With a 125W heat load applied by the FrostyTech synthetic thermal test platform, the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink yields a very nice rise above ambient temperature at the slowest fan speed of 29.2°C, with just 36.0 dBA noise. When the CNPS9500 AM2's fan speed is increased from 1350RPM to 2600RPM, the socket AM2 heatsink posts much cooler temperatures. The full speed test produces about 53.2 dBA noise, but the rise above ambient temperature result drops to just 23.0°C - very nice indeed!
If we examine the thermal test results for the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink we can see that the best results are obtained by running its fan at slightly less than full fan speed. The large drop in noise output from the fan speed reduction only translates into a temperature increase of about 6°C. For most computer users, that's an easy trade off to make.
The only other heatsink in the reference list that comes close in terms of thermal performance to the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2's thermal performance / noise level ratio is the Zalman CNPS9500 LED... and that's because it's an identical model save for the shinny chrome plating and green fan lights.
While about half the reference heatsinks tested above will be socket AM2 compatible, the AVC Z7U7414001 is the one cooler AMD supplied with official socket AM2 reference systems. This Asia Vital Components (AVC) heatsink was also used with dual core Athlon64 FX processors, as it relies upon the center-tab clips of both socket 754/939/940 and socket AM2 heatsink retention frames.
The Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink compares well to the AVC Z7U7414001 where quiet is concerned, and the AVC Z7U7414001 triumphs where sheer cooling ability is the deciding factor.
As a heatsink, the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 functions best as a low noise cooler. With that translucent 92mm fan glowing green and spinning at 1350RPM, the heatsink maintains good temperatures and excellent noise levels. At full fan-speed, the CNPS9500 AM2 heatsink handles the heat very well, while maintaining an acceptable degree of noise. With the introduction of AMD socket AM2 Athlon64 processors, the K8 heatsink field just got a little complicated - the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 is a great place to begin.
For more reviews on the latest heatsinks and cooling solutions, rely on FrostyTech's inventory of 350+ heatsink reviews. Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy as well...
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