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Zalman CNPS9300 AT CPU Cooler: The CNPS9700 Slims Down

October 1, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Zalman CNPS9300 AT
LGA775 & K8 CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
Zalman Tech Co.
Street Price
$45~50 USD

The Zalman CNPS9700 giant copper CPU cooler offered good performance but suffered a high price-tag and a nasty sounding fan. These drawbacks overshadowed the clever design of the heatsink itself, and made it difficult to recommend for a silent PC. One solution was to replace the integrated fan, a procedure recommended only for the handy. We have not seen a new CPU heatsink design from Zalman in quite some — the most recent additions to their CPU heatsink lineup are rehashes of what they've done in the past. The CNPS9300 AT is no exception.

The CNPS9700 is no match for the cheap tower heatpipe coolers that dominate the current market. The CNPS9300 AT is a drastically slimmed down version of the 9700, so it shouldn't be able to match or beat its predecessor's performance. It's narrower, lighter, and is equipped with a smaller fan. While it may offer more clearance around the CPU socket, it is not significantly shorter, so case compatibility won't be much better.

The most interesting thing about the CNPS9300 AT is the fact that it exists. Why did Zalman produce it, and why now? What is its place in the market? Those are the questions we hope to answer.


Zalman usually keeps their packaging to a minimal, and the CNPS9300 AT follows that trend. Its box is compact and decorated with a calming blue motif.


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The box contains the heatsink in a plastic clamshell container, LGA775 and AMD mounting equipment, thermal grease and instructions. This is the first time we've encountered a Zalman heatsink that does not include one of their Fan Mate manual fan speed controllers. Its absence is probably the result of Zalman finally incorporating a fan with a PWM connector.


Zalman CNPS9300 AT: Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
Does not generate noise or vibration in Silent Mode.
Usually not the case with Zalman.
Compatible with Slim Tower / Low Profile Home Theatre PC Enclosures.
This must be a mistake, probably taken off the literature from the CNPS8700/7500 series. Slim/low profile cases are not wide enough to accommodate a 133mm tall CPU cooler.
Compatible with all Intel Socket 775 based Single, Dual, and Quad Core CPUs, and all AMD Socket AM2+, AM2, 754, 939, 940 based Single, Dual, and Quad Core CPUs.
For $50, we expect universal compatibility.
100% copper heatsink with aerodynamically optimized “tunnel” design for maximum cooling efficiency. The same basic design as the 9500 and 9700.
Patented “figure 8” heatpipe design for cooling performance of up to 4 heatpipes with the use of just 2. Longer heatpipes can be utilized by curving them. It's a common feature.
Low-noise 92mm PWM fan for automatic control of the fan’s RPM according to the CPU’s temperature. Finally, Zalman decides to use a PWM fan. Welcome to the 21st century.

Zalman CNPS9300 AT vs. CNPS9700: Specifications
(
from the product web pages here and here)
Heatsink
Model CNPS9300 AT CNPS9700
Dimensions 61.35(L) x 108(W) x 132.5(H) mm 90(L) x 124(W) x 142(H) mm
Weight 407g 764g
Base Material Pure Copper & Pure Aluminum Pure Copper & Aluminum
Dissipation Area 2,583cm2 5,490cm2
Fan
Model CNPS9300 AT CNPS9700
Bearing Type Superflo 2 Ball-Bearing
Speed 1,500rpm ± 15 % ~ 2,400rpm ± 10 % 1,250rpm ± 30 %
2,800rpm ± 10 %
Noise Level
(at 1m)
20~30dBA ± 10% 19.5dBA ± 10%
35dBA ± 10%
Control Method PWM Control, Auto Restart Manual via Fan Mate
Life Expectancy 50,000 hours N/A


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