This very popular CPU cooler can help reduce the noise levels of your computer, while still letting you run the latest (and hottest) processors.
It comes with a large heatsink, a seperate 92mm fan, and a fan speed controller. Its design differs from other heatsink/fans in that the fan is not attached to the heatsink, but is mounted onto the case itself. This is supposed to reduce the vibration on the cpu, but means that it is not suitable for all cases. You need a wide enough case to allow room for the fan, and the fan attaches to the mounting screws for pci/agp plugin cards. This means that if you have a narrow case, or non-standard pci slot top, it may not fit.
The heatsink itself is much larger than an ordinary heatsink, and extends out over the motherboard, but is shaped so that it avoids most other components. As long as there is nothing tall too close to the cpu, it should fit fine.
The large fan rotates quite slowly for a cpu fan, and is reasonably quiet, but reducing the speed even further with the fanmate speed controller, makes it almost inaudible. Reducing the speed, does reduce the cooling, so you need to monitor that the cpu is not overheating, otherwise increase the fan speed slightly.
Overall the zalman is a well made and potentially very quiet cpu cooler, that is suitable for even 2Ghz-3Ghz processors. You do need quite a large case however. We had to move to a larger case from our initial test one, as cpu cooler and fan were in the way of the CD drive. So it looses some points for installation and size, but gets full marks for quietness.
Overall Rating 8/10
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