Got a noisy computer? If you've finally decided to take some action and replace a loud heatsink for something quieter, and cooler-running, take notice of the Zalman CNPS8700 LED heatsink. Based on the proven "flower heatsink" design, the CNPS8700 LED is an extension of that concept. This all copper heatsink utilizes two looped copper heatpipes and hundreds of thin copper fins set around a quiet 2300RPM 105mm internally illuminated fan. The heatsink is compatible with socket 775 Intel and socket 754/939/940/AM2 AMD processors.
As with all of Zalman's CPU products, the Zalman CNPS8700 LED is accompanied by a small fan speed controller which allows the user to dial in an appropriate fan speed for their system. With the FanMate2 you can adjust the fan speed as low as 1150RPM, or in FrostyTech's real world measurements, a whisper quiet 32.5 dBa.
The CNPS8700 LED is a suitable low profile heatsink for compact computer cases, it only requires 80mm of vertical clearance to operate. What really makes the 475 gram Zalman CNPS8700 LED stand out in the sea of performance CPU heatsinks is that it's been designed with lowest noise setting in mind, while most heatsinks are really not optimized for such low airflow. Build quality is first rate, installation is straightforward, and the Zalman CNPS8700 LED heatsink retails for around $50CDN ($50USD) . While its predecessors in the CNPS7000-series were approaching weights of 900 grams, Zalman engineers have eschewed more copper in the CNPS8000-series in favour of more efficient thermal conducting vehicles. The CNPS8700 LED uses two 6mm diameter copper heatpipes to connect the base of the heatsink with all the copper fins. In previous models based on the flower heatsink design, the fins were part of the base, and the cooler thus required significantly more heavy metal to achieve the same effect.
While its predecessors in the CNPS7000-series were approaching weights of 900 grams, Zalman engineers have eschewed more copper in the CNPS8000-series in favour of more efficient thermal conducting vehicles. The CNPS8700 LED uses two 6mm diameter copper heatpipes to connect the base of the heatsink with all the copper fins. In previous models based on the flower heatsink design, the fins were part of the base, and the cooler thus required significantly more heavy metal to achieve the same effect.
The copper heatpipes are soldered to the base and grouped one next to the other. By closely packing the heatpipes, heat is quickly conducted to the surrounding copper fins.
As the 6mm diameter copper heatpipe makes the rounds, passing through every copper fin of the CNPS8700 LED heatsink, all fin-to-heatpipe joints are soldered for lower thermal joint resistance.
As we briefly mentioned, the included Zalman FanMate 2 fan speed controller drops the speed of the integrated 105mm fan impeller from 2300RPM to 1150RPM. It does this by varying the voltage from 11V to 5V, and in so doing it can make the CNPS8700 LED barely audible.
The Zalman CNPS8700 LED heatsink uses a special LGA775 mounting harness for Intel motherboards. For this you'll need to remove the entire motherboard from the case and attach a rear support bracket behind the PCB, and a retention frame on the CPU side. Instructions are detailed and the process isn't complicated. After that's done, the heatsink can be installed or removed with the included stainless steel spring clip shown below. The clip fits over a central lug in the base cap to properly center the CNPS8700 LED heatsink on the CPU.
The CNPS8700 LED heatsink installs onto socket 754/939/940/AM2 processors with a simple metal clip that works with either the socket AM2 or socket 939 style center lug of the heatsink retention frame. As a general rule, there shouldn't be any interfering motherboard components within 61mm of the center of the CPU, in any direction.
Zalman Fanmate 2 Fan Speed Controller
Zalman bundle in a manual fan speed controller with just about every heatsink it sells these days. The Fanmate 2 gives users an adjustable dial to control the speed of a fan connected to the small device, which is great for individually dialing down the speed of certain fans to suit your environment. The Fanmate 2 unit is rated for fans drawing up to 6W power, and will output ~11V to 5V depending on where the dial is set to. Measuring 70 x 26 x 26mm in size, the black plastic Fanmate 2 box controls a single fan via a 3-pin power connector. It does not support 4-pin PWM fans.
At the Fanmate 2's maximum speed setting (loudest noise, fastest RPM) the unit offers a slight amount of resistance so the fan will not spin quite as fast as if it were not attached (the difference is about 5%). On the lowest speed setting (quietest noise, lowest RPM) the fan should be running essentially silently with just 5V being delivered. It is important to only use the Fanmate 2 with good quality fans that can restart by themselves if the fan stalls.
FrostyTech's Test Methodologies are 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 heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course it performance in the thermal tests!
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