After reading the manual, we began the process of installing the FC-ZV9 to our XFX 7800GT video card.
The first step was to remove the nine (9) screws that were used to secure the stock cooler to the 7800GT card.
The stock cooler is a huge machined block of aluminum. The GPU area has a copper heatsink base that is secured to the rest of the heatsink using thermal grease and four (4) small screws. The RAM is cooled using thermal tape attached to 4 “raised” areas of the heatsink.
While this is the most common design for coolers, it is not without problems. Because the RAM and GPU are all cooled using the same overall heatsink, the RAM actually adds to the combined heat, thus creating more heat that has to be cooled by the small 40mm fan.
After cleaning, our next step was to attach the RAM heatsinks to each of the RAM chips. As mentioned earlier, providing an individual heatsink for each RAM chip should, under proper conditions, provide better cooling than the all-encompassing stock cooler.
Along with reading the manual, we also suggest checking out the manufacturer’s website for additional installation information. Zalman does an excellent job of providing a flash-based video that details the installation instructions for this card.
The installation instructions found within the manual were well-laid out and did a good job of leaving nothing to chance. They detailed every step of the installation procedure, providing drawings for each step as well.
The FC-ZV9 uses the same retention mechanism found on the VF900 series of coolers. As seen in the image above, this retention apparatus allows us to install this cooler onto a wide array of video cards:
Graphics Card Compatability
This list is nice and expansive, making the Fatal1ty FC-ZV9 usuable by a wide user-base. The FC-ZV9 user guide as well as Zalman’s website provides additional information in their notes section that informed us that there were other products, not listed in the above list, that the FC-ZV9 could not be installed upon.
The Fatal1ty FC-ZV9 provides for more airflow across more areas of the card, but the fan is taller than the stock cooler. It is important to point out, just as the manual and website do, that using this cooler requires a PCI slot for clearance purposes, making that slot unusable.
The FC-ZV9 uses a dual-ball bearing 80mm fan instead of the 40mm fan that comes stock on the video card. Because of this it is necessary to install the Fatal1ty cooler to either the motherboard or a 3-prong fan connector on your PSU if they are provided. In order to test for vibrations and proper installation, we attached the fan to our test PSU using a fan connector and the FAN MATE 2 system provided by Zalman. If your PSU doesn’t have any of these connectors, or you don’t have any extra fan connectors on your motherboard, you’ll need to purchase a fan-to-molex converter in order to install this cooler in your system.
We’ve removed the stock cooler, installed our FC-ZV9 cooler, and have properly re-installed the cooler into our system. Now the real tests of the card begins as we see how it compares to our stock cooler.