Zalman CNPS9900 LED: The End of the Nines

Cooling
Viewing page 6 of 8 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next

TEST RESULTS

The tests were performed with a voltage controller, which is our standard procedure. We'll grant that a PWM controller might be able to run the fan slower and quieter, but at the expense of cooling performance.

Zalman CNPS9900 LED
Fan Voltage
SPL @1m
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W
12V
39 dBA
32°C
11
0.27
9V
32 dBA
34°C
13
0.28
7V
24 dBA
36°C
15
0.31
5V
16 dBA
43°C
22
0.35
Load Temp: CPUBurn for ~10 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (21°C) at load.
°C/W: based on the amount of heat dissipated by the CPU (measured 78W); lower is better.

Fan @ 12V: Thermal performance was excellent at 11°C above ambient — the best result we've ever recorded. Of course a Zalman CPU fan at 12V is a sonic force to be reckoned, creating a symphony of turbulence and whine that sounds like a swarm of tiny, very threatened bees.

Fan @ 9V: The CPU temperature increased by only 2°C. However, the fan droned and was very breezy with plenty of turbulence. At 32 dBA it was still unacceptably loud.

Fan @ 7V: Performance suffered by 2°C once again. Our ears detected a bit of hum and whine, but the bulk of the noise was the result of turbulence. Though the SPL was 24 dBA, it actually didn't sound half bad. We would have prefered this to be the fan's maximum speed.

Fan @ 5V: The temperature skyrocked by an additional 7°C — the CNPS9900 suffers dramatically when the airflow is significantly cut. The noise level however was excellent at only 16 dBA. The fan exhibited a slight low-pitched hum, but other than that it was fairly smooth.

The cooler also passed some vibrations through the board to our testing platform. The amount of vibration varied depended on how much of the backplate made contact with the platform surface. Properly installed in a case there should be enough clearance to make this a non-issue.

Comparables
Zalman
CNPS9900 LED
Zalman
CNPS9300 AT
Thermaltake
SpinQ
SPL @1m
°C Rise
SPL @1m
°C Rise
SPL @1m
°C Rise
32 dBA
13
30 dBA
17
30 dBA
21
24 dBA
15
25 dBA
18
27 dBA
22
 
21 dBA
23
21 dBA
24
16 dBA
22
 
16 dBA
27

Compared to the Zalman CNPS9300 AT, the CNPS9900 is a significant improvement, posting better numbers at more or less equivalent noise levels. At 5V, the CNPS9900 matches the CNPS9300's performance but at a much better SPL — 16 dBA vs. 21 dBA. It is also superior to the Thermaltake SpinQ.

CNPS9900 vs. Comparables
@ 16 dBA
Heatsink
°C Rise
Thermalright SI-128
21
TT Big Typhoon VX
21
Zalman CNPS9900
22
TT Big Typhoon
24
TT SpinQ
27

Unfortunately as a quiet cooler, the Zalman CNPS9900 is poor. When the fan is undervolted to 5V it generates 16 dBA, the same noise level as our reference Nexus 120mm at 12V. Of all the coolers we've tested with this fan in the past two years, the CNPS9900 manages to only beat one: the Thermaltake Big Typhoon.

CNPS9900 vs. Top Coolers
@ 16 dBA
Heatsink
°C Rise
Thermalright U120E
12
Thermalright HR-01+
13
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
13
Noctua NH-U12P
14
Zalman CNPS9900
22

Compared to the best heatsinks we've tested the CNPS9900 is inferior by about 8-10°C. That's a very large gap.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next

Cooling - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: