Most helpful positive review
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Very cool, very quiet
on August 25, 2008
This is an excellent cooler not just for people looking to overclock their computers, but also for anyone looking for a quiet cooling solution for their CPU. It offers great cooling as well as very low noise.
The design is excellent and extremely attractive to look at if you have a case that lets you see inside. The blue LEDs really set off the copper fins.
As others have mentioned, this cooler is *very large, so make sure you look at the dimensions to see if it will fit in your case. Odds are, if you have a 120mm exhaust fan in your case this should fit. The cooling fins are held above the motherboard, so you shouldn't have any trouble with motherboard heatsinks touching the zalman. Your main concern is the height of the cooler fitting in the case. This cooler can also be set in any orientation (providing you have the room) to blow air front, back, up or down depending on how you have your airflow setup. Most people will set this to blow air out the back of the case, and usually this will lineup directly with your case's exhaust fan.
Mounting is very easy, although you will definitely have to remove the motherboard from the case as it comes with its own backplate. The backplate and mount screw right in and after you apply thermal paste to the CPU (there is a zalman paste that comes with this, or you can get the better Artic Silver 5 also called AS5) the cooler screws right into the mount. The included directions and a little common sense are all you need.
Once installed, you can choose to plug this into your motherboard and let it decide the fan speed or you can use the included Fan Mate 2 controller to manually control the speed of the fan. I use the fan mate controller to turn the speed down all the way to "silent". At that setting it really is silent, as I can hear everything else including hard drives, power supply, video card, etc before I hear this fan. If I'm doing something where I know I need extra cooling, I just turn the controller up a little bit, but usually it stays in silent.
For me, the controller kept my Q6600 quad core at 28c (82F) at idle and 47c (116F) during full load with stock speed at 2.4Ghz. With the Q6600 overclocked to 3.2Ghz, temperature only increases to 30c at idle and 50c at full load. Those are very good temperatures and were achieved at a lot less noise than with the standard cooler that comes with the chip.
Other coolers that are comparable in both cost, performance and noise are the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme and Tuniq Tower.