Zalman CNPS10X Flex CPU Cooler

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Zalman CNPS10X Flex CPU Cooler

February 14, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Zalman CNPS10X Flex
CPU Cooler
Street Price

Last summer, after years of banking on the radial heatsink design made famous in their CNPS7000 series of CPU coolers, Zalman finally put out a conventional tower style heatsink, the CNPS10X Extreme. Its release brought Zalman back in competition with high performance heatsink makers like Thermalright, Noctua, and Scythe. However its cooling proficiency was decidedly unimpressive compared to the best coolers of today, particularly when paired with a low speed fan which is an important requirement for silent/quiet computing. Its lackluster performance combined with the high price-tag makes its competitors far more desirable.

The box.

The CNPS10X Flex is more affordable, being a simpler version of the Extreme. The nickel-plating, extravagant fan controller, and stock fan with a custom housing did little to improve the actual performance of the Extreme and are noticeably absent on the Flex. The heatsink structure is basically the same, though the surface design has been altered somewhat, and accommodations have been made on the back side for a second fan. The mounting system has been improved as well, with a single multi-socket backplate; there is no plastic mount hardware this time around. It will be interesting to see if these changes will result in more effective cooling.

Package contents include a mult-socket backplate, anti-vibration strips, and four wire fan clips.

Zalman CNPS10X Flex: Key Features
(from the product web page)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
Dual Fan Support
The heatsink is designed to accommodate one or two fans according to the user’s preference.
As the CNPS10X series has tightly spaced fins and is wider than most heatsinks, an extra fan would certainly be beneficial.
Powerful Cooling Performance
Optimally designed aluminum fins disperse heat away from the CPU via 5 heatpipes, while the high capacity 120mm fan quickly cools the heatsink for stable operation of high performance CPUs.
Remains to be seen.
180mm Wide Case Compatibility
For optimum case compatibility the heatsink’s height is set to 151mm, ensuring compatibility with 180mm width cases.
151mm puts it about 10mm shorter than the tallest tower heatsinks.
Differentiated Design
Differentiated from typical U-shaped heatpipe coolers, a central band of black anodized fins adds a sleek and cool aesthetic finish.
The black stripe is distinguishable, but hardly practical. Listing this as a major feature is reaching.
High Performance Super Thermal Grease ZM-STG2
New high performance thermal grease ZM-STG2 maximizes heat transfer from the CPU to the base of CNPS10X FLEX for intensified cooling performance.
In our experience, most TIMs perform very closely to one another.
Versatile Compatibility
CNPS10X Flex accommodates a broad range of sockets.
Intel LGA1156/1366/775, AMD AM3/AM2+/AM2/754/939/940
We applaud Zalman for implementing a hard mounting system for all sockets.

Zalman CNPS10X Flex: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Dimensions 133(L) X 74(W) X 151(H)mm
Fins: Aluminum / Base: Copper
Dissipation Area
Heatpipes 5 U-shaped heatpipes
Compatibility List


Core i7
Core i5
Core i3
LGA1366 Core i7
LGA775 Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Core 2 Extreme
Pentium Dual Core
Pentium D
Pentium 4
Celeron D
AM3 Phenom II
Athlon II
AM2+ Phenom II
Athlon FX, Athlon 64 FX
Athlon X2, Athlon 64 X2
Athlon, Athlon 64
AM2 Athlon FX, Athlon 64 FX
Athlon X2, Athlon 64 X2
Athlon, Athlon 64
940 Dual-Core Opteron
Athlon FX, Athlon 64 FX
939 Dual-Core Opteron
Athlon FX, Athlon 64 FX
Athlon X2, Athlon 64 X2
Athlon, Athlon 64
754 Athlon, Athlon 64

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