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Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu

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External reviews of Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu
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    Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu Heatsink/Fan

    ConclusionThe Zalman 7700-AlCu provides superior cooling performance than its predecessor, the 7000-AlCu, which still gives it a pretty good run for the money. The small but measurable cooling gain is obtained with no serious acoustic price, as the fans on these coolers measure almost identically for SPL. Given that the 7000 remains among the most popular of high performance, low noise HSF, a product that surpasses it has to be praised. They do sound a bit different, but whether one sounds louder than the other is difficult to judge. We suspect that with the Fan Mate set to minimum (5V) on both HSF, the 7700 would probably sound a touch louder for most listeners. This noise level cannot be described as superbly quiet, however, even at the minimum 5V setting of the Fan Mate 2 voltage controller. We commented on this in our original 7000-AlCu 18 months ago, and we hoped that the 120mm fan would give us lower noise. The 7700 fan has not done that, though it has give us a slightly better noise-to-airflow ratio. It is possible that our Zalman HSF sample(s) were on the noisy side of their ±10% noise tolerance range, but we've had more than half a dozen 7000 series HSF through the lab, and they've all sounded pretty much the same. The Thermalright XP-120, which is the only other 120mm fan CPU cooler at this time, is a tougher competitor to the 7700. Its multiple heatpipes and unusual design, combined with a separate conventional 120mm frame fan provide slightly better cooling than the 7700-AlCu with the same airflow, and at a much lower noise level. If we had set noise as the reference in our comparison chart (i.e., kept the noise constant rather than the airflow), the cooling advantage of the XP-120 would have been much greater than 2°C; it would have widened to as much as 4~5°C. However, that would simply have shown the superior noise-to-airflow ratio of the Globe fan over the built-in 120mm fan in the Zalman cooler. The difference between the Globe fan and the integrated fan in the 7700 underline our point about the noise performance of the Zalman fans. Oddly, for a company that has staked its reputation on low noise cooling, Zalman fans have never been that quiet. Admittedly, this is related partly to Zalman's use of ball-bearing fans, which is almost mandatory in high heat applications such as power supplies and heatsinks. Sleeve bearings rely on oil lubrication that tends to dry up sooner when subject to higher temperatures. When they seize, they do so quietly, without warning. Ball bearing fans last longer in heat, and when they go, they start screeching, getting louder and louder as they get worse. This is a kind of built-in safety warning for the PC user to explore what is going on, much like the screeching of worn brakes. For these reasons, ball bearings are almost mandatory in stock fans on heatsinks; most system integrators and OEMs do not accept sleeve bearings in HS or PSU fans. But they ignore the fact that ball-bearing fans are more easily damaged by physical shock during shipping. In practice, a good sleeve bearing or modified sleeve bearing such as the Hypro bearing in Panaflo fans lasts a long time even on a hot heatsink. (I've never seen a failure of any Panaflo due to heat damage in nearly four years with well over 100 units passing through my hands.) Getting back to the 7700-AlCu, while it may not be the quietest or highest performing HSF in the market today, it is right up at the top, and the street pricing is only marginally higher than for the 7000-AlCu, which has always been a good buy. The XP-120 + 120mm fan is definitely more expensive, and because of the very high tension of the mounting system, actually more difficult to install than a Zalman 7000 series HSF. The fan integration is something a lot of people prefer for simplicity. And if the performance is good enough, and it fits in your system but you'd prefer lower noise, you can always swap the fan, as some SPCR forum members have done on the 7000 series. (See text box below: 7700 Fan Swapping) As with all recent Zalman HSF packages, we have nothing to fault with this one (except the use of the too-common, environmentally unfriendly plastic). The new Fan Mate 2 is a genuine improvement, and the mounting hardware for the various processor types is well thought out.

    16 years ago
  • No grade
    16 years ago
  • No grade
    16 years ago