Supplied by: Kustom PCs.
Price: £33.17 ex VAT.
The increasing popularity of overclocking seems strange in a world where it's hard to find any software (even games) that need half of the processing power of today's leading CPU's. Regardless of the reasons behind it, overclocking's popularity has brought with it a wealth of new products and fierce competition in the heatsink and fan (HSF) market.
In this review I'm going to be looking at the CMPS6000-Cu (catchy name eh?) made by Zalman - a company whose slogan is 'The Quiet Cooling Solution', they aim to provide a quiet HSF that still performs well.
Before I dive in I'd like to thank the nice man Thomas at Kustom PCs for providing this HSF for review.
Heatsink comprising of 56 flat copper fins clamped together between two aluminium blocks.
Polished base for maximum contact with the CPU core.
92mm 3W 3 pin fan provided with a variable speed controller.
Fan mounted on a bracket to help absorption of vibrations.
Approx dimensions (w x d x h): 63 x 110 x 65 mm.
Total surface area: 2900 cm2
The box and its contents.
A quick look at the box,
My favourite bit of any review is finding out what's inside the box, so let's not waste any time!
- The heatsink.
Wow. This is certainly the prettiest heatsink I've ever seen, and so photogenic too - did you see the way it was posing in the last one? Turning it over reveals, as promised, a very shiny base,
- Fan and bracket,
The idea is this - the fan is mounted via the bracket above the heatsink; the bracket is fixed in place using the same screws which hold your ISA/PCI/AGP/AMR cards in place - I'll illustrate this later.
- The Zalman 'Fan Mate 1' - fan speed controller.
A small black box into which you plug your fan; the tail of the box then plugs into your CPU fan header on your motherboard.
- Thermal grease, two heat sink clips, installation tool and various sized screws.
- A short installation manual.
First a word of caution: This heatsink weighs in at 462g, 162g more than the AMD recommended maximum, and 282g more than Intel recommend you use on a Pentium 3 socket. This extra weight puts more strain on the socket and can cause the heatsink to fall off if you move your case around a lot!
Reading this caution in the manual didn't surprise me; many copper heatsinks weigh more than is recommended and it shouldn't scare you, just be careful!
I installed the heatsink as follows:
- First I cleaned both my CPU's core and the base of the heatsink using acetone. Grime invisible to the eye, such as natural oils from your hands, can seriously diminish the thermal transfer between core and heatsink.
- Next I applied thermal paste to the core. I used Arctic Silver 3 in preference to the supplied paste following the Arctic Silver application guide here.
In this review I wanted to see the full potential of this HSF and Arctic Silver 3 is the best thermal paste I have ever used.
- Then I gently rested the heatsink in the correct position on the CPU, slid the clip over the heatsink, hooked the short leg over the lug at one side of the socket and pushed down with the supplied tool to hook the long leg over the lug at the other end of the socket. At this point you should ensure that the heatsink is firmly in place by trying to twist it a little - also looking at it from the following angle confirms good contact with the core,
Installation to this point was a breeze - the inclusion of the tool to help clip over the second lug was a useful extra. My only complaint is Zalman's choice to use a clip which only holds on to the socket using a single socket lug; this puts a lot of strain on the one lug. Many heavy heatsinks use three-lug-per-side clips; I wonder why Zalman chose not to?
To install the heatsink I'd taken out a few things from my motherboard so as to have good access to the socket; looking at the fitted heatsink I'm sure you'll see the problem I now had,
The fins lie very close to my ram sockets and putting my first simm back in was a case of tilting it at a strange angle and bending around a little! It worked in the end but it wasn't an ideal situation.
Next it was time to install the fan. For me this was very easy: just screwing in three screws and plugging the fan in. The next picture should help to explain.
Positioning the fan directly above the heatsink is simple - there are several places on the mounting arm to put the fan (depending on your motherboard layout) and together with your choice of position to screw the arm in you should have no difficulties installing the fan in your system.
The only exception to this is if you have a power supply mounted above your CPU (normally in micro ATX cases). Zalman recommend not trying to use this heatsink in this situation, so best check before buying.
I had to plug my ATX power header back in before fitting the fan; on my EPOX board the power header is located under the fan mount,
All in all installation was pretty easy for me, though this HSF is very non-standard and you might have installation problems with a non-standard motherboard.
The test system...
I installed this heatsink on my 1GHz AMD Athlon which I run at 1.4GHz at standard voltages. I use WinXP with ACPI on my EPOX 8kta3+ motherboard disabled. As a result the difference between my load and idle temperatures is very small.
The tests were done in my new CM201 case, which has two front 80mm intake fans, an 80mm exhaust and an 80mm blow hole fan.
For HSF comparison I used my ThermoEngine (also available from Kustom
PCs) and, to help achieve a similar goal to Zalman, I bolted a fairly quiet YS-Tech 80mm fan on to the heatsink using an 80mm grill,
- High cooling*
- Low cooling*
*High cooling was achieved by using the Zalman Fan Mate, and low cooling was with the Fan Mate set to minimum cooling.
I've always thought that my ThermoEngine temperatures were very good so although the results for the Zalman heatsink were not special, they were not disappointing either. The ThermoEngine was only slightly noisier (couldn't tell the difference with my CM201 default fan setup in the background) and it seems that you would use the Fan Mate to vary between 'very quiet' and 'very very quiet'!
The Zalman CNPS6000-Cu is a very pretty beast indeed, it cools reasonably well and it is, as promised, very quiet. However at £33+vat it isn't cheap, and as my tests show it can be outstripped by a much cheaper heatsink. I feel pretty sure that I could have used a quieter 80mm fan on my ThermoEngine and still beaten the Zalman's performance, which is surprising considering the Zalman's copper construction and large surface area.
In a case with a nice window and perhaps a transparent fan to replace the Zalman one (so it doesn't block the nice view), where there's no need for heavy overclocking and you have the money to spare then the Zalman CNPS6000-Cu is king, but for me that's too fine a specification to give this HSF an award.