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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS
These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality,
digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've
listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original
WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during
These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the
product sounds in actual use one meter is a reasonable
typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The
recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the
relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not
be audible if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't
record it either!
The recording starts with 10 second intervals of room ambient, followed by
10 seconds of the actual product's noise at various levels. For the most
realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just
barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.
The CNPS9300 AT is basically a compact version of the CNPS9700 with few improvements,
yet the performance is comparable. It would seem that Zalman's design is fundamentally
a good one. If any other heatsink lost half
its surface area, its cooling ability would probably be seriously compromised.
The mounting system for Intel motherboards is secure, and while the same cannot
be said for AMD boards, the heatsink's weight is quite low, actually under the 450g maximum recommendation of both AMD and Intel, so it's not much of an issue. Unlike most AMD heatsinks, Zalman's mounting system allows the fan to blow in any direction.
Where Zalman continues to fail is in fan acoustics. It is much too loud. The vibration problem could have been a one-off due to bearing damage in transit, but that's just a conjecture. It seems to have less copper than their
other CPU coolers, and it's cheaper, but $45-$50
is still too much for this level of performance and noise.
There are many cheaper alternatives that outperform the CNPS9300 AT,
in both cooling and noise. So where does the CNPS9300 AT fit in? It doesn't really
there's no situation where it would be the best choice.
Zalman seems set in their ways, continuing to use bad fans and expensive copper
designs while the rest of the cooling world moves on. They were pioneers in low-noise
computing, but today their innovations are few and far in between. We can only shrug and wait to see if Zalman slides further into mediocrity or rejuvenates itself in the coming months.
Zalman CNPS9300 AT
* Good, not great performance
* Low weight
* Secure LGA775 installation
* Rotatable AMD installation
* Very loud fan
* Bad vibration problem
Our thanks to Zalman
Tech for the CNPS9300 AT heatsink sample.
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Discuss this review in the SPCR forums.
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