With so much Zalman equipment already in this setup, it seems almost silly not to go all-out at this point, so that's exactly what we decided to do.

Click to enlarge.

The stock cooler on our 6600GT has always been the subject of some concern of ours, due to the high temperatures reported by the driver software, and the rather audible noise of the fan.

Although it's been on the market even longer than the CNPS-9500, we still think that it is worth looking at the also popular VF700-Cu GPU cooler, for as we'll see, it can dramatically improve temperatures and noise levels coming from the graphics card.

Click to enlarge.

The package includes the heat sink assembly, eight individual ramsinks for the dedicated GPU memory, mounting hardware for both typical ATI and NVIDIA cards, and thermal compound for maximum heat transfer.

The hardest part about installing the VF700 for many cards is probably simply getting the stock cooler off the graphics card safely. Many stock coolers have a strong adhesive-style of thermal paste holding the cooler in place, which can make removing it potentially dangerous. One simply has to be careful to pull slowly and apply enough of a twisting force to prevent damaging the core of the processor.

Click to enlarge.

Once the stock cooler was removed and the GPU surface cleaned, we proceeded to install the Zalman mounting kit which uses another back plate design, which holds itself steady to the card first.

The back plate is held in place using special nuts, which are threaded on both sides. The one on the right in the following picture has already been screwed in place, while the one on the upper left corner only has one of the rubber washers installed so far.

Click to enlarge.

The heat sink/fan combination, which bears a strong resemblance to the popular 7000 series CPU coolers from Zalman, bolts down into these special fasteners, again using only two points to keep as even pressure between the two surfaces as possible.

Click to enlarge.

As this is the first time in a while since we've looked at cooling equipment, perhaps we should mention that there are always a few drawbacks to installing aftermarket heat sinks to any piece of hardware in your computer. Things to consider include voiding warranties and risking the possibility of damaging the hardware due to either physical damage during the installation or an improper installation, which leads to overheating of the equipment. However, simply taking care to follow all instructions and working slowly enough to do everything carefully is normally all it takes to make installing your own third-party cooling equipment enjoyable and rewarding.

CNPS-9500-LED Zalman Components Installed


View All Comments

  • Saist - Wednesday, April 5, 2006 - link

    The Thermaltake Bach Media Case weighs in at only $120, about half the cost of the Zalman, and offers similar cooling with a similar design. Okay, so I don't get the remote. That's fine, I already have a remote that works with Linux and MythTV.

    Okay, so I don't get the inbuilt LED display. That's fine too, I can live without it.

    No thanks Zalman, but I'll stick with the Thermaltake for now.
  • topher42 - Saturday, April 1, 2006 - link

    Take a look at the OrigenAE X11.
    They came out last year.
    I put together a HTPC with an X11
    in January.

    And the Seasonic S12 series of
    power supplies are quieter and

  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, March 31, 2006 - link

    MOSFETs? Are you serious? Just call them ICs. Or chips, or silicon. It's not like you're talking about individual discrete transistors, are you?

    Okay, maybe it's a common term, but I think it's ridiculous.
  • Stele - Saturday, April 1, 2006 - link

    ^ Are you serious? Because he was. He meant MOSFETs. The power MOSFETs of the power supply circuitry to the CPU. Yes, he is talking about those individual discrete transistors.

    It's 'transistors' and ICs that're the more common, and in fact general, term. 'Silicon' is what the actual dies are made of, and you don't have bare silicon around a motherboard so that term's inapplicable here. Reading/understanding would help before shooting your mouth off ;)
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, April 1, 2006 - link

    I didn't know there was such thing as discrete MOSFETs, individually packaged. That doesn't make sense to me. I thought you'd always have an integrated circuit, when there's at least 1 MOSFET present. Surely you can't find a black chip with 3 terminals--gate, drain, and source.

    So, I stand by my original point that these things should be referred to on an "IC level", not "transistor level". As far as I know, you can't point to an object on the motherboard and say "that's a MOSFET", since you'd be pointing to many of them at once in an IC. Of course, maybe I'm wrong. That's just my understanding, as an EE.
  • topher42 - Saturday, April 1, 2006 - link

    Look up power devices.

    International rectifier for one.
    Maybe a TO-220 package?

