Zalman CNPS8000: A Worthy Successor?

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The fan is a Zalman creation, and features an odd half-frame that seems to exist solely to attach the fan to the heatsink. The outline of the Zalman logo is cut into the side, allowing a small amount of air to escape. It seems likely that these holes will cause turbulence noise.

The fan is rated for 0.23A, marking it as medium speed. Unfortunately the unique frame makes the fan impossible to replace, so we will have to count on Zalman to include a quiet fan, something they have not always done well in the past.

The fan can be removed, but it's hard to imagine how it could be replaced.


Two installation brackets are included, one for Intel's Socket 775, and one for the various K8 sockets on the market. The brackets are split into two halves that slide and lock together, allowing the brackets to be added to or removed from the heatsink without requiring tools.

Because there are so few parts, putting the bracket together is quite intuitive. The photos below show how the two halves mate and how they attach to the heatsink. The halves do not fit tightly, but they are a little difficult to mate properly and it is easy to push them together only to find that one of the arms has not connected properly. With due care and attention, it does not take long to install.

The two halves of the mounting bracket mate together... so.

In actual use, they slide together over the base of the heatsink, allowing the mounting system to be switched easily.

The K8 bracket uses the retention module that has come standard on K8 motherboards since the first Athlon 64 was released. The system is quite familiar and easy to understand, but can be hard to use because of the high tension involved.

Socket 775 does not have a retention module, so Zalman has opted to use a backplate and screws to secure the heatsink. The screws are built into the bracket itself, and aligned perfectly with the backplate that was already on our motherboard. Installing the heatsink was a simple matter of tightening the screws. While not as easy to use as the plastic clips used on Intel's stock mounting mechanism, the screw-and-backplate method is probably more secure, as there is less plastic under tension. Note that the four screws for 775 are accessible with a screwdrive from the top through the gap between the fan blades and the frame.

The bracket for Socket 775 screwed to the backplate.

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