With the CNPS 12X Zalman managed to once again surprise me. The baseline performance is excellent, and in fact amongst the best heatpipe coolers we have tested. The true benefit however needs to be found in the total cooling capacity, we can always se that really well once we increase voltages and start to overclock. Even at 4200 MHz with 1.5V on the CPU (which is way too much Voltage) under full stress this cooler manages to keep the CPU cores under 70 Degrees C. That's downright good.
So yeah, the aged design still works wonders, like fine wine. These coolers are based on that old concept introduced a long time ago, and thought the CNPS series never left the market, I was not expecting to see a performance level this good.
The dilemma anno 2011 though is that some people will dislike the sheer design/looks of the unit. It really is a bit of a freakfest in today's modern PC which are often black, tidy, cable managed and clean looking. Then again, a lot of people can and will like the design as well. Personally where I had a bit of an issue with the older CNPS units style wise, I kind of seem to appreciate the 12X.
And as stated, performance wise things are top notch.
Noise levels then, well I find the 12X on that area to be quite good. Quiet is not a word I'd use with this product, even with the resistor wire in use the fan RPM levels might remain below 1100 RPM, but it's still a slightly audible cooler yet remains very acceptable in that mode. Without that CAP (1200 RMP limitation) once the fan reached 60~80% RPM, well that's where you'll start hearing the cooler but even then .. it's not at all bad really. But as the article has shown, with the resistor in use the performance level is merely one maybe two degrees higher, so leave it in place we feel.
Performance overall is very comparable to the performance of Noctua's NH-D14 coolers. That cooler of course is completely silent though. The CNPS X12 also has a lot of additional capacity, we like that very much. The result as such is that the cooler becomes even more impressive when you start to overclock.
Okay, it's time to end this article. Performance wise you'll achieve excellent heatpipe based cooling which is downright impressive. The noise levels are fine really but we do recommend you to use the RPM capped. The looks and aesthetics, well you either love or hate the design I guess, there is nothing in-between it. The mounting system is a little inpelasant to work with, especially mounting the last two bolts can be a bit of a drag. Remember, Intel used the black washers and AMD the transparent ones -- we goofed up initially and it makes all the difference in performance.
The Zalman CNPS X12 is a truly excellent performing cooler, the looks are a matter of taste, the nice nickle plated coating we feel finishes the design. The one thing that is a bit of a downer is the pricetag though, the product can be spotted for roughly 80 EUR/99 USD in the stores as we speak.
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.