Sub-$20 CPU Coolers: A Reader's Roundup

Cooling
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Zalman CNPS7000V (AL)

Hmm... This looks familiar, doesn't it?

This is the great-granddaddy of the SilenX cooler. The originator of the clamped-together-fins design that the SilenX has copied.

Well, has the master been succeeded by the student? Let's take a closer look at the Computer Noise Prevention System 7000.


The Zalman and the SilenX are strikingly similar, but there are some differences.



The Zalman has more fins, but they lack the wavy profile of the SilenX. They appear to be thinner, however.

The Zalman is slightly shorter than the SilenX, a boon for installing this cooler into a cramped case.

However, the Zalman's fan impeller is made of gross acrylic. While it looks great, hard acrylic usually amplifies the stator noise within the motor, making the fan sound louder and higher-pitched than a fan made of softer plastics like PET, PBT or even ABS.

Well, let's install this bad boy and see how it does.

Sound Characteristics

At full tilt, the Zalman turns in a disappointing performance, with a higher-pitched blade hum and whooshing air noise that's louder than the stock cooler.

At lower RPMs, however, the whooshing and whirring subside, and around 1200 RPMs, the fan noise finally slips beneath the noise floor of the HTPC's hard drive. Unfortunately, this is close to its minimum speed, so hopes for this cooler being supremely quiet while PWM controlled look grim.

The noise the cooler makes isn't entirely unpleasant, and it's quieter than the Alpine GT. The fan also doesn't present any surprises, and doesn't click at all during speed reduction.

Performance

All right, so it's not quiet at top speed, but it can get quiet, so how does it do when it's quieted down?

Zalman CNPS7000V (AL)
Quiet
Max
RPM
Idle
Load
Rise
RPM
Idle
Load
Rise
1134
24°C
54°C
30°C
2473
24°C
47°C
23°C


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