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Zalman's CNPS7700-AlCu cooler


Just... huge
— 12:00 AM on December 30, 2004

Manufacturer Zalman
Model CNPS7700-AlCu
Price (street)
Availability Now

WE DON'T COVER cooling products much here at TR, but every once in a while something comes along that's too audacious for us to pass up. Interestingly enough, many of the eccentric coolers that have caught our eye have come from Zalman. First, there was the ZM80A-HP, which passively cooled graphics chips before silent computing was all the rage. Then there was the Reserator, a water cooling system with a passive radiator. This time around, it's Zalman's funky CNPS7700-AlCu, which pledges to keep processors cool and quiet with a massive 120mm variable speed fan.

Yes, that 120mm fan is for a processor.

Can the mammoth CNPS7700-AlCu deliver better cooling with lower noise levels, or is it too big for its britches—and possibly your motherboard? Read on to find out.


Whoa.

The behemoth
For a CPU cooler, the CNPS7700-AlCu is a monster. It's no featherweight, either, although at 600g, it's surprisingly light for its size. You can thank the cooler's hybrid aluminum and copper construction for that. Zalman does make an all-copper version of the CNPS7700, but that model weighs over 300g more.

Just how big is this thing? 67mm tall and 136mm in diameter. To put that in perspective, here's how the CNSP7700's size compares to Zalman's 92mm fan-based CNPS7000-AlCu, and AMD and Intel's stock coolers.


Clockwise from left: Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu, Zalman CNPS7000-AlCu, stock Pentium 4 520 cooler, stock Athlon 64 3500+ cooler

Yeah, it's huge, especially compared with AMD's stock Athlon 64 cooler. The CNPS7700-AlCu packs a total of 132 cooling fins—36 copper and 96 aluminum. The fins surround the cooler's massive 120mm fan, which spins seven blades on two ball bearings. Forget about clipping a finger; if you're not careful, the CNPS7700-AlCu looks like it could chew up your entire hand.


Forget losing a finger; worry about your hand.

The fact that the CNPS7700-AlCu's fan spins so slowly could save your digits, though. To keep noise levels to a minimum, the fan only spins between 1,000 and 2,000 RPM. Given the fan's size, even relatively low RPMs will move plenty of air.


Angled edges improve clearance.

With such a large diameter, clearance is obviously going to be a problem for this beast. There's no getting around the fact that the cooler must be at least 120mm in diameter to accommodate its massive fan, so Zalman had to get a little creative to create clearance. The CNPS7700-AlCu's conical design seems to do the trick, though. Fins slope upward from the base of the cooler, expanding as they get higher to leave plenty of room around the socket for motherboard-mounted components.


A pristine mating surface

Closer inspection of the CNPS7700-AlCu's base reveals a pristine mating surface that seamlessly integrates all 136 cooling fins. The cooler's copper component runs right down the middle, putting the superior conductor where it's needed most.