Zalman CNPS8000 Low Profile CPU Cooler Review

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2006-10-31

A compact CPU cooler from Zalman for those small cases and office PCs, carrying the CNPS ultra quiet tag, we find out if it lives up to Zalman reputation of silent computing.

  • prev
  • Go to mainpage

Test Setup, Results & Conclusive Thoughts

Test Setup and Results

JMke’s MiniPC Test Setup

Madshrimps (c)
CPU AMD Athlon 64 3000+
Mainboard MSI ATI RS482
Memory 2 * 512Mb OCZ DDR PC4400
  • Silverstone TJ08
  • Chieftec 340W PSU modified with Aerocool Chameleon fan @ 5v
  • Powercolor X800GTO + Zalman VF700-Cu @ 5v
  • 80Gb Maxtor 7200RPM HDD
  • NEC CDWriter

  • in-take temperature was measured at 22°C for all tests, but temp fluctuations, different mounting and user error can account up to 1-3°C of inaccuracy in the obtained results. Please keep this in mind when looking at the results. Each heatsink was tested repeatedly; if we got questionable results the test was restarted.
  • Noise level of each HSF combo was recorded with SmartSensor SL4001A, the sensor was placed ~15cm away from the front case. The lowest dBA reading in the test room was ~37dBA with everything turned off!
  • System was stressed by running K7 CPU Burn for 30min (after Thermal Compound's burn-in); this application pushes the temperature higher then any other application or game we've yet encountered. Speedfan was used to log maximum obtained temperatures.
  • Arctic Silver kindly send us their ?Lumière? thermal testing compound which has the same colour as Ceramique, but only a break in time of 30min!
  • Arctic Silver's ArctiClean was used to clean off thermal paste of the CPU and heatsink between tests

    Test Results

    Inside the Silverstone TJ08 case there are two 120mm fans, at full speed they are quite loud and drive up overall system noise, I used a fan controller to reduce voltage to these 120mm fans, at 6.5v they could only be heard when I put my ear next to the case.

    The Chieftec 340W PSU was modified with an Aerocool Chameleon 2000rpm fan running at 5v, only audibly at close distance if you put your ear next to the exhaust fan.

    I compared the Zalman CNPS8000 to the stock AMD heatpipe cooler, the Zalman was tested with the fan at maximum speed (~2500rpm) and at low speed (~1400rpm). The fan on the AMD stock heatsink is temp regulated. The tests were run with the case fans at high and at low speeds. Here are the results:

    Madshrimps (c)

    With the case fans at full speed the system is quite loud, ~7dBA over ambient in the best case scenario; noise/performance wise the stock AMD cooler does best here. With the case fans running at reduced speed the tables are turned, although the CPU temperature results favor the AMD heatpipe cooler, there is no doubt that the CNPS8000 provides the quietest system. The noise actually increases with the AMD stock cooling with the slower spinning case fans, which caused the CPU fan to spin faster; something which didn’t happen with the Zalman as it’s manipulated manually with the Fan Mate 2. At ~39dBA at 15cm! the system is merely 2dBA over ambient and is very hard to pick up once you move your ahead away from the case (at 50cm the dBA meter didn’t pick up the system while running).


    Available for approximately €/$35 the Zalman CNPS8000 is ideally suited for the office PC or HTPC, as long as you use the accompanied fan speed controller and set it to low. While Zalman states that the “full” speed is low noise region, I didn’t find the 92mm @ 2500rpm to be very pleasing to hear, it was in fact very loud at that speed. This is not a high end heatsink, but it’s capable to keep any current CPU (without overclocking) running stable and cool.

    Excellent build quality
    Easy installation
    Okay performance
    Very silent at low fan speed
    Fair price ~€35/$35

    Too loud at full fan speed

    I like to thank Zalman for sending over the product for testing;

    Questions/Comments: forum thread
    • prev
    • Go to mainpage