Cogage TRUE Spirit & Zalman CNPS10X Quiet CPU Coolers

Cooling
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Cogage TRUE Spirit did an excellent job keeping our Core i7-965 cool, even besting its bigger brothers, the Thermalright Ultra-120/eXtreme. Its reduced airflow impedance seems to allow the heat radiating off the heatsink to be blown away more quickly. However, we suspect these design aspects would harm its performance when working on a hotter processor, a situation where the total heat dissipation area is more important. We wouldn't recommend it for a heavily overclocked and/or overvolted CPU, especially if its TDP is already high, but for most users, it should make a superb cooler. It's affordable, has a proven mounting system, and performs well. It isn't as versatile as most CPU heatsinks as it only supports a single socket, either LGA775 or LGA1366, depending on the model you purchase. In addition, the stock fan's acoustics are somewhat poor, but still far from the worst we've heard. For a truly quiet PC, you will want to swap the fan out for something smoother, but it's not bad at all. For US$40, Cogage TRUE Spirit is a pretty good value.

The CNPS10X Quiet is the first Zalman cooler in a long time that we can recommend as a quiet CPU heatsink. We were half expecting to see just a slower fan to justify the "Quiet" label, but the significant widening of the space between the fins shows Zalamn understands a basic principles we've been evangelizing over the years. This simple change results in a substantial improvement in cooling proficiency compared to the CNPS10X Flex and Extreme when used with a low speed fan. Like the Extreme, its stock fan is much better than those found on the older Zalman CNPS series, but not nearly as smooth as a Nexus or Scythe model. When undervolted, its acoustics are good enough that we wouldn't bother replacing it unless the system was sitting right next to us. Our biggest complaint is that Zalman provides a backplate for LGA775 installations only, and the simple tension clip for AMD boards is inappropriate given the heftly weight of the heatsink. The CNPS10X Quiet also mounts with the fan facing upward in a typical AMD tower system, which can result in potentially higher temperatures and noise levels, particularly if the power supply is located above the processor. For a US$55~$60 heatsink, we expect a little more thought in this regard.

Cogage TRUE Spirit
PROS

* Excellent performance at both high and low fan speed
* Solid, bolt-thru mounting
* Price
CONS

* Support for only one socket (one model for LGA775, one for LGA1366)
* Stock fan has poor acoustics
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
PROS

* Excellent performance at both high and low fan speed
* Fan controller included
CONS

* Backplate for LGA775 installations only
* Mounts facing upward on AMD boards

Our thanks to Cogage and Zalman for the TRUE Spirit 1366 and CNPS10X Quiet heatsink samples.

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Articles of Related Interest

Zalman CNPS10X Flex CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-D14 flagship dual-fan CPU cooler
SPCR's 2010 CPU Heatsink Test Platform [UPDATED: 10 April 2010]
Scythe Top-Down Coolers: Kabuto vs. Zipang 2
Scythe Mugen-2 CPU Cooler
CNPS10X Extreme: Zalman's Extreme Makeover

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