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Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA Heatsink Review
Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA Heatsink Review
Overall Rating:   85%
Abstract: Zalman have produced a handful of videocard heatsinks in the years since the original ZM17CU cooler was first patented.

 Company link     Category     Published     Author    
Zalman   $$ Price It! ££ Cooling / Heatsinks   Jul 28, 2006   Max Page  

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.

Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA Heatsink
Manufacturer: Zalman
Model No.: FC-ZV9
Materials: Dark Nickel plated copper fins, heatpipes, base, cast aluminum.
Fan 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 ($38CDN)

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 and Finish

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 finishes.

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.

° Next Page 

Article Contents:
 Page 1:  — Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA Heatsink Review
 Page 2:  ATI/nVidia Videocard Mounting Holes
 Page 3:  360° View - Zalman FC-ZV9 VGA Heatsink
 Page 4:  Sound Level and Thermal Comparisons

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