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 - Friday, February 23, 2007 - link

    I think it's your review that missed the mark....

    Zalman heatsinks have always been designed with low CFM (hence low noise) in mind. Since it appears that you only tested the heatsinks for temperature performance at 12v and nothing else we'll never know how the Zalmans fair against the competition (at least from your tests) with lower fan speeds.

    You penalized the Zalmans for being louder then their competitors but everything comes up at 47 dBA anyway indicating your testing environment is louder the heatsinks your testing. If you can't effectively measure the noise level why bother publishing the results?
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    . . . would you be willing to show the test bed a bit more in these articles? It'd be nice to know what kind of airflow environment exists for these coolers during testing. Also, are you planning on doing a roundup with various add-on fans (like the Silverstone FM-121, the 150, 190, and 220 cfm Delta fans, the 102 cfm Sanyo Denki fan, etc)? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    We will try to show more pictures of the test bed in future reviews. The fan roundup is an interesting idea and we will certainly consider doing one. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    thanks . . . a fan roundup would help a lot with certain coolers like the Big Typhoon and Ultra-120 that seem to respond well to aftermarket fans. I've heard rumors that the Scythe Infinity can also mount two fans and performs fairly well in such a configuration, though I've only seen one benchmark with a config like that, and the fans were both low-rpm fans. Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Someone beat the Tuniq Tower 120. Need a better aircooler. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    Uh... did you even read the article? Because neither of these beats the Tuniq Tower 120... not even close. More expensive, noisier, and lower performance means they lose in all the important areas. The only minor advantage is that they weigh slightly less, but the plastic mounting bracket counteracts that. Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    I read his post as an inparative. That is, Anandtech needs to find a better cooler to beet the Tuniq. Reply
  • Sh0ckwave - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    Try the Thermalright Ultra-120 and Scythe Infinity, they might have a chance. Reply
  • fpsdean - Saturday, August 16, 2008 - link

    The Thermalright 120 and the Ultra model spanked the Tuniq Tower, as did the Zerotherm NV120. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Monday, February 19, 2007 - link

    He might have been referring to the Monsoon II Lite, but that was reviewed some time ago. Great review though, thanks! Reply

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