Testing

The Zalman CNSP7700-Cu HSF was tested on an open frame K8 test rig consisting of the following components.  The ambient room air temperature was maintained at 23°C ±0.5°C.  The CPU was loaded by running Folding@Home 24/7.  Several dozen temperature reading were recorded and averaged over 2~3 days for each test.

 

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  • Asus K8N-E Deluxe nForce3-250 motherboard
  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+
  • Seasonic SuperTornado 400 watt ATX power supply
  • (1) Corsair CMX512-3200C2  DDR RAM
  • ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
  • WD800JB IDE HDD
  • Sony 16X DVD, FDD
  • Windows XP Pro with SP2

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To facilitate taking accurate CPU temperature measurements I attached a very small Omega thermocouple to the side of the Athlon 64 IHS with Arctic Alumina thermal epoxy.  The measurement equipment used during testing included:

  • CPU/IHS — Barnant Model 115 digital thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.4º C)
  • Ambient air — Barnant Model 115 digital thermometer (accuracy +/- 0.4º C)
  • Extech Model 407736 digital sound level meter (accuracy +/- 1.5 dB)

 Since the 120mm fan is integrated into the heatsink, no other fans were used during testing.  The CNPS7700-Cu fan was connected straight to a motherboard fan header (12 VDC) and also connected to the Fan Mate 2 speed controller, which produced a total of four different speeds.

 

The following data is presented for comparative purposes only.  Your actual results may be different depending on the variables unique to your system (CPU, overclock, ambient temperature, case air flow, temperature monitoring, etc). 

 

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CPU — Temperature reported by Asus PC Probe utility (internal diode)

Tc — Temperature obtained with calibrated thermocouple attached to IHS

Delta T — Fully loaded Tc temperature rise above ambient

dBA — Sound pressure level recorded 3′ away (background ~30 dBA)

 

As you can see, the Zalman CNPS7700-Cu did a very good job of cooling the Athlon 64 processor.  When operating on 12 VDC (plugged into the motherboard fan header) and when the Fan Mate 2 was set to hi speed, the fan noise was detectable but far from noisy.  At low speed the fan was virtually silent but still did a good job of keeping the CPU cool.

 

For comparison, here are the results from several other popular HSFs for the K8 platform and the stock OEM aluminum HSF that comes bundled with the Athlon 64 3200+.  All HSFs were tested on the same CPU under the same conditions.

 

  • Thermalright XP-120 with 120mm Panaflo FBA12G12L1A fan
  • Cooler Master Hyper 6 with 80mm CM variable speed fan and 80mm Vantec Tornado
  • Gigabyte 3D Rocket Cooler-Pro with integrated, variable speed, blower-style fan
  • Zalman CNSP7000A-CU with integrated 92mm Zalman variable speed fan
  • Athlon 64 3200+ OEM aluminum heatsink with 70mm fan

 Zalman CNPS7700-Cu Heatsink Fan - Cases and Cooling 23

 

A word of caution: each of these heatsinks incorporates unique designs and very different fan styles and sizes, which makes a direct head-to-head comparison difficult.  Obviously though, some coolers still stand out above the rest.

 

The Zalman CNPS7700-Cu performed similarly to several of the other top HSF’s, based on cooling and noise.  It knocked about 3°C off the temperatures produced by the smaller Zalman CNPS7000A cooler previously tested.  The large coolers from Thermalright and Cooler Master, which incorporate heat pipe technology were able to edge out the big Zalman by almost a degree — well within the margin of testing error.

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