Zalman has once again designed something nice, something unique and certainly something aesthetically pleasing. Overall cooling performance surely is good, however in the very high-end enthusiast overclocking segment the cooler seems to forfeit on its cooling performance somewhat, unless you are willing to forfeit on noise levels.
And that's a little strange as I'm not used to that from Zalman, especially at this price-level. The cooler is competing with coolers like Vendetta 2 from OCZ and the Noctua HN-U12P coolers at, medium PWM (normal) fan rotation, both are cheaper than then CNPS 9900 LED. We even installed the cooler twice and reapplied thermal paste a second time to double-check our results.
This doesn't make the CNPS 9900 LED a bad cooler though, contrary it's a very good cooler, ranking in the leading segment, make no mistake. But we feel that it's missing that little extra bite, the x-factor.
Discomfort: you'll have to remove your motherboard front the chassis to be able to mount a backplane onto it, to be able to secure the cooler. While that's a negative, there's also an equal and reactive positive. The mounting system is just very good, sturdy and secure would be the keywords here.
Second remark, the fan plastic shroud. That thing just does not make any sense to me. It looks and feels like that Zalman initially planned to design the shroud and leave it in place as some sort of airflow funnel. Perhaps later on they realized that with the plastic shroud removed the performance actually went up 5- to 7 degrees C. And in cooler land that's the bulls proverbial you know what.
If you decide to get the CNPS 9900 LED fan we strongly recommend you to remove it, as it really helps in cooling performance and noise levels due to optimized airflow.
So as you can see, this is our first ever review on a Zalman product where we stumble into a few snags. These are not big or huge, contrary .. minor remarks at best. But it's a Zalman product, we just do not expect things like these I guess. I guess we mostly feel that at 75 USD the cooler might be a little out of its league.
Make no mistake though, the cooling performance is grand and if you stick to 40% to 60% fan rotation, it's not at all noisy. We achieved a 3600 MHz overclock on a 1600 MHz FSB based processor, while retaining fairly good temperatures. And that QX9970 is a hot processor all by itself.
Next to that the design is very pleasing to the eyes and it's definitely a quality product, and as such it comes recommended as it'll do a fine job cooling wise, and well .. it just looks stunning.
Zalman CNPS 9900 DF review We review the Zalman CNPS 9900 DF CPU cooler with Dual Fan. It's 2012 and Zalman is going strong on the concept and just when you think they can't change anything on that design ...
Zalman CNPS 12X review The one that everybody remembers and still is going strong where the initial CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) CPU cooler, the copper somewhat rounded "butterfly" based coolers. That model has been the biggest success of all their coolers. Anno 2011 Zalman is still going strong on the concept and just when you think they can't change anything on that design they proof that a top notch new cooler based off that old design can still work out well and look gorgeous. The Zalman CNPS 12X comes with Zalmans heat transfer solution by utilizing composite heatpipe technology allowing a Q-Max of roughly 300W, along with a bigger design Zalman claims this cooler to be offering quiet operation and broad compatibility for Intel 2011/1156/1155/1366/775 & AMD AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2.
Zalman CNPS 10X Quiet and Extreme review Zalman recently released a new series of CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System ) heatpipe based coolers. The new 10X coolers include five nice big heatpipes being cooled by a grotesque120mm fan. The PWM Fan comes with RPM Control which allows you to fine tune the cooler to your specific cooling requirements. And all that in a nice design and not too huge (in dimension) sized cooler. We will put two out of the three to the test namely the CNPS10X Extreme and CNPS10X Quiet. Both coolers impressed us a lot.