Zalman CNPS-7000A-Cu Heatsink Review

zalman-7000a

Introduction

Zalman is a name that we’ve all heard by now. They are pretty much the only company producing low-noise yet well performing aftermarket heatsinks with any real success. Their heatsink design secret is pretty simple – HUGE surface area. From the ‘flower’ style heatsinks to the orb-style coolers, and now on to a hybrid of the two, they all share the trademark thin-fins to maximize heat dissipation without needing a whole lot of airflow.

But less noise means less airflow, and less airflow means less performance. Despite Zalman’s success, they haven’t quite been able to really crack the high-end enthusiast/overclocker market dominated by Thermalright heatsinks combined with Delta or Vantec high CFM fans. With the CNPS7000A-Cu Zalman seems to be trying to take their low-noise philosophy to the high-performance arena. Let’s see if they succeed. The thin-fins look deceptively light, but they add up! The 7000A-Cu really surprised me with its weight. It is packaged quite well in a hard, formed plastic container.

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Opening up the package reveals a wealth of extras. There is mounting hardware for Socket A AMD mobos, P4 mobos, and the new Athlon 64’s. It also comes with a bit of Arctic Alumina thermal paste, some paper washers, a nice installation manual, a fan-speed controller, a case badge, and some silica gel…which I was tempted to eat. Thank God for warning labels!

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The heatsink itself is huge, about the size of a CD-ROM in circumference. For tight cases where the PSU is right on top of the mobo the 7000A-Cu may not fit. Also, at 773 grams the 7000A-Cu is well over the maximum limits specified by AMD (300g for XP’s, 450g for A64’s) and Intel (450g). Take care when moving a computer with this beast installed… The base comes lapped to a mirror polish, but if you run your fingernail across it you can feel the ridges of the many fins compressed together to form the base.


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Taking apart the heatsink reveals a pretty simple construction. The many fins are clamped together in the center between two aluminum blocks, then lightly machined, then folded open. The fan is screwed into a bracket, which also holds the clip used to mount the heatsink.

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Here’s the specs for the Zalman fan with the included fan-speed controller. As you can see, it’s quite quiet. One should note that most dB measurements are taken three feet from the fan. If you run your PC right next to you it will sound louder. Then again, most case fans are louder than this anyway, so it doesn’t really matter

Fan
Silent Mode
Normal Mode
Rotational Speed
1350 RPM ± 10%
2400 RPM ± 10%
Noise Level
20 dB ± 10%
25 dB ± 10%
Bearing Type
2 ball