Zalman CNPS9900 MAX & CNPS5X CPU Coolers

Cooling
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Zalman CNPS9900 MAX Fan Measurements

The CNPS9900 MAX is equipped with an 11-blade, translucent red LED fan with a width equivalent to a frameless 140 mm case fan. It is rated for 1700 RPM and 30 dBA ± 10%.

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Avg. Speed
SPL@1m
12V
1600 RPM
32~33 dBA
9V
1260RPM
26~27 dBA
7V
1000 RPM
20 dBA
6V
850 RPM
16 dBA
5V
680 RPM
13 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

At higher speeds the fan was very whiny but at 1000 RPM and below the acoustic profile mellowed out considerably. It had a bit of a hum at 7V but at 5V~6V, all we could hear was turbulence. It was very quiet and pleasantly smooth with almost no tonal elements. Overall, it's a huge improvement over previous fans from the CNPS7000/8000/9000 series.

The MAX ships with a RC7P fan adapter which lowered the fan speed to only 1420 RPM (the speed reached at ~10.5V). We're puzzled as to why, as the adapter has almost no practical value.


At 6V, the MAX's stock fan's noise output was mainly broadband with little to no tonality.

Zalman CNPS5X SZ Fan Measurements

The CNPS5X is equipped with a 7-blade fan with a width equivalent to a frameless 92 mm case fan. It is rated for 2800 RPM ± 10% and 32 dBA ± 15%.

Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Avg. Speed
SPL@1m
12V
2700 RPM
34~35 dBA
9V
2150 RPM
29 dBA
7V
1600 RPM
21~22 dBA
6V
1340 RPM
18 dBA
5V
1070 RPM
14 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

Though Zalman claims that the CNPS5X stock fan has fluid bearings, it sounded a lot like ball bearings to us. It was loud and whiny at 12V, and droned at 9V. It did not become quiet until it reached about 6V, and even then there was a low pitched hum being generated. Luckily this was only audible at close proximity, the overall noise character was reasonable at greater distance.


At 6V, the CNPS5X stock fan had some distinct undesirable tonal elements.



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