Just picking up the box, you know this is a quality product. It has a good weight to it, and the packaging has a clear window to show off just how polished and professional this elite nugget o’ metal really is. The back of the packaging also has a small see-through window, showing off the heatsink’s shiny hiney. Seriously, Zalman wants you to see just how smooth its mirror-like contact plate is.
Upon opening the package, we find a slew of goodies contained inside. Zalman does an excellent job of providing components placed in individual bags and packaging to help us find what we need.
Zalman’s FAN MATE 2 is a standard component in most of their performance cooler kits. We appreciate the flexibility that Zalman gives us in installing the FAN MATE 2, using the provided cable, we had the option of installing the controller either inside or outside of our case for ease of use. While we appreciate the ability to control our speeds, and like the way that Zalman faciliates this, all of Zalman’s fan mate controllers look the same.
It would be nice if Zalman provided stickers or color variations for their fan controllers to help identify our different FanMates, at least to separate the Fatal1ty version from the rest.
The eight RAM heatsinks provided are anodized aluminium feel well made. Each heatsink has thermal tape pre-applied, allowing for easier installation.
The FC-ZV9’s nipple/spring retention system is provided with all of the screws, washers, etc. that we needed to properly install the VGA cooler. Some of these items are rather tiny so be careful not to lose any, as the kit only provides only amount needed for installation. While two extra PVC washers were provided, they were the only surplus items.
With the Fatal1ty logo is prominantly displayed on the fan, so you can feel the awesomeness raditating as soon as you remove it from its cardboard prison. The heatsink is very well-made, cleanly finished, and feels incredibly solid. The curved heatpipes even hold the fins in place, so there is no way they are going to bent; and the spacing between the fins will always be uniform. There is no doubt that based on its construction, this cooler will provide you with a lifetime of cooling.
Looking at the back of the cooler gives you an even better view of the heatsink base and retention system. The base is perfectly flat and the finish was mirror-smooth, promising excellent GPU contact and heat dissapation.
The heatpipes are solidly constructed and well mounted on the base. The flower-shaped fins extend from the base and radiate out in a circular design. The heatpipes are incorporated, soldered, and completely surrounded by the fins to help provide even better cooling.
While we’ll be the first to point out that lapping a heatsink’s base until it has a mirror finish does not promise perfect heat transfer, but in virtually every test we’ve ever performed, we’ve found that a base that has been lapped to this level of appearance can provide as much as 5 degrees celsius in cooling performance improvements. Zalman is to be applauded for the amount of work put into their heatsinks in this regard as it demonstrates their commitment to superior products.