Zalman CNPS8700 LED CPU Cooler: Update of a Classic

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October 18, 2007 by Lawrence Lee

Zalman CNPS8700 LED
CPU Heatsink for Intel LGA775, AMD 754/939/940/AM2
Zalman Tech Co.
Market Price

Zalman was one of the first companies to specialize in quiet heatsink/fans for computers. We here at SPCR have a soft spot for their original flower series of heatsinks which were highly innovative and top-of-class in their heyday. But over the years, their top position for quiet yet effective coolers has been gradually eroded by Scythe, Thermalright, and others who took an accelerated path in integrated heat pipes into massive tower heatsinks. Zalman was much slower to adopt heatpipes, finally adding them to their designs in the last year or two, and going vertical with the CNPS9500 and CNPS9700.

Now Zalman looks to return to their roots by producing a new low-profile CPU heatsink. You could call the CNPS8700 LED an updated heat pipe version of their classic, highly popular CNPS7000 and CNPS7700 models. The 7000 was first introduced back in early 2003, some five years ago, yet it is still widely available in the marketplace! This is a very long time by computer standards, and a testament to the product's success.

Interestingly, the 8700 also has similarities to the Zalman VF900 graphics card cooler — enlarged and adapted for use on a CPU. That graphics card cooler also features two heatpipes, all copper materials, and a radial fin structure. It proved to be one of the most effective GPU coolers we've tested, despite is moderate size.

Let's see if the 8700 can live up to its pedigree.

(Editor's note: In case you've been away from the CPU heatsink scene for several years and have not encountered them before, be advised that heatpipes have become ubiquitous, used even on some stock heatsinks supplied with high end retail AMD processors. It's not a new technology but it's new to computer cooling. Here's Wikipedia's current entry on heatpipes and how they work.)

Inside the simple box, the heatsink lies encapsulated in a plastic clamshell.

Mounting hardware for LGA775 and Sockets 754/939/940/AM2, Fan Mate 2 manual fan speed controller, thermal compound, and instructions.

Zalman CNPS8700 LED: Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
Compatible with all single, dual, and quad core CPUs for Intel socket 775 and AMD socket
All modern desktop sockets and processors are supported.
Compatible with Slim Tower / Low Profile Home Theatre PC Enclosures.
The lower height makes for excellent case compatibility.
100% pure copper heatsink with aerodynamically optimized “tunnel” design for high performance cooling.
Similar design to previous Zalman heatsinks.
Patented curved heatpipe design for heat transfer performance of up to 4 heatpipes using just 2. Curved heatpipes are a feature borrowed from the CNPS9500/9700. We'll see how it performs in a more compact form.
Ultra-thin 0.2mm fins for minimized weight and significantly reduced airflow resistance. Thin fins = more fins = more surface area.
The 110mm fan inside the heatsink cools not only the CPU, but the VGA card, Northbridge, FET, and RAM as well. Top-down cooling is ideal for cooling components around the socket.
Does not generate noise or vibration in Silent Mode. Zalman's track record when it comes to fans is dubious... we shall see.
The adjustable fan speed controller (Fan Mate 2) enables control of noise and fan performance.
A nice extra.

Zalman CNPS8700 LED: Specifications (from the product web page)
Dimensions 120(L) X 123(W) X 67(H) mm
Weight 475g
Base Material Pure Copper
Dissipation Area 3,300cm2
Bearing Type 2 Ball-Bearing
Speed(1) 1,150rpm ± 10% ~ 2,300rpm ± 10%
Noise Level(2) 17.5dBA ± 10% ~ 33dBA ± 10%
(1) The fan operates at 2,550rpm (35.5dBA) if directly connected to the motherboard’s power connector without the use of Fan Mate 2.
(2) Measured 1m distance away from source.

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