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Zalman CNPS9500-AM2 Socket AM2 Low Noise Heatsink Review
Zalman CNPS9500-AM2 Socket AM2 Low Noise Heatsink Review
  94%   
Abstract: The CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink is identical in materials and size to previous CNPS9500-series heatsinks, but since this cooler is being launched in conjunction with the nVidia nForce 500-series chipset and socket AM2 Athlon64, it has received a few special touches.

 Company link  Category  Published  Author 
Zalman   Cooling / Heatsinks   May 23, 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Page Title: Acoustic Comparisons and Base Surface Quality

Acoustic Samples: Listen to this Heatsink!

With the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink powered up, noise levels are not overly loud. This heatsink should work well in applications that call for lower noise, which is what we always like to hear. Nothing quite compares to listening to the actual noise created by a heatsink in operation. To listen to this heatsink, click on the little headphones icon below and play the sample MP3 files for the heatsink running with its fan at full speed, and reduced speed.

FrostyTech Acoustic Sampling Chamber - Full Speed
Standard Waveform view of a 10 second recording. Click on the headphones icon to listen to an MP3 recording of this heatsink in operation. The fan is rotating at 2600 RPM

FrostyTech Acoustic Sampling Chamber - LowSpeed
Standard Waveform view of a 10 second recording. Click on the headphones icon to listen to an MP3 recording of this heatsink in operation. The fan is rotating at 1350 RPM

Sound Level Measurements: Which Heatsink is Quietest?

Listening to the actual noise a heatsink makes allows you to hear what pure numbers alone cannot get across. To further emphasize FrostyTech's reliance on cold hard facts when evaluating a heatsink, we also take noise level measurements with a sound level meter.

FrostyTech.com Heatsink Noise Level Measurements
Noise level Decibel measurements of each heatsinks' fan in operation are taken with the aid of a sound level meter and sound isolating enclosure. The values may be higher than the mfgr's listed specs, but are directly comparable to one another. Measurements are made on the dB (A) scale. Information on Frostytech's test methodology is available here.
Manufacturer: Model No.: *Fan Speed: Noise Level (dBA):

Arctic Cooling Silencer 64 Ultra TC low 27.6 dB Quiet
Verax Quattro 1 30.9 dB
Zalman CNPS7000B-CU low 33.2 dB
Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 low 36.0 dB
Zalman CNPS9500 LED low 36.2 dB
Gigabyte NeonCooler 8-BL 42.0 dB
Coolermaster Hyper48 43.6 dB
Arctic Cooling Alpine64 43.9 dB
Dynatron A22 44.5 dB
Zalman CNPS7000B-CU high 44.9 dB
Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu high 45.2 dB
Zalman CNPS7000-Cu high 45.2 dB
Noctua NH-U12 45.4 dB
Ajigo MF043-044 45.4 dB
Spire SP741B3 45.6 dB
Scythe Shogun high 45.9 dB
Scythe Kama SCKK1000 47.5 dB
AVC Z7U7414001 (stock AM2) low 48.1 dB
Spire SP601B3 48.9 dB
Thermaltake Silentboost K8 49.7 dB
Zalman CNPS9500 LED high 50.3 dB
Gigabyte 3D-Rocket 50.7 dB
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro 50.9 dB
Evercool K802-715 51.5 dB
Scythe Samurai SCSM1000 high 51.6 dB
nPowertek NPH K8-1 52.2 dB
Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 high 53.2 dB
Jetart JAX801 53.5 dB
Coolermaster Hyper6 high 54.7 dB
Arctic Cooling Silencer 64 Ultra TC high 55.5 dB
Evercool Magic Cooler 55.5 dB
Dynatron SK-V24 56.4 dB
Gigabyte 3D Rocket-Pro high 56.7 dB
Vantec Mach1 high 56.9 dB
EKL V8 high 57.5 dB
Noctua NH-U9 58.4 dB
Alpha PAL-8150 58.9 dB
Coolermaster Aquagate Mini high 59.2 dB
AVC Z7U3301001 high 59.9 dB
Ajigo MF064-074 high 60.3 dB
Cooljag SFO-H high 60.6 dB
Gigabyte 3D Cooler-Pro high 62.5 dB
Gigabyte 3D Cooler-Ultra high 63.0 dB
AVC Z7U7414001 (stock AM2) high 63.0 dB
Titan TTC-K8ATB/825/SC 63.1 dB
CoolJag SFO-D(18SC) 64.0 dB
ASUS Starice high 67.4 dB
Thermaltake Polo 735 high 68.0 dB
Thermaltake Venus 12 high 68.1 dB
Gigabyte G-Power Pro high 71.9 dB Loud
Noise Level (dBA)
*Unless noted, for reference heatsinks with variable-speed fans only the 'high speed' (12V) fan noise measurement is included in the comparison sheet; more detailed results for the low fan speed (~5V) tests reside in each specific heatsink review.

With its 92mm fan spinning at the full 2600RPM, the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink produces about 53.2 dBA noise. By utilizing the included FanMate2 fan speed controller we can adjust fan speed down to just 1350RPM. At this much reduced speed the CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink puts out just 36.0 dBA according to our real world measurements from about 12" distance.

Also included in this acoustic reference list is an assortment of Zalman's recent K8 compatible heatsinks at high and low fan speeds. About half of the heatsinks listed are compatible with the revised AMD socket AM2 heatsink retention frame. The AVC Z7U7414001 heatsink is considered the reference socket AM2 heatsink approved by AMD.

Surface Finish and 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 finishes.

The Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink has a surface roughness of approximately 12 microinches, which is considered very good. Next, let's see how this heatsink handles the heat compared to a selection of other heatsinks!



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Table of Contents:

 1:  Zalman CNPS9500-AM2 Socket AM2 Low Noise Heatsink Review
 2:  AMD Athlon64 Socket AM2 Heatsink Considerations
 3:  360° View - Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 Low Noise Heatsink
 4: — Acoustic Comparisons and Base Surface Quality
 5:  Final Heatsink Temperature Comparisons

List all Zalman heat sinks that Frostytech tested?

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