress. They also showed coolers noise levels at high and slow speeds. But they didn't show how effective they are at cooling for those various speeds.
    I use to have a Thermaltake Volcano 12+. At high speed it was very good at cooling, but loud as hell. At the lowest speed it was very quiet but the cooling sucked, I got better cooling with the stock cooler. And there's my point. The Tuniq Tower 120 showed to be a better cooler than the Zalman, but that's at high speed and where it's loud as hell. So how good is it compared to the Zalman, and the other coolers, at each of their lowest speeds?
    Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    The 9700 and 9500 both do very well with their fans running at reduced speed, you can take a look in this http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articlei...">FrostyTech review. You'll see that there is a relatively small penalty in performance with the fan at at it's lowest setting and relatively little gain in performance at highest.

    These heatsinks are not designed for the overclocker they designed for low noise/performance cooling.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Any idea why the Tuniq seems to be out-of-stock pretty much everywhere? I have purchased all my other components except a cooler.

    For an E6600 running near stock X6800 speeds at most, am I correct in assuming one of the Zalmans would provide cooling reasonably close to the Tuniq, as they are actually available?
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    When your cooler is considered the best, and for reasonable prices (at least in the realm of air cooling), your product remains in demand.

    Best bet --put a watch on the product at NewEgg, when it comes in stock, they'll e-mail you. That's what I did, fortunately it was in within 24-48 hours. Otherwise, FrozenCPU might have it.

    If you're running stock speeds with a Core2 Duo/Quad, there is little reason to buy a fancy cooler, you might as well stick with stock. I'd advise looking into ways to keep the ambient temperature of your case down through better fans instead; if that's not an issue, then why spend the $50-60?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Try http://www.xpcgear.com/tuniqtower120.html">these guys Or just look at http://froogle.google.com/froogle?hl=en&q=%22t...">Froogle. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I did end up buying one from one of the Froogle companies I had never heard of. Kinda odd though that most of the links from Froogle are OOS though, and following the "Find the lowest prices" link in the Tuniq review eventually states that the item is no longer available.

    The room the computer will be used in will likely see temperatures over 30C, which is why I want a cooler which keeps the CPU as close to ambient as possible for a reasonable price.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Final page, conclusion. Paragraph 2, and 4 both have 'that', that should be 'than'. I will assume this is DNS acting a 'fool' again :) Reply

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