Zalman CNPS9900 MAX & CNPS5X CPU Coolers

Cooling
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COOLING RESULTS: Zalman CNPS5X SZ

Zalman CNPS5X
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
12V
34~35 dBA
37°C
17
9V
29 dBA
39°C
19
7V
21~22 dBA
43°C
23
6V
18 dBA
45°C
25
5V
14 dBA
48°C
28
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (20°C) at load.

The CNPS5X is a loud cooler that does not become quiet until the fan voltage is decreased to about 6V. Fortunately the results at 6V and 5V were very good, with a thermal rise under 30°C on our AM3 heatsink test platform. This makes it one of the better lightweight coolers we've tested.

Small CPU Coolers: °C Rise Comparison
SPL (dBA@1m)
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Scythe Ninja Mini
-
-
23
-
-
-
27
-
Xigmatek HDT-SD964
-
-
24
-
-
-
30
-
Xigmatek HDT-SD964
-
-
-
22
-
27
34
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
25
-
-
-
31
-
Zalman CNPS5X
25
-
-
-
28
-
-
-
Scythe Samurai ZZ
29
-
-
30
-
-
-
32
Gelid Silent Spirit
-
-
30
-
-
-
36
-
Scythe Big Shuriken
-
-
30
-
-
37
-
37
Gelid Silent Spirit
-
-
35
-
43
53
-
Arctic Cooling Alpine 64
-
34
-
43
-
-
46
-
Coolers using stock fan in green, reference Nexus 92mm fan in blue.

The CNPS5X comes in second only to the Xigmatek HDT-SD964 in stock fan performance. While it is taller than most of the heatsinks listed above, it is also the lightest at 310 grams which makes its performance impressive. When compared to coolers equipped with our reference Nexus 92 mm fan, the CNPS5X falls to the middle of the pack. Like the CNPS9900 MAX, its stock fan cannot be replaced easily.

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.

  • Zalman CNPS9900 MAX at 1m
    — 5V (13 dBA@1m)
    — 6V (16 dBA@1m)
    — 7V (20 dBA@1m)
    — 9V (26~27 dBA@1m)
    — 12V (32~33 dBA@1m)


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