Zalman have produced a handful
of videocard heatsinks in the years since the original
ZM17CU cooler was first patented. That original videocard heatsink was held on with Loctite adhesive,
now a days, there are a variety of heatpipe-based passive and active videocard heatsinks to choose from.
The Zalman FC-ZV9 offers broad
GPU compatibility with the large variety of
ATI and nVidia videocards on the market. In fact, five different mounting hole
styles are supported! Unlike the ZM80D-HP VGA heatsink which uses heatpipes and
front and rear mounted aluminum cooling fins, the FC-ZV9 occupies space on
the front of the videocard only. Measuring about 96mm in diameter, the FC-ZV9
is entirely constructed of copper components, with two 5mm diameter heatpipes
looping around the outside of its many thin cooling fins, and
dark nickel plated for aesthetics.
The unit weighs about 185 grams, and stands no more than
30mm high above the GPU, so it will occupy one additional PCI slot worth
of space. Included along with the FC-ZV9 heatsink are eight small 13x13mm
red aluminum DRAM heatsinks, which can be stuck onto the videocard memory for
additional cooling. The installation process is remarkably straightforward, but because there
are a great many little screws and washers that have to be oriented in the
correct way we highly suggest you flip through the illustrated
instruction pamphlet. The Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA heatsink retails for about $38USD
($43CDN), and as you'll soon see it offers great cooling
performance without much noise.
FC-ZV9 VGA Heatsink|
| Model No.: FC-ZV9|
Nickel plated copper
fins, heatpipes, base, cast aluminum.|
Mfg: Zalman ZF8015ATM|
| Fan Spec: 1650-3600RPM, 12V, 0.14A|
|Fan Dim: 15x80x80mm|
|Heatink & Fan Dim: 30x96x96mm |
|Weight: 185 grams|
| Includes: (8) memory
heatsinks, thermal compound, multi-socket mounting hardware, instructions, fanmate II.|
Compatible Videocards: various ATI/nVidia models with two
through-PCB holes, or four through-PCB
holes around the GPU.
|Est. Pricing: $38USD
The Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA heatsink is built much like
the CNPS9500 AMD Athlon64 processor heatsink.
Its heatpipes are integrated into the curvature of the fanned out cooling fins, in a way
that doesn't impact airflow significantly. In this case however, the FC-ZV9 has a much lower profile, and uses just two short lengths
of nickel-plated copper heatpipe to connect to the base to the fins.
An injection moulded aluminum frame supports the fan, mounting hardware, and nickel-plated copper fins above
the videocard GPU.
Flipping the small VGA heatsink over reveals
a polished base that should reduce thermal resistance between the heatsink and
silicon GPU, or GPU heatspreader as the case may be. The cooling fins actually float above
the base of the unit, so heat energy is entirely transmitted
by the two copper heatpipes. The thermal conductivity of copper is used very elegantly
in this heatsink.
Surface Finish Comparator Notes: Flatness
Surface finish is an important factor that we all
look for when holding a new heatsink. Flipping a cooler over to see how well the
base has been machined is a quick way to judge the attention to detail that was
put into making it. The following test involves the use of a Surface Roughness
Comparator, which offers a concise cross section common machine surface
The Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA heatsink has a surface roughness of approximately ~2 microinches, which is considered excellent. Next up we'll look at how the
Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA heatsink mounts to a videocard, and take a quick peek at the
FanMate 2 fan speed controller.