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The Zalman VF700-AlCu heatsink is intended to cool overworked videocards quietly. The heatsink is constructed of the same fan-shapped fin design that has made Zalman a well known manufacturer, and it's a design that has many positive thermal attributes. The low profile aluminum and copper cooling fins will occupy an additional slot in front of the videocard, and will also eat up a free fan header on the motherboard, but otherwise the unit is pretty compact and easy to drop in. This model is identical in every way to the VF700-AlCu LED, except of course for the illuminated fan on that version. As you'll see in the test results shortly, there is no significant difference to the thermal or acoustic performance between each version either.
With its mix of aluminum and copper fins, the Zalman VF700-AlCu is a slightly lighter option for GPU cooling than its Zalman VF700-Cu cousin, and weighs in at 180 grams. The 80mm fan is set askew slightly from the center of the VF700-AlCu so that exhaust air passes through the copper and aluminum cooling fins to adjacent videocard memory, offering some nice additional cooling to these warm components.
The Zalman VF700-AlCu is compatible with most ATI and nVidia videocards if there are at least two mounting holes for it to attach to; the Zalman website specifically lists which VGA models are compatible here.
Included along with the VF700-AlCu VGA heatsink are eight small 13x13mm blue aluminum DRAM heatsinks, which can be stuck onto the videocard memory. The installation process for the VF700-AlCu heatsink is not very complicated, but because there are a great many little screws and washers so we'd suggest you flip through the instructions right from the start. The Zalman VF700-AlCu VGA heatsink retails on average for about $30USD ($36CDN).
The Zalman VF700-AlCu VGA heatsink is looks quite similar to the CNPS7000A processor heatsink, albeit on a much smaller scale. The same basic principles follow through however. The heatsink is constructed from 50 or so think metal fins which have been clamped together at the center for form a solid block of metal.
Heat energy from the GPU transfers to the VF700-AlCu at this point, and then as the heat is conducted by the copper and aluminum what was a solid base becomes individual fins. The beauty of this simple approach is that there are no joints between the GPU mounting block and the cooling fins - they are in fact one and the same.
The weight of the VF700-AlCu is lessened by utilizing aluminum fins for 2/3rd of the heatsink, while copper fins are situated over the hottest portion of the GPU for ideal conduction. Flipping the small VGA heatsink over reveals a perfectly machined base for the least possible thermal resistance between the heatsink and GPU.
Mounting Hardware and Videocard Installation
The Zalman VF700-AlCu VGA heatsink is attached to compatible videocards with a set of nuts that pass through the videocard PCB. Small rubber washers prevent any of the metal hardware from damaging circuit board trace lines, and once the hardware is in place it's just a matter of screwing the Zalman VF700-AlCu's integrated spring mounting clip down into place.
Depending on the graphics card model, and whether or not it's an ATI or nVidia GPU, either two of the four mounting holes around the GPU, or the two off-center mounting holes are used to install the VF700-AlCu VGA heatsink.
During our evaluation of the Zalman VF700-AlCu heatsink, we found that the installation process took just a couple minutes to complete and that the steps were straightforward and well documented in the instructions.
FrostyTech's new Test Methodology is outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at this VGA heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course it performance in the thermal tests!
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