Zalman CNPS9500 LED heatsink/fan

Cooling
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Sept 12, 2005 by Devon Cooke with Mike Chin

Product
Zalman CNPS9500 LED CPU Heatsink
for socket 478 / 754 / 775 / 940 / 939
Supplier
Zalman Tech. Co., Ltd.
Price
~US$75

Zalman made a name for itself with highly efficient CPU heatsinks that work well with low airflow ? an excellent combination for low noise. Their original "flower" design was a stroke of genuis: Many thin fins clamped very tightly together along one edge, which was then machined to a fine polish to become the base. The unattached opposite ends of the fins was spread apart to allow airflow between them. At the time, it was an inexpensive way to make a very high performance heatsink. It spawned many copycats, and several other companies adopted similar designs. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it is probably keeping Zalman's patent lawyers busy.

We've recommended the Zalman CNPS7000 series for over two years, but that model has begun to show its age. There are now more efficient, less expensive heatsinks available. Zalman has not been resting on its laurels; they displayed their newest heatsink, the CNPS9500, at Computex in May 2005. It is now September and the new model is beginning to find its way into the retail market, although it is still hard to find. Zalman finally added the product page for the 9500 to their web site just days before this article was posted.

The Zalman 7000 series (and the similar 7700 series) were top performers when they were first released, but they lack one technological feature that competitors have been integrating for some time: Heatpipes. Zalman is no stranger to heatpipes. They have been using heatpipes in many products, including their video card coolers, and the massive fanless TNN series cases, which make extensive use of heatpipes. The 9500 is their first CPU heatsink to use heatpipes. It takes the highly efficient flower design of the earlier Zalman heatsinks, adds three heatpipes, and tilts the fin configuration 90 degrees so that the fan blows across the motherboard rather than down at it. The surface area of the heatsink fins (the "flower petals") has been increased, as the flower is now elevated above the motherboard where it will not interfere with the other components. It looks like a "stem" has been added to the flower.


The box is large and retail-friendly with a plastic window that lets you see the product.


The box lists the specifications. It's quite light for an all-copper design.


The usual Zalman accessories, including Fanmate 2 to control fan speed.

Zalman CNPS9500: Feature Highlights (from the product box )

Feature & Brief Our Comment

Minimized Weight
Optimized heatsink layout for maximum cooling efficiency with minimal materials.
0.2mm ultra slim fins for minimized weight and reduced airflow resistance.

Weighs 530g, just 80g over the max recommended 450g specified by Intel and AMD. Low weight is especially important because the tower design means the cantilever force on the motherboard will be quite high.

Ultimate Performance
100% copper heatsink with aerodynamically optimized "tunnel" design for maximum cooling efficiency.
Innovative patented heatpipe bending design for heat transfer capacity of up to six heatpipes with just three heatpipes.

Three heatpipes are used, but heat is transferred from the ends of the heatpipe to the middle rather than from one end to the other.

Ultra Quiet Operation
Ultra Quiet CNPS 92mm opaque fan with blue LEDs.
Aerodynamically optimized heatsink for smooth airflow and minimal noise.

Not quite "opaque", but not quite transparent either. The fan blades are "frosted": They allow light to pass but do not allow a clear line of sight. Blue LEDs. Bling.

Broad Compatibility
Intel: All Dual Core Pentium CPUs (Socket 775)
All Pentium 4 CPUs (Socket 775/478)
AMD: All Dual Core AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPUs (Socket 939)
All AMD Sempron / AMD64 CPUs (Socket 754/939/940)

Only Socket A is missing. Funny how they don't mention Celeron CPUs...


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