Zalman's new 9700 bigboy heatsink/fan

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The Zalman CNPS9700 is déjà vu, only it's bigger. Identical in almost every way to the CNPS9500 except overall proportions, the bigger brother also uses an all copper design. Again, 6 heatpipes transport the heat from the base to the fins. It's a simple and elegant design that worked well for the 9500.

Have we seen this before...?

Zalman heatsinks are often noted for their flat, well-polished bases. We could spend time describing this, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

Smooth and flat as ever.


The integrated fan is a little different from most others because it has the off-size diameter of 110mm. Most DC fans in IT use are 80mm, 92mm or 120mm diameter. The same frosted semi-clear plastic as the fan on the CNPS9500 is used, along with the same metal yoke mounting bracket for the fan.

The fan is rated at 2800 RPM and 35 dBA. A dual ball-bearing setup is usually not the best choice to reduce noise, but hopefully reducing the fan speed will help.

The included fan controller is a tried and tested Fan Mate 2. With an output voltage range of 5-11V, it's possible to run the fan at a very quiet level. However, for our testing, we use our own regulated voltage source to power the fans.


The motherboard must be out of the case for the heatsink to be mounted. The mounting bracket and clips allow for any HSF orientation. The ideal blow-towards-the-rear-case-exhaust fan direction should be easy to achieve. With the heatpipes rising well above any of the motherboard components, clearance shouldn't be much of a problem. The only question will be how close the HS fins come to the power supply casing. In some cases, the fins might end up being jammed up against the PSU. As long as fan blades are not impinged, this should be OK; both the CPU casing and the PSU casing should be joined to common ground.

The installation itself is a breeze. For LGA775, a plastic mounting bracket is screwed in first through the four holes in the motherboard, with a plastic backplate on the underside. There is no guessing here — you keep screwing down until it's snug. Once the bracket is in place, the heatsink goes on top (with thermal paste of course), and the clip rests between the heatpipes. Holding the heatsink in place with one hand, the screws for the clip are screwed into the plastic base. Again, there's no guessing. Just keep screwing until you can't go any further. It's a procedure that just about anyone could handle without difficulty. This is a pleasant change of pace from some other mounting setups we've seen before.

Simple and elegant mounting solution. All set for testing!

In a nutshell, the installation hardware looks unchanged from the 9500 (with the exception of additional compatibility with AM2 as well as earlier K8 sockets) , and neither have the installation procedures changed. We devoted an entire page to the topic in the 9500 review, so we refer you to it for more information if you'd like.

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