CNPS10X Extreme: Zalman's Extreme Makeover

Cooling
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COOLING RESULTS

Zalman CNPS10X Extreme w/ stock fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W
12V
37 dBA
33°C
10
0.13
9V
31 dBA
34°C
11
0.14
8V
27 dBA
35°C
12
0.15
7.5V
15 dBA
38°C
15
0.19
7V
12 dBA
44°C
21
0.27
6V
11~12 dBA
49°C
26
0.33
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme w/ reference 120mm fan
12V
16 dBA
37°C
14
0.18
9V
13 dBA
40°C
17
0.22
7V
12 dBA
44°C
21
0.27
5V
11 dBA
49°C
26
0.33
Load Temp: CPUBurn for ~10 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (23°C) at load.
°C/W: based on the amount of heat dissipated by the CPU (measured 78W); lower is better.

The CNPS10X performed very well, especially at high fan speeds. With the stock fan at full speed, the CPU temperature was just 10°C above ambient, among the best results we've ever recorded. Performance fell by only 1°C when the fan was run at 9V, and 2°C at 8V. The sweet spot for the cooler seems to be at around 7.5V with a thermal rise of 15°C and only 15 dBA of noise. Below 7V, the cooler's performance starts to go downhill, probably due to the tight fin spacing. This was true of the Thermalright Ultra-120/Extreme and it is true of the CNPS10X. Swapping the fan with a Nexus 120mm gave us similar results. It performed the same at noise levels similar to the stock fan.


Unfortunately there is no 'proper' way to change the CNPS10X fan as the screws provided are too short to make it through both corner edges of a typical 120mm fan. We used some wire and foam to keep our reference fan in place.

Comparables

While Zalman's newest heatsink is not the best we've tested, it is in contention with the usual favorites — a feat none of their recent models could accomplish.

°C rise Comparison: The Best of the Best
Heatsink
Nexus 120 fan voltage / SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
5V
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
11 dBA
Prolimatech Megahalems
10
14
17
20
Thermalright U120E
12
14
17
24
Thermalright HR-01+
13
15
16
20
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
13
15
18
22
Noctua NH-U12P
14
16
17
21
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
14
17
21
26
Zerotherm Zen FZ120
15
16
19
24
Scythe Ninja 2
17
18
20
23
Thermolab Baram
18
20
22
25
All results generated with our reference Nexus 120mm fan.

At 12V/9V, the CNPS10X Extreme performs similarly to some of our favorite coolers including the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and Noctua NH-U12P. At lower fan speeds, it slips toward the basement of our comparison table. This is most likely due to to the combination of tight fin spacing and the relatively long distance the air has to travel before exiting on the other side of the fins — ie, high impedance.



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