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 Post subject: Zalman Video Coolers
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:40 am 
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There appears to be a lot of debate over which Zalman video cooling solution really is the optimal for higher-end cards. The ZM80A-HP is Zalman's reccomendation (and the most commonly sold of their video cooler products these days, it seems) but comments are less than optimal. From pictures alone the thing is a beast, and the SPCR Review of the product notes that it's a pain to install -- in an SPCR Forum thread, cliche says he (my apologies to cliche if he's a she; gender-neutral handles are tricky) killed a 4600 trying to put one on.

Furthermore, the oddness in putting one on has caused MikeC to comment (also noted in the review) that many systems integrators he's spoken to aren't big fans of the cooler. The SPCR review reccomends mounting a fan using a Zalman bracket above the cooler, which to me seems like it's a pretty bad solution to a supposedly passive cooling solution. Why spend $25-30 on that monstrous heatpipe cooler if it means adding another fan anyway? In this thread, MikeC says he's been told by systems integrators that the ZM17 cooler is plenty good on a GF4 with an L1A mounted above it. While the ZM17 is a little harder to find than the ZM80A, it's also half the price and clearly not as difficult to install.

I've also read reports of people mounting heatsinks and undervolted Panaflos directly on to their cards. As long as this isn't too heavy -- and I'm not sure it could be much heavier than the ZM80A -- it seems like it might also be a good solution.

It also appears that Zalman has a new VGA cooler (with a fan attached!) coming out. Who knows how long this will be, but it may be a sign that Zalman has listened to the mixed feedback about that monstrous ZM80A.

I myself am buying a Radeon 9700 Pro by week's end, and while I was originally planning on getting the ZM80A, I'm thinking I may hold off on ripping out the stock cooling. The card is the most expensive component in my system, and I don't want to chance anything happening to it (I'm a newbie at all this quieting stuff). I'm eliciting feedback from people who've tried one or two various quieting solutions for cards like this -- I'm interested to know if anyone has used the ZM80A completely passively in a low-airflow case with a higher-end graphics card. I'm interested to hear from people who've had to mount fans above the ZM80A, people who've tried ZM17 with a Panaflo fan and people who've rigged up their own solutions. Maybe we can try and consolidate all the knowledge out there (there have been similar threads out there, but the knowledge is kind of scattered about).

If I had a spare graphics card I'd get both coolers and play around and give you all the scoop, but I don't and I'm not dropping ~$300 in the name of science, I'm sorry to say.

Oh, one final question: what are the differences between Zalman's FB-123 and 165 brackets? The SPCR review of the ZM80A suggests using a 165 instead of the 123, but just from looking at Zalman's page it's hard to tell the exact differences.

-- Stephen


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:42 am 
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One addition: the new Zalman ZM80-XX variants are still not out.

The last time Zalman demoded something in Cebit, it took them until next December to actually ship the goods in production quantities.

It might still be a while off.

regards,
Halcyon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:56 am 
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I think it all depends on what your case airflow and if you intend to overclock...

I had no problems installing a ZM80-A onto my 9700 non-pro, and I'm a klutz. The heatsink DOES get hot but my video card has run flawlessy for half a year now. At first I thought I might want dedicated airflow to it but now figure it doesn't seem to matter as long as it works. A lot of the heat gripes in other forms seem to complain about it limiting overclockability --> but that's not a big thing for me when it's already overpowering today's games.

But having said that I do think it'd be wise to wait for the new cooler for your 9700pro... that way you've got a built-in choice: either leave the fan off or plug it in and have it on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:11 pm 
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I was using one for about a month on a GF4 Ti 4600. This was "in" a shuttle XPC. I eventually removed it as I like being able to close the case. Temps were warm/hot to the touch but without any video glitches. There was no extra cooling fans applied. The stock cooler for the Shuttle box was likely adding a considerable amount of cooling to the heatsink on the back of the card although I run it with a Pabst fan at 12 volts so I'm guessing it's around 25cfm without taking into consideration any obstructions.

Overall it seems like a very heavy heatsink useful only for very speciallized applications. I would be more inclined to use one of their smaller vga coolers and then just get some airflow to it if I ever try something like that again...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 7:31 am 
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So I suppose I can make the ZM80A-HP work on my Radeon 9500 Pro that's coming. I was wondering if it was compatible, but now I know it is. My question, then, is this:

I read about the Radeon 9500 Pro just being a detuned version of the Radeon 9700, and with a little overclocking it could be made to perform similarly. Do all hopes of overclocking go out the window if I use the ZM80A-HP on my 9500 Pro?[/i]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 9:57 am 
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Personally, I love 'em. I've put the ZM80a-hp on two cards now (a Radeon 9100 and a 9700) and have beat the hell out of both of them with 3-d games and haven't ever seen a glitch.

