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Zalman CNPS11X Performa Heatsink Review
Zalman CNPS11X Performa Heatsink Review
Abstract: The Zalman CNPS11X Performa is an exposed heatpipe base tower cooler that supports Intel socket LGA2011/1366/1155/1156/775 and AMD socket FM1/AM2/AM3 processors. The CNPS11X Performa stands 154mm tall so it should fit in most mid-tower cases and weighs 450 grams.

 Manufacturer  Category  Published  Author 
Zalman   Cooling / Heatsinks   Apr 26, 2012   Max Page  

Home > Reviews > Page: 360° View - Zalman CNPS11X Performa Heatsink

360° View - Zalman CNPS11X Performa Heatsink

Information on Frostytech's test methodology is available here.

The 120mm PWM fan spins at 1000-1600RPM and draws power from a standard 4-pin PWM motherboard fan header. It is backwards compatible with 3-pin connectors. Each of the four, composite wick copper heatpipes are 6mm in diameter and extend from the base up to the top of the 154mm tall heatsink. Each aluminum fin measures 0.2mm thick and is spaced ~2.0mm apart.

The Zalman CNPS11X Performa heatsink stands 154mm tall, the tower is 134mm wide and 72mm deep. The bottom aluminum fin is elevated 38mm above the CPU socket for motherboard clearance. Heat pipes are positioned 7mm on center at the base plate and rise up, spaced 33mm to 88mm apart.

The usable area of the CNPS11X Performa's base is 36x37mm in size. Looking from the top down we see the large V-shape the fin towers present to the exhaust airflow from the 120mm fan. The base incorporates four exposed heatpipes and a cast aluminum plate to support mounting brackets.

Base Finish and Flatness

Flipping a heatsink over to inspect the business end is often a simple indicator of overall cooler quality. More practically speaking, a heatsink is in many ways only as effective as the contact it makes with the processor - the flatter and smoother the better. Base finish is one of the criteria that Frostytech measure in the course of evaluating heatsinks, and it involves two distinct aspects. Surface Finish is the first; this is calculated with the aid of Surface Roughness Comparator that has a cross section of common machine surface finishes and their numerical surface roughness equivalents in microinches. The second is Surface Flatness. This is tested with an engineers straight edge or proven flat surface, in two axis.

The base of the Zalman CNPS11X Performa heatsink is quite lumpy in one axis and somewhat convex in the opposite. The base looks unfinished; as if it's just come from the press where the copper heatpipes were swaged into the aluminum, received a quick brush to remove loose material and missed the finish stages of the operation.

None of the copper heatpipes are flush with the aluminum base plate or more than half the exposed copper heatpipes (some heatpipes are skewed at a slight angle to one side too). Surface roughness is about ~32 microinches, but surface flatness is all over the place on this particular heatsink Frostytech tested.

We're of half a mind that was a pre-production unit, seeing as "#88" was scratched into one corner of the aluminum base plate (above, left corner). Regardless, with a healthy dose of thermal compound at least two of the four heatpipes made good contact with the synthetic CPU die in our test platform and the heatsink actually cooled reasonably well.... so perhaps there's a lot to be said for good quality composite wick heatpipes after all?

Next up, Frostytech heatsink sound level measurements...

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Table of Contents:

 1:  Zalman CNPS11X Performa Heatsink Review
 2: — 360° View - Zalman CNPS11X Performa Heatsink
 3:  Heatsink Sound Level Comparison
 4:  AMD Heatsink Temperature Comparisons
 5:  Intel Heatsink Temperature Comparisons

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