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Zalman's VF700 GPU coolers

Dustbuster begone!

Manufacturer Zalman
Model VF700
Price (VF700-Cu)
Price (VF700-AlCu)
Availability Now

ENTHUSIASTS HAVE ALWAYS sought to improve performance. Traditionally, we've measured these improvements in terms of computational power, pixel pushing prowess, and the like, but noise levels are becoming an increasingly important performance metric. As PCs become "fast enough," there's an increasing desire to make them less obtrusive, especially as we move systems out of the office and into our living rooms, kitchens, and cramped dorm rooms where they sit just feet from our beds.

Zalman has been quick to cater to the needs of noise-conscious enthusiasts. The company offers a wide range of quiet cooling products, from audacious Reserator and monster CNPS7700 CPU coolers to passive GPU coolers like the ZM80. The latest addition to Zalman's cooling lineup is the VF700 GPU cooler, which promises nearly silent noise levels and adequate cooling, even for GeForce 6800 Ultra-class graphics cards. Read on as we put Zalman's new cooler through the wringer.

Zalman's VF700-Cu (left) and VF700-AlCu (right)

The cooler
Zalman offers the VF700 in two flavors: the all-copper VF700-Cu and the copper/aluminum hybrid VF700-AlCu. Apart from the materials used in their construction, the coolers are essentially identical. However, there is a weight difference between the two—the 270g VF700-Cu weighs 50% more than the 180g VF700-AlCu.

The VF700's fan-like design borrows heavily from Zalman's recent processor coolers, although concessions have been made to squeeze the cooler onto a graphics card. At 91mm x 126mm x 30mm, the VF700 is definitely a double-wide design. Despite its size, the VF700 is compatible with a wide range of graphics cards. Zalman also maintains a list of incompatible cards.

Zalman uses a 75mm fan with dual ball bearings to cool the VF700. The fan comes with a three-pin power connector, so it won't plug directly into a graphics card. Instead, Zalman supplies a four-pin Molex adapter that offers Silent and Normal fan speed settings. The Silent plug uses 5V power and spins the fan at 1,350 RPM, while the Normal setting uses 12V power and cranks the fan up to 2,650 RPM.

Flipping the VF700 reveals an impeccably smooth base. On the VF700-Cu, the entire heat sink is copper, including the base. On the VF700-AlCu, which is pictured above, the majority of the cooler is aluminum. The cooler's copper component is a strip that runs down the middle of the cooler to make contact with a graphics chip.

The VF700 is more than just a graphics chip cooler, though. Zalman also claims that the fan's design improves circulation and cools the entire graphics card, including its memory chips. A set of eight BGA memory chip heat sinks is even bundled with the cooler.

In addition to memory chip heat sinks, the VF700 also comes with all the mounting hardware you'll need to secure it to a graphics card. The bundle also includes a tube of thermal compound, the Molex fan speed connector, and a case badge. Zalman even throws in a couple of extra screws and rubber grommets, just in case.