Installing it isn't difficult IMHO, it just requires patience and attention to detail. It has a lot of parts, but 90% of the 'work' is getting the front and rear blocks to line up. Once you get those on, it's a cake walk.

I've even overclocked the 9700 as a test, left it on Quake 3 Arena for eight hours with 12 Nightmare bots on Pro-T4) and still stable. Then again, I have a Coolermaster and excellent airflow - the path from the two front fans to the vid card is unobstructed, so it gets some direct air - so YMMV.

The beauty of this cooler is even if you have to put in another fan, you can get a Papst NGL and run it at 7v, and inside almost any case it's inaudible.

I dunno. I think these coolers rock.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:50 pm 
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Rory B. wrote:
So I suppose I can make the ZM80A-HP work on my Radeon 9500 Pro that's coming. I was wondering if it was compatible, but now I know it is. My question, then, is this:

I read about the Radeon 9500 Pro just being a detuned version of the Radeon 9700, and with a little overclocking it could be made to perform similarly. Do all hopes of overclocking go out the window if I use the ZM80A-HP on my 9500 Pro?[/i]


Sorry - off topic reply here


9500 NON pro was the version which had the 8 pipelines and could be modded to 9700 pro levels for the GPU. The memory would lag behind 10 mhz from the default of the 9700 pro though.

The 9500 NON pro had the same PCB as the 9700 pro originally and one could soft mod (using Riva Tuner) or solder a resistor on (can't remember where). You could tell which one would work as the memory chips were placed on the PCB on the same placement as the 9700 pro. I think it there were ok if in an L configuration placement on the PCB, 2 either side.

9500 pro (as opposed to non pro) if I remember correctly had less pipelines physically than the 9700 pro (4 as opposed to 8 on the latter).
The 9500 non pro had 8, 4 of which were disabled.

Note: percentages of succesful mods (spents a good 2 months reading as many threads on this as possible) were roughly 70 %.
Also sometimes the AA would give a checkerboard effect (Sinclair Spectrum anyone :wink: ) so no guarantees
So too risky for me anyway so I bought a 4600 and promptly killed it trying to put the damn Zalman on :cry: - the man from Artic Silver denies it was their compound touching my ram http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=5759&highlight=


Also sort of back on topic if u do overclock the RAM on the gfx card, my replaced (at my cost) card's Ram gets v. hot. So I have decent heatsinks on them. The Zalman only is designed for GPU cooling and it would not fit now with my ramsinx on anyway.


Damn an overclocker and now a slient freak simultaneously :twisted:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:01 pm 
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Be careful when you remove the spring pins holding the old HSF on the card. I nearly killed one of my cards when I slipped when trying to pinch the pin to push it through the hole with a pair of needle nose pliers. try wrapping the ends of the pliers in electrical tape. Fortunately I didn't cut any vital traces on the PCB. I hope.

I've successfully put the ZM80A on a GF4 Ti4200 and a GF3 Ti200.

I imagine the Radeon 9700 and 9800's are alot tougher due to that stupid shim around the CPU.

Sapphire offers a Radeon 9700 with an OEM'd version of the ZM80A, btw.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:55 pm 
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Quote:
Be careful when you remove the spring pins holding the old HSF on the card. I nearly killed one of my cards when I slipped when trying to pinch the pin to push it through the hole with a pair of needle nose pliers. try wrapping the ends of the pliers in electrical tape. Fortunately I didn't cut any vital traces on the PCB. I hope.



Regarding removing the old heatsink fan, I followed the advice on some other forum for removing the HSF from Radeon 9x cards:

0) unscrew the fan on your card, leaving the heatsink
1) put the card into an anti static bag (like what it came in)
2) stick the bag in the feezer
3) take it out after fifteen minutes (or whatever)
4) place a credit card as a protective layer between the card and the heatsink (wedge it in)
5) take a flathead screwdriver and place it under a heatsink edge but resting on the credit card (the credit card is protecting the rest of your card from your screwdriver head)
6) lever the heatsink off, it'll pop off suddenly and go flying off... don't hit yourself. The plastic pins just give up the ghost when frozen and so does the frozen thermal paste.

No needle nose pliers necessary :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:30 pm 
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Do NOT use the ZM17CU!