    You but three terminal mosfets when you
    want to control power.

    Forinstance on a mother board where you
    change the voltage to the cpu in the bios.

    The ic's input the the mosfet gate and
    the mosfet controls vastly more power
    than the ic.

    For instance. Cpu is 100 watts at
    1.xx volts.

    That's 50 to 100 amps, all varied in the

    Do you know of an ic that can do that?

    VHDL guy?

  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, April 1, 2006 - link

    Okay. I've never heard of MOSFETs used outside of ICs as discrete high power devices. I've used Verilog, but not regularly. Reply
  • Stele - Sunday, April 2, 2006 - link

    Hi topher42 ,

    Not sure what exactly you were driving at as you confused a few terms and concepts there, especially since a MOSFET is an IC.

    They come in a fairly wide variety of packages, TO-220 being just one of many. The kind you normally see on motherboards are generally TO-261, DPAK or D2PAK - black, square with a metal tab (soldered to the motherboard) and short legs. Stuff you buy for power amps usually come in TO-3 for max power dissipation, ease of mounting (you can bolt the whole thing on a big heatsink) where compactness is not of concern.

    MOSFETs don't have to come with three legs if you want to 'control power', as they have nothing to do with each other... by the way, there are 3, 4 and even 6-leg MOSFETs, depending on design (6-legged ones are usually dual MOSFETs for low-medium power applications where board density is very important).

    Em, you can't vary the current (50 to 100 amps, you say) via BIOS, only voltage. And the settings don't go to the MOSFETs directly - they go to the pulse-wave modulation (PWM) controller IC, which then adjusts the output voltage ;)

    Hi AnnonymousCoward,

    As a professional (i.e., working) EE or EE student you must surely know about MOSFETs being discrete, individually packaged devices as that is the most basic package for them (like any transistor). Yes, you can go to any electronics store, your lab, your working place (or the section that handles EE hardware) or even just browse casually through any semiconductor manufacturer's catalog and find many, MANY MOSFETs in simple, 3-terminal packages (several which I've mentioned already above). With Gate, Drain and Source clearly labelled in the respective datasheets. As a further help to jog your memory (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you already know all this, but perhaps just forgot), the term 'MOSFET' alone in the industry generally refers to the transistor in its discretely packaged form. If one wishes to refer to the MOSFETs inside an IC, it is indicated and understood contextually... e.g. "we suspect excessive drain current in one of the MOSFETs in that design, causing heat and electrical overstress failure on the metal layer".

    Integrating them as part of an IC is just an expansion of that concept, and for the same reasons you must surely also know that transistors are the basic building blocks of most ICs; therefore, it is not surprising to see more than one MOSFET, BJT or a combination of the two on the same die in an IC design. Perhaps you'd like to check back with your electronics notes? :)

    To refer to the MOSFETs as ICs is not wrong. However, since there are many ICs on the motherboard, it does not at all indicate which specific IC(s) the reviewer was referring to - which, in this case, are the power MOSFETs of the CPU power supply circuitry. You can point them out as MOSFETs, because as already mentioned, the term is understood to refer to discretely packaged MOSFETs - and usually used in power supply circuitry applications.

    VHDL and Verilog characterise devices by describing and simulating the chips and systems prior to fabrication, so it's not too useful a tool to learn anything physical about a device, like packaging and so on. That requires a datasheet. :)
  • AnnonymousCoward - Sunday, April 2, 2006 - link

    Thinking about it, in lab once or twice I probably did use a discrete component with 3-4 integrated MOSFETs. I used discrete BJTs more often, though.

    "MOSFETs being discrete, individually packaged devices as that is the most basic package for them"

    Most basic, yes, but not the most common. Through college, and now working in the semiconductor industry, I have almost never dealt with discrete MOSFETs. So, in power-controlling applications, when are discrete MOSFETs used and when are relays used?
  • topher42 - Monday, April 3, 2006 - link

    relays have better off isolation.

    Some small signal fets can achieve
    decent off impedance but not power devices.

    It's all in what you want to build.

    ASIC, FPGA, BJT, power FET.

    When I design a op-amp, I want to
    use bjt's. And I like power bjt's
    for audio power amp outputs.


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