Zalman VF1000 LED Graphics Card Cooler

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The VF1000 dwarfs the VF900.

To improve on the VF900-CU's performance, the radial fin/heatpipe design had to be abandoned as there was simply no room for it to be expanded without going vertical. It was logical to align the fins linearly instead to use as much space as realistically possible. This allowed the increased number of heatpipes to be distanced fairly far apart from one another, dissipating the heat more evenly along the length of the heatsink.

The fin spacing is wider overall which will help especially at the far edges of the heatsink where direct airflow from the fan will be significantly lower. It was wise to keep the height the same, taking up only one extra slot. This makes it a suitable candidate for users with SLI or Crossfire setups — a demographic keen on using third party cooling.

The underside of the VF1000.

The bottom of the VF1000 reveals six sets of mounting holes for maximum compatibility. The heatpipes are sandwiched between the base and mounting plate and solder is used to facilitate conduction — nothing innovative there. The fan is 80mm across and 15mm high, very similar to that of the VF900-CU LED. It is held on by a plastic arm that grips the last fin on each side of the heatsink. In addition, a plastic anchor (not pictured) can be found protruding between two of the fins in the center, latching on to the them like a grappling hook.

The VF1000's base.

A closer look at the base reveals some scuffing — we apologize as it was a result of our own mishandling. However this shouldn't affect any test results as it is far from the center. Aside from that, the base was not only flat but polished to a mirror finish. Note that the mounting arms also appear to be copper.


Our victim: a Radeon X1950XTX.

Stock RAM heatsinks were left in place.

The card we used for testing was the ATI Radeon X1950XTX, the most advanced variation of ATI's X1900 line, and a fairly hot, power hungry beast. The memory and VRM heatsinks were not attached to the main stock cooler, and were left on as they looked more than adequate to cool the blazing fast GDDR4 chips. Also, the memory heatsink was the same color as the VF1000 and we like when things match. Zalman's blue memory heatsinks would have been a bit of an eyesore. Unfortunately a portion of the memory heatsink on the top edge of the board interfered with the VF1000, making it impossible to sit the heatsink flat onto the GPU core.

A slight bend for compatibility.

A small modification was made by bending the base away from the fins slightly to give it a little more clearance. With that out of the way, installation began. One of the things we loved most about the VF900-CU was how easy it was to install, and it was nice to see Zalman continue to use the same method. Bolts (or 'nipples' as Zalman fondly calls them) with threads on both sides were screwed tight into the appropriate mounting holes for our card and rubber rings slid over them. Once thermal compound was applied to the GPU core, the card was lowered onto the heatsink rather than vice versa. It is easier to mount it this way as the final part of the install is done on the back of the card, so it's preferable to have it face upward.

Thumbscrews on the back of the card.

The four bolts were inserted through the holes on the PCB and out the other side. Four plastic washers and metal springs were placed over the protruding nipples, and thumbscrews secured them in place. Installation was completely tool less, though we did need a screwdriver to remove the stock cooler.

The VF1000 installed.

The heatpipes converging at the base.

The card and cooler fully installed in our test system.

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