Zalman CNPS9900DF Dual Fan Flower Heatsink

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Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
870 g
Height 152 mm
Fin count A lot
Fin thickness
0.26 mm
Fin spacing
Vertical Clearance*
40 mm
* measured from the motherboard PCB to the bottom fin of the heatsink

Large Heatsink Comparison:
Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
SilverStone Heligon HE02
0.52 mm
3.30 mm
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
0.34 mm
3.12 mm
Scythe Ninja 3
0.39 mm
2.64 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Thermalright Archon SB-E
0.49 mm
2.33 mm
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
0.40 mm
2.30 mm
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
0.31 mm
2.25 mm
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
0.40 mm
2.21 mm
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
0.38 mm
2.22 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Kabuto & Zipang 2
0.34 mm
1.94 mm
NZXT Havik 140
0.41 mm
1.91 mm
Scythe Mugen-2
0.31 mm
1.89 mm
Swiftech Polaris 120
0.43 mm
1.85 mm
Thermalright Venomous X
0.53 mm
1.84 mm
Noctua NH-C14
0.38 mm
1.79 mm
Enermax ETS-T40
0.40 mm
1.79 mm
Scythe Yasya
0.32 mm
1.78 mm
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
0.40 mm
1.70 mm
Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
0.30 mm
1.70 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Reeven Kelveros
0.47 mm
1.61 mm
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
0.16 mm
1.59 mm
Thermalright Silver Arrow
0.32 mm
1.57 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
0.56 mm
1.52 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
0.42 mm
1.50 mm

Testing on larger heatsinks are done on our LGA1366 heatsink testing platform, while smaller coolers tackle our LGA1155 heatsink testing platform. A summary of the test system and procedure follows.

Key Components in LGA1366 Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Nehalem core, LGA1366, 3.2GHz, 45nm, 130W TDP.
  • Asus P6X58D Premium ATX motherboard. X58 chipset.
  • Asus EAH3450 Silent graphics card.
  • Intel X25-M 80GB 2.5" solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 3GB QiMonda DDR3 memory. 3 x 1GB DDR3-1066 in triple channel.
  • Seasonic X-650 SS-650KM 650W ATX power supply. This PSU is semi-passively cooled. At the power levels of our test platform, its fan does not spin.
  • Arctic Silver Lumière: Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed specifically for test labs.
  • Noctua 140 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 140x25mm fans)
  • Nexus 120 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm fans)
  • Nexus 92 mm fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 92x25mm fans)

The systems are silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details of which are shown below.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
990 RPM
21 dBA
770 RPM
15~16 dBA
660 RPM
13 dBA

Reference Nexus 120mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
1100 RPM
16 dBA
890 RPM
13 dBA
720 RPM
12 dBA

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer: SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our standard fan testing methodology.
  • SpeedFan, used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated, so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95, used to stress the LGA1366 CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications. 8 instances are used to ensure that all 4 cores (with Hyper-threading) are stressed.
  • CPU-Z, used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.
  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from the lab's variable DC power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise did not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor, and the graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.

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