It uses some weird type of glue that fails, I lost a Gf3 and a nic to it!
(heatsink fell off, and onto the nic below it melting the card)

Use something that takes advantage of the mouting holes in the card.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 1:44 pm 
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Location: Kortrijk, Belgium
I've read that some companies use other glue to attach there heatsinks to there cards.

The difference in the glue is that it doesnt get soft but gets even stronger.
So if you try to remove your HS you'll break the core.
The solution to this is running 3dmark 2k3/2k1 multiple times, take the card out, remove the heatsink while its still hot.

-I'll try to find the source where i've read that

edit: cant seem to find it... i'll continue looking ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 1:55 pm 
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GenghiS_KhaN wrote:
I've read that some companies use other glue to attach there heatsinks to there cards.

The difference in the glue is that it doesnt get soft but gets even stronger.
So if you try to remove your HS you'll break the core.
The solution to this is running 3dmark 2k3/2k1 multiple times, take the card out, remove the heatsink while its still hot.

-I'll try to find the source where i've read that

edit: cant seem to find it... i'll continue looking ;)


I could do with that - as I have artic silver epoxy on mine and am thinking of removing the modded heatsink on my gf4 now :?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 2:23 pm 
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Thermaltake has something similar to Zalman
http://www.thermaltake.com/products/chi ... atpipe.htm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:10 pm 
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I am kind of in the same corner. I have a Ti4200 (special edition running at higher speed)

I am not really fond of this huge Zalman ZM80A. It is too damn big and heavy. And as you said what is the use if you can't run it without a fan??

I was looking at this solution:
Image

http://www.atechfabrication.com/product ... system.htm

I really like this solution. But i haven't found this particular Alpha heatsink yet. And a 6035 is not really suited for this.

You can buy it at atech but the price is rather steep at 55 dollars.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:21 pm 
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woah :shock:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 2:26 pm 
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Location: Chicago, IL
aSe wrote:
Do NOT use the ZM17CU!

It uses some weird type of glue that fails, I lost a Gf3 and a nic to it!
(heatsink fell off, and onto the nic below it melting the card)

Use something that takes advantage of the mouting holes in the card.


For the record, I've used the ZM17CU many, many times and have never had the problem you just described. I think your problem was user error in that case. The glue, when used properly, will certainly NOT fail.

If your card has the mounting holes though, I too would probably use a heatpipe solution instead - just in case the card ever failed, so you could remount the original sink/fan and obtain your warranty.

8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 7:21 am 
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The new Zalman ZM80C-HP is apparently finally out:

http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/akiba/ho ... /nzh1.html

PIC:
Image

and with the optional fan:

Image

Spec at Zalman site:

http://www.zalman.co.kr/english/product/ZM80C-HP.htm

regards,
Halcyon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 7:34 am 
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That thing is huge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't find it anywhere for sale though.

I'm betting $50-$70

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:44 pm 
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OK, so several references have been made to the fan (for the Zalman ZM80-HP) as being optional. What, exactly, does that mean? When could you get away without it, versus when would you definitely need it?

Thinking about getting one for an ATI AIW 9700. Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 5:53 pm 
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POLIST8 wrote:
That thing is huge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't find it anywhere for sale though.

I'm betting $50-$70


At SVC for $26.99 and I beleive the fan is shown separately there for $9.99. Not too steep if it really does what we want it to do.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 3:24 am 
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Location: Collegeville, PA, USA
I have the new VGA heatpipe sink on my Radeon 9800 Pro and have been using it for over a week.

The environment is a Coolcases D800, 2x120mm fans @ 7v, Sparkle PS w/120mm fan, Athlon XP 2600+, SK-7 w/80x15mm Panaflo L1A, Gigabyte GA7N 400 Pro, 2x512MB HyperX PC3500, 120GB 'Cuda V, 128MB Radeon 9800 Pro

First, if you have even the slightest mechanical inclination, a little bit of patience and you are able to read a manual, installing the thing isn't that hard. Heck, they even include a screwdriver. It took me about 3 minutes, and I was taking my time and being VERY careful.

Second, the fan does NOT come with the heatpipe. I bought one but haven't installed it, and it doesn't seem to be a problem.

Third, some comments. It would be nice if there was a way to make sure you got the cooler "square" on your video card before tightening down all the screws. Mine is skewed by a couple mm. The screws that hold the "brackets" on the outer edge of the card (they hold the 2 sides of the heatsink steady) are a bad design -- the nuts just spin in the channel and are difficult to tighten.

Otherwise, nice cooler, and now there's one less noisemaker in my PC.

Pete


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