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Synthetic Test Results:
We were wondering a bit what the effect of the gold platting would have on the performance of the CNPS3100G heatsink over that of its brother, the all-natural CNPS3100. While Silver holds excellent thermally conductive properties, gold is not as fortunate. The plating is obviously a surface treatment so the effect cannot be too great, and in the test results this showed through.
The differences between the two CNPS3100 FHS heatsinks was slight, with the unplated heatsink coming out on top. Of all the heatsinks being tested it was the Thermoengine which managed to achieve the lowest temperature recordings with its stock fan. From what we've seen previously, the Blizzard also narrowly squeaks in front of both the CNPS3100 and the CNPS3100G.
All in all the CNPS3100G is a very good performer like its brother the CNPS3100. Now lets take a look at the rise above ambient temperature results.
The CNPS3100 and CNPS3100G are virtually the identical. Except for the gold plating on the latter. Of the two it would seem that there is a slight performance increase using the unplated heatsink, but the results are so close together there really isn't much of a difference. The Thermoengines earn the top two positions leaving the Zalman heatsinks in the third and four position in this particular test.
In our first review of Zalman's very unique line of Fan Heatsinks it was obvious that the company has developed a very competitive cooling platform. The Zalman's have one strength that no other heatsinks really try to offer these days and that is the sound factor. Many heatsinks are designed so that performance increases are had by strapping on larger, or more powerful fans. The disadvantage of this tactic is the increase in noise output by the heatsink.
While designing primarily for the low sound generation goal, Zalman have also managed to manufacture a heatsink which can perform quite well. The gold edition of what is essentially the CNPS3100 is a solid performer like its fellow model. Whether or not the added expense of the gold plating is worth the price is up to you. Granted, there will be no concerns of the the copper tarnishing over time, but those effects would probably become most prevalent after the computer became obsolete.
The CNPS3100G is a good heatsink design with very good performance characteristics and is suited for environments where computer noise may be a concern. At $48USD, the choice is up to you if you want a gold-plated heatsink - either for longevity, or for looks ;-)
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